The Game Highlights
Post Mortem/ Interesting Tidbits
- Armstead’s TD was the first of his career. He only scored one other time, at Philly in 1997 early in the game against Bobby Hoying in the first game review I did on bigbluevcr.
- Mike Croel’s sack was the only one of his career with the Giants (which lasted all of one year). Croel was yet another import from the Broncos with his ties to Dan Reeves. But by 1995, the NJ Broncos imports had gotten worse and worse. You could argue that Michael Brooks, Mike Horan, and Brad Daluiso were generally good, and maybe even Mark Jackson. But once you hit the Croel, Arthur Marshall and Tommy Maddox part, things really started going south. Croel was a big time LB prospect out of Nebraska and was good enough to be picked 4th overall by the Broncos in the 1991 draft. Croel was coming in out of college at a time where the Cornhuskers were producing some good NFL prospects on defense (Neil Smith, Broderick Thomas, Danny Noonan) His teammate, corner Bruce Pickens was selected 3rd overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Croel started out well, registering 10 sacks in his rookie season and he would win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. But from that auspicious start, Croel never lived up to his promise or expectations. He would only follow that up with 5 sacks in both 1992 and 1993. In 1994, he got shut out in sacks. Not good for a pass rusher. The Broncos allowed him to leave as a free agent where he tried to link back up with his old coaches from Denver from his initial burst in 1991. But it didn’t work out with the Giants either. Croel would leave after the 1995 season, playing 1 years in Baltimore in 1996 in their first season out of Cleveland, he would miss the 1997 season and finish his career in 1998 with the Seahawks, where he would register only 1 tackle and he was out of the NFL after that.
- Dave Brown’s rushing TD to tie the game was his first on the season and he would actually rush for 4 TDs in 1995, good for 2nd best on the team behind Rodney Hampton’s 10 TDs and ahead of Tyrone Wheatley’s 3. To put that in perspective, Brown’s 4 rushing TDs in 1 season was rarified air for Giants QBs
- Phil Simms- Rushed for 1 TD in a season 6 times (1979, 1980, 1986, 1989, 1990, and 1991)
- Jeff Hostetler- Giants high 3 TDs rushing in 1992 (Note- he rushed for 5 TDs in 1993 with the Raiders)
- Kent Graham- Career high 2 TDs rushing in 1998
- Danny Kanell- 0 rushing TDs in his career
- Kerry Collins- Giants high with 2 TDs rushing in 1999 (he rushed for 3 TDs as a rookie with the Panthers in 1995)
- Kurt Warner- Tied career high with 1 rushing TD in 2004
- Eli Manning- Rushed for 1 TD in a season 6 times (2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017)
- Tyrone Wheatley got his first career start in this game. He seemed to be a perfect NY Giants fit at running back. Big, strong and fast, and the Giants knew that Rodney Hampton was starting to break down thanks to extended use/abuse by Dan Reeves. Coming out of the Michigan program, which was one of George Young’s favorites, he seemed to be a perfect Giant. Hampton would break his hand the week before at San Francisco so they needed Wheatley to step up against an aggressive Cardinals defense. Wheatley’s 61 yards on 18 carries were both season highs in his rookie year. But thanks to injuries and a coaching change from Reeves to Fassel, and the emergence of Charles Way as a fullback and Tiki Barber at running back, his 61 yards rushing was the 5th best performance of his career with the Giants. He would only rush for over 100 yards once in his 4 years with the Giants, in 1997 he ran for 103 yards on 22 carries in a 27-13 win at Arizona. In 1998, Wheatley would only play in 5 games, rushed for 52 yards, giving up his job to a journeyman in Gary Brown (who actually rushed for 1063 yards that year).
- Wheatley would get traded for a 7th round pick in 1999 to the Miami Dolphins (the Giants drafted LB OJ Childress (who would play in 4 games in 1999 and be out of the NFL by 2001). Wheatley would get released in training camp after being unable to beat our such stalwarts as JJ Johnson and Cecil Collins and wind up with the Raiders, where he actually had a career rebirth. He rushed for 936 yards and 8 TDs in 1999, and in 2000, at age 28, Wheatley would rush for 1046 yards and 9 TDs, both career highs. Wheatley would remain with the Raiders through the 2004 season and retire at age of 32.
- Meanwhile, fellow rookie fullback Charles Way scored the first TD of his career on a 2 yard catch. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Way had a very underrated career with the Giants compared to Wheatley. Way was an unheralded 6th round pick and generally a blocking back. But Way had good hands, and a little wiggle for a 245 pound back. He earned more playing time in 1996, catching 32 passes. When the Giants won the NFC East in 1997, with Hampton out for most of the season with a knee injury, and Wheatley also injured, and rookie Tiki Barber mainly considered a 3rd down back and returner, Way was the Giants leading rusher with 698 yards. In 1998, with Gary Brown settling in, Way still put up 432 yards rushing as a fullback. However, by 1999, Way was starting to break down with shoulder problems (the result of all the blocking and hits he took). The Giants started to use the younger/quicker Greg Comella at fullback and Way retired after the 1999 season and missed out on the Giants Super Bowl run in 2000. Way would join the Giants front office for 14 years as the Director for Player development before leaving that job to replace Troy Vincent at the NFL offices as Head of Player Engagement in 2014 where he spent 2 years before moving into the private sector.
- Mike Sherrard’s TD was his final one in a Giants uniform at Giants Stadium. He would score 3 more TDs in 1995, all on the road (at Washington, Seattle, and Arizona).
- Chris Calloway’s 49 yard catch was his longest of the 1995 season. His career long was a 68 yarder in 1997 to beat the Lions in Detroit in OT.
- Herschel Walker’s 36 yard run was his longest as a NY Giant. In all he was a disappointment in 1995 for the Giants. Granted he had lots of tread on his tires at age 33 following a legendary career at the University of Georgia as the Heisman Trophy winner. Walker would make Giants Stadium his home after college, but with the NJ Generals in the USFL. Walker had an amazing career in a very fun and competitive league: 1983 (1812 yards rushing, 489 receiving and 18 total TDs) and 1984 (1339 yards rushing, 528 receiving and 21 total TDs). In 1985, Walker had a record setting season, as he broke Eric Dickerson’s single season professional rushing record with 2411 yards rushing, and he added in another 467 receiving and 22 TDs in total. When the USFL folded, Walker would go to the Cowboys and replace Tony Dorsett as the featured back. Eventually Walker would be involved in one of the most infamous trades in NFL history, when the Minnesota Vikings essentially jump started the Cowboys’ resurgence under Jimmy Johnson by trading away a bunch of high draft picks in 1989 for Walker. Herschel would last 3.5 years in Minnesota and get released and end up in Philly and actually rush for 1070 yards in 1992, topping the 1000 mark for the first time since 1988, never having reached that milestone with the Vikings. Walker would only rush for 126 yards with the Giants and be off the team after the season, going back to the Cowboys where he would retire after the 1997 season at the age of 35.
- Little used WR Omar Douglas’ kickoff return was the only one of the season for him and he would only return one more in his career, in 1996. Douglas was a guy who looked great every preseason, he would make the team as a 4th or 5th WR, which means he needs to be good on specials. The only impact he ever made was when he returned a blocked punt by Keith Elias (another preseason wonder) vs. the Eagles in 1995 for a TD in the infamous game when Tommy Maddox started at QB and posted a 0.0 QBR.
- Winning a game in OT on a defensive TD is generally a rare occurrence but it has happened for the Giants a few times. In 1999, Michael Strahan picked off a pass tipped by Christian Peter on a pass by Doug Pederson (now the Eagles head coach) and he rumbled it back 44 yards for a 23-17 win on Halloween. The last time the Giants did it before this game in 1995 was 10 years earlier, when Elvis “Toast” Patterson picked off a tipped pass from Ron Jaworski in Week 4 of the 1985 season and ran it back 29 yards at the Vet to win the game 16-10. As of this writing, the Giants have not won an OT game on a defensive TD since 1999.
- Terry Hoage’s interception in the first half was the final one of his 10 year career. In all he would pick off 21 passes in the regular season and 2 more in the playoffs. He would pick off 4 passes vs. the Giants in his career which would be the most vs. any single team. As a member of the Eagles, Hoage had 2 picks vs. the Giants in 1988 at Giants Stadium in the Giants 23-17 OT loss.
- Garrison Hearst’s 122 yards was his season high for the Cardinals, just edging out the 121 yards he rushed for in a win at Detroit 3 weeks prior. Hearst, also a Georgia Bulldog like Herschel, was highly regarded coming out of college as a running back as the 3rd overall pick of the 1993 draft. Hearst would crack the 1000 yard milestone in 1995, rushing for 1070 yards. However, Hearst had his warts. He only rushed for 1 TDs all year. And more troubling, he had 12 fumbles in 1995 (including one in this game when Agnew punched it out). Going into the 1996 season, with Buddy out and Vince Tobin in, the Cardinals needed cap room (back then, teams were still figuring it out and there weren’t capologists around...or you had cheats like Carmen Policy in San Francisco) to sign their first rounder DE Simeon Rice. So Hearst was waived in the pre-season, the Cardinals went with a running back by committee and he was picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals to pair with former Penn State top pick Ki-Jana Carter. Hearst would have a decent season, rushing for 847 yards, but he would again be a free agent going into the 1997 season. At age 26, Hearst would land in San Francisco where his career would take off. Hearst would rush for 1019 yards in 1997, and he would follow that up with a breakout season in 1998, rushing for 1570 yards and 7 TDs. His 1570 yards were good for 3rd in the NFL, behind only Terrell Davis’ 2008 yards and Jamal Anderson’s 1846 yards. Hearst would earn his first Pro Bowl selection. But after that would come the hard times. Hearst would miss the next 2 seasons with a knee injury and at age 30, would get back on the field in the 2000 season for the Niners. Amazingly, Hearst remained very productive, rushing for 1206 yards and got back to the Pro Bowl. Hearst would play 3 more years, finally finishing his career at age 33 with the Broncos in 2004.
- Dave Krieg threw for 305 yards, his 3rd straight game posting 300 yards or more. He would top the 300 yard mark one more time, a 413 yard and 4 TD effort in a win over the Falcons. Krieg, a long time Seattle Seahawk would play 3 more years, going to the Bears and then Titans, but wouldn’t top 300 yards again, a number he achieved 18 times. Krieg would face the Giants only 6 times in his 19 year career, which would make sense for all the years he was in the AFC. He was 2-4 vs. the Giants in his career.
- Krieg actually completed his first career pass vs. the Giants as he came in off the bench for mop up duty from Jim Zorn in a 32-0 blowout loss at the Kingdome. He would go 5-9, for 50 yards and was sacked twice.
- Krieg’s only 2 wins vs the Giants were by the same score, 17-12. In 1983, they won at Giants Stadium to drop the Giants record to 3-11-1 under rookie head coach Bill Parcells. The Giants would lose the next week as well to finish at 3-12-1. However, the Seahawks also beat the Parcells’ Giants 17-12 in week 7 of the 1986 season. The loss dropped the Giants record to 5-2. They wouldn’t lose another game the rest of the season en route to winning Super Bowl XXI vs. the Broncos.
- Rookie WR Frank Sanders caught his first 2 NFL touchdowns in this game as he had to be the main target with Rob Moore being lost early in the game to an ankle sprain. It was Sanders’ only TDs of the 1995 season. Sanders wouldn’t catch multiple TDs in the same game again until the year 2000, when he did it twice (vs. the Cowboys and Browns), a total of 3 times in his 9 year career that mostly was spent with the Cardinals before he finished with the Ravens in the year 2003 at age 30.
- Buddy Ryan was a gigantic (no pun intended) pain in the ass as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. In his time in Philly from 1986-1990, Buddy’s Eagles gave the Giants fits as they were a matchup nightmare for the Bill Parcells Giants. The Giants started out 4-0 as the talent was just too much on the Giants side and Ryan was rebuilding the Eagles. However, the Eagles won the next 4 from 1988-1989, including some memorable (in a bad way) Giants losses. In 1988 there was the missed tackle by Carl Banks and Randall Cunningham on a Monday Night that resulted in a TD pass to Jimmie Giles. And then there was the OT loss at Giants Stadium in the cold and rain on a blocked FG attempt by LT and the ball was run in by Clyde Simmons (I was at that game). In 1989, the Giants blew a lead in their first game in Philly (thanks to a Banks TD on a fake FG) and lost late. And in the 2nd game at Giants Stadium, the Giants went down early on Eagles defensive TDs, fought back, but lost thanks to a Cunningham 91 yard punt when Dave Meggett misplayed the ball. The Giants and Eagles would split the 1990 series, but the Eagles handed the 10-0 Giants their first loss at Philly in convincing fashion that included Mark Bavaro getting thrown out of the game for getting in a fight and bumping an official (yes, stoic Bavaro). By the end of the 1990 season, Ryan was fired after yet another playoff loss and Parcells “retired” and ultimately finished with a 5-5 record against each other, but Ryan went 5-1 in their final 6 games vs. Parcells. In Arizona however, Ryan brought over many of his former Eagles players, but by this time they were well past their primes (Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons, Terry Hoage) and though he talked a big game (he was a Ryan after all), Buddy’s Cardinals went 1-3 vs. the Giants in his 2 years in the desert before he was fired.
- Ryan’s only win vs. the Giants was 10-9 in 1994 in a game that could have set professional football back 50 years. Neither team could notch over 240 yards of total offense and there were 16 penalties. The Giants held an early 9-0 lead thanks to a Kent Graham to Howard Cross TD (Dave Brown was out with an injury) and a safety thanks to a hold in the end zone on Earnest Dye. But the Cardinals would get a FG and the game would stay 9-3, until with 1:39 left in the game, Steve Beuerlein would hit TE Bryant Reeves on a 9 yard TD to win the game. It would be the Giants 7th straight loss to drop their record to 3-7. They would regroup to rip off 6 straight wins and finish at 9-7 and just miss the playoffs.