Monday, December 13, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Giants 21, Vikings 3 WHAT IT MEANS: Mother Nature couldn’t extend Brett Favre’s streak and couldn’t slow down the New York Giants either. After flying to Kansas City and then to Detroit, the Giants finally faced the Minnesota Vikings and beat them for the first time in their past five meetings. They won their third-straight game by avenging a 44-7 loss to the Vikings in the season finale last year while keeping pace in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles. They also took advantage of Green Bay’s loss here in Detroit the day before as well. The Giants showed that despite being jet-lagged and weary from all the havoc created by the snowstorm, they remained resilient and took care of business against a team that was without Favre, Percy Harvin, Steve Hutchinson and Ray Edwards.
IRON MAN STREAK DONE: Favre’s streak of 297 consecutive starts ends in Detroit against the Giants when he was unable to play due to a shoulder injury. The Giants have been bad luck for Favre. He played against them in his final game as a Packer in the NFC Championship game and now his streak ends against the Giants.
ELI’S STREAK CONTINUES:Eli Manning made his 100th consecutive start and it started off looking like another streak would continue. Manning entered the game 0-4 against the Vikings with nine interceptions and two touchdowns against Minnesota. And he threw two more picks in the first half but he finally beat the Vikings. He wasn’t at his sharpest, but the bottom line is Manning got the win. Manning did have another streak end as he was sacked, ending a five-game stretch of Giants surrendering no sacks.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Ford Field painted a Vikings logo at midfield over the Lions logo, which looked like it had been erased with a pencil eraser. The stadium also played the Vikings' horn several times but it never quite felt like home for Minnesota. Even though there were more Vikings fans in the building than Giants’ fans, the crowd of 45,910 seemed more concerned with doing variations of the wave than the Vikings’ performance. While tickets were distributed for free and the Lions stopped distribution after huge crowds braved the frigid cold in the morning, the game was not filled to the capacity of 64,500. It appeared that many fans who had original tickets to this game and those who went to Sunday’s Lions-Packers game and were eligible to come to the game chose to stay home.
WELCOME BACK: The Giants welcomed back wide receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks and tackle David Diehl from injuries. Nicks started the game opposite Mario Manningham, while Smith opened as the third wide receiver. However, Manningham suffered a hip flexor in the first half and Smith replaced him as the starter. Then Smith injured his hamstring and did not return in the fourth quarter. Smith finished with one catch for 12 yards. Manning looked like he needed a game to get back on the same page with his top two receivers. Smith had missed the previous four games with a partially torn pectoral. Nicks, who finished the game with seven receptions for 96 yards, returned after a two-game absence following surgery to relieve swelling in his leg.
KEEP ON TRUCKING: The Giants running game continues to look better and better as the season progresses. Brandon Jacobs started the game and busted a 73-yard run down the left side in the first half. He finished with 116 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Ahmad Bradshaw also had a huge run, scoring on a 48-yard sprint down the left side that gave the Giants a 21-3 lead with under three minutes left in the third quarter. Bradshaw finished with 103 yards on 11 carries.
FEWELL-INJECTED: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell does it again as the Giants smothered Tarvaris Jackson, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings' offense. Without Favre and Hutchinson, the Vikings' offense looked inept at times. Peterson was stuffed numerous times and finished with 26 yards rushing. Jackson started off strong, completing 10-of-his-first-13 passes but kept going in and out of the game with injuries.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Giants have only a few days to prepare for their biggest game of the season against the Eagles. The NFC East could very well ride on this game as the winner will take a lead with two games remaining after that. The Giants made Michael Vick look somewhat human last time in Philadelphia but they could not get out of their own way with turnovers and a late defensive breakdown to drop a crushing loss in Philadelphia four weeks ago. If the Giants want to be a serious contender, they must make a stand against the Eagles and beat them at home.