Manning, Cruz Know 1 Play Can Boost G-Men
Excerpt: "In the Giants’ darkest moment one year ago, their backs weren’t just against the wall, they were against their own end zone, too. It was third-and-10 from their own 1 and they were a 7-7 team staring at elimination and trailing the Jets 7-3 with halftime just 2˝ minutes away.
Eli Manning dropped into a shotgun formation, took the snap, and his nondescript pass to Victor Cruz barely reached the first down marker. Two Jets defenders were right there to make the tackle.
Then, in a flash, Cruz was gone, and the Giants’ Super Bowl run was underway.
One year after that spectacular, 99-yard touchdown — one of the biggest plays in Giants history — the situation seems just as dire for the now-defending Super Bowl champions, as they head into Baltimore knowing a loss to the Ravens on Sunday afternoon could end their repeat dreams. The Giants (8-6) were as flat as can be in an embarrassing 34-0 loss in Atlanta last Sunday that dropped them into third place in the NFC East, and they are desperately searching for something, anything to ignite another title run.
What they need is another early Christmas miracle, another bolt of lightning to give them a spark.
But they’ve been waiting for that for weeks, and it never seems to come.
“I think so,” Cruz admits. “I think we’ve just been waiting to put it all together. We understand that the talent is there and the opportunities have been there and they’re still there in front of us. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of it.
“We’re one play away from all of us being on the same page and getting that fire lit under us and making another push towards the playoffs.”
It was more than one play, of course, that sent the Giants on their remarkable 6-0 finish last season. Manning spent the winter playing like the “elite” quarterback he said he was and the Giants’ pass rush was as good as it was back in 2007. Players up and down the roster were playing at a level that the 2012 Giants have only reached occasionally in the last few weeks.
That wasn’t the case, though, before Cruz stepped through the weak tackling attempts of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson and outraced everyone else down the sideline, setting off the Salsa heard ’round the region. By this time last year, the Giants had already ruined a 6-2 start — as they always seem to do — by winning just one of their six second-half games. Six days earlier, they had lost an embarrassingly bad game at home to the Redskins, 23-10." Read more...