Giants get redemption

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:27 PM ET

The New York Giants came to Philadelphia looking for redemption.

They got it big-time, beating the Eagles for the first time since 2008.

All off-season they had to listen to Eagles' fans twitter about their club's improbable 38-31 comeback victory last year.

But Sunday, there would be no way back for the Eagles, who lost the game 29-16. The question now is will the self-styled dream team be able to find a way back from losing quarterback Michael Vick for a second consecutive game.

This time, he left after the third quarter with a broken right hand. He also got whacked upside his concussed head a couple of times. Backup Mike Kafka didn't exactly instil a lot of confidence. And, as a Super Bowl favourite the Eagles are showing some decidedly unfavourable tendencies. With the talent the Eagles can throw on the field, the Giants needed them to make mistakes to have a chance.

And New York got them in bunches. The Eagles have more than quarterback problems. The Giants completely shut down their supposedly vaunted passing game. DeSean Jackson was a nonentity with just two catches. The Philly offensive line had another rough outing.

Aside from their protection issues, it was their inability to convert on short yardage that proved deadly.

The penchant for self-destruction led to three turnovers, leading to 15 New York points.

If the Eagles were the opportunists last season, it was the Giants turn on Sunday. While the New York secondary has been vulnerable, Aaron Ross had his own redemption day with two interceptions. Jason Pierre Paul led a defence with nine tackles and two sacks on Vick, including the one the might've resulted in his broken hand when Vick tried to break a fall with his non-throwing hand.

The Eagles looked momentarily like they had another comeback win in them when they wiped out a 14-0 first-quarter New York lead. But, they simply made too many mistakes.

It began when Ross intercepted a Vick pass inside his own 10 on the Eagles' first possession. The Eagles complicated that mistake when they let Brandon Jacobs circle out of the backfield and catch a 40-yard TD pass when Casey Matthews lost track of him on the sideline.

Vick got sacked.

N.Y. scored again, an innocent pass to Victor Cruz at the near sideline, but Kurt Coleman went for the high tackle. Cruz slipped it, broke away a second time, and escaped down the sideline for 74-yard TD.

For the Eagles, it was just that kind of day.

Sloppy tackling. And, a comeback that short-circuited. LeSean McCoy scored a second-quarter touchdown, but it was the only one the offence got.

Philly is supposed to be an explosive club, but Sunday it was New York that used a big-play offence, averaging 10.1 yards per pass.

When the Eagles kicked a field goal to take a 16-14 lead with 59 seconds left in the third quarter, it actually foretold their doom. The Eagles had been stopped twice from inside the one, leaving coach Andy Reid shaking his head and Vick walking to the dressing room.

Shortly after, instead of going for field possession and pinning the Giants deep, the Eagles went for it on fourth-and-a-yard just inside New York territory. Michael Boley, who'd been in a war of words defending the club's defensive co-ordinator all week, ripped across the line of scrimmage to tackle McCoy.

When Cruz leapt between two defenders at 8:07 for his second TD, New York led 20-16.

And the Eagles' crumbled.

A penalty gave New York a second chance at a two-point conversion. Jacobs, who the Eagles never did find an answer for, ran it in.

In last year's comeback, the Eagles scored 28 unanswered points in just over eight minutes to wipe out a 31-10 Giants' lead. When Ahmad Bradshaw caught an 18-yard TD pass with 3:32 to play it was all over. Oh, and it was set up when Kafka threw an interception into Ross' hands.

As dream teams go, this one has so far turned into a nightmare of mistakes, fundamental flaws, questionable coaching decisions and now, a quarterback who can't look up without getting steam-rolled by boxcars disguised as defensive linemen.

Maybe there is another comeback in these Eagles. Maybe they do yet show up Super Bowl Sunday. But this was not a game that would suggest such a thing is probable.

PAST MEETINGS

It's a rivalry that lately, to be honest hadn't been so much a rivalry as a sure thing. For the Eagles.

They have dominated the Giants, winning their last six meetings, including playoffs. Last year, they beat the Giants 38-31 in an unlikely comeback sparked by DeSean Jackson's punt return.

Dec. 19, 2010 - Eagles 38, Giants 31

Nov. 21, 2010 - Eagles 27, Giants 17

Dec. 13, 2009 - Eagles 45, Giants 38

Nov. 1, 2009 - Eagles 40, Giants 17

Jan. 11, 2009 (playoffs) - Eagles 23, Giants 11

Dec. 7, 2008 - Eagles 20, Giants 14


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