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NFL Sunday notes: Eli brings the Giants back

Mannings' comeback win plus the rest of my Week 2 notes. Matt Bowen

Print This September 17, 2012, 12:05 AM EST

Let’s run through my game notes from the Week 2 Sunday schedule in the NFL: some Xs and Os, game plans, personnel, big plays, etc. Here’s what I saw—starting with Eli Manning and the Giants.

Eli Manning US PRESSWIREManning and the Giants scored 25 fourth quarter points to come back and beat the Bucs.

The Giants scored 25 points in the 4th quarter to come back and beat the Bucs 41-34. Eli Manning made some poor decisions early with the football, but he finishes with 500-plus yards passing. Victor Cruz (11-179-1 TD) made plays from the slot and Hakeem Nicks (10-199-1 TD) put up numbers. Look at the deep ball to Cruz in the 4th vs. the Bucs’ pressure scheme or the TD Manning threw to TE Matrellus Bennett on the “Switch” route  (No.1 on the Dig, No.2 on the Wheel). Bottom line here: Eli made big throws to bring this team back—just like we saw in the 2011 season.

Breaking down the 49ers win over the Lions, we can talk about the San Fran run game with Frank Gore, Justin Smith, a physical Niners’ secondary, Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree. But I have to start with QB Alex Smith. He protected the football, made big throws on third down in the second half and looks confident in Harbaugh’s offense. I said the 49ers were the most physical team in the NFL last week and I have no problem saying it again, but let’s start to give some credit here to the QB.

I’m looking at this Eagles’ defense in the 24-23 win over Baltimore. They limited QB Joe Flacco in the second half and when they needed a big stop in that 2-miniute situation we saw press-coverage. No disguise, no window dressing. Get hands on the WRs at the line, allow the defensive front to rush and take away the inside seams the Ravens’ QB wanted to throw in Philly’s 24-23 win.

After the Cardinals 20-18 win over the Patriots, I’m really interested in watching the “All-22” coaches film to get a better feel of Arizona’s defensive game plan. I know the Pats had a chance to win this one, but we should expect everyone in the league to study this tape. The Cards won up front vs. the Patriots’ O-Line and limited explosive plays while holding New England to 5-15 on third downs. That’s great defensive football vs. Tom Brady.

This is what you should get from the Carolina offense every Sunday. Run the ball, use some option looks with QB Cam Newton and take vertical shots down the field. A much different game plan than we saw last week in the loss to the Bucs. The Panthers run for 200-plus in the win over the Saints—who are now in an 0-2 hole.

Think about the Seahawks’ win over Dallas: big plays on special teams, Marshawn Lynch, a controlled game plan for rookie QB Russell Wilson and a defense that took away the deep ball from Tony Romo and the Dallas offense. Pete Carroll’s team beat up the Cowboys. No other way to say it.

The Bucs defense “going low” when the Giants were in the “victory” formation trying to run out the clock?  I don’t blame Coughlin for lecturing Schiano after the game. Let’s see if this turns into a bigger story throughout the week.

More 2-Man vs. Calvin Johnson on Sunday night. The Lions had to move Johnson’s alignment to get him open underneath because of the deep half help over the top and I expect to see more teams play this scheme (along with Cover 2 or Cover 6) vs. Detroit. Take away the deep ball.

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