After so many times, you’re conditioned to expect Eli Manning and the Giants to win this game.
Instead, it was the Philadelphia Eagles with the late-game magic, and a 19-17 win Sunday night.
Manning has earned the benefit of the doubt. Having a pair of Super Bowl rings will do that for you.
But there are times he’s like a golfer who is great at getting out of trouble because he gets himself into trouble. He followed a nice fourth-down conversion pass early in the fourth quarter with a ridiculous interception, killing a potential go-ahead drive.
Again, he’s Eli Manning, so it might be quibbling, but there is a tendency to make red zone mistakes that require his brilliant knack for saving himself.
The last drive was undone by an offensive pass interference call on Ramses Barden, and the Giants missed a pair of potential game-winning field goals (after Andy Reid successfully iced the first miss).
It was counter to what you were expecting, but the Eagles earned this one, by playing aggressive defense throughout, and preventing Manning from doing what you anticipated.
In doing so, they’ve moved to 3-1, having won their three games by a combined four points.
Maybe that means we need to rethink our expectations of these two teams.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. There was a terrifying moment in the third quarter when I feared someone kidnapped Reid.
The Eagles called run plays, four of them in a row, and they worked.
LeSean McCoy is obviously a talented player, but works for a guy who may never use him to his full potential. While he did have 23 carries for 123 yards, he’s the kind of back who could do it weekly given appropriate opportunity.
Put simply, when the Eagles put him to work, the Eagles move the ball.
Having more balance to their offense in the form of letting McCoy do his thing is only going to make the Eagles weapons on the perimeter that much more dangerous.
And having more polish in that area might help them turn a lot of those field goals into something more valuable, and there will be nights when that matters more.
2. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will never be conventional, and he has taken a beating.
But his unique gifts at least give him a chance to survive, and perhaps thrive.
Vick showed his remarkable balance in the first half, when he was nearly knocked down by Giants defensive tackle Rocky Bernard in the end zone for a safety, but collected himself enough to sidearm the ball out of bounds to reset himself on the next play.
It was a small thing, but shows the ability he has.
3. Both the Giants and Eagles have plenty of talent on the defensive line.
But not as much as it appeared.
Both offensive lines have been depleted by injuries, and the tackles took turns clutching and grabbing and holding (with Giants tackle Will Beatty at one point using what, I think, was either the Sleeperhold or the Cobra Clutch).
The Eagles showed a little more muscle in the second half, but neither line is going to send very many players to Hawaii.
4. It may take time for David Wilson to work his way out of the doghouse, after his fumble in the opener.
But the Giants clearly need him to earn some trust.
Wilson could be that guy, if Tom Coughlin ever trusted him.
He looked outstanding in the return game, and they need to harness some of that in the base offense.
5. It was very helpful of the Eagles to announce that cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was taken to a nearby hospital to get his eye checked.
It was even more helpful later when they announced that he didn’t go to the hospital, which was right before he went back on the field.
You’d think as much money as they spent on him, they’d have a better handle on where he is at any given moment.