The lingering effects of a long week that included the arrest of receiver Plaxico Burress, the suspension of Burress by the Giants for the remainder of the season and the police questioning of Antonio Pierce, might have spilled over to their game vs. the Eagles, but in the end, we’ll never know. One thing we do know is that the Giants came out flat on Sunday and were thoroughly beaten at its own game by the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
On a cold, windy day at the Meadowlands, the Eagles did to the Giants what the Giants normally do to the league: punished them physically. Sticking with their running game, which is something Andy Reid is normally quick to abandon, Westbrook was able to find holes behind his mammoth line all afternoon and late in the 2nd quarter, when the Giants put nine guys into the box, Westbrook was able to sneak through a hole and go untouched for a 30-yard score to put the Eagles up 10-0.
The Giants on the hand, never found their rhythm on this day. The media will question Burress’ loss and what it meant to the offense, but New York had its chances. In the beginning of the 2nd quarter, from their 15-yard line, Manning threw a beautiful pass 50-yards down the field that should have resulted in an 85-yard TD. Only it went right through Domenik Hixon’s hands. It was that kind of day all afternoon.
Then trailing 10-0 right before the break, the Eagles tried a FG attempt which would have put them up 13-0. Instead, DE Justin Tuck broke through the line, blocked the attempt, and it was picked up by CB Kevin Dockery and returned 71-yards for the score. 10-7 at the break.
The Giants felt this might have been the play to ignite their sluggishness but that wouldn’t be the case.
In the ever important 3rd quarter, when the Giants would have the wind with them, they only managed one drive and six total plays because McNabb and Westbrook methodically executed in the running game and short passing game and kept converting 3rd downs to move the chains.
And to cap off the 3rd quarter, after holding the ball for over 12 minutes, on a 3rd and 11 from the 40-yard line, McNabb was able to buy time and locate his 4th read on the play, Brian Westbrook out of the backfield, and he raced away from Antonio Pierce for the 40-yard TD reception.
The Eagles moved to 7-5-1 and kept their slim playoff hopes alive and the Giants, who actually won the NFC East Division a short time later when the Steelers reallied to beat the Cowboys late, moved to 11-2 and still hold a one-game lead for home field advantage throughout.