Cards Win, and Eli Manning Pouts; Just Another Night in New York
New York sports fans are a rare breed, but Giants fans particularly tend to take obnoxious to the next level -- as was certainly the case here.
Initially, he seemed to laugh at the fact that the omnipotent New York football Giants (5-2) even had to play against the lowly Arizona Cardinals (4-2) -- as if they competed in completely different sports. By the third quarter, with the Cards up 10 -- in a rare demonstration of humility -- he admitted he was worried.
To officially dub the Cardinals a good team after yesterday's 24-17 road victory might be premature, but from the way this team has played since the bye in week four, the designation may soon be in order.
The game started off fairly uneventful, which was a victory in itself, considering the Giants have a high-caliber offense and were undefeated until last week's loss to New Orleans.
The Giants were the first to strike in the second quarter with a four-yard Brandon Jacobs rushing touchdown.
The Cards responded with a 46-yard drive resulting in a 13-yard Beanie Wells touchdown run.
With the score tied, Giants QB and prolific pouter Eli Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks for a circus-catch 62-yard touchdown.
The pass was not originally intended for Nicks but a fluke tip off the hands of Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie landed the ball in the hands of Nicks as he was cutting across the middle, and he was off to the races.
Shortly thereafter, the pouting began.
If you've ever had the pleasure of watching the Giants on television, you already know that every single time a call goes in favor of the other team, there is a turnover, or a penalty is called against them -- no matter how apparent the call or play may be -- Giants Coach Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning -- almost in harmony -- put on their best who-farted face, followed by 20-30 seconds of looking like toddlers on the verge of tears. The network broadcasting the game is always diligent in making sure to pan back and forth between each infantile reaction -- it's terrific.
Well, Kurt Warner and company were more than successful at achieving those reactions -- as well as playing smart, hard-nosed football the rest of the game.
Baby Manning threw three interceptions, was sacked three times, and hurried for almost the entire second half.
With about four minute to go and the Cards up a touchdown, the Giants seemed poised to score and if nothing else, put the game into overtime.
After a 25-yard pass to Giants tight end Kevin Boss, the touchdown march seemed imminent. However, on the very next play, after a 14-yard run, Ahmad Bradshaw forgot to hang onto the ball. The fumble was recovered by the Cards and the team seemed to be given a rare stay of execution with just under four minutes to play.
Kurt and the offense went on to do a whole lot of nothing. The Cards went four and out and were forced to punt with 2:52 left on the clock.
The Giants took over on their own 9-yard-line, and after some brief confusion at the goal line, where penalties moved the G-men back to the one, Manning completed a 34-yard pass to Steve Smith.
The Giants continued to move the ball, gaining another first down.
Enter Cards safety Antrel Rolle.
With about a minute to go, and the Giants driving fast, Rolle intercepted Manning, putting the nail in the Giants' coffin.
All-in-all, Warner looked good. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 231 yards and was only picked once.
This was a huge win for the Cardinals. The win put the Cards on top in the NFC West, and the remainder of their schedule is relatively easy. The Vikings in week 13 seem to be the toughest billing on the rest of the Cards schedule.
The Cards host the Carolina Panthers next week, and if the NFC champs continue on this course, winning shouldn't be a problem.