This past Monday, the New York Giants got their first win of the 2013 season. On Sunday afternoon, the Giants were able to build off that first win and secured their second win of the season by knocking off the Philadelphia Eagles 15-7 at Lincoln Financial Field.
With that win over the Eagles on Sunday, the Giants snapped a streak of eight consecutive road defeats, as the last time the Giants had won on the road goes all the way back in October of 2012 when the Giants held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys 29-24.
Now at 2-6 on the season, the Giants somehow have gone from looking like a lost cause to somehow being two games behind those same Cowboys in the NFC East; the Cowboys are 4-4 and the Giants can thank the Detroit Lions for that as they pulled off a 31-30 victory in Detroit and prevented Dallas from getting their fifth victory, which would have pushed the Giants three games back.
The Giants can now head into the bye week with some momentum and a chance to give anyone who was hurt or banged up a chance to rest, along with an extra week to try and get healthy for the second half of the season and some of the more meaningful games for the team.
- Josh Brown. Heading into the game, Brown was 7-for-9 on the season in field goal attempts and before last Monday, Brown had not kicked a field goal in the Giants last two games. But on Sunday, Brown was virtually the entire Giants offense as he scored every single point the team racked up; drilling five field goals from 40, 44, 33, 46 and 27 yards out. After a few weeks of questioning if Brown was the right guy to be the kicker for the team, he may have re-established everyone's confidence in him to make crucial kicks when called upon.
- For the second week in a row, Eli Manning did not throw a single interception. Before Week 7, he had thrown 15 which leads the league. But for the last two weeks against the Vikings and Eagles, Manning didn't get picked off. Sure, he didn't throw a touchdown in the game, but not turning the ball over is much more crucial to the Giants winning games in 2013.
- Sacks. Yes, the New York Giants defensive line apparently remembered how to get to the quarterback and on Sunday, were able to get to Michael Vick and Matt Barkley. Before their game on Sunday, the team had six sacks through their first seven games, but against the Eagles, they had four sacks. Linval Joseph, Mathias Kiwanuka and Antrel Rolle all had one, but it was Terrell Thomas' sack that might have been the most impactful, as his sack on Barkley caused a fumble and was recovered by Jacquian Williams, which prevented Philadelphia from scoring. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had been stressing about bringing more pressure over the last few weeks, and on Sunday, the Giants defense delivered.
- Peyton Hillis has continued to be a reliable option out of the backfield for the Giants since being signed almost two weeks ago. On Sunday, Hillis had 20 carries for 70 yards along with three catches for 15 yards, giving him 85 total yards. For the second straight week, Hillis out-gained another top NFL running back in LeSean McCoy, who was held to 48 yards on 15 carries. Last week, Hillis out-rushed NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, who was held to just 28 yards last week by the Giants defense.
- With the win, the Hakeem Nicks trade discussions might have finally ended with the trade deadline looming this week. Nicks was able to haul in seven catches for 51 yards and looked like he was on the same page with Eli Manning on the field, whereas last week against the Vikings, he looked like a rookie playing in his first ever game, especially with the dropped passes. Nicks could have had two more catches for touchdowns if he had a few more yards of end zone to work with; one of which was a nice one-handed grab in the back corner that would have been a SportsCenter highlight reel catch. Nicks needed this game to show everyone that he is still a reliable target for Manning to go to. Now all he needs is a touchdown to go with the receptions and yards.
- DEFENSE! For the second straight game, the defense pitched another shutout and held the Eagles offense without a score; as the Eagles seven points came from a special teams blunder; just like last week. To go along with the second straight shutout on defense, the Giants have not allowed a touchdown in 10 straight quarters, which goes back to their 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears; coincidentally, that game was the first one that Jon Beason started at middle linebacker for the team. Some people are looking at Beason as a big reason why the Giants are playing with a different approach over the last couple of weeks and the results on the field make it very hard to argue against Beason being the reason.
- No touchdowns on offense, which might get overlooked a little considering the Giants won the game, but settling for five field goals will not get it done against the better teams in the league; like when they play the Green Bay Packers in three weeks. If the Giants had even scored on two of the five possessions that lead to field goals, instead of the score being 15-7, the Giants win 23-7 and the score doesn't look as close as it did on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will have to work on the team's red zone offense and calling more efficient plays that can get the Giants offense into the end zone.
- Penalties. If you ever want to see Giants head coach Tom Coughlin make his infamous "rage face," commit a penalty during a crucial time. On Sunday, the Giants, despite winning, had their moments where they were extremely sloppy and very undisciplined; which is very un-Coughlin like. Against the Eagles, the Giants committed 11 penalties for 92 yards; numbers you would see on a losing team, but the Eagles played even worse than the Giants, so the penalties didn't come back to haunt the Giants. But that is a trend the team needs to end going forward if they want to see their winning streak continue.
- Rueben Randle might have been in uniform for the Giants in Philadelphia, but on Sunday, he might as well of dressed up as a ghost for Halloween, because that's exactly what he was, as he did not record a single catch and was only targeted only one time in the 39 pass attempts made on offense. For the last couple of weeks, fans have made the case for the team to trade Hakeem Nicks because Randle could be the guy the team uses to replace Nicks as the number one receiver, but Randle hasn't exactly played like he could be that guy for the Giants and only enforces the notion that the Giants really do need Nicks on the team in the long run.
- Zak DeOssie had a very rare miscue snapping the ball to Steve Weatherford on a fourth-quarter punt, as he shot the snap well over the punter's head, the ball rolled towards the end zone and eventually, landed into the arms of Najee Goode for the Eagles only touchdown. Normally, DeOssie is an extremely good long snapper and makes solid snaps, but on Sunday, he made the rare blunder that gave the Eagles seven points and a little bit of hope in the game. Hopefully, this one gets racked up as just a rare mistake that doesn't happen anytime soon.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Will Hill
With 36 seconds left, the Giants punted the ball back to the Eagles; a punt that thankfully did not end up in the arms of DeSean Jackson and Philadelphia started out on their own 16 yard line. Barkley's first down pass was incomplete to Jackson and then on second down, Barkley's pass that was intended deep down the field for Jackson was picked off by Hill with 11 seconds to go. The interception sealed the Giants second win of the season and allowed Eli Manning to take a knee and run the rest of the clock off; giving the team the 15-7 win. The Giants defense was the key on Sunday and Hill's great play at the end of the game ensured the team got the win.
OVERALL GRADE PERFORMANCE:
In a season that has featured a lot of negatives and quite a bit of losing, the Giants were able to go on the road and knock off an NFC East opponent and pick up their second straight win of the season. Granted, the Eagles have played terrible football over the last couple of weeks, but the Giants took advantage of it, especially on defense. There's an old adage about you can only play the games that are on your schedule and take care of business, and on Sunday, the Giants did just that. Sure, it wasn't pretty, especially on offense. But at the end of the day, all that matters in the NFL is the final outcome; and the Giants were able to walk out of Lincoln Financial Field with a W and some confidence heading into their bye week.
photo credit: philsfam via photobucket
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