What would you say if we were told before the game started that these would be the following stats:
|3rd down efficiency||5-11||5-13|
|DEF/Special Teams TDs||1||1|
|Time of Possession||29:42||30:18|
Pretty tight game, eh?
What if we shared these stats instead?
This blog is not a stat sheet blog. But we try to analyze the team to figure out why the team is winning and losing. The Giants have done a lot of both this year, unfortunately, leading to a 7-5 record going into this game. In the past 4 games, the Giants went 1-3, and the reason why is that they simply did not play enough good football. Versus the Steelers, they did not tackle well and did not play w urgency. Vs the Bengals, they did not play with energy. Vs the Redskins they committed too many penalties. Versus the Saints, the Giants defense did not do a lot of good things, but when you combine an offense that was able to move the ball, a 4-2 turnover margin, less penalties and a special teams unit that undressed the opposition, it was a strong win. The Saints are as enigmatic in 2012 as the Giants are, but the Giants have enough order this year plus a home field to get the W.
Antrel Rolle and David Wilson made impact play after impact play. It took too long for the Specials coach of NO to adjust and stop kicking to Wilson. Even Jerrel Jernigan got into the act with a great return of his own. For his part, David Wilson has been ripping off many great kickoff returns this year, but so many were negated by the other 10 men committing penalty after penalty. This time the penalties were cut out and each run was able to stand. If this happened vs WAS (2 Cordle penalties negating huge returns), the Giants could have easily won the game. If I am facing the Giants, I am very concerned about this rookie named Wilson killing me on specials. He is that good. He runs full speed through holes and he is hard to catch. This "Hidden Yardage" is not so hidden when the Giants AVERAGED 48 yards per kickoff return. Very big stuff.
Rookies are very big stuff in the NFL. We have been talking on this NY Giants blog for many years about how important it is to have rookies get you over the top. In today's Salary Cap League, you better get meaningful contributions from your rookies because these are the cheaper players making your roster that WILL be called upon to fill in when veterans go down. In 2007, it was Ross filling in and getting meaningful playing time, Boss lighting it up when Shockey went down, Bradshaw stealing Jacobs' thunder, Johnson filling a huge role at Safety, Steve Smith on 3rd and 11 in the Super Bowl... In 2011, it was faux-rookie Victor Cruz who carried the entire team. In 2012, we have the emergence of Wilson on specials and 3rd year player (but really his first chunk of starts in the NFL) Stevie Brown. It is pretty amazing that Stevie Brown broke a NY Giants franchise record with most return yardage for a season on INTs. These are impact plays, and you need them to win games. The Giants were in an offensive dogfight until Brown blew the game open with a huge INT at the NYG 8 yd line that was returned all the way to the Saints 22. That is a 70 yard return. Add another 21 yards of INT return yardage on the first play from scrimmage in Q3, and you get a football field from this faux-rookie.
This is as good a moment to praise Antrel Rolle as I can think of. That Q3 pick by Brown was created by great coverage of TE Jimmy Graham by Antrel Rolle. Antrel Rolle has been as consistent a player as anyone on the NY Giants this season. JPP is up there in impact, but even the great JPP has been held silent in sacks the last 3 games (as well as victimized by edge/run). Eli Manning, who threw two awful picks (again, 1 for a TD the other way) vs the Saints, has simply not been consistent. Cruz has gotten more attention this year from defenses, and has dropped too many balls. Nicks is the walking wounded. Antrel Rolle caused one fumble, picked up another, caused an INT and made a key stop on 3rd down. Did I miss anything? He plays Corner, he plays Safety. He guards slot receivers, he guards TEs. This defense needs a credible LBer to stuff the run and some revitalization on the DL. Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown are making tons of plays for the defense. They will make even more if the front 7 can stop the run and get to the QB.
So where are the Gmen right now? At 8-5, they are still in control of their own fate. They need to win out. RGIII (barring a positive MRI) is lighting up the Skins. One game at a time for the Giants. Beat ATL in Atlanta. Everyone says that ATL is vulnerable, and I am not buying their stock either. They haven't shown the ability to beat the best teams, especially in January. So next Sunday will be a good test for both teams. Because the Giants were sloppy enough earlier this season, they lost games they could have and should have won. Now they need to win a few games they can lose.
This is what the regular season needs to be. For the NY Giants, they need to improve in order to win a title. Eli needs to protect the ball better and play 4 solid Qs. The DL needs to play better. Rivers and Williams need to help the LBer corps. Hixon's huge grab is what the WRs need to do to take the pressure off of Cruz and a hobbled Nicks. Wilson needs to learn his protections so that he can be used down the stretch in passing situations (the run keys are killing him and Gilbride). There is still plenty of time to improve, win games and start peaking for the playoffs.
Those stats aren't right, 1st downs are 22 (NO) and 24 (NYG), those 15 must be passing 1st downs ?
Payback time, finally ! It's the first time I ever saw the Jints put up 50+ points and they couldn't have choosen a better team to do this !
Well, on second thought, I'd rather beat the Eagles, Cowboys or Redskins by 30 but the Saints ?
Almost as good.
Everything wasn't perfect and we know we should never get too excited with this team but still, a good night.
Game ball to Wilson obviously. Jernigan's big return seems to indicate that Wilson's returning feats might be more a case of very good blocking and poor Saints play but still, the kid flies. Live he looked decent in pass protection as well. We were able to put up huge return numbers but we also didn't allow the Saints to do the same to us. Most likely the best ST game I've ever seen from the Giants.
On offense, scoring 14 points when you have 5 or 6 drives starting in the opponent's half of the field is unacceptable. Play call, execution, penalties (and probably some good defense too, let's not forget other teams actually try to stop us !), it's not just one thing.
> That's what it felt like live and I thought I was right to be angry at this lack of points. Having a look at chances of scoring depending on field position, we should have scored 14.6 points in the 1st half (not including ST or defensive points in there) with our field position. We scored 14. Now those 14.6 are an average so if you consider yourself a playoff caliber team, you should expect more than those 14.6. How much more ? Top 12 teams in scoring points score 20% more points that the average team. I guess our expected points in H1 was 120% x 14.6 = 17.5 then. That's the missed field goal. So really the only thing we didn't do right compared to other top 12 offenses is the FG attempt. To add to this and show what a pessimistic glass half full whiner I am, I had a look at H2 numbers. Our Expected points were 19, hence 23 for a top 12 offense. We scored 31.
So there's that.
It was better in the second half although an ugly Manning interception made this game a lot closer than it ever should have been (again). But his pass to Nicks kinda makes up for it. It was a beauty.
Gilbride had strokes of solid play call, involving his TE, a three step "bang !" slant to Nicks, using the middle of the field. There were some running plays I didn't like but I think our lack of production early was more on the players I think > As it turns out we produced just fine.
Good to see Hixon back. I feel we saw much less of Nicks and Cruz with Jernigan, Barden, Hixon taking snaps.
Barden's OPI was the most awful PI I've ever seen, what was he thinking ? Seriously ? He can take Wilson's spot in the doghouse.
On defense, as expected, they ran over us and could pass fairly successfully … when they were not turning it over.
The pass rush didn't get there, a combination of Brees being pretty awesome sometimes, our coverage not holding up, a good OL and sub par production from our DEs.
The more I see it on the field, the more I'm worried about our inability to stop the run. I wonder how much that impacts our pass rush and our LBs coverage assingments by the way.
Great job creating turnovers. Stevie Brown is now at 7 INT on the season, which is crazy. And we needed those turnovers as stopping the Saints looked beyond our capabilities for much of the game. Unacceptable effort on that big pass play with 3 defenders around the receiver on a ball that floated up there for what felt like 10 seconds.
I thought Williams played well. But I like the kid so it might just be that …
I don't like our corners.
Anyway a huge win to stay on top in the division but with Atlanta, Baltimore and the Eagles comin' up, it's gonna be tough to win the East. Let's go !
Wilson actually had one snap in pass protection so no wonder he looked decent live .... The Paradox Jura will do that to you ....
Jacobs was suspended by the 49ers today. Tollefson is getting less than 10 snaps a game. Kevin Boss vintage helmet finally gave up. Manningham is producing less than Bennett. I could add Steve Smith to that, or Aaron Ross.
I think Reese gets some undeserved praises for his drafts (I've seen him called a draft guru) but when he lets someone go :
- they don't perform
- we don't miss them much
Kenny Phillips might be the next on the list.