This, really, was the game the New York Giants pointed toward from the day the 2011 NFL schedule was announced. Week 3 on the road against their NFC East nemesis, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The fact that the Giants defeated the heavily-favored Eagles, who most analysts assumed would win the division title in 2011, was the first inkling that maybe the 2011 season would be different than the three seasons before it that had all ended in disappointment for New York. After six straight losses to Philadelphia, some of them incredibly painful to re-live, the Giants went into Philadelphia and exorcised their demons. They also broke Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's hand and poked holes in the theory that Philadelphia had built a secondary that could not be passed upon.
The Giants jumped to a 14-0 lead, Eli Manning ended up with 254 yards passing and four touchdown passes. Victor Cruz announced his arrival with a 74-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown during which he made Eagles defenders Kurt Coleman and Nnamdi Asomugha miss. Cruz ended the game with three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles led this game after three quarters, 16-14. The Giants, though, started a season-long trend of dominating the fourth quarter by scoring the game's final 15 points.
The Giants were jubilant after the game: "We definitely shut 'em up," said Brandon Jacobs. Well, not exactly. It did, however, leave the Eagles stunned.
Here was my reaction immediately following the game:
"The Giants are depleted by injuries, for sure. This victory, though, should prove to everyone that there is still plenty left for the Giants to be a very good, very dangerous team. When they play mistake-free football they are still a team that can compete with anyone."
The victory put the Giants at 2-1 on the season.