There are offensive battles, defensive struggles, and even stalemates in the world of professional football. Some games are won by a dominating offense, some by trick plays, some by execution, and some by a spectacular defensive performance. On September 30, 2007, it was definitely the latter.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants were both 1-2 when they met at the Meadowlands for a matchup on Sunday Night Football. The Giants would end up winning the game by the score of 16-3, but it was how they won it that is particularly eye opening. Eli Manning, the Giants quarterback, was not particularly impressive, nor were the running backs for New York. Donovan McNabb’s stats for the Eagles were about the same and they had few offensive highlights too. The Giants scored in the second quarter on an Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress nine yard pass and then added a field goal and a fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Eagles would hit on a 53 yard David Akers field goal in the four quarter to deny the Giants a shutout.
A quick look at the defensive stats for the Giants though might show exactly why Donovan McNabb had the day he did (15 of 31 for 138 yards and no touchdowns). Osi Umenyiora had the game of his life, recording six quarterback sacks. Mathias Kiwanuka added three sacks of his own. Justin Tuck got in on the action too with two sacks. Michael Strahan also added to the total by getting a quarterback sack for himself too. As a team, the New York Giants that day combined to get 12 quarterback sacks on Donovan McNabb, and that is a bigger reason why they won that day than anything the offense did.