NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: Cowboys Defeat Washington on MNF; Giants Now Suddenly In Driver's Seat!
Week Three vs. Eagles
I told you, but I'll remind you again; I root scared when it comes to the Giants. I didn't think the Giants were going to Philly and coming back home with fond memories of the trip. As a matter of fact, I predicted a rather lop-sided loss for us.
I can certainly tell you what I think they should do in a given game. And I tried in my Week Three preview. But having the confidence they will follow through is another matter. And because you're a fan, you have that confidence. In the face of injuries; Philly hype; naysayers; and experts predicting a 1-2 record for us; I still felt we could go into Philly and win. But when it came to making my Week Three pick; I chickened out. That's why as a rule, you never bet your favorite team.
And maybe I was still in a little bit-o-shock over last year's debacle too. I won't rule it out. But for most of last year's debacle, the Giants were in control of that game. That's what gets you thinking; but inevitably confuses us all. So with a compromised Receiver Corps., I thought we'd need to change things up on Offense and do them near perfectly in order to win this past Sunday. On Defense, I had even less confidence because of injuries and incompetence of late. And while Offensively I thought I was pretty on target, Defensively, I pretty much got it all wrong.
I've been picking on our Secondary; and rightfully so. They've been porous. So they responded with three interceptions with one coming against Vick. And bouncing back from adversity, Aaron Ross had himself a great game. This is an area Jerry Reese has tried to fortify by drafting Kenny Phillps and Prince Amukamara. Both starts to their respective careers were foiled by injury. Now that Kenny Phillips' injury season is behind him, Prince may be coming back sooner than later this season.
I've been picking on the state of our Linebackers; calling the unit this team's soft white underbelly. This past Sunday, they were solid as granite; Michael Boley in particular. I've been bringing up how Jerry Reese has ignored the position for years now, unless you count moving Mathias Kiwanuka back? But what criticisms exist now get quieted for a week.
And I've been criticizing the Giants with my notion the team overly relies on the D-Line to produce sacks. In spite of my theories, the D-Line beat; battered; bum rushed; bruised; and ultimately bounced Michael Vick from Sunday's game.
The Defense made goal line stands and really clamped down in the second half.
After the game, Michael Vick prefaced some comments he made by saying he wasn't complaining, BUT, he let it be known he didn't feel like he gets his fair share of roughing the passer calls. He went on to express his desire that QB's get more protection from the rules or refs....or something along those lines.
The only thing I can say to that is: What about the dogs Mike? What about the dogs?
Turns out, Michael Vick has a very sore and swollen hand. It's not broken like it was believed to be on the sidelines Sunday. Everyone knew he was one play away from exasperating last week's concussion symptoms. And the Giants pounded him plenty. But ironically, it was his right hand that prompted his exit from the game.
On Offense is where the Giants really earned their mettle Sunday; as fine a job as the Defense provided; the Giants needed to do a lot of things right and did.
First props go to Offensive Coordinator; Kevin Gilbride; because even though I still have some issues with him about this game; he still drew up one of the plans that I knew he could when he doesn't let his ego, and his never ending search for the perfect pass play, get in the way. I'd be the first to get on him.
This game needed to be ridden on the backs of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Hell, the Eagles knew that. But I begged Coach Gilbride in this blog to utilize them both extensively out of the backfield on pass plays. That would be the way to open up the rushing game for them.
First know Eli threw 23 passes and connected on 16 plays. Brandon Jacobs caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw caught 5 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. That's seven receptions between the two backs totaling 95 yards and two TD's. That's great works by Big Man and Lil' Buddy; and great calls by Coach Gilbride.
That translated into rushing yardage for the duo; something most thought the Giants would be hard pressed to gain against Philly. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed 15 times for 86 yards. Brandon Jacobs rushed 7 times for 19 yards. Together, they rushed 22 times for 105 yards.
Add up their days work and what you have is a combined 29 plays; 200 yards gained; and two touchdowns. That's what I'm talking about! But my weekly question remains; why is Brandon Jacobs not used more? And for kicks, Gilbride's use of the backs means he limited his receivers to 9 plays within which Victor Cruz and company were left to work in their contributions.
However, the Giants inability to convert on third down continued to haunt the Giants throughout the first quarter until they improved later in the game. A 14-0 lead was reduced to 14-13 by halftime, because the lack of Offensive conversions kept putting the Defense on the field.
On the Offensive series in which the Giants faced a 4th down a 3 to go at the Eagles 30 yard line; The Giants chose to go for it and Coach Gilbride dialed up a play for Travis Beckum. C'mon! If you red my preview, I said this;
"Tight End Travis Beckum might be back, but he's not an option. Option? He should be flat out ignored. He just better pass block well if he's on Eli's left side. That's all I'll say about him."
Needless to say, Big Blue gave up the ball on downs. Eli's pass to Beckum was incompleteas beckum lost his feet.
But Eli didn't miss much Sunday. He was sacked three times but the happy feet weren't there. I think the O-line played better than 3 sacks would indicate. They provided plenty of time for Eli to find Victor Cruz three times and twice for touchdowns.
Of Victor Cruz, I said in my preview:
"But the slings and arrows await Victor Cruz and rookie-Jerrel Jernigan. Welcome to the New York Receiver Corps; Boot Camp Philly Style. A huge game against the top division rival just showed up on their front steps. What are they gonna do when Game Time breaks down the door and shines the bright lights on them? It's called stepping up Boys."
And the second year receiver stepped up in a very Big Blue way. The Eagles dared Eli to throw the ball against them. He did; quite effectively. Cruz helped with three catches; Nicks had another three. But the most important stats here are Eli's four touchdown passes and no interceptions. And I'll say again; even though Eli is ultimately responsible for throwing the pigskin; Kevin Gilbride set him up nicely against the Eagles.
There's one sentence I wrote last week that sums up Sunday very neatly. I said, "There are roster problems. Then there are execution problems. The latter can be corrected."
And if the Giants did anything Sunday, they executed well. If revenge came unexpectedly for you this week; after all, I picked against them and thought this wasn't exactly going to be our week for such satisfaction; then you're extremely happy right now.
There is one positive in rooting scared. I'm ecstatic after Sunday's win. It's the old - prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And as far as the Giants/Eagles rivalry, this one was very sweet indeed.
Week Three is for The Birds
Off to Philly On Big Blue Crutches