It has been a longgggggg offseason, but the real thing starts this Sunday.
The Giants open up their 2021 season against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Giants and Broncos have a long history together, including a Super Bowl matchup that ended with the Giants hosting their first Lombardi trophy. There is one matchup in this history that sticks out due to the many parallels that intersect with the current version of the Giants.
This matchup was from 2005 when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos due to last-second heroics from Eli Manning.
Heading into this matchup, the Giants were 4-1, and the Broncos were 5-1; this made for an early-season heavyweight matchup. The oh-so-loved Tiki Barber would start the game by fumbling, which would set up a Denver field goal. Eli Manning would hit Plaxico Burress for a touchdown in the back of the end zone over All-Pro Cornerback Champ Bailey (although he would get some revenge later). Plaxico would make another acrobatic catch later in the game, which led to a Tiki Barber 4-yard touchdown. The defense didn’t play awful, but they did allow the Broncos to gain a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter.
Despite a missed Denver field goal in the Meadowlands winds, the game looked to be over when Eli Manning threw a highlight-reel interception to Champ Bailey with 4:46 left in the game. The defense had something to say about that, as they stepped up when it mattered most and forced a Denver punt.
This set up one of the many classic game-winning drives in Eli Manning’s career.
Everything you remember about the mid-2000s Giants offense was featured in this game. The aforementioned Tiki Barber fumble and Plaxico Burress acrobatics occurred early in the game, and the rest of the classic Giants offense showed up on this drive. Love him or hate him, Tiki Barber was a monster in 2005, and he showed how key he was on this drive with several catches and rushes to keep the Giants alive. Amani Toomer had two critical catches on the way into Denver territory before Jeremy Shockey made a key third-down catch to get the Giants inside Denver’s 10-yard line.
Following a catch and run by Tiki that got the Giants to the Denver 2, Eli Manning did what Eli Manning does. On third and goal, Eli dropped back and backpedaled for what felt like a century before hitting old reliable Amani Toomer in the end zone with 5 seconds left to win the game.
The 2005 Giants were coming off two subpar seasons, fielding a young quarterback and a had second-year head coach.
Sound familiar? These two teams, although far from the same, did have some significant similarities.
The Giants will take the win any way they can get it, but Daniel Jones could use a signature win as Eli Manning had in this game.
Game 1 is here, ladies and gentlemen – let’s get a W!
Featured Image: David L. Pokress/Newsday