Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Which of these Cruz TDs is your favorite?
By Mike Mazzeo
Victor Cruz says his favorite touchdown this season is his 99-yarder against the Jets in Week 16.
Cruz finished with nine TDs in 2011, tied for sixth-best among NFL receivers. Several of those were of the How-the-heck-did-he-do-that?! variety.
Let's go through the most meaningful ones, shall we?
Week 3 at Philadelphia
1. Cruz gets his first NFL touchdown with 49 seconds left in the first quarter. He breaks a Kurt Coleman tackle, then jukes, making two Eagles defensive backs run into each other before completing a 74-yard jaunt into the end zone. "Silk City Salsa" is born. Watch it
2. Cruz gives the Giants their first statement victory of the season. With 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, he outjumps "shutdown corner" Nnamdi Asmougha to haul in Eli Manning's pass at 1-yard line before falling over the goal line for six. The G-Men take a 21-16 lead. Cruz is fired up, but doesn't Salsa this time. It doesn't matter. The connection goes 28 yards. Welcome to the NFL, Victor Cruz. Watch it
Week 5 vs. Seattle
3. Cruz gives the Giants life, hope and momentum with a one-handed, juggling, 68-yard touchdown snag with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter. At the time, the G-Men were trailing 19-14. Manning heaves up a prayer, and Cruz answers it. He goes up with two Seahawks defenders. The ball deflects off Kam Chandler's hand and into Cruz's. He takes it from there. The Salsa returns. The Giants reclaim the lead, but it's short-lived. Still, the legend of Victor Cruz continues to grow. Watch it
Week 7 vs. Miami
4. The Giants are losing to the winless Dolphins late in the fourth quarter. No problem. Cruz to the rescue. He catches a Manning pass over the middle, then sheds a Will Allen tackle, spins, maintains his balance and finishes off the 25-yard score with 5:58 remaining. G-Men 20, Fins 17. Another Salsa. Another win. Watch it
Week 16 "at" Jets
5. Cruz's favorite. There have only been 13 99-yard TD catches in NFL history. This one saved Big Blue's season. The Giants are backed up in their own end zone and trailing Gang Green 7-3 late in the first half. Cruz's catch should only go for 10 yards. But Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie can't bring him down and, 89 yards later, the Giants lead with 2:12 left. Cruz fires the ball at the back wall and then goes into Salsa mode. The G-Men roll from there. Watch it
Week 17 vs. Dallas
6. Cruz grew up a Cowboys fan. His last TD of the season broke his ex-favorite team’s heart and ended their season. Cruz opens the NFC East title game with a 74-yard catch and score that puts the Giants up 7-0 with 4:58 remaining in the first quarter. A simple out-route turns into much more. Hakeem Nicks throws a great block, and all Terrance Newman and Gerald Sensabaugh can do is chase Cruz until he reaches paydirt. His most meaningful Salsa yet. Watch it
The 25-year-old wideout, who went undrafted out of UMass, finished the regular season with 82 receptions and a franchise record 1,536 yards. That's $405,000 well spent by the Giants.
Here are the candidates. Which is your favorite? Post it in the comments section below.