Monday, October 03, 2011

N.Y. Giants ~ Defense Keeps Caging Pesky Birds

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE


New York Giants     31
Arizona Cardinals   27


Big Blue Was Just CRUZing for Trouble All Game Long.


This was just another game for The Birds with droppings blotted everywhere making an overall mess of my Sunday afternoon. 

For a game in which the Giants tackled quite poorly, how do I figuratively tackle this game?  For beginners, the Giants were CRUZing for trouble all game long; starting as early as the fourth play of the game.  After Ahmad Bradshaw's opening drive turnover, I learned it'd be my stomach that would ultimately be turned over the next three hours of my life.

But lets' not start with Bradshaw's opening fumble.  Let's work backwards.  We pick up the 4th quarter action as Arizona had the ball with the Giants trying to hold on to a 31-27 point lead.  When the Cardinals had the ball at their own 41 yard line with less than 2:30 left in the game, JPP batted a second down pass attempt.  After the Cardinals advanced to the Giants' 29 yard line with just over a minute left, Osi Umenyiora stepped up and dropped Kevin Kolb for a ten yard loss with his second sack of the game.  Sweet!  J-Paul and Osi, and the fact Arizona needed more than a field goal to win; and had no time-outs left, are what sealed the Giants victory.  All the Giants had to do after that was fend off two more plays in order to take over on downs and take a knee after that.  Game over.

Did I mention Osi played?  Yes.  He's back.  And just in time too.  Justin Tuck did not play Sunday.  But we can be happy knowing Jason Pierre Paul is splendidly developing into a beast.

But let's keep looking at this game in reverse order for now.  Look at the touchdown that made the score 31-27 Giants.  It was a nice 29 yard hook-up from Eli to Hakeem Nicks; wasn't it?  Call it a splendid play too; what the hell.  But here's three things to ponder regarding that. 

First - Should this win really have had to come down to that?  Didn't Eli just make up for two Giant turnovers with that touchdown pass to Nicks?  Two Blue turnovers directly led to ten Arizona points.  The first Big Blue turnover was Bradshaw's opening drive fumble which led to a field goal; thank you Defense for keeping it to three.  And the second Big Blue blunder came on Eli's third quarter fumble off a sack at the Giants 20 yard line which resulted in an Arizona recovery and easy touchdown.

Second - Rewind again to - THE CRUZ PLAY - Oh my goodness!   First of all, I don't think Victor Cruz even knew such a rule existed.   The guy fell.   Fine enough.   But Cruz should never have left the ball on the field like he did!   That was so ROOKIE of him!   In his ONLY defense, he never tried to advance the ball; and therein lies the opening and possibility of such an incredulous rule interpretation.   I'm sure the after-season NFL Rules Committee will rake over this one.  The Giants were one stripe shirt's interpretation away from crying Cruz Blues!  Then, as Giant luck would have it, the very next play was Eli to Nicks.  The amazing part is that we never should have maintained possession of the ball.  It was one of the weirdest calls I ever saw a Football Ref make.  Without it, the ten points Arizona scored off turnovers would have stood up.

Third - And did anyone notice the abundance of time we left on the clock for Arizona after the quick strike score to Nicks put the Giants ahead?  The Cards started at their own 20 yard line and got as close as our 29 yard line.  Gilbride's brand of chess risks giving the opposition way too much time that I detailed in my Giants/Cards Pre-Game post.  The Giants winning drive started on the Arizona 48 yard line with 3:10 left in the game.  The first play of the drive was a 19 yard connection to Cruz.  The next play covered 29 yards; Eli to Nicks.  Gilbride called two passes and killed all of 0.31 seconds off the clock.  It would be somewhat fair to say, by 0.51 Perry Fewell's unit bailed out Gilbride from bad timing again; like last week.  I know it sounds ridiculous to criticize a touchdown, but it ties in to Gilbride's methods which result in low times of possession.

In the game that we shouldn't have needed a fierce comeback because it was a game we shouldn't have been losing in the first place, the Giants have confirmed the next Big Blue dilemma which needs Coach Fewell's immediate attention moving forward.

All of a sudden, we can't stop the run!  Beanie Wells rushed 27 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.  And that comes on the heals of LeSean McCoy's 24 carry; 128 yard jaunt last week.  In both games, the Secondary played solidly.  Now get this; the twist.  In Week One, we held Washington's guy to 72 yards on 25 carries and had our Secondary lit up like a Bud-Light sign in a DC sports bar by Rex Grossman.  In Week Two, the Giants only gave up about 60 yards on the ground to the run challenged Rams.  But our Secondary still allowed Sam Bradford to look like the second coming of Vince Ferragamo.

If it's not one thing, it's the other.  But this time it's an ongoing issue.  It's the team's soft-white underbelly again.  Just beyond the Giants Defensive-Line lies a barren Blue tundra and the League's rushers are starting to run though it like gazelles.  It's not like Michael Boley; Mathias Kiwanuka; and a sprinkling of rookies aren't playing well and making their tackles; but the word pedestrian is fair.  Still, vast areas of space materialize within our mid-field for runners to exploit.  That has to be due in part to schemes as much as a lack of stand-out players.

Next on my list of things to do before we put the Cardinals game to bed; the Kevin Gilbride Report, and some talk about the NFC East standings.  Look for it.


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