Before the NFC Championship game, we noted in our final thoughts about how to attack San Francisco in the run game:
"The strength of the 49ers is their inside game. Willis. Justin Smith. Bowman. Don't bother trying to go crazy running in between the tackles."
The Giants handed off the ball 25 times. Here is the breakdown:
INSIDE RUN- 22 times
OUTSIDE RUN- 3 times
There were 4 inside runs where there was absolutely nothing, and the runner (pretty sure it was Bradshaw all four times) had no choice but to kick it outside where there was more opportunity. Those four runs netted 2 yds, 7 yds, 9 yds, and 8 yds. The Giants netted 6.5 yds per carry on these runs. If you subtract these 4 runs, that leaves 21 runs for 61 total yards, or 2.9 yards per carry. Most of these runs were right into the teeth of the defense. In fact, if the balls run inside weren't run outside, the numbers running inside would have been worse.
Here is the problem- when 88% of the time you are running inside, there is a lack of balance. Predictability becomes the norm. That gives the defense an easier time in playing for tendency. Running the ball outside a little more would have spread the defense out and made the inside run more effective as well.
Let's ask the converse question- how would you have felt if the Giants attempted to run the ball outside 22 out of 25 times? The answer is that it would have been just as poor and predictable, even if it was indeed to the preferred area of the field. You must spread the field and keep defenses guessing.
The Giants passed the ball 58 times, well more than the 25 times they ran the ball. While the Giants amount of pass was lopsided, the Niners did have to honor the run. But they certainly didn't have to honor the outside run.
The message is that an offense cannot do ANYTHING 88% of the time, or else the defense will be given an advantage. This isn't Einstein. This is just the common sense of not doing the same thing over and over again 22 times during the game and expecting a different result. We all know that you can "soften up" a defense by running it and wearing them down. But don't do it to the total exclusion of surprise.
Before the NFC Championship game, we noted in our final thoughts about how to attack San Francisco in the run game:
I think we all know that these aren’t the 2007 Giants. Sure there are a good portion of holdovers. And they both rallied late to get into the playoffs. But be sure, this team isn’t coming into this Super Bowl under the radar, despite what they tell the media.
That’s fine. It should be that way. It’s because the Giants are the best team remaining, just like they were the second they knocked off the defending champion.
It’s ok to be a bit confident. It’s ok to think that this year’s Giants team is more like the Packers squad that rolled into Dallas last season and won the title. Just like Green Bay last season, the Giants head into the game as the popular pick thanks to an explosive offense and a dangerous defense. Rightfully so.
This group, throughout all of their struggles this year, has shown a knack for showing up in the big games this season. Eight days from today should be no different. The Giants have a chance to turn in their best showing of the season. They proved their versatility with the win in the San Fran slugfest, but will be more than happy to return to the ideal conditions in Lucas Oil. As I said earlier in the week, pick your poison Bill. You have to think they will take their chances and do what they have to do in putting pressure on Eli. He has proven that he will kill you if you sit back and let him have his choice of options.
As was said last week, we don’t see how the pass rush doesn’t show up for every game at this point. They did just that in San Francisco. If they can show up in this one then the Pats will be in big, big trouble. Here’s why: after two weeks of facing quarterbacks who are fleet of foot, the Giants get Brady, who doesn’t have that threat. This will allow them to break their rush lanes a little bit more because the threat of the run isn’t there.
The formula is simple in this one. Take away the aura of BB and this is a matchup that we should be looking forward to... The Giants just need to deliver 60 minutes!!!no comments
Film breakdown master Greg Cosell examined the "All 22" tape of the Giants victory over the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The "All 22" game tape is the same film NFL coaches use to evaluate their players. "All 22" means a coach or a player can review each player on any given play. Needless to say, let us get to Cosell's analysis.
In UltimateNYG's recap of the game, we noted 49ers quarterback Alex Smith did not play well. Besides the 49ers turnovers which were critical component of this game, the meager play of Alex Smith also played a big part in the 49ers demise. And Cosell validates Smith's mediocre performance.
First 3rd down (3rd + 4) Smith had Crabtree on
sail route versus “cover 2” but did not pull the trigger, Threw incomplete check
down to Gore – Kind of throw you have to make in championship game
49ers shot play on 1st play of 4th possession,
Williams stutter deep post off Smith boot action; Williams ran right by Webster
and Smith badly overthrew him – Another missed opportunity
Smith very uncertain and tentative in the pocket, Did not pull the
trigger on a number of throws that were there – Smith left a number of plays on
Smith at times perceived pressure as the game progressed, Started to
break down in the pocket, Lost his patience and presence
Smith broke down in the pocket off play action on 1st +
10 with 4:00 remaining in 17-17 game, Had Crabtree wide open on corner route
from the slot – Smith threw it out of bounds after he left the pocket for no
Smith had a poor game, He missed a lot of throws that were there by not
pulling the trigger or poor ball location
Indeed, bone headed Kyle Williams's blunders cost the 49ers TEN points. But after watching the film, Smith's shoddy play also contributed to the 49ers' downfall.
When the Giants had the ball, Cosell labeled the Giants offense remarkable. Despite not being able to run the ball, the Giants still managed a way to win this game. And the major reason is the exceptional play of Eli Manning. In the past, Manning has had his flashes of brilliance. ie 2007 Super Bowl run. However, for whatever reason, he has been unable to play consistent at a high level. Well, this year, he has been awesome. I for one has been critical of Eli's erratic play. With the Giants transitioning from a run based offense to a passing one, Eli has carried his team. In fact he has been so good, his receivers have gotten so much better. Without question, this is the direct result of Manning. It is my belief, a quarterback makes a receiver better. And Eli has done that. After watching the Giants play superb on this FIVE game winning streak, I believe they have the best three wide receivers in the game. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham cause coverage nightmares for opposing defenses. Although the 49ers slowed down the Giants potent passing attack in the second half, much of that had to do with the 49ers defensive line putting tremendous pressure on Manning. Through his film analysis, Cosell confirmed this.
Rogers did a much better job in the slot on Cruz in the 2nd
half but the 49ers pass rush was also a much bigger factor, Manning not as
comfortable in the pocket
As for the Giants non-existent run game, the play of the Giants interior line especially by center David Baas has been atrocious. Cosell points out Baas.
C Baas did not have a very good game, He struggled versus Sopoaga in the run
game and was at times out-leveraged in pass protection
Now Baas is not the only player responsible for the Giants shortcomings in the run game. And for the amount of money the Giants are paying this guy, his putrid play is unacceptable. Back in August when we learned about Baas' lucrative contract, UltmateNYG was floored. Unequivocally, Andy's comments were prescient. We are flabbergasted. Here it is, we have watched as so many players on the Giants have been asked to redo their contracts, or else they get cut. Yet here is a 30 year old GUARD/CENTER getting $11.5M for putting his pen to paper, and $27.5M total? It is insane. That is $5.5M/yr, and he most likely won't play that long. We are talking interior OL here. The all-time record contract for a Guard/Center is ~$8M per year, and that went to Pro Bowler Jahri Evans of the Saints. If Osi was fuming yesterday, he may be apoplectic today. We liked Reese for how he handled getting Bradshaw back cheap, and how he put forth a very very modest, incentive-based deal for Burress, and then the GM spends GOBS on an interior OLineman? It makes no sense
Speaking of trying to make sense about contracts, Giants DE Osi Umenyiora should receive a pay raise. Yes, Osi has one year remaining on his current contract. And at the same time, it is not a coincidence, the Giants are making this incredible run with a healthy Osi. Together with JPP, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, offenses are having much difficulty blocking all four guys. From Cosell: LT Staley at times struggled in pass protection with Umenyiora’s quickness and speed Before the season began, Pete Furman wrote a supportive post about Osi. How do you justify paying $7 million for Canty when you have Austin, last year's second, Linval Jospeh, who is a supposedly ready first from last year and Tuck? Letting Cofield walk and not handling Osi properly speaks volumes. These guys were the two excellent players on the DL last year and they are discarded or held in contempt. If Cofield is because of money, then what is Baas?
Once this season is over, the Giants have to reconsider their thinking about Osi.
Two of the best in the game at breaking down film, Greg Cosell and Trent Dilfer, both had similar early reactions to the SB42 and 2011 Week 9 rematch in this year’s big game. Both thought right to the huge advantage that the Giants will have at wide receiver. The group had their way with the Patriots defense in the week 9 win, all w/o Nicks as we know. Defensively- we have proven we have the personnel to man them up on a good portion fo the snaps.
@gregcosell NYG different front + coverage looks v. NE wk 9. Played more than 60% with single high safety on Brady drop backs. Willing to play man.
We all love to hear this. At this point I think we can all accept that our personnel is best suited to man up against a high-volume passing attacks like NE’s. Going to be a relief for the DL to be able to tee off and the back seven able to focus on coverage with the threat of a running QB completely off of the table. Brady gets in trouble when he has to move his feet. That is the only time he gets in any real trouble.
@gregcosell My sense is NYG will feel comfortable matching up to NE offense with 3 safety personnel + LB Boley + Williams. Did so wk 9 with success.
This gives us the matchups we want. Cover the TE tag-team with the LBs underneath and safety help over the top. If they split Gronk or Hernandez out wide we should do what we tried to do against Davis and have a safety slide down to cover (and trail) him and have the CB slide back to safety. We tried to do this on VD’s 2nd TD but KP was a bit slow and Webster was a little late over the top. It's a good way to do it when done properly Rolle is going to man up Welker when he is in the slot. We’ll take our chances.
@gregcosell Went back today + looked at NE offense v. NYG defense wk 9. Brady only 3-9 on 3rd down. Only 2 conversions. 2 sacks. NYG dominated 3rd down.
Again, get them in third and medium/long and they will be in trouble. Webster and Ross have been nothing short of excellent in the playoffs. While I don't love Webster's effort tackling he has been as good as always. As for Ross, he has probably made more plays during the run then he did all year. Up front, the pocket will collapse as it did in week 9 and as it has done for five weeks now. No doubt about it.
@TDESPN SB: Bradshaw's lateral cut ability w/spread out formations will force Pats to play "space" defense, which is when they get gashed!
If the Giants are able to run the draws and the inside handoffs out of the gun, then the Pats will be in all sorts of trouble. If the Giants are able to use this to gain chunks of yards (even if it is one or two 10+yd gains) then they will be in great shape.
@TDESPN SB:G-Men 3wr package w/ Bradshaw as runner is brutal matchup for Pats. Shotgun run game should be there if they load up for pass.
BB better have something up his sleeve or it’s going to be a long night for that defense. Just don’t see how they can matchup with this personnel on the field. If Eli has time (have to think this one will look more like the GB game then SF) then he will have his CHOICE of open receivers. If he has the time expect to see us hit some shots down the field.
@TDESPN NYG/Pats wk 9: Pats struggled w/Cruz all day, was open on almost every route, move at L.O.S. is what forced PI @ end of game.
What is your plan? To man them up and let this guy and Nicks run free, or sit back and allow Cruz to run free in your zone? Pick your poison. Expect Eli to hit a lot of those quick hitches to Nicks if New England is playing soft. And a heavy dose of Cruz doing his thing and finding any holes in the zone.
In the 2nd half of the NFC Championship game Eli was 16/30 for 134 yards for a 4.5 yards per attempt average. His yards per attempt were almost half of his regular season average of 8.4 yards per attempt. A lot of the effect on his numbers, and the overall performance of the offense, can be attributed to the 49ers front 4, blitzing LBs and the tight man coverage of the 49ers deep.
A breakdown of the numbers based on short, intermediate and long routes are shown below:
11/13 for 47 yards. (12 yards by Beckum, 11 yards by Hynoski, 6 yard slant by Cruz, 28 yards by RBs, 1 yard on 3 screens, and 3 checkdowns for 13 yards).
3/7 for 40 yards (5.7 yards per attempt)
2/10 for 47 yards and a TD (Of the long passing attempts 2 were attempted on 2nd and 3rd and 5 and 1 on 2nd and 3)
It is clear that the screen play and play design is an abject failure with 1 yard on 3 attempts. We have witnessed how effective the Eagles utilize the screen play to counter an aggressive pass rush and blitzing LBs. An effective screen game certainly would have benefited the Giants against this pass rush and blitzing LBs of the 49ers. Of the 13 short passes attempted only 3 were designed RB passes with 2 thrown to Hynoski. The ineffectiveness of Ballard was telling in the lack of production by the TE position. Cosel, of NFL films, stated the following about how the 49ers defended Beckum in the 2nd half: “the 49ers played nickel in the 2nd half versus “12” personnel when Beckum was the 2nd TE. They treated Beckum as a WR.” It is clear that Gilbride did not utilize the short passing game effectively and often to counter the pass rush of the 49ers. The checkdown accounted for almost 40% of the short passing attempts.
Finally, Cosell breaks down the struggles of the OL versus the fierce 49ers pass DL and pass rush:
NT Sopoaga very tough to move in the middle of the 49ers defense, He stalemated and defeated C Baas when it was one-on-one.
49ers front seven handled the Giants OL in the run game, The 3 inside defenders (Sopoaga, Willis and Bowman) won the matchups against the interior of the Giants OL
C Baas did not have a very good game, He struggled versus Sopoaga in the run game and was at times out-leveraged in pass protection
McDonald was a force as a pass rusher, Played with great leverage and power inside versus Snee and Baas
49ers pass rush became a factor in the 2nd half, Giants OL had protected well in the 1st half but they struggled in the 2nd half
Aldon Smith great ability to get skinny on stunts, Tremendous athleticism and lateral agility
49ers defense as a unit very quick with play recognition, They get a lot of players to the ball quickly
Diehl had a more difficult time in pass protection with J. Smith than he did with A. Smith
RT McKenzie struggled in pass protection, both with recognition and of stunts and pressures and with individual execution in one-on-one matchups
Giants ran 90 offensive plays, which is remarkable even in an OT game
The Patriots do not posses the talent and athleticism that the 49ers posses on the DL. But the one area of concern relates to how Baas clearly struggled against Sopoaga. Wilfork is not really a step down and may even be a step up in competition.no comments