x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

NFL: Eli Manning throws career-best for Giants while Philbin gets first Dolphins win

The New York Giants quaterback became just the 13th player in NFL history to throw more than 500 yards after recovering from a sloppy start against Tampa Bay.

New York Giants' Eli Manning looks for a throw after coming under pressure from Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett
New York Giants' Eli Manning looks for a throw after coming under pressure from Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a career-best 510 yards to lead the reigning Super Bowl champions to their first win of the NFL season on Sunday.

Manning became just the 13th player in NFL history to pass the magical 500-yard milestone when he recovered from a sloppy start to steer the Giants to a 41-34 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Manning threw three interceptions in the second quarter that all led to touchdowns but, just as he did last season when the Giants defied the odds to win the Super Bowl, he found his targets when it mattered.

"It's a big win, big win, especially after a first half playing poorly and last week not playing well. The second half was good," Manning said.

"Some big time plays, stepping up when we needed it. That was fun."

In the fourth quarter, Manning's 80-yard strike to Victor Cruz followed by a two-point conversion run in by Andre Brown tied it 27-27 and a 33-yard touchdown to tight end Martellus Bennett gave New York a 34-27 lead with less than four minutes to play.

Then it was Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman's turn to spark a fight back as he hit Mike Williams for a 41-yard leaping catch in the end zone for a touchdown that knotted the game 34-34 with just under two minutes left.

Sensing a Bucs' blitz as he tried to drive the Giants to a winning score, Manning quickly released a high-floating bomb down the sideline that Hakeem Nicks hauled in for a 50-yard gain to the 11-yard line.

Brown bulled his way for a two-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left to make it 41-34 and the Giants escaped a last ditch desperation drive by Tampa Bay when Michael Boley intercepted a Freeman pass to end it.

Despite the scoreline, Tom Coughlin, the Giants' coach, admitted the first half performance of his side was disappointing.

"We are so happy to be 1-1 at this juncture," he said. There is plenty of stuff to correct and we'll work to get that corrected."

The New England Patriots, last season's beaten Super Bowl finalists, were not so lucky, suffering a shock 20-18 loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals led most of the game but the Pats, led by Tom Brady who threw for 316 yards, had the chance to win it at the death but Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

"I have to do a lot better job of coming through for the team," said a dejected Gostkowski. "It came down to me and I didn't pull through. It stinks."

The New Orleans Saints, operating under an interim coach in the wake of the 'pay-for-pain' scandal, slumped to their second loss of the season when they were beaten 35-27 by the Carolina Panthers.

Cam Newton, in just his second season in the NFL, threw for a touchdown and was one of three Carolina players to rush for a score against a leaky New Orleans defence.

Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick scored a touchdown with less than two minutes left on the clock to guide the Eagles to a 24-23 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Eagles trailed for most of the game but Vick sealed the win when he orchestrated a final quarter 80-yard, 10-play drive that finished with him scoring the game winner from a yard out.

Joe Philbin claimed his first victory as a head coach on Sunday when the Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 35-13.

After losing all four pre-season games and last week's opening game, Dolphins fans were wondering if the mild-mannered 51-year-old from Green Bay was the right man to motivate a team few expect to challenge in the AFC East this year.

But when the Dolphins won on Sunday, all the plaudits went to Philbin, who joined Miami after serving as offensive coordinator with the Packers.

The players showered him with ice from the team's drinks container, in full view of the public, then Dolphins owner Stephen Ross marched into the team locker-room and handed him the game ball.

Philbin was reluctant to talk about his personal milestone, focussing instead on the team's performance.

"It's good. I'm very blessed," he said afterwards. "We've got a tremendous staff here, they've worked their tails off,"

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a good home debut, with no interceptions. He completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 200 yards, throwing one touchdown and running in another.

Running back Reggie Bush confirmed his status as the key player in the Dolphins' offense with two touchdowns as he rushed for 172 yards, and was well supported by Lamar Miller who had one touchdown and 65 yards.

The Miami defense restricted the Raiders to just 23 rushing yards although Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer was able to pass for 373 yards.

But what could arguably be the best news for Dolphins fans was that their new coach has clearly passed his first test, winning over his own team.

After last week's 30-10 loss to the Texans, a performance which did little to allay fears of a miserable season, Philbin delivered a stirring speech to his players.

"He gave us one of the best post-game speeches I've ever heard. Really rallied the troops and we rallied around him," guard Richie Incognito told reporters.

"He broke it down for us. He said there is no need to panic, no need to finger point, it's just one game. He said what was on a lot of people's minds.

"We went through a big culture change here and coach Philbin has been consistent throughout it all. I really thing that is what he hangs his hat on, consistency."

Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, last season's number one draft pick, registered his first NFL win when the Indianapolis Colts beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-20.

Luck threw two touchdown passes then found wide receivers Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne in the final 30 seconds to set up Colts' kicker Adam Vinatieri for a game winning 53-yard field goal.

Another rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, tasted his first defeat when the Washington Redskins lost 31-28 to the St Louis Rams.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won their first game of the season, beating the New York Jets 27-10 while the Houston Texans had no problems overcoming the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7 in Florida.

Dante Rosario scored three touchdowns for San Diego as the Chargers romped to a 38-10 victory over Tennessee to join the Eagles, Cardinals and Texans as the only teams to start the season 2-0 with two games left in the round.

Cincinnati, Seattle and Buffalo all chalked up their first wins of the season with the Bengals beating the Cleveland Browns 34-27, the Seahawks overpowering Dallas 27-7 and the Bills defeating Kansas City 35-17.

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