From the desk of: DO IT FOR THE DUKE
NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL ~ Aftermath; Week Ten:
Big Blue Travels Three Thousand Miles Only to Fall One Play Short.
That's a long flight back from San Francisco to have to sit and ponder the what-ifs of this game. We were so close to tying Sunday's game only to have our last opportunity batted away. But closer to the truth is this game literally slid off the Giants' fingertips. Our receivers never could get a grip on that darn pigskin. Victor Cruz dropped an easy pass and Mario Manningham had a sure touchdown slip away. There was also a case of a receiver not completing his pass-route which led to an INT and another play where a receiver took a bad angle down field on a seam-pass. It's all in a day's loss.
It's wrong to single them out though. Overall the Giants didn't look very crisp yesterday. A west coast trip can do that. However no excuses here. Ultimately a loss is a loss. But regardless of how it looked to us on TV, they competed for sixty minutes and weren't outclassed at any point in the game. What makes this game a little confounding though is that we had more first downs; converted more third downs; had more total plays; had more total yardage; had more passing yardage; believe it or not we had more rushing yardage; and possessed the ball for almost thirty-five minutes.
So what happened? I'm not sure yet. I'll try and figure that out Tuesday and Wednesday. But it definitely involves going ice-cold in the red-zone.
In hindsight we know two fourth quarter 49er touchdowns scored within a minute of each other proved to be the difference in the game. But no Giant Fan was sensing the end was near until the end finally came in the form of Eli's batted pass. With under one minute left, we were right there. As a result, it's a tough loss to swallow.
I have a problem with that last draw play called just before the batted pass. The play was very predictable as Gilbride called for that same play several times over the course of Blue's final drive. Everyone saw that coming. So was the follow-up pass after Cruz' drop which resulted in one of Eli's INTs. Coach Gilbride doubled-up on the same call. Not there Coach! But picking on Coach Gilbride would just be petty this week. As futile as the Niners rendered Brandon Jacobs Sunday, Coach still did a decent job of sticking with the run. Do I have issues with a few more play selections? Sure I do. But for the most part, no - I don't. Coach Gilbride called a fair game. The bottom line is this was a good, hard-fought, close game that we came out on the short end of. As close as we came, Eli couldn't pull this one out for us; not this week; not this time; not again. San Francisco was tough; very tough; tougher than I gave them credit for. But the Giants had their chances; quite a few of them.
After matriculating the ball quite well, they kept having to settle for field goals. Some games are like that. Look no further than the Championship game between these two teams twenty years ago when Matt Bahr's five field goals kicked the Giants all the way to the Super Bowl.
But if I'm going to start anywhere regarding Sunday's loss, I'm going to pick up where I left off in my Game Preview regarding repeated miscommunication in the Secondary, and about employing man-coverage Sunday against the Niners
On a day we we were primarily playing man-coverage, Antrell Rolle and linebacker Greg Jones mis-communicated, and left TE-Vernon Davis all alone to score what proved to be the difference and winning touchdown. This is not the first time miscommunication in the Secondary hurt us. The difference this time was, it cost us.
I'll get deeper into last game in my next post. My last word tonight is the loss of Michael Boley, yet another Giants' injury, had a lot to do with San Francisco final scoring play as well.