NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
NEW YORK GIANTS
San Francisco 49ers
NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: A Still Growing BIG BLUE Wave of Destruction Spotted Off The California Coast.
Perry Fewell is in Position to Place an Indelible Stamp on
a Whole New BIG BLUE Demolition Crew.
N.Y.G. 29 - N.Y.J. 14
N.Y.G. 31 - DAL 14
N.Y.G. 24 - ATL 2
N.Y.G. 37 - G.B. 20
Going back to the Jets game, the New York Giants have outscored their opponents by a combined 121-50 score. Obviously, the other way of saying that is the Giants have held their opponents to fifty points in their last four games. That averages to 12.5 points allowed per opponent. Say hello to the new "Crazed Dogs" of Winter.
The Giants have slowly and methodically regained their Defensive dominance and poise via health, cohesiveness, and adjustments made by the adaptable Defensive Coordinator; Perry Fewell. In the previous four games prior to the Jets (WSH; DAL; G.B.; N.O.) the Giants gave up (144 points) an average of thirty-six points. What started when the Saints marched over us with forty-nine points, dropped to thirty-eight points against the Packers. That number dropped to thirty-four points against Dallas. And the number dropped again to twenty-three against Washington. The Jets game followed and here we are today.
On the Defensive Front, since returning to action Osi Umenyiora has no doubt had a tremendous impact on this Defense. He had two of the Giants four sacks against Green Bay. Justin Tuck, is finally healthy again but lately has only provided flashes of his former dominating self. Perhaps that changes next week because he's close; really close. And looking ahead to Sunday, Rex Smith doesn't present the bi-pedal problems Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers do; ...or did. However what we view as a 90% Justin Tuck is still more than most of the League can handle.
Jason Pierre Paul has been getting banged up these last few games but the kid is holding up very well and remains highly effective against the run when he isn't getting sacks. With all his team mates behind him again, JPP may be a force in trying to stop Frank Gore this coming Sunday. And the emergence of Chris Canty continues. He says he's OK and Sunday will not be an issue. Good! Because his game is coming on like a hurricane. Most importantly heading into Sunday's game, this unit has all it's depth back. Dave Tollefson and Linval Joseph are turning into big blocks of granite in the middle. Even Rocky Bernard is getting a piece of the action.
Now let's eliminate any doubt about what they've been doing together. The Giants' Defensive Line battered Marc Sanchez and basically made him give up. But many naysayers said that was due to Brian Schottenheimer's play calling. The Giants similarly battered Tony Romo into submission. But the naysayers said Tony Romo wasn't able to do more with a swollen throwing hand. So, the Giants then proceeded to batter Matt Ryan and effectively made him quit also. And the Giant detractors said "Matty Ice" wasn't up to the challenge of the playoffs. Then this last Sunday in Green Bay, the Giants held the offensive juggernaut; Aaron Rodgers of the Twenty-Fourth and a Half CENTURY! - to twenty points and under three-hundred yards passing. Along the way they sacked Rodgers four times, induced an interception, forced him to fumble, and flushed him from the pocket all night long. Because of that, the Giants turned him into Green Bay's leading rusher. The naysayers still insist the Packers dropped too many passes. But how do you explain ALL of them, to include Aaron Rodgers, having a bad day together? There is no answer why Rodgers was so off his mark as well other than a recent lack of games played. So what next? Credit the Giants for sound pressure, coverage, and tackling.
Unlike the last game we played against the Packers, while Aaron Rodgers did in fact inflict damage with his legs again, he still wasn't about to take any chances this time around with a healthy Michael Boley patrolling the middle and leading the team in tackles along with another pair of resurgent Dogs..., Antrel Rolle, and Deon Grant. The three led the team and accounted for twenty-three hard hitting tackles. Michael Boley got the other two Giants sacks of Aaron Rodgers and recorded a sack against the Falcons too. Additionally, in consecutive weeks, he made Dustin Keller; Jason Witten; Tony Gonzalez; and Jermichael Finely all disappear. And if you remember his dive over the pile to stop Tony Romo, then you know he's had three dominating performances now. The Giant Linebackers once again led a group of Safeties and the Line in limiting Green Bay's backfield to seventy-six yards rushing before taking Rodgers' yardage into account. Since Michael Boley came back from a hamstring injury in the first Packers game, the Giants have effectively shut-down all attempts to run against them. And the fact that Michael Boley is getting sacks shows Coach Fewell is indeed being more aggressive with the pass rush now that he has most of his Blue henchmen back.
The Giants' Secondary has not given up the deep play that plagued them from Week One all the way through Week Fifteen. Since then, not only have there been few down field completions against them, there have been even fewer pass attempts made against them. Quarterbacks are pumping, double-pumping, and triple-pumping their way into trouble waiting for something to open up down field. And to the credit of Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Deon Grant, Antrel Rolle; and Kenny Phillips, it just hasn't happened like opposing QB's were hoping. In this latest Giant Lambeau Field conquest, it can be argued the pass rush rode the backs of the Secondary. Marc Sanchez was just an all out mess. But Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and most recently Aaron Rodgers, all took very good and long looks down field, saw nothing, then ran for their lives.
It was recently revealed and reported in the tabloids that ever since the first Packers game, Antrel Rolle said he and the Secondary reinvested their efforts and routinely met for weekly pre-game prep pow-wows where ever they could on their own. Their efforts are paying off at the best time possible. Theoretically, the biggest threats to the Giants; Rodgers and Brees; are behind them or in Drew Brees' case, already gone. Next up is Alex Smith; the guy who led a tremendous comeback against the mighty Saints, and who beat Drew Brees at his own game. - And who incidentally beat us in a well played game by both teams back in Week Ten.
Not incidentally, Perry Fewell has long turned away from the Turtle Shell zone-coverage he devised when both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck were injured and out of action at the same time. The new system left the Secondary admittedly in a trance because there were too many options they needed to think through. - Hence, the mass confusion we were witnessing on a near weekly basis; replete with blown assignments and receivers with nary a Giant within twenty yards of the play. Today, man-coverage and good ol' cover-two is back and working to a tee.
Lastly, many didn't care to understand why the blitz disappeared from our game plan. The health of Michael Boley, Osi Umenyiora; and Justin Tuck were at the heart of that matter. All that is behind us now. The Blitz stands poised to ride in like the cavalry just in time for the NFC Championship Game.
But that's because everything else is now working again as well. As in Perry FeWELL.