In his short career, Victor Cruz has been an absolute Eagle killer. In his first four games against Philly, Cruz had 22 catches for 399 yards and 5 TDs. Cruz's salsa dance was born against the Eagles, and he has dominated them ever since. Before Sunday, here were Cruz's numbers, by game, against the Eagles:
The Eagles might have somebody who can cover Cruz now. That would of course be Brandon Boykin. Sunday wasn't the first time that Boykin covered Cruz, but this time, Boykin felt more prepared. "Coming into today, explained Boykin, "having already guarded him twice in my career, I kind of had a feel for what he would do, and his moves."
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis singled Boykin out for having a great game. "Brandon Boykin had a great game on [Cruz]," said Davis. Brandon had him most of the game. There were a couple times where I gave him help, and a lot of times where I left him on his own, and Brandon stepped up."
Boykin was asked how often he was on Cruz. He said "Every time he was in the slot, I was on him. You can look at their '11 personnel,' and however many times that was, I was on him." (11 personnel is 1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR, in case you're unfamiliar).
I decided to take Boykin up on his suggestion to look at the Giants' '11 personnel' plays, and it turns out that had an even better day in coverage than originally thought.
Cruz had 5 catches for 48 yards and 0 TDs on the day, which is very much a bad day for him. However, what is extremely impressive is that none of his catches came against Boykin.
In fact, Boykin wasn't even on the field for 3 of them. On the two catches Cruz made when Boykin was in the game, one was when Boykin blitzed, and the other was a time in which the Eagles were in zone coverage and Cruz caught a pass outside of Boykin's area.
I counted 39 plays in which the Giants were in '11 personnel,' and passed. Boykin lined up across from Cruz on all of them, but had varying responsibilities on those plays. Here's a breakdown of what Boykin's responsibility was on those 39 plays:
In other words, Boykin was lined up man to man, occasionally with help from Mychal Kendricks or a safety, and the Giants were able to accomplish the following:
5 targets, 0 completions, 1 INT, and a borderline 32 yard pass interference call in which both players were hand fighting. That is just a tremendous day against one of the best slot corners in the NFL.
Oh, and he downed 2 punts inside the 5 (one didn't count)...
And he got pressure on Eli Manning, causing him to double pump before throwing a pick:
And his INT was an aggressive "Give me that!" thing of beauty:
Brandon Boykin can do no wrong: