Some early thoughts before we get our hands on the All-22 film of the Giants 36-7 spanking of the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
…the formula for beating the Panthers was quite simple for the undermanned Giants on Thursday. So simple that Andy was able to sum it up in less than 140 characters before kickoff----
@ultimatenyg Offensive Gameplan w/o Nicks/Hixon: SMALL BALL. RB flares, screens, use the TE. They'll double 80, so get rhythm w others #nyg.
Couldn’t have been more on point then he was with that. The Giants came out to start the game with a small ball attack, coming at the Panthers with a series of runs and quick passes keeping them on their heels on the way to a 10-0 Giants’ lead. Perhaps this is why the Giants were so successful getting the ball deep down the field later on in the 2nd quarter and were able to have the 2nd unit in for about half of the 4th quarter. Great effort across the board. Great plan. Great execution of the plan.
…Andre Brown was first a hit on Youtube, became a fantasy commodity last week and for an encore, established himself as an all-around force in the backfield for the Giants on Thursday. The 2009 4th round pick, a survivor of multiple cuts and an Achilles injury, seized his opportunity in a big way for the second consecutive week. As an NC State alum, Brown explained that he learned better than anyone how to deal with adversity. "Never give up. I learned that in college," he said. "Jim Valvano." (via @mikegarafolo tweet)
Brown got it done by contributing in all three facets of the RB game—receiving, pass protection and rushing. The last of which Brown may have shown he is the best at on the Giants’ roster. What Brown lacks in speed or shiftiness he has made up for with his strong running style, one that shows a commitment to running downhill and gaining the ugly yards. Brown also possesses a combination of vision and paitence as highlighted on several first half rushes. The Giants' were in desperate need of that. In the limited sample that we have from him, he has shown a knack for getting positive yards and if he can continue to do that then he will stay on the field, regardless of who is dressed for Big Blue.
…Ramses Barden turned in an effort that cleared up any doubts as to whether or not the 4th year receiver has what it takes to be a contributor in the NFL. A 9-catch 138-yard performance will do that. The Giants’ 3rd round draft pick in 2009 came up big in a game where the Giants needed him too. The coaching staff finally felt comfortable calling upon Barden and the big man rewarded that faith. Combine that with what he has always had, an impressive set of hands (see @ NE last season) and athletic ability, and the Giants may have found themselves a second gem from deep down on their own depth chart. I could be wrong, but on the post game set I believe that Eli mentioned that in an effort to find ways to use Barden when they are at 100%, we may see him line up in the slot or at tight end. Interesting.
…hats off to the o-line for their second solid performance in as many weeks. The group nearly pitched their second shutout in a row before allowing a late third quarter sack with the game in hand for the Giants. Beatty picked up his first start of the season at LT and looked as comfortable as he has ever been, doing a great job in pass pro and contributing in the run game, often on the back side. Perhaps Beatty is showing the promise that made him the Giants only top-3 round OL draft pick since 2005. Snee, maybe still upset about the unit’s performance in week 1, turned in another all-pro caliber performance on Thursday. The Giants ran behind Snee for a good portion of the night and the RG responded. He was downfield all night whether it be locked up on a helpless DT or holding off a LB at the second level. We will see how the unit responds with some much tougher tests on the horizon but they have certainly answered the bell in the last two weeks.
...Martellus Bennet caught his third touchdown in three weeks and moved to 15 total receptions on the season. Bennett has shown the ability to get down the middle of the field. The 6'6'' 280 pound tight end is showing why he has the ability to be a major tool in Eli's now crowded toolbox. Like anyone else I was a big supporter of Jake Ballard, but doesn't the hoopla over his departure feel a bit overstated now? Not only does Bennett provide the Giants with another offensive weapon but he provides them with a UNIQUE option in the passing game, a void that has existed since the early Shockey years.
...Eli was once again the great facilitator for the Giants and continues to play as well as any passeer int he league as a steadying force for this entire organization. Outside of a few balls that came out of his hand a little loose, Eli was the surgeon that we have come to expect. He was also awarded with the Thursday Night Football player of the game, which earned him this red gift bag from the group, featuring Deion's CD. The unexpected bromance between the two continues. As always he provides some unintention laughs on the set with the crew and it is defnitiely worth a watch.
…it was certainly an improved night for a secondary that may have had nowhere to go but up. Regardless, the group responded with a solid performance after back-to-back debacles to open the season. The spark came as a result of the return of Prince Amukamura, an improved game for Corey Webster, or the second start under the belt of Jayron Hosley. Hosley was impressive again, showing a knack for the football as he recorded his first career NFL interception. He was also impressive in hurrying Newton as he blitzed from the left side in the first quarter. The undersized rookie isn’t afraid to throw his hat on a guy to make a tackle. Post-draft Jerry Reese described Hosley as “not knowing his size” and as someone who plays with "atheltic arrogance." That athletic arrogance was on display last night as Hosley showed confidence in his ability to make plays on the football and it showed. He continues to show that he is an impact player and if he can remain healthy will be a major contributor for the Giants defense this season. Prince also found himself on the stat sheet with his first defended pass of the season and nearly got an interception on a Cam Newton deep ball on the Panthers' opening drive. Not condoning thee1 15-yard penalty (how does he get one after the refs let Webster/Smith slide with their mini brawl) but it is nice to see Prince showing some emotion out there.
...the defensive line continued to make strides towards getting back into form and when they get there JPP wil be waiting for them. The 3rd year DE continues to be a superstar for the Giants as he makes the extraordinary look quite ordinary on a regular basis. He recorded three knockdowns (may have been more) one of which he almost turned into the play of the year when he turned and looked to intercept the ball after batting the bass away. He was also in the backfield all night “disrupting the integrity of the Panthers’ plays,” as Mike Mayock said continued to point out. It seems like the guy is learning right along with us that he has the physical tools to make plays that few in the league, and in the history of the league, have had. Osi got on the board with his first sack of the season but was targeted by the Panthers in the run game, who ran their zone read to his side often on Thursday. Umenyiora, an aggressive rusher, struggled with these plays and often found himself caught in no man’s land. Justin Tuck on the other hand did not record a sack but was a disruptive force in the Panthers’ backfield, especially on the zone read play. And unlike Umenyiora, Tuck’s game is predicated on playing with a controlled aggression and the ability to break down inside the box and behind the LOS to make plays. As a whole though the d-line set the tone for the Giants' ability to slow down the Panthers' zone read attack. As Carl Banks said on the radio this morning on Joe and Evan, the Giatns gave the formula for stopping the read option--focus in on one of the two options and take him out of the lay!
…plenty of time to get healthy for Philadelphia as the Giants begin their second “mini-bye” of the young season. Couldn’t have come at a better time as we all know how banged up they are already. We'll have plenty more analysis on this one before we get to the big NFC East Sunday night football clash, the Giants' 3rd primetime game of the year thus far.