The New York Giants sought to get back to an even early season record as they took the field on Sunday afternoon in their home opener, and they got it, although it took some of the residual Eli Manning 4th quarter magic that was the engine that drove the team’s Super Bowl machine last season. Manning overcame his own rough start to lead his team to 25 4th quarter points and a 41-34 victory.
On the opposite side of the field was a familiar face: head coach Greg Schiano, who up until last year had spearheaded the turnaround of the Rutgers football program and produced such league stalwarts as Ray Rice, Kenny Britt, former Giant Shaun O’Hara, Anthony Davis, and Jason and Devin McCourty. He is in his first season as the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The first half of the ball game was very much Manning vs. Manning in a matchup that had nothing to do with the two-time Super Bowl MVP’s future Hall of Fame brother, Peyton. Eli threw 3 interceptions in the first half, none of which could be blamed on anybody but himself, and the Buccaneers turned all three of those interceptions into turnovers.
Yet, interspersed between Manning repeatedly shooting himself in the foot, he also managed to lead the offense on 3 scoring drives, including the opening drive of the ball game, which the Giants cashed in for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Questionable to play leading up to the game, the Giants’ top wide receiver Hakeem Nicks led off a big day in an equally big way, taking the first play of the game for 8 yards and following it up on the next play with a 40 yard bomb. He spent the majority of the day battling with Aqib Talib, a quality cornerback in his own right who was made to look pedestrian by the duo of Manning and Nicks.
Talib was able to redeem himself on that opening drive, however, defending a 3rd down pass into the end zone intended for Nicks to force that field goal, which Lawrence Tynes routinely booted. Unfortunately, the Giants’ top cornerback, Corey Webster, was also made to look rather pedestrian for the second straight week.
Webster’s list of excuses for his slow start to the season is short. With the team’s top two cornerbacks behind Webster entering the 2011 season—Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross—off the roster via injured reserve and free agency, respectively, and 2011 first round pick Prince Amukamara sitting out a second straight week while nursing a high ankle sprain, teams should be throwing away from a team’s top cornerback.
Page 2 3 4