Giants Game Notes
By Michael Eisen
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Notes, anecdotes and statistics from the Giants’ 23-17 victory over the Washington Redskins:
*The Giants defeated the Redskins in their opening game for the second year in a row. The last time they defeated the same team in consecutive season openers the opponent was also Washington, in 1988 and ‘89. This is the first time the Giants opened the season against the same opponent since 1991-92, when they hosted the San Francisco 49ers in consecutive seasons. They won the first, 16-14, but lost in ’92, 31-14.
*The Giants are 48-32-5 in season-opening games. The 48 victories are the third-highest opening day total in NFL history, behind only Chicago (50) and Green Bay (49). The Packers and Bears faced each other Sunday night in Green Bay.
*The Giants are 7-3 in season-opening games vs. Washington, including 5-1 at home.
*The Giants have back-to-back opening day victories for the first time since 1999-2000, when they defeated Tampa Bay and Arizona.
*The Giants have won three in a row and six of their last seven games against Washington.
*This was the first game in the 34th and final season of Giants Stadium. The Giants are 19-15 in Giants Stadium openers and 14-8 in season-opening games in Giants Stadium. They are 152-113 overall in the stadium, including 41-26 in September.
*Tom Coughlin is 9-5 in season openers, including 3-3 with the Giants.
*Eli Manning’s second-quarter touchdown pass to Mario Manningham was the 99th of his career and his 53rd in Giants Stadium.
*It was Manningham’s first career score. Manningham made his first career start and had career-high totals of three catches for 58 yards.
*Steve Smith led the Giants with six catches for 80 yards.
*Osi Umenyiora returned to action in a big way after missing all of last season with a knee injury. On one play in the second quarter, he hit the superfecta – sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.
On second-and-eight from the Giants’ 42-yard line, Umenyiora sacked Jason Campbell for an 11-yard loss. He forced Campbell to cough up the ball, which Umenyiora scooped up and returned 37 yards for a touchdown.
It was Umenyiora’s third career touchdown, and all of them have been on returns after fumble recoveries. He brought one back 50 yards at Baltimore on Dec. 12, 2004 and 75 yards vs. San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2007.
*Washington scored its first touchdown on Hunter Smith’s eight-yard run on a fake field goal. It was the first time an opposing team executed a fake field goal against the Giants since Sept. 7, 2003 – also a season-opening game in Giants Stadium – when Dane Looker of the Rams threw an 11-yard pass to Brandon Manumaleuna.
The last time an opponent scored on a fake field goal was almost exactly 13 years ago – Sept. 15, 1996. The opponents were the Redskins. And like Sunday, it was late in the second quarter. Gus Frerotte threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Scott Galbraith.
*Chase Blackburn started at weakside linebacker, where he started nine of the last 10 games (including the divisional playoff game) last season. He had five tackles (three solo), including half of an 11-yard sack of Campbell.
*Justin Tuck had 1.5 sacks, two tackles for losses, three quarterback hits and a pass defensed. The Giants have won their last nine games in which Tuck has at least one sack.
*Rookies Hakeem Nicks, William Beaty, Travis Beckum and Bruce Johnson made their NFL debuts. Nicks, the Giants’ first-round draft choice, returned a kickoff 16 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards before leaving with a foot injury.
Johnson, the only rookie free agent on the roster, had three solo tackles and a forced fumble and drew praise from Coughlin in the coach’s postgame news conference.
*Veteran defensive linemen Chris Canty (two solo tackles, including one for a loss) and Rocky Bernard (one tackle) made their Giants debuts.
*Running back Danny Ware dislocated his elbow on the opening kickoff and did not return.
*Prior to the game, the Giants paid tribute to Brad Van Pelt, the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker who died in February at age 57. The Van Pelt family served as honorary captains for the coin toss.
*Shaun O’Hara and Justin Tuck joined captains Manning, Antonio Pierce and Jeff Feagles for the coin toss.
*The Giants inactive players were cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Kevin Dockery, wide receiver Ramses Barden, offensive linemen Adam Koets, Tutan Reyes and Guy Whimper, defensive lineman Leger Douzable and linebacker Clint Sintim.
*Lt. Colonel Greg Gadson, who provided so much inspiration during the 2007 championship season, watched the game from the Giants sideline.
*Sixty-seven former Giants were introduced at halftime as part of the organization’s alumni weekend. The group included Hall of Famers Frank Gifford and Harry Carson.
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Name: Avis Roper
Organization: New York Giants
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