The last meeting between the Giants and Eagles in Philadelphia will long be remembered for Victor Cruz's breakout performance.
There's no denying it. Cruz turned heads with his 74-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the 29-16 victory, and there's been no looking back since.
But let's not forget the circumstances that made it so compelling. Then again, if you're a Giants fan, maybe that's exactly what you did.
Entering the Week 3 clash between the two NFC East rivals in 2011, Big Blue was on a six-game losing streak to the reigning division champions. The sixth was the most painful – and the most fresh – as the team waited all offseason for another shot at Philly. A year before, DeSean Jackson's walk-off 65-yard punt return for touchdown left everyone speechless and Tom Coughlin sitting in a dark room all night as he reflected on the game that slipped away.
Nine months later, Cruz came and brought the salsa. The party has been going ever since.
"There's been a lot of salsa since then," Cruz said after Wednesday's practice. "It's good to go back to where it all started and hopefully get another one."
In another late September meeting, both teams enter Sunday night's contest at 2-1 and in search of their first division win. Meanwhile, the Giants look to post back-to-back road wins coming off their victory in Carolina.
But Cruz knows a division game is a whole different animal.
"It's pretty crazy," he said. "Obviously those fans don't like us very much, they make sure we hear it every time we're out there warming up and coming out of the tunnel. On every snap, every play, it's intense. You can cut the tension with a knife in the stadium, it's always a great place to play when you're under that pressure and you feel good about it. You want to go out there and make the play."
Eli Manning, who is 5-4 all-time in Philadelphia (including one playoff game), agreed that it's always an "interesting" place to play.
"It's a great atmosphere. It really is," Manning said. "It's tough and it's loud. The fans are unique, but it can be a fun place to play, and we have to go in there and have great communication between our offensive line. Those guys have to be loud. If we're making checks, making different calls, everybody's got to be on the same page. It makes the experience of playing Philadelphia very interesting."