The Giants finally clip the wings of the Eagles
JAIME C. HARRIS Special to the AmNews | 9/30/2011, 1:13 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA-The Giants' unlikely 29-16 win in Philadelphia over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field was a testament to resilience, opportunity and perseverance.
Resilience manifested as the Giants came into Philadelphia having multiple starters on both sides of the ball sidelined with injuries. And they were carrying a six-game losing streak against their longtime NFC East rivals, dubbed the "Dream Team" by backup quarterback Vince Young during the preseason.
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said, standing outside the visitor's locker room following his team's victory, "Now we are in reality."
The Giants are tied for the division lead at 2-1 with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins heading into this Sunday's meeting (4 p.m.) with the 1-2 Arizona Cardinals on the road.
Meanwhile, the Eagles, laboring to finely meld the abundance of new talent acquired last summer via free agency and the trade of second-string quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals, are 1-2 and at the bottom of the division. They host the 2-1 San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Opportunity materialized for wide receiver Victor Cruz when starter Dominek Hixon tore the ACL in his right knee for the second consecutive season against the St. Louis Rams nearly two weeks ago. The 24-year-old Cruz, raised in Paterson, N.J., appeared in only three games last season as an undrafted rookie from the University of Massachusetts and did not catch a single pass.
This past preseason, the Giants' coaching staff gave Cruz a favorable opportunity to seize the starting position, but he fell short of separating himself from the other candidates. The veteran Hixon emerged as head coach Tom Coughlin's choice.
With Hixon out for the season, the Giants called on Cruz in Philadelphia, and he responded with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
"I never stopped believing I could make a strong contribution to the team," said Cruz, standing at his locker, smiling at the remembrance of a breakout game. "It's unfortunate what happened to [Hixon]. We have a lot of injuries, so other guys have to make up for them."
The perseverance the Giants showed was embodied by cornerback Aaron Ross. After being benched against the Rams after an unsatisfactory performance, Ross had two key interceptions against the Eagles.
"I'd be lying if I said this doesn't feel good," admitted Ross. "It definitely does."