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(Sunday, October 2nd)
Final Score: NY Giants 31, Arizona 27
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Hakeem Nicks' touchdown catch capped a three- score fourth quarter, boosting the New York Giants to a 31-27 comeback victory over the Cardinals.
Nicks caught 10 balls for 162 yards, while Eli Manning completed 27-of-40 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns for the Giants (3-1), winners of three in a row.
Beanie Wells carried the ball 27 times for career highs of 138 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona (1-3), which has lost its last three games.
Kevin Kolb went 20-for-34 through the air for 237 yards and Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 102 yards in the loss.
Holding a 27-24 lead with a little over three minutes left in the game, Arizona was held to a three-and-out and had to punt. Dave Zastudil's low, line-drive kick was fielded by Aaron Ross and returned to the Cardinals' 48.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Victor Cruz caught a pass and fell to the ground after avoiding a tackle. Before he was touched by a defender, Cruz got up and left the ball sitting on the ground. Arizona recovered, but after a review it was ruled by the officials that Cruz had given himself up and was therefore down.
New York kept the ball and Manning hit Nicks for a 29-yard touchdown pass on the next play to give the Giants a 31-27 lead.
Arizona took over with 2:39 left and drove into Giants territory on a nine- yard completion to Todd Heap, an eight-yard run by Wells, a 21-yard catch by Early Doucet and another nine-yard reception by Heap. But on a 2nd-and-1, Kolb was sacked for a 10-yard loss by Osi Umenyiora.
After a catch by Heap set up a 4th-and-2, Arizona opted to run a quick play instead of calling its final timeout. Kolb stepped back and tried to hit Fitzgerald on a quick slant, but Giants cornerback Corey Webster got a hand on the ball and slapped it to the ground to seal the win for the Giants.
"For a long time it was an absolute struggle," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "We just kept playing. We hung in there and we found a way to finish."
An Ahmad Bradshaw fumble inside his own 20-yard line on the Giants' first possession of the game set up a 27-yard Jay Feely field goal, giving the Cardinals an early 3-0 lead.
Arizona then forced a three-and-out from New York and drove into the Giants' red zone, but Umenyiora forced a fumble by Kolb on a sack, and New York recovered to keep it a three-point game.
The Giants were forced to punt again, and the Cardinals took over at their own 12 with a little over two minutes left in the first.
After Kolb hit Doucet for a first down early in the second quarter, a roughing the passer penalty put Arizona at the Giants' 30-yard line. Faced with a 4th- and-1 at the 21, Kolb found Fitzgerald on a quick slant for a first down. The Cardinals did not manage to get another first down, however, and had to settle for another Feely 27-yard field goal.
New York answered with a 10-play, 69-yard drive the resulted in Bradshaw's 13- yard touchdown run to put the Giants on top, 7-6. Manning went 4-for-5 on the drive for 47 yards before Bradshaw scampered off the right side of the line for the score.
The Giants then took over with :29 left in the half after the Cardinals failed to run out the clock. Nicks' 22-yard catch and a 15-yard face mask penalty on a Cruz 26-yard reception allowed Lawrence Tynes to kick a 30-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half and give New York a 10-6 lead.
Arizona took the ball first in the second half, and early in the possession Fitzgerald snatched the ball out of the hands of a defender on a pass down the center of the field. Giants safety Deon Grant jumped up and grabbed the ball first, but Fitzgerald reached in and took possession before the players hit the ground, completing the 47-yard catch at the Giants' 11. Four plays later, Wells rumbled in for a one-yard touchdown to put Arizona back ahead.
The teams traded punts before New York took over at its own 20. On the first play of the drive, Cardinals defensive tackle David Carter broke through the middle of the line and knocked the ball out of Manning's hands. Arizona recovered the ball at the five-yard line and Wells broke into the end zone for a one-yard score to make it a 20-10 game.
On the Giants' ensuing drive, Kerry Rhodes' pass interference penalty on third down kept the ball in New York's hands. Manning then led the Giants down the field, hitting Cruz and Mario Manningham for double-digit gains before Jacobs' one-yard TD run with 12:07 left in the game brought New York within three.
New York safety Antrel Rolle, a first-round draft pick by Arizona in 2005, picked off Kolb at the Giants' 42. But the Cardinals' defense held and New York was forced to punt.
After a Fitzgerald 16-yard catch, Wells broke down the left sideline for a 39- yard gain. An Alfonso Smith 12-yard rush placed the ball at the Giants' two, and Wells finished the drive again with a two-yard score.
New York did not go away quietly, though, as Manning connected on passes of 9, 21, 20 and 26 yards before finding Jake Ballard in the back of the end zone to make it a 27-24 contest with 3:37 left in the game.
"They're a good football team. They made some plays at the end of the game. You'd like to see us make those plays and that's what we've got to work to do," said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Carter's sack was the first of his career...Jacobs has now rushed for a score in three straight games against the Cardinals...Manning is 2-0 in his career in Arizona...Kolb snapped a streak of three straight starts with more than 250 yards passing...Fitzgerald recorded his 28th career 100-yard receiving game, setting a franchise record.
10/02 21:48:16 ET
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