The Giants swept the Dallas Cowboys and took the NFC East! And more importantly, we saw Coughlin's Coordinators use more fundamentally solid gameplans in setting up the win. We do not want to get TOO excited just yet, but there is something here to be very positive about with respect to the Giants' playoff chances.
Generally we use a format of the Good/Bad/Ugly, but for this game which ends the regular season, we have to separate the discussion into Part 1 for the Dallas win and Part 2 for the State of the NY Giants going into this playoff game vs the Atlanta Falcons.
If my wife and I were going to have another child (we're not), I'd give serious consideration to naming it Victor/ia. The guy is simply all-world. I cannot imagine what 2012 will be like with Nicks healthy, because Cris Collinsworth and all of us are running out of superlatives for Cruz. Last week he eclipsed Amani Toomer's single season receiving yard record for the Giants, and this week he shattered the record by racking up another 178 yards on 6 catches. 1536 yards in a single season! Folks, those are Jerry Rice-type of numbers. Granted he did this vs a poor secondary, but last week he did it against a good one and his consistency is tremendous. At this point I have to once again remind myself and everyone else- he has done this with SEVEN STARTS and is still learning in what is effectively his rookie year. Of course it helps that he has a Pro Bowl QB in Eli Manning, who is also playing at all-world level. One surpasses the other inside of a single play, where Eli has eyes behind his head (his pocket presence has leaped to otherworldly), escapes sideways and finds Cruz for a great reception to the 9 yard line for the dagger. Pete raved about him in August of 2010, but even then none of us could have imagined this kind of player. He has now blown open two games singlehandedly with his YAC. We noted yesterday how Coughlin remarked that "when a defender takes the wrong angle on Cruz, he makes them pay." Amen to that. And the Giants collect. Let's take a moment to finally thank Brandon Stokley for something- the word is that when they brought this guy in, it awoke Cruz to the need to play at a higher level. And has he ever!
The entire team played well in this effort. I must give props to Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell and Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride for doing some of the things we have asked of them. Those schemes paid off handsomely last night, and we'll talk more about them in Part 2.
Let's rattle off some of the good things to acknowledge how great this win was: Pascoe hurdle, Kiwi's energy everywhere, Boley's flying circus stop on 4th and 1, Ross and Webster in man coverage, Williams and the Safeties vs Witten, Cruz and Manning again because it will never be enough, Manning's hard count offsides successes, Manning's SLIDES after running (hooray!), JPPJPPJPPJPPJPPJPP, the Osi stunt sack, Hynoski hurdle with a total of 4 receptions on top of good blocking, Rolle INT, solid run defense, Fewell's changing pass rush looks (many of which are afforded by a healthy Osi and healthier Tuck).
This was a fantastic win. I admit it- I bitched and moaned about how the Giants were disgraceful and embarrassing vs Washington two weeks ago. Collinsworth conveniently forgets about that game in his praise of the Giants. (Yep, nice when it doesn't matter, until it does matter.) How could a team that could dump a game like this be viable in the playoffs, I asked? Well, THIS IS HOW> YOUR COORDINATORS START SCHEMING PROPERLY. What we saw vs Dallas by Gilbride was much more small ball- the dumpoffs/flares to RBs, FBs, TEs that give Eli the rhythm that we have been BEGGING FOR for literally years now. What we saw vs the Jets and Dallas was much more man coverage and more press coverage too. So when Collinsworth praises Fewell for turning the corner, that is what it is about. We tweeted early in the game that giving up 10 yards to Bryant is FINE. And yes, you can help your pressing corner over the top too. But when you are playing more press and more man, at least you make the QB earn it. Gone are the wide open WRs off of free releases and zone sit-downs. Instead, they'll get their completions from beautifully thrown balls that are threaded perfectly. THEY'LL GET THEIRS. But here is the point: WE'LL GET OURS TOO. We scripted the only way to win it all this season after the NE and SF games... that our offense simply has to outscore the opponent's offense. The Giants offense can score like mad IF they play enough small ball to keep the defense off the field and let Cruz et al work their wonders. As long as Fewell attacks with man and press and Gilbride plays small ball the Giants DO have a shot.
Is this the Gilbride strobe or is it going to become a staple? Is Fewell going to revert to lots of zone which shreds us to pieces or is he going to abandon that base defense? IF, BIG IF, but if the light bulb has gone off and they are willing to stick with these schemes, then the Giants can be very VERY competitive throughout the playoffs. After Washington, I gave the Giants a 0% chance of doing anything in the playoffs. That was incorrect. The Giants are still going to have a difficult time with Rodgers or Brees, but at least they can be competitive and let the chips fall where they will. As long as Gilbride and Fewell are going to gameplan like they did vs Dallas, we have a shot in ANY playoff game.
Before we get too giddy, let's remember who the Giants beat these last 4 games: Dallas and the NY Jets. Romo was impaired last night. Let's also remember that Victor Cruz rescued us on a number of occasions- the 3rd and 7 bomb, if incomplete, gives Dallas the ball down 21-14. Let's remember that Gonzalez and Finley and Graham are much better right now than a hobbled Witten. MUCH BETTER. Let's also remember that the Giants got some incredibly fortunate bounces on some horribly ugly plays (Ware fumble on hard count penalty vs Dallas, Jacobs fumble recovered by Eli, muffed Blackmon punt). The Giants sh*t smells like perfume but if those bounces go the other way everyone is screaming bloody murder. The point is that winning is the best deodorant and right now, the Giants smell pretty good at 0-0 in the second season.
SMALL BALL PASSING (10 combined catches to Hynoski, Pascoe, Ware, Bradshaw... and would have been 11 if Jacobs doesn't drop one)
PRESS COVERAGE 75%+ of the time
MAN COVERAGE 85% of the time
MIXED LOOKS FROM DL ON PASS RUSH
HEALTHY TUCK AND OSI for the 5-headed monster
THE POISE OF ELI IN THE PLAYOFFS
We've been very tough on Fewell this season. The power he holds over the pathway for the Giants is tremendous. If his adjustments are real and the days of the passive Tampa 2 are behind us, anything is possible. If you give the opponent a lot of pressure in press, man and (mixed up looks in) pass rush, you are essentially getting a 2007-2008 scheme. And we know that in 2007 and 2008 anything was possible. Is this 2007? No it is not. The Giants still lack the leadership of a Strahan. But in 2007 the Giants did not have a QB that was half as good as Eli is right now. (In 2011, he has had 10% more attempts and has passed for 4933 yds vs 3336 yds.) And in 2011, the Giants have a WR that is playing off the charts. Collinsworth is becoming enamored with the Giants OL. I am not sold at all- this running attack still smells at times. But the pass blocking is good and Eli's pocket presence is the stuff that can build 'destiny' runs. So let's see if there is some January magic.
About the draft project links : they only appear on the home page and not when you're on an article dedicated page. That's why I couldn't find them :)
Kiwi is on record saying that Rolle "lit the fire" after the second Redskins loss with his comments about motivation and playing hurt.
If only there was a guy in the organisation, an experienced older guy, whose job it'd be to motivate players and get the best out of them. That'd be great, wouldn't it ? We'd call that guy "head coach" and I think it would help.
Aw, wait ? What ?
Congrats to Giants and their fans for winning the NFC East... we Philly fans salute you. The G-Men are better than the Cowboys and they proved it. Now I hope the Giants go on to do some major damage in the playoffs. Why not?
I think this blog has been spot on all year. It is the balance that makes this site so good. We all cheer when the Giants play well and point out their mistakes, not to simply complain but hopefully to effect a change for the better. To Sfacheem, this blog has not suddenly jumped on the bandwagon, but rather it has all along pointed out the dictohomy of this team. How it can go out and beat the PATS on the road and take GB down to a last second FG, yet get swept twice by the REdskins and lose to seattle. It is obvious we have talent. And every team can have a down game here or there, but the pattern is disturbing. And it has been that way for years under the Coughlin regime. At some point the question has to be asked, why does this keep happening? And is 9-7 or 8-8 acceptable.
I had the good fortune of attending the game last night. My son & I got tickets yesterday morning The place was loud and festive last night. Also, there weren't as many Cowboy fans in the stands as I had expected which surprised me. I have got to say this, Victor Cruz is absolutely amazing and has saved our bacon all season. The fans in the stands were salsa dancing after every reception and the "Cruuuuuuuz" chants are electric. After the game was over Chase Blackburn was "high 5 ing" everyone in his path. Sort of reminding me of Jim Burt in '86. Chris Canty was screaming "This is our house y'all!"
My son then points out to me that this game was a microcosm of our season, and he was dead on. Coughlin always talks about breaking the season up into 4 quarters like any football game. Well, Quarter 1 we went 3 & 1- Quarter 2 also 3 & 1- Quarter 3 a terrible 0-4 ( Believe me in the stands I was thinking we were going to blow this ) and the last Quarter we were 3-1. The game last night was just like our season.
I must say this, Kiwi came oh so close to blocking a punt last night that I can't wait to watch the game on my DVR. There was a gentleman in the stands next to me who thought that Kiwi missed it because he was sure that Kiwi didn't realize that the punter used his left foot. Did anyone say that on TV last night? It looke like he hesitated...Just curious.
I must say that the game plan was sound on both sides of the ball, so kudos to our coaching staff. We certainly have expressed our opinions here so they deserved the accolades now. We are as healthy as we have ever been all year and maybe, just maybe we make a run here. We have made the "Dance"...so now let's hope it is "Salsa Time"....Go Big Blue!!!!
Spags officialy fired by the Rams.
Actually, if Gilbride and Fewell play their unit like they did yesterday in H1, I'm ok with them !
I think we actually played Ugoh, a journey man street pick up, as an extra lineman on jumbo packages. Unbelievable when Petrus has shown abilities and that he can play hard in the running game.
Hynoski played well after a few missed blocked early.
Great game. Any year the Giants beat the Cowboys twice in a year is a good year!
You touch on it, Andy, but I would like to add, Gilbride's calls were good in the first half, but then went into a shell in the 3rd quarter. They became excruciatingly predictable (1st down pass, 2nd down run, ending in the 3rd and long) and if Cruz had not bailed them out on that 3rd and long, the Cowboys could have tied it up. I hate to always be complaining about Gilbride, but it seems like the Giants win in SPITE of him. And the OL combination with Boothe at center and Petrus at guard was working much better. It is no coincidence that the running game improved with those guys in there. Petrus needs to be playing.
With that said, I'm proud of the Giants for making it this far with all the injuries and the schedule they had this year. They might just surprise a team or two in the playoffs.
Came here to see if this blog would give props to Coughlin for getting this ship into port. I see a lot of kudos for Fewell and Gilbride but the Coughlin love is a bit scarce. I'm exactly shocked.
Given the injuries and the absolute WORST schedule I've ever seen, this has been a year in which TC has put on a head coaching clinic. Keeping these guys together, dispensing with the sniping by nipping it in the bud, playing rookies and getting them through their learning curves and winning their division is something that very few coaches could pull off. We're lucky to have him. I know you all disagree but I wanted to post my opinion here.
While you are schooling me with your facts about how much TC is not the reason the Giants are in the playoffs, can somebody who knows please tell me why on earth Demarcus Ware did not get flagged for Unsportsmanlike Conduct for TWICE removing his helmet on the field of play during last night's game?
We're -6 in points differential, I think this simple (maybe too simple ?) number puts our overall performance in perspective.
Except from the Broncos, we are the only playoff team to have a negative points differential.
Great win, 75% awesome football - 3QT black hole scared me, Sheagles flash backs and all.
The light went on in our coordinatoors heads. AC ? DC ? Let's hope it's DC and that it will stay on !
Umenyiora came up big, I believe in the man.
Let's not forget about those ugly plays that could have killed it. And Manning almost fumbled again on a scramble.
The running game struggled too, 3.7ypa if we take out Manning's runs. The pass protection looked suspicious to me.
@Arthuro Brilliant :LOL
@Tom Jackson Well thanks but we really didn't do nothing :)
@I Bleed Blue I think Carl Banks mentioned that Kiwi may have not realized he used his left foot. I am envious of actually being able to be there in the stands. Must have been great!! I hope the crowd is as good next Sunday afternoon.
@I Bleed Blue About Kiwi and the punt I just think he didn't want to draw a flag by hitting the punter and didn't go at it 100%.
I was just watching some parts of the game again and boy. Collinsworth ain't no Gruden, so when you hear him searching for words to describe a player and come up short, you know you got someone special.
@jfoster It's first down incompletion, second down run, third and long which is fine when your running game is working but when it's not and you take the your best players on the field out of the play. (Eli and Cruz) you are setting yourself up for failure. You must adapt to your players straights and weakness and Gilbrown does not do that.
@Sfacheem Actually Coughlin may deserve some props if he's the one who steered his coordinators in the right direction.
But then, well, not doing it 10 weeks ago is on him.
Schedule is no excuse. First, beat the best to be the best. Second, it wasn't tough : 4 teams over .500 !
And we're 3-1 against those 4 so talk about preparation and coming short ...
Granted we played a big part in the Cowgirls being sub .500.
@Sfacheem Show me the clinic please.
Please explain to me the loss to the Redskins where the team did not even show up after the huge win at Dallas. Please explain to me beating NE and loosing to Seattle. Please explain to me why we needed Eli to play like Joe Montana in soooo many squeak out wins against some not very good teams. Of the 3 really good teams we played this year, 2 of 3 beat us like a drum. We were not even competitive in the Saints game and if GB receivers had not dropped like 6 to 8 passes while they were WIDE open, GB would have put 50 on us.
Worst schedule??? We played 8 games against not very good teams and lost 3 of them and got swept by a one.
@jfoster That's interesting because the guy did have an earpiece and probably heard the comment from Banks on the radio.
@capt george @jfoster I agree with you guys gilbride did not have a great game at all. It was sub par and disturbing. Eli made the plays and adjustments with victor that bailed us out time and time again. Granted having baas getting blown up at center doesn't help the cause especially in the ground game. But when we had the 3 score lead it was prevent offense all the way. Couple that with Tynes missed kick and the cowgirls almost get back in the game. When will they get rid of tynes? That's the real question.
"Your" team is in the playoffs and hosting a game in round one. Try to suffer through it.
Some of the "I know more about football than TC" geniuses need to understand that it takes a lot more to run an NFL team than sitting in front of your laptop watching film. You've got 53 players in that locker room to deal with. If you think that's easy in today's NFL just because you know a lot about football, I'll take two bags of whatever you're smoking.
You like the way Tuck has been playing the last two weeks? That's Coughlin. You like the sudden "adjustments" that Fewell has made to his scheme? Coughlin again. TC has flaws like anyone else, not the least of which is his excruciatingly painful-to-watch loyalty to his coaching staff, which has confounded me when he extends it to Quinn. But he's a damned good HC.
@capt george Yeah well we would have beaten the Deadskins (game 2) if it wasn't for drops. So ...
I welcome your input. As an ardent Giants fan/blogger, I am excited the Giants beat Dallas twice and won the NFC East. Thankfully, the NFC East had a down year. Otherwise, the Giants with a mediocre 9-7 record would not be in the post season. Think about this. The Giants win the East with a 3-3 division record. And lose two division games to a last place foe. Since the NFC East was created, this is the first time a division champ has lost both games to a last place foe.
@jfoster This is the 2nd game I've been to at the new stadium. I had been to many games at Giants Stadium and honestly prefer the old one. The atmosphere (crowd) was great because of the circumstances so it was a lot of fun even with the light steady rain.(and that was the reason I got the tickets ) Attending a sports event is always a thrill for me but it felt like a playoff game which made it even more special.
@I Bleed Blue How was it being at the game? I am envious of actually being able to go to a game (i live too far away). How was the crowd? Must have been great being there!
@capt george@the mayor I love the banter between Giants fans at the game. Last night at halftime a number of us were discussing the O-Line. The general consensus is that next year the O-Line will undergo another change. Kareem's contract is up and most of us felt he will not return. Most of the fans want Diehl to move to RT next to Snee. Seems logical because he is a very good run blocker, and the running game will benefit from both there. Baas will be the center ( although Boothe should get a shot to beat him out ) Then the competition at LG will come down to Boothe vs. Petrus. Interesting take on it.
@the mayor Tynes give me the sweats every time he walks on the field.
OMG, baas got blown up on almost every run play. He is 90% of the problem with our running game.
@the mayor I can't agree on Cruz not seeing the field.
He took 10 snaps in W1, which was his first NFL game.
He took 28 snaps in W2, just 4 less than Manningham and 6 more than Hixon.
W3, Mannigham and Hixon are out. Cruz gets 43 snaps while Stockley and Thomas combine for 21. Nicks has 52 btw.
Of course Coughlin wasn't gonna make Cruz a starter week 1. Manningham just had his best season, coming up big when forced to be #1. Nicks is Nicks. What was Coughlin supposed to do ?
If anything he entrusted him pretty fast if you ask me. Almost 30 snaps in his second pro game.
The Giants were fortunate the NFC East was so terrible this year. Yes. I am thankful and happy the Giants are in the post season. At the same time, I want a championship. TC has been here 8 years and had one winning year in the playoffs. TC has ZERO home playoff wins. Giants have to beat Atlanta at home. Then beat GB and NO on the road. And I want to see them get to the Super Bowl. And win.
Dallas made adjustments. And Coughlin/Gilbride went conservative. After going 5 for 5 on third down conversions, the Giants went 0 for their next 6. Unacceptable. Watching this team under Coughlin, I have seen this happen too many times. The Giants defense got a pick and then made a big stop. Boley play on fourth down. And what do we do? Three and outs.
Look Coughlin has been here 8 years. He has won a Super Bowl. No doubt he has done a good job. And at the same time, the Giants have underachieved. Do not tell me you were not cringing with the score Giants 21 and Dallas 14 in the fourth quarter. It took a miracle play for the Giants to win this game. Eli's pocket presence and Cruz's athleticism helped the Giants win. If the Giants do not convert on that 3rd down, this game could have had a much different outcome. Yes, the Giants played well in the first half. And Dallas was awful. What got Dallas back in this game?
@longtimegiantfan P.S. I love Ryan LOL
@longtimegiantfan Being a good guy or of good moral character does not make you a good coach. I don't think I have ever heard his character questioned. Just his coaching ability. I can respect your gut feeling but I respectfully disagree with your gut.
@capt george This guy is not a blowhard like Ryan. He's got class.
@capt george --- I backed off from the 'great' position, earlier. More good, solid, moral, heartfelt. And you're gonna love this, capt george. I just feel it in my gut. I personally know the coaches, I'd mentioned before that have been tied to him, Red Kelin, Sam Timer, etc. I know where they come from. I know what kind of people they are.
@longtimegiantfan How about some facts to base your opinion on please. Educate us with your insight as to why Tom is a great coach and maximizes the talent we have on this team.
@ultimatenyg @Sfacheem Besides the fact that what should really be noted in regards to these "rookie" comments is that in order for Cruz to even see the field he had to have half the wide receiver corps depleted to get any action. In my opinion this is TC's biggest flaw. He never gives the rookies that showed game breaking abilities in the preseason a chance in the regular season. We all saw Cruz in his real rookie year(last year as this is his 2ND YEAR), tear up the jets for 3 touchdowns. Yet he doesn't see the field until 3 games into this season. Another case in point is Da Rel Scott. He has the ability to take it to the house every down. Yet he only got plays called for him once a game and it was a screen. This is the biggest travesty of all as the Giants are the worst team at running screens. Though he still got 8 yards or so, but one time he gets stripped and now we won't see him until next year. That is just one instance. I could go on and on about that (ie bradshaws rookie year in 07). Also, how on earth do they not know our O Line is better with booth and petrus. That is pathetic coaching.
@Sfacheem This is what I call selective memory. You come on here at 9-7 after the Giants have saved 2 elimination games, yet when the Giants NEEDLESSLY had not shown up for 6 of the first 14 games, where were you? And more importantly, where was Coughlin? Those SIX GAMES where Coughlin did not have his team READY TO PLAY FOOTBALL, those 6 games are conveniently forgotten, selective memory.
I do my best to be fair and objective, to admit where I am wrong, ie writing them off after the disgraceful WAS loss. Isn't it amazing and predictable that people like you show up at this moment to call us the 'haters.' This site is about objectivity and not sweeping 6 games of garbage football under the rug for your convenience. We as Giants fans are all grateful to be here in the playoffs, but a large part of it is because of a pathetic NFC East and DESPITE COUGHLIN's FAILED STEWARDSHIP. Not because of him.
Your reasons for building up TC are holding the team together with rookies and injuries. EVERY HEAD COACH HAS TO DEAL WITH THAT. And what about when we see veterans like Ross, Webster, Phillips, Grant and Rolle looking at one another week after week for answers? No rookies there. capt george addressed the schedule. Yep, Coughlin sure had answers for Charlie Whitehurst, Vince Young, and Grossman TWICE, a WAS team that was 3-11 vs the rest of the league. But we won't show love for Coughlin because we remember the underachievement??? Please. Let's be objective. Coughlin is a steward, period. When you don't have your team ready for SIX GAMES, forgive me for not giving him props. We are both Giants fans, we both want the same things, but we see the things that we want to see.
@Arthuro Manning playing well is wonderful, not luck. I don't know how the kid fixed his inaccuracy on 3 to 5 throws a game but he did and that has been all the difference. I mean luck as in having nothing go wrong so you can win at the last minute against poor teams. No reason to play down to the competition which is Toms MO.
@capt george Manning playing well isn't pure luck. Cruz playing like #11 may be.
But we did get lucky in both Dallas games for instance.
@10Miles@Arthuro@Sfacheem A lot of luck. Remove any one of Eli's last second miracles and it's a very different story. My big problem with relying on luck is because it does not have to be. This team has had more talent than almost every team in the NFL for the last 5 years. Not getting the most out of the talent your given is on the HC and TC does not do that.
@Sfacheem Yet it took him 15 weeks to right the ship. Better late than never, granted.
Letting your team underachieve during almost a full season when you know what to do (as shown by the first Eagles game for the offense and the NE game for the defense) is unacceptable.
@Arthuro It should have never come down to a few drops. In every way we are better than the skins. Should not have been close. Everyone can gave a bad game or play way over your head. Hell, the Chiefs beat GB but Toms teams play down the the competition time and time again.