If only every quarter was the fourth quarter for Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
During the age of Eli the Giants have become known as fourth-quarter performers, coming from behind to win seemingly with regularity, often in explosive fashion. They did it again Sunday, roaring back from down 27-13 at home to the Buccaneers to a 41-34 victory.
Now, what they've been doing over the first three quarters in some of those games is another story.
After throwing three first-half interceptions Manning ended up 31 for 51 passing Sunday for 510 yards, 243 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter. WR Victor Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards, including an 80-yard catch-and-run score, and Hakeem Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards and another score.
With the win the Giants avoided an 0-2 start to this season, but they didn't escape unscathed. RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Domenik Hixon and OT Dave Diehl all left Sunday's game with injuries and did not return.
New York got an unexpected boost, though, from Andre Brown, No. 3 on the depth chart, who came in for Bradshaw and tallied 90 yards from the line of scrimmage, with a TD and a 2-point run.
On another injury note CB Prince Amukamara, last year's first-round pick, missed Sunday's game with a sore ankle, and his status for this week is uncertain.
The other troubling aspect of Sunday's game was that while the Giants came from behind to win, they were behind by two touchdowns in the first place to a team that, according to NFL odds, N Y Giants they were favored to beat by at least a touchdown.
So after two games, including that season-opening loss to Dallas, New York has basically been outplayed for seven of eight quarters.
New York won the NFC East last year by going 9-7; that same record probably won't get anybody to the playoffs in the NFC this year.
The G-Men now ready for a short week of practice before they hit the road to take on Cam Newton and the 1-1 Carolina Panthers Thursday night (8:20 pm Eastern, NFL Network). Carolina lost its opener to the Bucs in Tampa, but rebounded to beat New Orleans Sunday 35-27.
As of Monday morning the Giants were chalked at -1 for Thursday's game over the Panthers, with the total set at 52.
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