World Champion Giants played like champs for first half, which was enough to defeat Washington Redskins 16–7 yesterday, before a screaming crowd at Meadowlands.
Giants got the crowd going with inspiring pre–game tribute to their three Super Bowl wins, which featured a giant (what else?) inflatable Lombardi Trophy.
After the video, the front panel of inflatable trophy was lowered, and Michael Strahan, holding real trophy, stepped out to deafening cheers. He said:
“Giants Stadium, you thought I was never coming back. But I had to come back to celebrate the championship with the greatest fans in all of sports. And for one final time, salute my teammates for an incredible championship run. So what I want you to do is, I want you to get on your feet, I want you to make some noise and I want you to be ready to stomp somebody out and welcome the New York Giants Super Bowl champions.”
When Giants got the ball, Eli Manning picked right up where he finished last year, and led the team to a touchdown. Opening drive included three passes to Plaxico Burress for 60 yards. Manning scored the touchdown on a nice 1 yard run, where he evaded a tackler, to score third rushing touchdown of his career.
Offense drove to 6, 7, and 26 yard lines on next three series, and settled for three field goals by John Carney, who has replaced injured Lawrence Tynes.
New Giants defense, without Michael Strahan and Chief Osi, played inspired football in first half. Justin Tuck sacked Redskin QB Jason Campbell on their first play, and harassed him throughout half. Campbell seemed flustered and confused at times, and was held to negative yardage for most of half. Campbell completed his first pass of the game with 1:10 left in half.
Redskins spoiled the shutout, right before halftime, with a drive that included a 50 yard kickoff return.
Although offense sputtered in second half, defense shut out Redskins for the victory. The last time Giants held an opponent scoreless in second half, was on October 15, 2007, when they won 31–10 in Atlanta.
Plaxico Burruss, who signed 5 year, $35 million contract extension on Wednesday, tied his career–high ten catches. Sinorice Moss made one nice catch. Sadly, Amani Toomer seemed rusty, and was ineffective. Manning also threw several uncatchable passes. Domenik Hixon, who showed promise in pre–season, was not used much.
Brandon Jacobs rushed for 116 yards on 21 carries. Jacobs gained at least 20 of those yards, on brute strength, when he simply refused to go down. I hope Jacobs stays healthy. Derrick Ward filled in admirably, to let Jacobs rest, with 39 yards on nine carries. Ahmad Bradshaw was not used much, and Reuben Droughns did not play at all.
Giants tackling was excellent. Redskins came up short on several third down plays. Corey Webster made several outstanding plays to thwart Redskins passes.
Mathias Kiwanuka appeared to be injured on final play of game. However, x–rays of his ankle, which he injured last year, were negative. He said:
“I’m fine. It was just a little scary being in that area.”
It is hard to complain about Tom Coughlin since Giants won Super Bowl. I think Coughlin improved the team, by delegating as many tasks as possible, to an astute group of specialists.
One innovation, was his “Leadership Council.” This is a group of 13 players, who meet regularly to discuss team issues. Current players are: David Diehl, Jeff Feagles, Brandon Jacobs, Mathias Kiwanuka, Eli Manning, Shaun O’Hara, Antonio Pierce, Fred Robbins, Chris Snee, Amani Toomer, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Corey Webster.
Looking Ahead and Behind
Giants next game is against Rams, in St. Louis, on Sunday, September 14th at 1 P.M.
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