Gain Higher Ground
NEW YORK GIANTS: Two botched 4th quarter drives in each of the first two games of the season are all that prevented the Giants from a 4-0 start.
The Giants still kinda/almost folded like a cheap poker table in Sunday's 4th quarter again, but composed themselves in time to close the deal and get their record back to par.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, lost Sunday night in New Orleans, and Washington defeated the Eagles creating a 3-way tie for the division lead. Such as life in the NFC East.
The Giants now have a clean slate with which to restart their season on the right foot.
Their upcoming schedule couldn't have been more accommodating. They host the disintegrating 49ers next week. After which, they'll head to Philadelphia in Week Six. Week Seven will then feature a Week One rematch against the Cowboys at Met Life Stadium.
If the Giants take care of business, the division would effectively become theirs to lose.
Forgive Me Duke, For I Have Strayed
I admit it. I fretted this game in Buffalo and picked against the Giants.
To my chagrin, Sunday's overall performance and victory over the Bills certainly puts things in a different perspective, doesn't it...
But, after considering...
* Victor Cruz' imminent return,
* Dallas will be without Dez Bryant and Tony Romo for a lengthy portion of the season,
* Washington's QB situation is as unsettled as Greenland,
* the Eagles are now 1-3,
...and, in the aftermath of beating Buffalo despite being a 6 1/2 point underdog, I'm still conflicted between feeling relieved and rejoicing Big Blue's return to zero, or, revisiting why this team should be 4-0 this season.
I ended last week by saying Buffalo would provide a true measure of the Giants offense, and the results are in.
Eli Manning was 20 of 35, for 212 yards, and connected on 3 touchdown passes to Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, and to Rashad Jennings out of the backfield on a well called audible that went for 51 yards.
Manning, however, threw his first INT of the season. After leading the league for a third time in 2013 with 27 picks, he reduced that number to 14 during his first year under O.C. Ben McAdoo, and as stated, has just one so far this season. That said, the play selection has not been as risk/reward as when Gilbride called plays.
The Giants rushed 25 times for 94 yards. Andre Williams ran with particular physicality, gaining 35 tough yards on 11 carries.
Overall, the Giants gained 303 yards from scrimmage.
The Giants 25.5 points per game ranks 9th in the NFL, and 5th in the NFC. They are #24 in NFL rushing, #17 in passing yardage, and #22 in yards per game.
Like Night and Day
The Giants won a Super Bowl with Perry Fewell only after he relented from an extraordinarily complex (stupid) system which inspired hesitation and oft times mass confusion in the secondary.
That defense turned on a dime in time for the playoffs only after Fewell simplified, and allowed Corey Webster/Aaron Ross to play man coverage. That team also had a pass rush, just saying....
Perry Fewell/Giants Defense vs. Run: (2010-2014)
- 2014 - #30
- 2013 - #14
- 2012 - #25
- 2011 - #19
- 2010 - #8
Steve Spagnuolo is already getting far more out of far less than Perry Fewell previously could from his various (more talented) cast members.
What Coach Spags has lacked in personnel (and a pass rush), he's made up for through creativity and aggression.
His improvised blend of swarm/bend-don't-break ranks top five in giveaway/takeaway. Meanwhile, the Giants have allowed the 7th most yards in the NFL and the NFC's 2nd most, yet rank 13th in the NFL and 7th in the NFC in total points allowed.
The Giants are #1 against the run, as Buffalo found out. They are still the only team to yield less than 300 yards (279) rushing this season. They've only allowed 69.8 rushing yards per game.
The Giants allowed Buffalo 313 total yards, but only 10 points. Somehow, Rex Ryan authorized a one-back attack. In any event, the Giants provided no quarter for the NFL's #6 rated run game. Karlos Williams rushed 18 times and was limited to a mere 40 yards.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor provided Buffalo with their only other ground gains, scrambling 6 times for 15 yards.
Here's to a better next quarter of the season.