Giants Tough It Out With Win Against Texans
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Less than a quarter away from defeat, the New York Giants engaged their two-minute offense ten minutes early - and came back to beat the Houston Texans 14-10.
Trailing 10-7 with twelve minutes to play, Eli Manning came out and told his huddled offensive mass, "we're gonna go no huddle right here". Manning hustled the Giants 67 yards in 11 plays, culminating with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey. Shockey stepped up for the sidelined Plaxico Burress and led Giants' receivers with 8 catches for 66 yards. Tiki Barber added three catches for 40 yards and rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries including his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Explaining the need for the hurry-up offense, Giants' Head Coach Tom
Coughlin explained the obvious, "We needed a tempo change. We wanted the quarterback in better rhythm than he had been." The "quarterback" (Manning) threw the ball 28 times on the afternoon, but was limited to only 17 completions for 179 yards. In addition, he was sacked on back-to-back plays and threw an interception to end the first half.
After Shockey's touchdown put the Giants ahead, Houston wasted no time in attempting a comeback of their own. Newcomer Dexter Wynn returned Feely's ensuing kickoff 27 yards to the Texans' 30, and Quarterback David Carr again moseyed the Texans down the field. With five minutes left, Carr completed a short pass up the middle to Jameel Cook at the Giants' 38. But Gerris Wilkinson forced Cook to fumble and Corey Webster recovered the loose ball to put the Giants back in control. "That was our opportunity to go down there to score and win and the turnover took that away", Texans Coach Gary Kubiak lamented afterwards. Carr added, "...it was too bad he dropped it".
The Giants turned to Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs to run the final minutes off the clock - and left the Texans' hope for an upset behind. "We need to just put it on the running game's back. When this team has needed me, I've stepped up with those five guys ahead me," Barber stated.
From the start of the game Carr had the Texans on the move. After Wynn's 23-yard opening kickoff return, the Texans galloped deep into Giants' territory, failing to score when Kris Brown's 42-yard field goal attempt sailed "wide left". The Giants took over and moved 68 yards in 7 plays, capped off by Barber's 16-yard "wide left" scamper. The Texans answered back in the 2nd quarter, when Brown kicked a 41-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
During the Texan's drive, Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan hobbled off the field with a foot injury and did not return, adding to the Giant's growing injury list. The Giants seemed poised to regain the lead, but after Shockey's apparent 25-yard touchdown catch was ruled incomplete, the Giants offense moved backwards, forcing them to punt.
The Giants dug themselves into a deeper hole early in the second half. A chip shot Jay Feely field goal attempt turned into a scary Jeff Feagles pass attempt when the ball slipped out of holder Feagles' hands. After an 80-yard drive, Carr scrambled in for a 2-yard touchdown to put the Texans up 10-7. Despite winning ugly, Coughlin defended his team's efforts against the Texans, the officials, and themselves. "I'm proud of them. They won...a very difficult game, and now we're 6-2."
Big Blue Bruises: The severity of Michael Strahan's foot injury will remain a giant question mark. In-game x-rays are expected to be followed up by an MRI early this week. The good news is that Coach Coughlin insisted that "nothing was broken" during his post-game news conference. Starting RT Kareem McKenzie missed the entire game due to a migraine headache that has
bothered him since early yesterday. 15-year veteran Bob Whitfield stepped in to replace him.