Thanks to my new, wonk-tastic work schedule, I’m free in the mornings now, not as free in the evenings. Which means that, at last, I get to use NFL Game Rewind less than 84 hours after the game ends. Woo!

On to the enormous G-men win.

FIRST QUARTER

DAWK.
I’m not sure Bobby April even coaches anymore. The kick coverage was atrocious yesterday, and it started with David Wilson’s game-opening 36-yard return. Wilson had six returns for 217 yards last night. Brandon Boykin has 210 kickoff return yards all year.

Aside from one completion to Victor Cruz while falling down, a forgettable first drive for Mrs. Chicken Fried Steak and Co. 1-for-5 passing. Punt.
Shady gets dropped in the backfield, Vick throws it a million miles an hour to Stanley Havili from about five feet away, Vick dumps it to Celek under pressure. Not Sav Rocca makes his regular season debut. He hammers one, but outkicks his coverage a little bit. Rueben Randle gets an 18-yard return.

Well-known stupid person Martellus Bennett runs roughshod over the secondary on a 3rd-down catch, but it’s negated because Will Beatty is a huge cheater.
<3 u Ron Winter. Missed ya, buddy.

Mrs. Steak dumps it off to Bradshaw on the next play. Punt. Damaris Johnson has no discernable punt return instincts. He fields it inside the 10 with Giants buzzing all around him, dances for 5 seconds, and gains about a millimeter. This cannot keep happening.

Vick barely avoids a safety. Bryce Brown goes nowhere. Then out of nowhere, Vick plays pitch and catch with DeSean, if you played pitch and catch with someone from 40 yards away. Just looked so easy.

Shady’s first good run is negated by a Todd Herremans hold. Herremans had a rough go of it up against Jason “The Anti-Brandon Graham” Pierre-Paul all night. Kenny Phillips leaves the game with some injury.

Eagles nearly convert the long series of downs, aided by a Kiwanuka encroachment penalty, but Celek can’t hang onto the 3rd down catch over the middle, Herremans was flagged for doing somersaults with the ABG anyway, so it wouldn’t have matter.

McBriar boots another nice one, tries his damndest to feign a running into the kicker penalty, fails. Brandon Hughes makes a nice tackle on coverage, backing up Mrs. Steak and the offense.

DRC gives the Giants a 1st down on 3rd down with illegal contact for bumping and running with Randle too much, I guess.

Eagles give up another first down before stiffening up (giggity). Cullen Jenkins makes a nice play in the backfield on Bradshaw and Nate Allen nearly comes up with a deep interception in the process. Damaris finally lets a punt inside the 10 bounce into the end zone, but only because it literally landed on the one yard line.

Reid challenges an incompletion ruling and wins. WHAT NOW, SCAB REFS.
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See...'cause he's fat, and probably eats a lot, and...
Say what you will about Vick’s decision making, but he is absolutely dead to rights on this play and turns it into a three-yard gain rolling to his left. As every analyst ever would say here, “You just can’t coach that. YOU CAN’T.” 
A few plays later, he rifles it between two Giants for a completion to Celek. Man.

Bryce Brown ends the quarter doing what he normally does: gaining no yards.
SECOND QUARTER

Vick gets off a desperation heave on 3rd down that lands just out of DeSean’s reach. Can’t tell if it was as close as it was because Vick put it there or sheer chance. Punt.

Domenik Hixon had a damn good game for the ugliest man ever from Germany. He would’ve had a great catch deep after getting between Asomugha and Coleman, if not for Eli overthrowing him. Oh, and a holding penalty.

Eli continues to look bad, but gets bailed out on 3rd down with an illegal use of hands call on…somebody. Three plays later, Brandon Hughes slaps a pass away from Hixon about 20 yards downfield. He’s in because Nnamdi got poked in the eye and is TOTALLY at the hospital right now.

Damaris lets another one go inside the 20…and it goes into the end zone again. “Wow! This is way better than calling for a fair catch or getting my ass handed to me at the 8-yard line!"

Still no room for McCoy anywhere. Vick gets nine of the 12 yards he needs on a designed draw. Puuuuuuuunt. What a great game. PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Show me some PUNTING X-O.
PUNTING X-O.

Another three and out follows. HE’S NOT A PUNTER, HE’S A WEAPON.

Collinsworth starts talking about Tom Brady being driven crazy by paddles. Umenyiora jumps offsides, beginning Collinsworth’s night-long chastisement of the only Giants defensive end never to be on a Subway commercial.

Vick throws to no one in particular before hitting Damaris and McCoy for two straight first downs and scrambling for a third on the next 3rd down. On the next play, McCoy bounces a run outside for two yards and Collinsworth rips Umenyiora a new one for not setting the edge. Yep.

Two plays later, the line picks up a blitz, Vick steps up and finds Jackson in the back corner of the endzone without a single Giant within 10 feet of him. First TD of the year for DJax.
Welcome to 2012. 7-0.

David Wilson’s next hundred-mile return is negated by holding. Phew.

I don’t picture Eli Manning as the kind of guy who does many things furiously (clean out his ears? Build balsa wood airplanes? Weed his petunia garden?), but he leads a relatively furious (let’s call it “mildly enthused”) end-of-half drive, aided by a ridiculous catch by Hixon that gets back almost all the yards they gave up on the kick return with the hold.
No defending that.

Eagles hold the Blues to a field goal, though. Might’ve forced them away with a goose egg if Brandon Hughes could’ve held onto this pick in the end zone on the last play before the field goal.
Of course, maybe he could’ve held onto the pick if Hixon wasn’t hugging him like a teddy bear.
7-3 going into halftime.

THIRD QUARTER

I can’t remember the last time a Brandon Boykin kick return gave us field position beyond the 25-yard line.

McCoy gets going with a couple big runs, at long last, the second one bringing the Eagles to the one-yard line. First and goal. One yard to go. 36 inches to go. The length of about three footballs to go, and three chances to do it.

Three running plays, no progress. Fieeeeeld goal. 10-3. Every Eagles fan now expects the next running play to come sometime around Hannukah.

Another great return by Wilson, more terrible kick coverage. Giants start pounding the rock up the middle. Collinsworth mentions something about how Kurt Coleman likes sniffing around the box and cheating on the run OMG FORESHADOWING.

Hixon with another nice back shoulder catch. No stopping that.

A few plays later, Cruz scores. Salsa music on NBC. 10-10. Ugh. 
Collinsworth does a nice job breaking the play down. Basically, Eli did exactly what the Eagles wanted him to do: think that he has an open quick slant to Cruz (with Boykin playing off him to the outside), only to have DeMeco Ryans jump in from his zone for the pick. Everything happens according to plan, but Ryans, who had a quiet night as it was, simply doesn’t get in place quickly enough.

Vick gets all week to throw the ball on the first play of the drive, so naturally he throws it off the ass of one of the five Giants surrounding DeSean.

Vick hits Celek, Shady gets tripped up, Vick scrambles for a first down. Matriculatin’ down the field. DeSean holds onto a tough pass where Corey Webster smacks him as soon as he gets the ball.

After Maclin gets popped by the Prince on third down for an incompletion, the only remaining member of the Flying Hen(e)ry Brothers boots a 48 yard field goal. 13-10.

Terrible coverage again on the kickoff. A minute later, NBC reveals that Asomugha actually never went to the hospital, like everyone (including NBC) reported a half hour ago. HE WAS NEVER HERE, TREBEK.
Al Michaels: “They have a jail in the stadium here, but not a hospital.” Go to hell, Al Michaels.

Eagles stop the Giants on 3rd down, but on 4th and 1, Kevin Gillbride whips out his titanic pair of buffalo chicken bites and goes for it in the shotgun, aka “The Mornhireid Special.” Cruz natural picks up 30 yards and a first down to end the third quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER

On the very first play Eli serves up the most inexplicable interception ever in the end zone.
No one open. No one close to being open.

Not to be outdone, DRC runs all the way across the end zone and inexplicably runs out it out anyway. He runs it back to the eight. 12 free yards go right down the ol' toilet.


Antrel Rolle trips blitzing on the next possession. Loser. Workhouse Stan Havili gets some carries. Shady starts breaking things open. Vick starts feeling pressure. Cylinders = firing. The drive eventually stalls, but Vick takes one of the smartest sacks of the year where, instead of chucking the ball into coverage rolling to his right (like he’s done at least twice this year), he simply goes down.

Henery for your fantasy team. 16-10.

Eagles finally keep the Giants inside the 20 on the kickoff, primarily because Wilson decided to run it out from the Schuylkill River.

Payback for the Chicken Steak Lady, who roasts Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen on consecutive plays with play action. Coleman over-bit so hard he needs braces. I’ll be here all week.

Two plays later, Bear Pascoe gets left wide open over the middle as Ryans gets all jammed up by the bunch formation. In Ryans’ defense, he’s far from the first person to forget about Bear Pascoe.
17-16. Game switches over to TNT: they know drama. Try the veal.

Boykin does more dumb stuff on the kick return. Jackson and McCoy gash the G-men on the first two plays. Maclin finally catches a ball. Vick scrambles for a first down. Celek catches one for eight.

Inside the 10, they sputter, but another strategic sack taken by Vick forces The Great Purple One to burn his last timeout. Henery, with new, apparently-not-very-good-holder Mat McBriar, comes in for a 26-yarder.
If it were a 27-yarder, it probably doesn’t go in. 19-17.

Wilson gets his usual 40 yards on the return. Giants at the 35.

Salsa Fingers falls down during his route on first down – incomplete. Manning drops the snap on second down and heaves it away – incomplete. A completion to Salsa gives the Giants 4th and 1 for the game.

Manning challenges DRC. Something called a Ramses Barden grabs DRC’s facemask. DRC gets his arms around Barden. Penalty……..DRC. Interference. Huge gain. New York now at the Eagle 35 with a minute to go.


After a DRC deflection and a Barden drop, Manning goes to Barden short. Asmougha and Coleman converge. Incomplete…but PI again, this time on Nnamdi. Absolute shenanigans.

Two plays later, from the 26, Manning goes for broke, bombing it to Barden, who apparently became the only open guy on the last drive. Barden and DRC go down. Flags abound.
No way these asshole refs, in their first week back, give the Giants three pass interference gifts on the last drive of a divisional game. Those sons of bit – 
RON WINTERS YOU GLORIOUS LOVABLE BASTARD.

No one had better dare compare this to the Jacoby Jones offensive PI that negated a touchdown in the Ravens game. Not even close. Barden threw DRC to the ground. The Giants’ entire two-minute drill consisted entirely of lofting it to Barden and hoping for penalties, and it nearly worked.

Eli overthrows Hixon on the next play, and with 15 seconds left, Coughlin sends Tynes in for a 54-yard attempt.
Wide left. Game over. And then, the worst possible thing imaginable is made a reality: Andy called timeout. Andy “froze” the kicker.
Any realistic Eagles fans turns the game off at this point. Absolutely no chance Tynes doesn’t make the next kick. Sure enough, his next crack is right down the pipe...
…but about five feet short.

Heart attack averted. Ballgame. 3-1. First place.

Zero turnovers for Vick and the offense. Vick was far from perfect, but a turnover-less game is fantastic at this point. Mornhireid kept plugging away with Shady, and it worked. The defense looked strong again, save for a couple blown coverages by the safeties and Ryans. (a rarity, at least for the latter).

Aside from the inexcusably poor special teams, this was how a game between the defending champions and the prospective challengers should look. And by hook or by crook, the Birds took it home. Have fun driving back up the armpit of America, fellas.

Steelers in Pittsburgh next week. I’ll be in the city, but not at the stadium. Wish me luck.
 


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