The Giants came out and played as we suspected they might. Dallas was breathing fire. Eli threw 2 interceptions and the Gmen were 10 points behind. The Cowboys seemed to be fired up and although the Giants did gather themselves to score a touchdown, it was immediately nullified by a 93 yd return by Dez Bryant.
This was the test.
The Giants were on the verge of being blown out, or were they? This was the test I have waited six games to witness. I am pleased to say the Giants are for real.
Let's talk offense first.
We have been talking about the receivers for over a year now. They are dominant. To see all three explode in the same game is like watching the birth.
Hakeem Nicks is just a sensational football player. He is art in motion and his nine catches answered Britt in spades. Nicks made a series of graceful catches and one toe tap that was worthy of a ballet dancer against the sideline. The ESPN announcers were so enamored that they made the observation that Coughlin should throw the challenge flag whenever Nicks is shortchanged by the refs.
Smith too was simply superb. Eli threw one pass in the middle of two Dallas defenders and short but Smith pulled a David Tyree (less the helmet) and made the catch. Super Mario is super. Those yards after the catch on his TD were beautiful.
Ahmad Bradshaw was again reminiscent of Robert Newhouse and the Titans' Johnson. Brandon Jacobs fumbled again but is playing his best game. Coughlin takes responsibility for the turnovers, right? So why do we watch week after week how Bradshaw (who leads NFL in rushing BUT ALSO FUMBLES) and Jacobs can put the ball on the ground? Isn't Coughlin the guy who saved Tiki Barber, all but eliminating #21's fumbling?
Eli was the tale of two cities, giving the ball away on 3 INTs, yet playing at pro bowl caliber in between. He stepped up into the pocket beautifully vs Dallas, and that makes your linemen look better. For about 30 minutes during the game, nobody was reading the defense better in the NFL, not Peyton, not anyone. The difference between Eli and greatness is consistency.
The offensive line did the job. I don't like giving Gilbride too much credit, because he is such a terrible coordinator, but he really did a good job in scheming DeMarcus Ware out of the game. Having Shawn Andrews as the TE to help Diehl worked great. When he does that, he turns Diehl into another (Left) Guard, which is good for Diehl. If Gilbride is smart, he'll keep using Andrews the rest of the way in order to keep those speed rushers from undressing Diehl. If this team ever gets to the playoffs and then goes super, don't forget to spring Andrews loose in a route- he'll be wide open, uncovered in the end zone for the Vrabel easy score.
On the defensive side of the ball, the DL was a monster again. Osi and Tuck brought the heat, and Michael Boley delivered the blow to Romo. The fact that the Giants have “knocked out” five quarterbacks speaks to why they are winning. As elementary as it sounds, it is easy to win when you keep playing vs the backup QB every week.
Osi's story is the Giants' story. When he fell last season, the Giants fell. When he rose this season, the Giants rose. He may be a little immature with his childlike tantrums, but the players love him and respect him.
Grant was hobbled at the end of the fourth quarter. I warned about the risks and problems of using this guy as a "quasi-LBer." Grant was badly beaten by Witten, which showed the flaw of a receiver getting behind him. Witten gained an extra 15 or 20 yards unopposed. Good QBs would be wise to go after the Giants here.
I said all along that when the Giants were ready I would speak up and be the first one to admit I was wrong. The Giants have proven me wrong and I gladly fess up! Nonetheless, Big Blue still has issues. 5 turnovers, real problems on special teams, and letting a second string over- the-hill QB come back against you are reminders that the Giants became the bad Giants rather quickly. The game has become mediocre, with this year's edition the worst I have ever seen. Are the Giants a good team or are they playing against 3rd rate competition? The NFL is mostly 3rd rate.
Wherever the NFL is in 2010, let's acknowledge that the Giants are now for real, as they cannot be denied. No one is more surprised at this display of passionate, exciting football then me. I am pleased to be able to say sincerely that we have a legitimate contender. I said they still had to prove it and they have!!!!
Jerry Reese made a career full of free agent mistakes last year. The emergence of Michael Boley and the play of Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle have resurrected the magic of 2007.
Eli Manning played about 30 minutes of football as well as anyone has, ever. Nicks and Smith, with a dose of Mario, is as good as it gets. Andrews has played like the gift that he is and aside from the start and finish of last night's win, the Giants proved they can do what all good teams do. They came back and drove a stake into the Cowboys' heart!