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Porter Keeps Raiders Close with Stellar Day Against Giants' Cruz

Michael Wagaman@@mwagamanContributor INovember 10, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Tracy Porter #23 of the Oakland Raiders runs for a touchdown after intercepting  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the second quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 10, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders will be able to point to several different things that led to their 24-20 loss to the New York Giants in Week 10. Tracy Porter won’t be one of them.

Paired up against wide receiver Victor Cruz for most of the game, Oakland’s veteran cornerback responded with his best game of the season and picked up a touchdown along the way when he intercepted an Eli Manning pass and took it to the house.

The Raiders’ entire secondary played better, a week after getting torched by Philadelphia’s Nick Foles for seven touchdown throws.

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner, figured to be a much more difficult challenge for Oakland’s defensive backfield because of his comfort level with Cruz. Even as Manning has struggled this season, he has always been able to count on Cruz to bail him out.

Porter, who has been the Raiders’ most consistent player in the secondary this season, made certain it didn’t happen this time.

Cruz was held to three catches for 37 yards and was shut out of the end zone. Only two of the catches  came against Porter. The third occurred in the second half when safety Brandian Ross was in coverage.

Not that Manning didn’t try to get the ball to his favorite target. Ten of Manning’s 22 pass attempts were plays designed for Cruz, the most on either team.

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Porter, who lined up against Cruz both on the outside and in the slot, limited the damage with blanket-tight coverage most of the game.

On the one play where Cruz could have really done some damage, the veteran wide receiver beat Porter on a quick slant pattern inside the 5-yard line but dropped the pass from Manning, who appeared to lead Cruz just a little too much with the throw. New York scored two plays later when Rueben Randle caught a short touchdown pass.

The Giants were on the move the following drive when Porter stepped in front of a Manning pass for an interception and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The play was set up by a good push through the middle of the pocket by Oakland defensive lineman Daniel Muir, who nailed Manning just after the New York quarterback released the ball.

It’s Porter’s second interception this season and the 10th of his NFL career. The touchdown was also the third of Porter’s career and the second scored by Oakland’s defense in 2013.

Not everything went right for Porter. He was called for an obvious pass interference penalty on a 2nd-and-goal pass play. The following play New York scored its go-ahead touchdown.

The rest of Oakland’s secondary played better than it did against Philadelphia. Manning completed just 12 of 22 attempts for 140 yards, just the third time in his last 47 games that the Giants’ quarterback has been held to fewer than 150 passing yards.

The Raiders did it despite being without two key components in the secondary. Safety Tyvon Branch has been out since early in the season with an ankle injury while first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden was held out with a groin injury.

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