Down and Distance: 2nd and 8 at PHI 28
Time: 8:07, 4th quarter
Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, 1 FB
Watch the play: CLICK HERE
Leading up to the play: Giving up the lead at the end of the third quarter, the Giants stopped the Eagles on a 4th and 1, taking the ball over at their own 46 with 11 minutes to play in the game. Six plays and two first downs later, Eli Manning and the Giants marched into Eagles territory down to their 28.
What we saw: The Giants called a play-action but the Eagles didn't bite. Meanwhile, Manning dropped back and threw a jump ball to Cruz surrounded by two defenders, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Jarrad Page. Cruz outfought the two Eagles for the ball and then fell into the end zone for a touchdown. The call was upheld by the replay official.
What Cruz was thinking: "During my route, I was like, 'He's not throwing it to me. There are two guys, there's no way he's throwing it to this area.' I turned, the ball was in the air, and I just had to make a play on it," said Cruz on Monday, adding, "It was either going to be my ball or I was going to bat it down. It was going to be nobody else's ball, and we were going to live to play another down. I was just fortunate enough to go up there and create a little wiggle room for myself and jump and make a play."What Manning saw: "It's just a great effort by him," Manning said. "Nnamdi played it well. We kind of had a corner route and then a higher corner route over the top. I thought he was going to jump the tight end but he played it back there and really probably not a great decision by me to throw it in the first place but great job by Victor just going up there with the attitude of either I'm going to catch it or nobody, and that's what he did.
"(I was) a little bit (nervous), kind of right when I threw it I kind of saw they played the play pretty well, just hoping that it was going to fall incomplete and not get turned over at the time. But obviously we got a touchdown out of it, which was even better. It went well."What TE Jake Ballard saw: "I was just running off my guy. I saw two guys deep. I thought I had a good chance to get the ball. Then I saw Eli throw it. I didn't know what could happen…All I saw was (Victor) getting stood up at the goal line. I was really coming over to hit him in the back to push him into the end zone. But once I got there, he just fell down."
From the opposing sideline: "We have a situation where, the Cruz touchdown, you have myself and Nnamdi were there, we just have to find a way to get the ball out. And he just made a better play on that particular play," Page said.
"And then the deep ball, that play, something should have happened for the defense. There's no way that (Victor Cruz) should have come away with that with two defenders on him," Asomugha said.
The aftermath: The Giants went for a two-point conversion and were eventually successful after the Eagles were called for defensive pass interference on the first attempt (Brandon Jacobs ran it in on the second try). With Cruz's touchdown, the Giants regained the lead and went on to beat the Eagles, 29-16, snapping a six-game losing streak to their rivals. Cruz walked off Lincoln Financial Field with three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.