Eli Manning Impersonates Tom Brady

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Eli Manning played the best game of his career, helping the New York Giants defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 – 14 yesterday, at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa.

Dueling Defenses

During the first quarter of this battle between the NFL’s third and fourth defenses, Tampa held the Giants to -2 yards, by putting eight men on the line of scrimmage, whenever Brandon Jacobs, the Giants starting running back, was lined up in the backfield.

Thankfully, Kevin Gilbride, the Giants much maligned offensive coordinator, finally did something creative, by calling a bunch of short passing plays, which Manning executed very well. Manning missed a couple of open receivers, and committed one delay of game penalty, but he had no fumbles or interceptions. Manning completed more passes because he finally stayed in the pocket when he knew he would be hit. Manning also executed two bootlegs well. He finished the game with 20 completions out of 27 attempts, for 185 yards.

Strahan’s Last Game?

Michael Strahan, who has not decided if he will return next season, led the defense with eight tackles, and a sack. Strahan plays hard every game, but he seemed to play with even more intensity yesterday. It was almost eighty degrees in Tampa, and several players went down with cramps, but it did not seem to affect Michael Strahan at all.

Room For Improvement

Although the Giants played their best game of the season, they will have to play even better, to beat Dallas next week.

Corey Webster, filling in for the injured Sam Madison at cornerback, covered Joey Galloway, Tampa’s best receiver well, but Galloway, is not Terrell Owens. I hope Webster, who recovered a fumble, and intercepted a pass in the end zone, starts next week.

Amani Toomer, who led receivers with seven catches, needs another big game next week. Ahmad Bradshaw, who led the team in rushing, with 66 yards, and played a truly inspiring game, also needs to do it again next week. Bradshaw made a big difference yesterday, because he kept Tampa’s defense guessing.

Giants play the Cowboys, in Dallas, next Sunday, at 4:30 EST.