The Giants defense. Inexplicably, Eli Manning continues to throw interceptions. In the first quarter, his two picks put the onus on the Giants defense. And give tremendous credit to this defense for keeping the game close. Off of the two turnovers, Minnesota scored THREE points. In addition to keeping the game close, this defense shut down Adrian Peterson. Peterson rushed for 26 yards on 14 carries. With Peterson stuck in idle, the Minnesota offense sputtered all night long. An unsung hero on this Giants defensive unit is defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Cofield continues to have a very solid season. Cofield had two tackles, an assist, and one sack. Besides Cofield, DT Rocky Bernard also played a very good game. Bernard registered four tackles and one sack. Having our defensive tackles shedding blocks and making tackles makes our defensive even more formidable. On the night, the defense had four sacks and created one turnover.
Having Hakeem Nicks back is huge. Nicks' ability to make plays is a game changer for this offense. With 1:33 left in the first half, his 30 yard reception was critical in keeping this drive going. This catch was the turning point of this game. Seven plays later, the Giants scored a touchdown which put them up for good at 14-3.
The Giants offensive line opened up holes for Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Earlier this week, John Madden lauded the play of the Giants offensive line.
“Despite all the injuries, the Giants offensive line continues to get stronger as the year goes on,” Madden said in the release. “New York had benefited from the quality of depth on its offensive line. No matter who is playing, these guys have provided both the blocking needed for the tandem of Bradshaw and Jacobs to run effectively, while also protecting Eli Manning and giving him the time to pick apart the opposing secondary. In order to be a successful team in the NFL, you have to have quality depth. The Giants offensive line is proving that this season.”Both Giants running backs gained a total of 219 yards on the ground. While Eli appeared to be a somnambulist tonight, Jacobs was a catalyst which helped propel this offense out of a stupor. With Will Beatty in as an extra blocker, Jacobs ripped off a 73 yard run. Jacobs scamper set up the Giants first score. Four plays later, Jacobs scored on a one yard plunge which gave the Giants a 7-3 lead. Jacobs would finish the game with a total of 116 yards on the night. Moreover, Ahmad Bradshaw was even more impressive. Bradshaw had a total of 103 yards on 11 carries. His 48 yard touchdown run put an exclamation point on this game.
Running statistic analysis from Peter Furman:
If we takeaway his 48 yard run, Bradshaw's average per rush would still be a gaudy 5.5 yards per pop. On the other hand, if we subtract Jacobs' long gain, Jacobs' average would plummet to 3.3 yards per carry. This is important to note because Bradshaw has been consistent
Eli Manning. His two interceptions put the Giants in a hole. His mental lapses have to stop. After being in this league for seven years, it is ludicrous to see him making these errors time and again. After 13 games, Eli has thrown a league lead 19 interceptions. Against the hapless Vikings, Eli finished the night with 22 completions out of 37 attempts for a meager 187 yards. His 4.8 yards per pass play is well below the defining number of 7 yards per pass play. Former head coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy said,
"I know most people look at rushing (yardage) and the number of rushes,"
Dungy said. "We didn't want to be where we were, but there are times that can be
misleading ... In the long run, you're going to have to throw the ball
efficiently to win in the NFL. That's just how the game is now."
Third down conversions: The Giants finished a putrid 3 for 13 on third down conversions. This is an abysmal 23 percent conversion rate. This tell us the Giants did not sustain drives. All three of their scoring drives were the result of big plays. ( Jacobs 73 yard run, Bradshaw's 48 yard touchdown, and Nicks 30 yard catch). Not all coaches define them the same, but in general, it's a run of at least 12
yards and a pass play of at least 20. The bigger the chunks of yardage a team
can gain, the fewer chances there are to mess up on a long drive.
To sum up, the Giants took care of business and won. Now it is time to bring on the Eagles.