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Sunday, October 2, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Giants 31, Cardinals 27

By Ohm Youngmisuk

GLENDALE –- After an emotional win in Philadelphia last week, the Giants won their third straight game with an impressive come-from-behind victory over the Cardinals.

What it means: The Giants looked like they were heading for a loss when they allowed Beanie Wells to score with about five minutes to go to fall behind 27-17. But Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns in the final 3:44 to complete a stunning comeback and take advantage of the Eagles and Cowboys losing on Sunday.

A little controversy: On the game-winning drive, the Giants were aided by a somewhat controversial call. Manning completed a 19-yard pass to Victor Cruz, who appeared to stumble to the turf untouched. As he got up without the ball, the Cardinals recovered the ball and argued they recovered a fumble. But Arizona could not challenge the play because the officials ruled that Cruz voluntarily went down. Manning hit Nicks for a 29-yard touchdown on the next play to push the Giants up 31-27.

Beanie and Fitz: The Giants almost lost the game because they couldn't handle Wells, who rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Wells scored all three of his touchdowns running toward his left and over the right side of the Giants defensive line. He flattened Corey Webster on one touchdown run and ran over Greg Jones on his second.

The Giants also couldn't contain Larry Fitzgerald, who finished with eight receptions for 102 yards, for most of the game. Fitzgerald set up Wells’ first touchdown run with a huge 47-yard catch that saw him out-muscle safety Deon Grant for a jump ball. But the Giants won the game when Webster broke up the Cardinals' final pass to Fitzgerald on a fourth down.

Tuck out: After flying to Arizona with the team, defensive end Justin Tuck did not play due to pain in his neck and a strained groin.

Jason Pierre-Paul started at left defensive end. Dave Tollefson, the Giants backup defensive end, saw more playing time and collected two sacks in the first half.

Welcome back: Defensive end Osi Umenyiora made his season debut after missing the first three games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Umenyiora had a patented strip sack as he came off the edge and forced a Kevin Kolb fumble in the first quarter. Umenyiora also sacked Kolb on the final drive.

Injury report: Center David Baas suffered a “burner” in the third quarter according to the Giants. Tuck’s neck injury also was classified as a burner initially when he suffered it against the Jets in the preseason.

Backup Kevin Boothe came in for Baas and got beat by nose tackle David Carter, who stripped Manning for a fumble. The Cardinals recovered at the Giants’ five-yard-line and would score a few plays later on a Wells’ touchdown run to go up 20-10 with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard suffered a rib injury during the third quarter as well.

Antrel returns: Safety Antrel Rolle played his first five seasons in Arizona before signing with the Giants in 2010. Playing against the Cardinals for the first time, he came up with an interception when he read Kevin Kolb’s eyes and picked off a deep pass to the left for Fitzgerald with 10:48 remaining.

Rolle also had a big breakup to stop the Cardinals on a third down late to give Manning the ball back before the final touchdown drive.

What’s next: The Giants return home to host the Seattle Seahawks. The Giants destroyed the Seahawks, 41-7, in Seattle last year.