The Giants won last night. Despite being outplayed by the Rams in the first half, the Giants capitalized off of Rams miscues. And this was the difference in the game. The Giants jumped ahead of the Rams 14-6 and never looked back. Glad to see the Giants in the win column. They even their record to 1-1 heading into their much anticipated matchup against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
It was not 'pretty' football.
The play of the game was not pretty for the Rams, but for the Giants, it was a win. Vigilant Giants linebacker Michael Boley aggressively scooped a live ball off the turf and scampered to the house for a touchdown. This was a 10 point swing, as the Rams were at the Giants 25 and driving before the lateral. The play put the Giants up 14-6 and turned out to be the knockout punch. Prior to this play, the Rams were in control of this game. Thanks to Boley, this took the air out of the Rams. The Rams were never able to recover.
Poor red zone execution, turnovers, and penalties prevented the Rams from winning this game. After Rams safety Quintin Mikell intercepted an Eli Manning pass with relative ease, the Rams drove down the field. But once they got into the red zone, the drive stalled. As a result of the Giants defense stiffening, the Rams had to settle for a field goal. Subsequently, the Rams had another drive snarled by the Giants defense. Once again, the Rams had to settle for three. In this game the Rams were 1 for 4 in red zone efficiency. And on the season the Rams are a putrid 20 percent. Even though the Rams are struggling in the red zone, credit has to be given to the Giants defense. On the first red zone trip, the Rams had second and goal on the Giants one yard line. Rookie Giants linebacker Greg Jones shot the gap. Great recognition by the rookie. His tackle for a one yard loss was an outstanding play. Then on third and goal, the Giants were able to put pressure on Bradford. Because of the pressure, Bradford's rushed pass fell incomplete. Losing teams kick FGs on road, and the Rams would kick 3 of them this night. The Giants defense bent poorly at times, but did not break.
The Giants got on the board with a pretty set of catches by Nicks, set up by another Rams miscue, this time a muffed punt by rookie Greg Salas.
After the Giants took the 7-3 lead, on the ensuing possession, the Rams were able to move the ball on the Giants defense. But when they got into the red zone, the Giants defense rose to the occassion. On second and third and two from the Giants seven yard line, Bradford's passes were incomplete. Although it was controversial, Giants safety Deon Grant faked an injury to slow down the no-huddle. It was actually humorous. Two NY Giants players feigned injury at the same moment, only to have the other get back up when the work was done. According to the press tweets, a spry Grant "jogged" off the field during the tv timeout. The Giants caught their breath, literally and figuratively.
Special teams had their own adventures for the Giants last night, but this time they were the Grade B variety. Stupid penalties in Q4 and one poor kickoff coverage return marred an otherwise positive night for Quinn's much-maligned unit.
There were plenty of Good Eli and Bad Eli sightings. We'll leave all of you to comment on that perennial hot button.
The Giants run defense was solid, putting Bradford into many passing situations. The Giants pass defense was leaky at best, surrendering 331 yards to Bradford. When Bradford had time, he was very good, hitting many open receivers. A few ill-timed drops by his depleted WR corps prevented even more damage.
In the first half, the Giants 3rd down conversions reached ~1-7, before finishing the game 5-15. We are no fans of Kevin Gilbride, but his playcalling was very good in spots, calling some play action on first down that gave Eli Manning a few enormous opportunities. We saw some slants, screens and draws that were very effective. On one screen, Baas pulled and made a pretty block on MLB Laurinaitis that sprung Bradshaw on a nice catch and run, allowing the Giants to take control of the game.
Tom Coughlin made some smart challenges.
Hixon made a highlight film TD grab that sealed the win.
Tuck was typically amazing. In the second half he simply took over.
The Rams shot themselves in the foot with penalties and other mishaps, but the Giants get credit for collecting on the gifts. Boley must be given a huge thumbs up for quickly and alertly going after the fumbled lateral, because the quickness allowed for him to not only pick up the ball uncontested but also to run all the way back 65 yards for the score. One second of hesitation and it becomes a completely different play. The Giants will need a lot more of that veteran awareness to win next week, but at least this win is a step in the right direction.