Shortly after the final whistle blew on the New York Giants' 28-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, ESPN football analyst Steve Young complained about the artlessness of the game. Well, actually, he was complaining about the artless of most NFL games relative to his own style.
While Young may have sounded pompous to quite pompous during the postgame show, it was hard to argue with his assessment of the game. The entire ESPN panel seemed to be in agreement when it came to the aesthetics of this installment of Monday Night Football. It was an ugly, awkward game decided as much by mistakes and inadequacies as it was by positive plays. Even the victorious Giants will likely have the game film wielded against them like a cudgel in practice this week.
But mired in all this mediocrity was one sterling, individual effort that will likely turn up on every "Plays of the Year" highlight reel. Late in the first half, with the Giants moving down the field, Eli Manning floated a pass toward the middle of the end zone. After lining up in the slot on the right side of the formation, Giants receiver Domenik Hixon was the target of that ball.
Hixon leaped, turning his body back toward the quarterback and the line of scrimmage. The pass dropped onto his left shoulder, but Hixon couldn't catch it cleanly. After the ball bounced off his left shoulder, Hixon reached his arms out over Rams safety Craig Dahl. As he fell to the turf, Hixon tapped the ball up once with his right hand. Then again. And, finally, he wrapped it up with both hands just before it can touch the ground.
The 22-yard touchdown, along with the ensuing extra point, put the Giants up 21-6. They never looked back.
As color commentator Jon Gruden said to his mates in the ESPN booth, "That's got to be one of those Top 10 Plays on Sportscenter [that] you do."
It was rated the No. 2 play of Week 2 on the edition of Sportscenter airing on Tuesday morning. The top spot went to another juggled touchdown catch by Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez.
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