Monday, October 1, 2012

Giants fall to Eagles, 19-17

PHILADELPHIA – The Giants finished September as they began it, with a loss to an NFC East rival.
In a typically tight game in this eight-decade rivalry, the Eagles defeated the Giants, 19-17, Sunday night in Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants fell to 2-2, with both losses in the division – to Dallas on opening night and Philadelphia. This is their first 0-2 start in the NFC East since 1996.
Philadelphia improved to 3-1.
The Giants scored on Eli Manning’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, 6-yard touchdown pass to Bear Pascoe, and Lawrence Tynes’ 25-yard field goal.
Philadelphia countered with Michael Vick’s 19-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson and Alex Henery’s field goals of 20, 48, 35 and 26 yards.
The game turned away from the Giants on a crucial sequence spanning the third and fourth quarters.
Trailing, 13-10, the Giants appeared poised to take the lead or tie the game after the final play of the third quarter, when, on fourth-and-one, Cruz caught Manning’s short pass and turned it into a 30-yard gain to the Eagles 10-yard line. Cruz eluded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the play.
But the cornerback enjoyed some payback on the next snap, when he intercepted Manning’s pass into the end zone for right end Martellus Bennett, who was also covered by safety Nate Allen. Instead of taking a touchback, Rodgers-Cromartie returned the ball to the 14-yard line.
A 23-yards reception by Jason Avant helped Philadelphia advance all the way to the Giants’ 13-yard line. But on third down, Chase Blackburn sacked Vick for a four-yard loss. Henery came on to kick his third field goal, increasing the Eagles’ lead to 16-10 with 9:25 remaining.
Henery’s second field goal, a 48-yarder, regained the lead for Philadelphia at 13-10 with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles’ eight-play, 50-yard drive included a 27-yard pass to tight end Brent Celek and Vick’s 18-yard scramble up the left side.
Cruz’s touchdown tied the score at 10-10 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. On third-and-three, Cruz lined up in the right slot, slipped past rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin, caught Manning’s pass at the eight and stepped into the end zone.
The Giants drove 57 yards in eight plays, including a 13-yard pass to Domenik Hixon and three Ahmad Bradshaw runs totaling 18 yards.
Henery’s 20-yard field goal on the first series of the second half increased the Eagles’ lead to 10-3. But it was still a triumph for the Giants defense, which stopped LeSean McCoy after Philadelphia had a first-and-goal at the one. Rocky Bernard and Blackburn tackled McCoy for no gain on the first two snaps before the Eagles back ran wide to the left and fumbled the ball out-of-bounds at the two.
Just prior to that sequence, McCoy had ripped off consecutive runs of 34 and 22 yards to bring the ball to the one.
Philadelphia led, 7-3, at the end of a first half in which the teams combined for only 45 rushing yards – 26 by the Giants, who scored their first points on the board with five seconds remaining in the first half, when Tynes kicked a 25-yard field goal.
After the Eagles scored the game’s initial points, the Giants drove 81 yards in 9 plays before Tynes’ three-pointer. The visitors started at a disadvantage – and their own 13-yard line – after Spencer Paysinger’s holding penalty nullified David Wilson’s 48-yard kickoff return.
The series began with a spectacular catch by Hixon for a 32-yard gain. Hixon started for Hakeem Nicks, who was inactive with foot and knee injuries. Hixon added receptions of seven and 10 yards on the next two plays to give the Giants a first down at the Philadelphia 38-yard line.
From there, it was Victor Cruz’s turn to catch three passes in a row for a total of 30 yards. The Giants called their final timeout with 19 seconds remaining and the Giants facing a second-and-five from the eight. A pass to Bennett gained two yards and took six seconds. Eli Manning then threw incomplete in the end zone for Hixon, forcing Tynes to come on to kick the field goal.
The Eagles had taken a 7-0 lead on Vick’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Jackson with 1:47 left in the half.
On third-and-nine, Jackson eluded cornerback Corey Webster and safety Antrel Rolle and caught the pass in the back of the end zone. The score capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive that included an offside penalty on Osi Umenyiora that gave Philadelphia a first down, Vick’s four-yard scramble for another first down and a 17-yard pass to Damaris Johnson.

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