In a game in which the Giants had to win, they defeated Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Snapping a FOUR game losing streak, the Giants are 7-6 and in first place in the NFC East. If it was not for the stellar play of Eli Manning and JPP, the Giants would have not won this game.
Eli Manning: Eli Manning has been amazing this season. Last night, once again, Eli put up gaudy numbers. Eli was 27 for 47 for 400 yards 2 touchdowns and one interception. All night long, Eli was hitting receivers in stride. Even with pressure in his face, Eli made big time stick throws. In my opinion, this was his finest regular season game. With the Giants trailing by 12 points late in the fourth quarter, he led the Giants on two touchdown drives. Think about how good he has been. The Giants have only one star skilled player. And that is Hakeem Nicks. Nicks had SEVEN catches for 154 yards. Yes, WR Victor Cruz has been a huge surprise. But he is not playing at Nicks' level. Eli does not have a quality TE. Indeed, like Cruz, Ballard has been impressive. But teams do not game plan for Ballard. Factor this with the Giants woeful rushing attack (worst in the NFL) and quite frankly, Eli has been remarkable. If the Giants win the NFC East, a strong case could be made for Eli as the MVP of the league.
JPP: America saw a star in the making. DE Jason Pierre-Paul was our defense. His outstanding performance reminded all of us of how Lawrence Taylor played the game. JPP was dominant. He was all over the field making plays. He led all Giants' defenders with 6 solo and 2 assisted tackles. He had two sacks. One of the sacks resulted in a safety. A forced fumble led to 3 points. And most importantly, with six seconds left in the contest, he blocked the game-tying field goal. With DE Osi Umenyiora out of this game with an injury and DE Justin Tuck playing limited snaps because of a plethora of injuries, JPP was our one-man wrecking crew. Like Manning, if JPP has three more superb games and the Giants win the NFC East, JPP very well could be the NFL's defensive player of the year.
Giants offensive line and Brandon Jacobs: This is a huge uptick. The Giants makeshift offensive line was able to open holes for Brandon Jacobs and pass protect well. In recent weeks, Jacobs erratic play appeared to be an indicator that his career was going downhill. With last night's performance against Dallas, Jacobs quelled his critics. Jacobs had 19 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns. The tiptoeing was gone and the North-South running was back. Jacobs also had his longest run of the year, a 19 yard gain. Speaking of making gains, the Giants offensive line has been so much better. With William Beatty and David Baas out of the starting lineup, the Giants have made strides. Is it a coincidence? Time will tell. But with Diehl moving back to tackle, Mitch Petrus at left guard, and Kevin Boothe at center, the Giants have had two consecutive games in which they rushed for over 100 yards. Furthermore, the pass protection was excellent. The Cowboys had some pressures but ended with zero sacks. Eli's pocket presence in feeling the rush has been fantastic.
Take away the play of JPP, and this Giants defense is the worst in the league. How many times do they give up big plays? How many blown coverages? How many times are guys wide open in the middle of the field? Time and again it is the same thing. It is the same thing over and over again. Under Coughlin without Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants' defenses have been putrid. When Tim Lewis was defensive coordinator his defenses could not get big stops. Same thing with Bill Sheridan. And now Perry Fewell is an abomination too. After Bill Sheridan was dispatched after the miserable 2009 season, Fewell was hired as his replacement. When hired, Fewell said this about his expectations about his defense. “Disciplined, attacking, aggressive, eleven hats to the football." Since he has been the coordinator, I have not seen a Fewell defense play with intensity for an entire game. Our credo here at UltimateNYG is Defense wins championships. Despite Eli Manning's heroics and JPP's emergence as a play maker, this Giants team is not going anywhere unless they get their defensive problems fixed. But at this point in the season, it is highly unlikely Fewell will get things corrected.
Kevin Gilbride. Early in this game, the Giants had an opportunity to take over this game. But what got in the way? Kevin Gilbride. The Giants red zone offense was horrible. After Hakeem Nicks made a spectacular 64 yard catch, the Giants had the ball on the Cowboys four yard line. What does Gilbride call? A fade to Nicks. Incomplete. Then he calls a fade to Beckum. Same result. And on 3rd and goal, a draw play gained NEGATIVE one yard. The Giants had to settle for a FG. On their next red zone possession, the Giants had the ball on the Dallas TWELVE yard line. On first down, Gilbride called a run. Jacobs fights for 3 yards. On second down, he called another run. Jacobs is stoned at the line of scrimmage. No gain. Then on third down, the Giants get a gift from the referees. On a pass which was uncatchable, one of the officials flagged Cowboys defender Gerald Sensabaugh for pass interference. Without question, Gilbride was bailed out by the officials. It was a borderline call. Thankfully with an assist by the refs, the Giants scored a TD. Then on their third red zone offensive possession of the first half, the Giants had to settle for a FG. For whatever reason, Gilbride does not use deception as a weapon. And we have talked about this ad nauseum. In these three red zone possessions, Gilbride did not use any kind of misdirection. Recall our Rules for Winning in the NFL- Number EIGHT: Do the unpredictable. Once you are predictable you are dead. Because of his feeble-mindedness, the Giants scored one touchdown and two field goals.
Two crucial plays:
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's errant incomplete pass to Miles Austin. On this third down play, if Romo throws an accurate pass, the Cowboys win the game and end the Giants season.
Mario Manningham's dropped touchdown pass. Yes. Why was this crucial? Because, ironically, if he held onto the ball, more time would have been left on the play clock. Certainly, the way this game was going, if Romo had more time, Dallas could of scored a game winning touchdown. Or they could have gotten into closer FG range.
With this win, the Giants improve to 2-2 against NFC East opponents, 4-6 in the NFC conference, and in first place in NFC East with a 7-6 record. Now, the Giants control their own destiny. If they win their remaining three games, they will make the playoffs.
Re length of time Bradshaw was benched: maybe there was more to it than violating curfew. He might have come in wrecked that night. Maybe, too, as alluded to by use of the word "principles," Coughlin was harkening back to Bradshaw's college days. He had not one, but multiple crimes, and one of them was sealed -- I always wondered what that was. Whether that was the intent or not, by benching him Coughlin was watching out for Bradshaw the person as well as Bradshaw the football player.
Great comments on this site. Seems like there is general agreement – indeed it’s pretty obvious – that the Jints have a very good passing game, inconsistent and overall all not very good running game depending on the OL, excellent two minute offense, poor defense and horrible two minute D. So here’s the question, which came up last week v. GB and again last night which IMO is critical if they are to win crunch games:
If Eli is driving down for the tying or go-ahead touchdown in the last 2 minutes, what is the offense’s responsibility to run the clock down to deny the opposing QB the ball? Last week several people rejected the question outright, since the job is to score the TD, especially if a TD is necessary. This is conventional football wisdom, but in the new NFL and NYG world where offense dominates and defense disappears in the last 2 minutes, does the offense have to win the game by not only scoring but leaving less than 30 sec. on the clock. Be honest, was anyone not worried after they left Rodgers a full minute? Or even when they left Romo 45 seconds? Is it a football commandment that the game is placed in the hands of Aaron Ross, Jacquian Williams and Will Blackmon? Can the Giants really win crunch games against GB, NO or anyone else in the playoffs – or even Mark Sanchez – if they don’t protect their defense? The comment making Manningham's DROPPED TD A KEY PLAY FOR THE JINTSs said it all. Do we have to rely on a screwup or can we plan clock management a little more deliberately?
And here’s the real gulper – how many downs do you blow on first and goal from the 3 to take an extra 40 seconds off the clock? Or first and 10 from the 20? Do you avoid scoring a TD and play for a first down? Does it depend whether the opposition is green and gold, red and gold or green and white? Whether the margin after the TD is 0, 2, 3, 5 or 7?
TC would probably never do anything like this because it violates everything he believes in. But Eli just might if he had to to win the game. It’s pretty clear that giving Rodgers, Brees, and a whole bunch of others the ball with a minute + left against the Giant D, at least this year and especially now with Osi still out and Tuck still banged up, is an open invitation for disaster
Before I make this point, let me be clear that I agree with everyone about the state our defense - abysmal - fewell needs to go, etc.
However, wouldn't it be nice if we could play with a 2+ TD lead once in awhile? It seems like the red zone calling really hurts us in the first half, and the point I'm making is that with a weak defense, we could really use that lead so that defense can play from in front for awhile.
haha love that pic of JJ. but we were lucky as heck to win that miracle. happy as a clam as they say, but i can never feel comfortable with any lead, though i have mucho confidence in the offense to drive for the winning score.
as far as coordinators, sorry to say, i'd pick gilbride over fewell cuz our defense absolutely stinks, and that doesnt make any sense since we have way more talent than to be one of the worst in the league. i remember the buffalo blogger guy saying he liked fewell much better as a HC than DC because he was very good as a motivator but not so much as X and O's. yes, it does seem that way, regardless of all the injuries. we need a diff DC.
yes, jacobs is playing with the old fire, but that is what happens went you actually have a hole to run through--you makes plays and that gets you fired up. hard to get fired up when you keep running into the backs of your OL 2-3 yards deep in your backfield. you know, i could not understand why the SF OL was not good last year cuz they had so many high draft picks with talent. now i wonder if baas wasnt good at calling out adjustments. we havent been able to run when he has been in there. we know that boothe is very smart and will make the correct calls, so we put up with some questionable snaps since he only started playing C last year. also diehl at LG hasnt been so great, but at LT he is a good run blocker. snee wasnt playing so great either, but he seems better more recently--wonder if that is injury related. petrus has been a pleasant surprise.mckenzie has played way, but his contract is up. there are a lot of questions on the OL going forward.
Here's something I haven't seen discussed very much. Why is it so difficult for this team to run a screen pass? Every other team seems to be able to run an effective screen on 3-4 plays per game (at least). Why can't the Giants? It seems like every screen play they try blows up and result in a loss or minimal gain. Is that just my imagination or do others feel that way too? Is it just another symptom of Gillbride's inability to disguise plays?
Great comeback. I was among those who thought the Dez Bryant TD was game over. But I never shut off a Giants game even if it's 49-0, so I kept watching.
JPP is an absolute monster. However other than him, as I commented in the other topic during the game, we may have the worst D in the league.
I blame Fewell for the continued confusion in the secondary. Maybe the players are 'at fault' on a case by case basis, but when it becomes a plague (or a cancer, like injuries), you have to look at the coaches.
I agree with Andy. If we reach at least the divisional round, and keep Coughlin but fire Fewell and replace him with someone way better (preferably Spags), I could live with that even though I still can't stand Gilbride the strobe (big regression from him in this game).
Eli is a monster. He has an outside shot at breaking the current all time yardage record (though it's like somebody else will outdo him this year). His only real bad throw was the pick Newman dropped (whew).
Great summary. Was I the only one who gave up hope after Dez Bryant scored to make it a 12 point advantage with 5 minutes left? I freely admit I thought that was the game.
Eli played an amazing game for sure. And JPP, wow. But like Glenn said, the defense was just embarrassing. They have GOT to get more pressure on the QB. Problem is, they don't trust the secondary (for good reason) so they rarely rush the QB with more than 3 or 4 players. Too bad, when the Giants have probably one of their best set of players on the offensive side of the ball, the defense is such a mess. Like has also been said, I fear that making the playoffs will save Fewell's job. Both coordinators bring this team down. Those horrible play calls by Gilbride in the red zone could have easily cost the Giants the game.
But today, I am thankful for a win in Dallas!
(3) The running game has definitely been improved by Diehl's moving back to LT and Petrus playing LG. And Boothe playing center, ironically. The reason seem to be that they're getting more push at the line cause they're bigger and stronger. But I can't compliment Diehl on his pass blocking last night. Ware and whoever else was rushing on that side bascially either blew him back and got around him with ease. Credit the running backs for (generally) good blocking and Eli for outstanding pocket presence. Nevertheless, the two offensive tackle positions are now a definitely weak spot--and that spells problems.
(4) Finally, to the defense. It's appalling. Forget the schemes, the strategy, all of that--what we have here is a basic failure to mold and teach and get players on the same page. You look at what Phillips is doing with Houston's defense, minus their best (at least one of their best) players on D in Mario Williams, and you see how much of a difference in football over and above all other sports good, smart coaching can make. How are veterans like Webster and Rolle confused as to who's covering whom, whether they're in man or zone, two weeks in a row? This is not to let the front office off the hook. They've failed miserably in neglecting the LB position. But there's enough there to be far more competitive than they've been. It's gotten to the point I'm surprised when they're able to stop a team on 3rd down. That's pathetic.
So of course I want the Giants to make the playoffs and win the division. My concern is that if they do the ownership and front office will see no reason to make a change, will chalk up the poor defensive play to injuries and what not, and we'll have to deal with this for another year. Fewell must go--even if the head coach stays. And if Spags gets let go, the NYG must go all out to get him back as coordinator.
Excellent review--always look forward to reading these, win or lose. A few points:
(1) The play-calling in the red zone for most of the game was indeed dreadful. Eli's incredible success running the no huddle makes me wonder how much of it is the pace and how much of it is the fact that Eli is more autonomous. Honestly, I wish they would let him free-lance more, especially when they're knocking on the door. But the predictability...sheesh. The number of times they wheel out the shotgun draw! Generally, for that play to work, you need superb blocking, a running back that can quickly find the hole and weave between the tackles--but above all you need surprise. Because it's a play where the running back is basically starting from a static position rather than building up speed to take the handoff. Yes, it worked on the 2-point conversion at the end, but at that point, I think anything would have worked on Dallas' defense.
(2) There's been a lot written about the Giants' ability to run last night. But one of the consequences of that success seems to have been overlooked. The Giants won the time of possession last night by ten minutes. This was HUGE, because Dallas would probably have tacked another 14 points or so on the board if the Giants weren't able to sustain long drives.
@ultimatenyg I agreed with you on TC not allowing AB to play. I disagree with the length of time. He did not have to keep him out an entire half. That is what upset me. In fact, I'm pretty sure that when Plaxico was disciplined from Tom "twice" I might add, it was for only one Quarter. So, I guess we will agree to disagree here.
That was a great recap Glenn. Well done. There is such a dichotomy with this team. The pattern on offense was that when the Giants went w urgency and hurry-up, they were able to move the ball into the end zone. Gilbride HAS TO RECOGNIZE THIS. So don't do it all the time, because that will hurt your defense, but pick it up and get the offense to flow better. Eli will take care of the rest.
Forget Tebow time, as I tweeted more than a few times this year, it is Eli time.
I maintain the Giants still have a small chance at a title this year, but this is only because the entire NFL does not play very good defense. Maybe w the Steelers getting healthy, that will change, but otherwise, it is still open. But when you think about Newman dropping a pick 6 that Matthews does not, the Packers will be hard to beat. Not impossible, but hard.
I tell you, if we got to the divisional round, kept Tom, and replaced sh*t Fewell with Spags, I could live with that. Oh, and a lobotomy for the strobe named Gilbride. And a LBer in the draft from Reese.
Andy...A great summary that I totally agree with. A thrilling game and yes JPP had an "All World-All-Time Game Performance" that reminded me of a game that LT played against the Saints with only one arm. Having said that...Our Defense Stinks!!! We can't stop anyone. I'd say we are the worst D in the league exceptt for new England. The Cowboys stopped themselves last night. Our Offense is keeping us alive.
The one point you did not address was Ahmad Bradshaw & Tom Coughlin. We all are surprised to hear that Bradshaw would not start. First of all, TC is correct to discipline him. I turned to my son and said OK he probably will miss the first series. Then I said, well it probably will be the first quarter. When the 2nd Qtr begins and I see he is not in there, I am now getting angry. We are in an elimination game and he is still not playing him. This is where I disagree with Tom. Our offense needed him in the game but he is still trying to prove a point. Maybe I'm looking at this too selfishly. TC, you better thank JPP because if he doesn't have that game, we are talking about the end of your career as the Giants' head coach. Am I wrong? Thoughts?
Agreed on all counts.
Those coaches need to go. Killdrive was an abomination. I thought the couple of plays before Manning INT were just as atrocious as those you talk about.
Anyway, they won. Well Manning, Nicks and Pierre-Paul did, with help from the line and Jacobs.
Everything else ...
Oh, no, good special teams again, even if Thomas could have make it even better. Improvement was much needed there and we got some.
We're not the Bears or - insert great ST there - but we're ok and that's huge. Let's hope we get better when Izzo moves to ST coordinator and Quinn is shown the door.
I wonder if they'll reinsert Baas if/when he is healthy. I hope not.
@RickH Was wondering about that during the game.
Much coordination is needed and the shuffling on the OL isn't helping. But there has to be something else because this issue goes way back.
From Andy about moving the chains. The screen pass is a ballet, it requires a tremendous amount of practice, acting and timing. So you have to be dedicated to it in order to make it work. And if not, at least do the designed Flare, which is a screen with the pulled OL escort.
Last effective screen. Bradshaw's TD against the Eagles at the Linc. Gilbride called a screen. This play worked. Again, Andy has been harping on this going back to 2007. In the second half of this game, the Giants had two 3rd and 2s and a 3rd and 4. These are considered makeable 3rd downs. Guess what? We failed to convert on all three. On each of the 3rd and 2 attempts, Gilbride called running plays. And on the 3rd and 4, Eli flings a bomb to MM. This fell incomplete. Good coordinators mix it up. If he used more deception, this offense would be more potent. ie the fake action fake in the Cardinals game. This resulted in a TD to Ballard.
Agreed. Not sure if it's the design, the execution, or both. But you're right.
Unlike myself, you have stuck by Eli all along. I have to give you credit. Good job on your part. He has elevated his game. And Eli has exceeded my expectations. He is no longer Eli the Inaccurate.
When Dez scored to put the Cowboys up by 12, I too thought this game and season was over. I began writing the Coughlin epitaph. Instead our Captain Comeback Eli Manning pulled this one out. And we have a happy and not morose Monday morning.
@jfostergiants The more I think about it, the more I ask myself what can Fewell do ?
No matter what he dials up, it fails. 3 man rush, 4 man rush, blitzes, zone, man2, 1 deep S look ...
Maybe we just don't have the personel.
@dbs50 Back in August I wrote a post called Leveraging ELI:
I questioned the lack of rhythm they consistently demonstrate over the last several seasons. Eli has made some great audible calls at the line in no huddle such as the draw last week for the 2 point conversion. There was one yesterday as well but can't recall specifically. They do need to give him more autonomy in spots to make calls as he has a better read on the defense than a guy calling plays on the sidelines.
Haley was just fired as HC of Chiefs! Wow! Here's a guy I would drool over as our OC.
@I Bleed Blue I respectfully disagree. I have no problem with a coach disciplining a player. Otherwise the inmates run the asylum. I give Tom credit for keeping Bradshaw in line.
@I Bleed Blue You're right about Bradshaw, I think I wrote a comment during the game.
I'm all for disciplining players, but come on ! This was the most important game of the season, a must win and you keep your best RB on the sideline because he broke a curfew or whatnot ?!
We got lucky as Jacobs was having his season high yesterday.
@CommanderShepard idk, but with the contract baas signed i would say yes. what is going on with him? maybe this neck/head injury has been affecting his play the entire year. i dont have a good feeling about it--the gmen have been very close lipped about it. hope it isnt something crazy.