Down and Distance: 2nd and goal at STL 3
Time: 5:47, 1st quarter
Package: Goal line (extra lineman), 1 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, 1 FB
Watch the play: CLICK HERE to watch the play
Leading up to the play: Trailing 3-0, the Giants recovered a muffed punt and began their drive at the Rams 38. After two runs by Brandon Jacobs and an incomplete pass to Nicks, the Giants went for it on fourth-and-four. Despite being interfered with, Nicks made a spectacular catch down the sideline to set up a first-and-goal from the 9. Jacobs then rushed for six yards with the fresh set of downs, setting up Nicks' grab from Manning.
What we saw: Covered by Bradley Fletcher, Nicks made a move to the back left pylon but stopped short, boxing out the Rams cornerback. Meanwhile, Manning immediately turned and threw a dart to Nicks in the end zone.
What Nicks saw: "Eli threw it to the DB's back-shoulder so he couldn't make a play on it. I just did a good job at adjusting. (Fletcher's) hand was (in the way) but I think I had a better chance at catching it than him," Nicks said.
Upon further review: The Giants broke the huddle with a run play called, but Manning saw something in the defense he didn't like and checked to a pass play.
What TE Bear Pascoe saw: "We had a big guy (T Stacy Andrews) at tight end, and I was in the wing set. I was telling him, 'Stay in, stay in.' And I adjusted it and ran just a quick fade route. I didn't even see Eli. I was trying to get off the line and get open and he'd already thrown the ball in the end zone. That's when everybody started celebrating."
What FB Henry Hynoski saw: "He made the right call. He just checked to a pass. It was perfectly placed by Eli and a great catch by Hakeem. It was a big momentum-builder at that point."
What T Will Beatty saw:"Eli changes the play constantly. He tries to give us the best possible look. Just knowing that Hakeem, his ability to catch the ball, his eye is always on the ball – he can catch anything. Like how does he do it? Just game after game, Hakeem shows you that talent. He's the real deal. Even watching it on highlights afterwards, just how he puts his body in position to catch it, I mean, it's amazing."
The aftermath: Manning's first touchdown pass of the season gave the Giants a 7-3 lead, one which they would never relinquish. Big Blue went on to win the home opener, 28-16, on the stage of Monday Night Football.