TODAY IS THE DAY!!!
Anyone that knows me knows I am a huge NY Giants Fan, and as such, they know I am on pins and needles today. For today, the 30th of December, the Giants MUST defeat the Redskins in order to slip into the playoffs. My fingers are crossed, my prayers been said, and my TV is ready for 3.5 hours of me yelling and screaming at it in either excitement or disappointment. They’ve lost the lead of the NFC East, they’ve lost several starters this season, and they are on the verge of losing all faith in themselves. If they win today, they just might rekindle the magic they showed in the first-half of the season when they were 6-2. GOOD LUCK GUYS!!!
Well, we’re into the first quarter, and the Giants have made one big play and allowed on big play. The first play, Brandon Short nails Ladell Betts in the chest with his helmet, causing him to fumble the ball. 300+ pound Fred Robbins scooped up the ball and ran it back for 67 yards. Unfortunately, our offense could not go the 12 yards needed to make a touchdown, resulting in a 34-yard field goal. The second play was a 48-yard touchdown pass by Antwaan Randle El to Santana Moss. Moss was covered by Sam Madison, but the ball slipped right through his arms and into the hands of Moss, who tip-toes into end zone for the score.
After getting stopped at their 44 yard line and punting it away, the Giants hold the Redskins to a three-and-out. Now it’s time for Eli to step it up and make some completions. And there he goes, two back to back completions, one to Tiki Barber and the other to David Tyree. LET’S GO BOYS!!!
What a way to start off the second quarter . . . a 14-yard pass to Plaxico Burress followed by a 15-yard rush by Tiki Barber for the touchdown! We’re back in the lead: 10 – 7. With the Redskins controlling the ball, the Giants defense has stepped it up once again, forcing Washington to punt again. Unfortunately, the Redskins kill the ball within the 5 yard line. Let’s see if the Offense can do it again.
Coming out of the shadow of the end zone on their third-down, FB Jim Finn wakes one heck of a push to get the first down and giving some space for Eli to work from. Plaxico follows up with another great third-down reception to move the chains. The Giants have not been known for third-down completions in the second-half of the year, so this is a good start for the team. But we won’t have to worry about that on this drive, as Tiki has just ran for 66 yards on two consecutive plays and scores the touchdown. WOOHOO!!! Score is now 17 – 7.
Just a little statistical note: At this point in the game, Antwaan Randle El still has more passing yards and touchdowns (48 yards, 1 TD) than either Eli Manning (47 yards, 0 TDs) or Jason Campbell (41 yards, 0 TDs). Another observation, the announcers on NFL Network cannot seem to get over Tiki, talking about him and his retirement announcement/statistics every other play.
Jason Campbell has been knocked out of the game, causing Mark Brunell to come back on the field under center. He is unable to continue the drive, requiring the Redskins to punt once again. Fortunately for the Redskins, Brunell is a seasoned Quarterback, so they are still in the game. Hopefully the Giants Defense can take advantage of the change-up and cause another turnover. On a “trick” play, Jared Lorenzen comes in at QB on 3rd and 1 and gets in the QB-sneak before the 2:00 minute warning.
Aww . . . off-setting pass interference calls after Plaxico catches the ball for a touchdown? Now, the same play with two people jumping on top of Plaxico and they don’t call the pass interference call? Not a way to end the second quarter. Fortunately Jay Feely comes in to kick a 31-yard field goal to bring the score to 20 -7.
HALFTIME. Score: Giants 20, Redskins 7
Time for a little game statistics.
Jason Campbell: 5/9 passes, 41 yards, 0 TDs
Antwaan Randle El: 1/1 passes, 48 yards, 1 TD
Ladell Betts: 12 attempts, 55 yards, 0 TDs
Jason Campbell: 2 attempts, 15 yards, 0 TDs
Santana Moss: 2 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD
Chris Cooley: 2 catches, 13 yards, 0 TDs
Eli Manning: 8/18 passes, 71 yards, 0 TDs
Tiki Barber: 12 attempts, 137 yards, 2 TDs
Brandon Jacobs: 2 attempts, 7 yards, 0 TDs
Plaxico Burress: 2 catches, 26 yards, 0 TDs
Tiki Barber: 2 catches, 18 yards, 0 TDs
Time to start the second half, and the Giants will begin from their own 15-yard line. After a few standard plays and picking up one first-down, the Giants punt to the Redskins and stop them down at their own 32. Time to see what Jason Campbell can do in his first series since being knocked out in the second quarter.
Well, it looks like he can throw an interception. It was ugly, but it is an interception. The ball hits off of one Giant defender, bounces right into another defender, and then pops up into the air. The ball is brought down by Jason Bell. And after two plays, Eli throws deep to Tim Carter, where he falls down due to a questionable pass interference call (does Carter deserve an Emmy?) for 31 yards. Eli follows up with a TD pass to Tim Carter, putting the Giants ahead 27 – 7.
Starting at their own 31-yard line, Ladell Betts gives them a quick 17 yards by breaking out to the left. Chris Cooley follows up two plays later with a 16-yard reception, moving them to the Giants 29. TJ Duckett breaks one for 14 yards, putting them in position to score, but a face-mask penalty brings them back to the Giants 40. Chris Cooley makes another big catch for 12 yards, making it 3rd down and 9 yards to go. The Giants D breaks the Redskins line, and four defenders get their hands on Campbell, but some how he breaks free and rushes for 15 yards and picks up the first down. It was a great show of strength by Campbell and deserves kudos for that scramble. After being sacked on a following play, Campbell scrambles once again to the right and passes low to Ladell Betts in the end zone for the touchdown. The Redskins are back in the game with the score 27 – 14. Time to see if the Giants can respond.
Starting at their 21, Tiki Barber breaks another one for 33 yards. Unfortunately, there is a holding call, bringing the ball back to the Giants 11-yard line. The following three plays bring the ball back to the 24-yard line after a David Tyree reception, but fall short of the first-down marker to end the third quarter.
The fourth quarter starts off with the Giants punting the ball away, with the Redskins downing it on their 34-yard line with a fair catch. After being penalized 5 yards for a false start by Antwaan Randle El, Campbell airs it out to Antwaan for 24 yards. Another penalty backs the Redskins back 5 yards, followed by a 13-yard reception by Antwaan again and a 17-yard reception to Santana Moss. It’s not looking good folks. The Redskins have just moved the ball up to the Giants 2-yard line. And just like that, TJ Duckett jumps the pile for the touchdown. The score is now 27 -21, with 9 minutes remaining on the clock. Come on Giants, you can do it!!!
Starting at their 25-yard line, Tiki gives them a quick 10 yards and more breathing room. After two lack-luster rushes and facing 3rd and 5, the Redskins draw a penalty giving the Giants an automatic first down. Two plays later and initially being stopped at the line of scrimage, Tiki Barber breaks another rush for 50 yards, sprinting down the field for another touchdown, this time dragging a defender for 5 yards before the end zone. The score is now 34 – 21. WOOHOO!!!
With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Redskins will be starting from their own 32-yard line after a decent kick-off return. The Redskins have scored on their last two drives with some impressive playing by Campbell and Randle El, so let’s see if they still have their fire. After a quick rush by Ladell Betts, Campbell airs a pass to the side line which is caught by Randle El for 16 yards. Santana Moss follows that up with a 10-yard reception along the side line which Coach Coughlin challenges and loses. From the replays shown on the TV, it does look like Moss does control the ball and drag both of his feet before going out of bounds. I don’t think the Redskins liked the challenge since they just engineered a 34-yard screen play to Ladell Betts. Three plays later, Campbell throws a 1-yard pass to Mike Sellers for the touchdown and moves back within 6 points. Score: 34 – 28. Three minutes remaining.
The Giants will be starting at their own 28-yard line . . . and they’ll be punting too. Three-and-out folks. COME ON DEFENSE!!!
Great special teams play, stuffing the Redskins at their own 22 yard line following a 43-yard punt. And after three incomplete passes, the Redskins are going for it on 4th and 10, and the pass is tipped by Gibril Wilson!!! TURN OVER ON DOWNS!!! Great job Defense!!!
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Giants start on the Redskins 22, and start off with a rush by Brandon Jacobs for 2 yards. On second down, Jacobs rushes to the right for 9 yards and is drug down to the ground by a vicious face mask penalty. A bunch of Giants rush in to pull Brandon away from the offender to ensure he doesn’t do anything to draw a flag of his own. If you haven’t been following the team for the season, Brandon plays with a lot of emotion and sometimes draws taunting penalties on himself. The ball is placed on the 5 yard line. The give the ball to Jacobs once again, and he takes it down to the 1-yard line. And with less than a minute to play, the Giants take a knee to end the game. WE WIN!!!
END OF GAME. Score: Giants 34, Redskins 28
Jason Campbell: 21/31 passes, 220 yards, 2 TDs
Antwaan Randle El: 1/1 passes, 48 yards, 1 TD
Ladell Betts: 20 attempts, 92 yards, 0 TDs
Jason Campbell: 3 attempts, 30 yards, 0 TDs
Santana Moss: 6 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD
Antwaan Randle El: 3 catches, 53 yards, 0TDs
Chris Cooley: 6 catches, 52 yards, 1 TDs
Eli Manning: 12/26 passes, 101 yards, 1 TDs
Tiki Barber: 23 attempts, 234 yards, 3 TDs
Brandon Jacobs: 6 attempts, 25 yards, 0 TDs
Plaxico Burress: 2 catches, 26 yards, 0 TDs
Tiki Barber: 3 catches, 24 yards, 0 TDs
Just a few observations – Sinorice Moss (the brother of Santana Moss) had 78 return yards. He was filling in for the injured Chad Morton this game. Tiki averaged 10 yards per carry and set another franchise record with 234 rushing yards in the game. The Giants offense did not turnover the ball for once. Eli was sacked only once, and that was on the first possession of the game. The Giants all but in the playoffs. There is a chance that if the Green Bay Packers win over the Chicago Bears tomorrow that they can by-pass the Giants, but that would require Arizona, Detroit, Miami, Minnesota, and San Francisco all win AND Houston and Tampa Bay lose. The odds of all of those occurring are slim, but as we’ve seen in the league this year, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
Thank you for following along with my first ever live blogging event. I give everyone who has done this in the past a lot of credit. I didn’t realize how hard this actually is. Hope you all have a great and happy New Years!