Sunday, September 25, 2011
Halftime thoughts: Giants-Eagles
By Dan Graziano
PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Giants grabbed early control and a 14-0 lead in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they didn't keep control of much of anything in the second quarter. The Eagles kicked a field goal with time running out in the first half to cut the lead 14-13.
Things couldn't have started any better for the Giants. The Eagles drove down the field against them on their first possession and got the ball as far as the New York 19-yard line. But a third-down pass by Michael Vick caromed off of the hands of former Giants receiver Steve Smith and into the arms of Giants safety Aaron Ross for an interception. The Giants cashed that in with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Brandon Jacobs, and just before the end of the first quarter Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 74-yard touchdown pass on which Eagles defenders missed two tackles. The Eagles appeared in disarray on offense and defense, and the Giants had them right where they wanted them.
But in the second quarter, the Giants looked more like the Giants we've seen over the past three seasons -- shaky and undisciplined on defense. The Eagles went run-heavy on their next drive, marching down the field behind running back LeSean McCoy and kicking a field goal. The Giants were unable to get their own run game going, and their defense seemed to wear down and become irritable the more it was on the field. Safety Antrel Rolle was flagged for his involvement in one of many post-whistle scuffles between Eagles and Giants players, and the Eagles appeared to get into the Giants' heads.
McCoy's touchdown run was brilliant, as he made a killer cut when it looked as though they had him forced out of bounds and found his way into the end zone. And the Eagles just managed to get Alex Henery's second field goal of the game off before the halftime gun after a bizarre sequence in which Vick got up from a hit and got behind center and had to be shooed off the field by his linemen.
The Giants have the lead, which a lot of people wouldn't have guessed, but they'll need to recover the kind of discipline and precision they showed in the first quarter if they want to hold onto it. They're clearly outmanned, and will not be able to weather many more mistakes.