Delayed Gut Reactions, Bears Edition

– This much needed win marks the turnaround in the Giants season.  Many comparisons were made to the 2007 season last night, and I’ve got to just say that the Giants were 2-2 in week four of that season as well.  LOTS of time left to get the team completely working together on offense and defense — but so far it’s nice to see their potential actualized on the field in certain aspects.

– New Meadowlands Stadium was quite loud, it really came through.  And the first play from scrimmage being a false start is indicative I think.  Perhaps the Giants really do have a home field advantage when the crowd is as pumped up and the defense comes out fired up as it was.

– Speaking of the defense, THAT is what you call a Giants defense firing on all cylinders.  Pressure, pressure, pressure all night from all areas of the defense.  Push up the middle, pressure off the edge, some corner blitzs, multiple looks with the right schemes called and execution to boot, mistake free coverage from the LBs and DBs, just a perfect effort from the Giants defense.

– DT Chris Canty showed what he was brought in to do last night, get that central push up the middle and collapse the pocket. That’s the ingredient that was so lacking last year on the defensive line, and it’s what the Giants DEs like Tuck and Osi love so they can capitalize coming off the edge. Barry Cofield had an excellent game as well recording 1.5 sacks and 4 tackles — their success in the trenches allowed Linval Joseph to get in on the action as well and record his first tackle in the NFL as a Giant.

– DEs Tuck and Umenyiora looked like the 2007 version of themselves last night.  Not only did they amass 6 sacks between them, but they also collaborated for 3 forced fumbles.  Osi was back to his old tricks forcing 2 fumbles for the strip sack, Tuck had one for himself.  Just an inspired performance from the vintage tandem.

– Jay Cutler took 9 sacks and had every right to sit out of the game after his first half, concussion or not. Here is a tribute to his fate:

– 2 INTs on the night for Terrell Thomas and Deon Grant, the confusion up front caused by the line let the Giants secondary pick off a couple of easy passes, again just great teamwork on defense.

– Antrel Rolle may say this week that the defense was finally all on one page… now we all can see what he means. It has nothing to do with Coaches message, it has to do with executing the defense that was installed in every way imaginable.  They certainly did that last night.

– Offensively, it took way too long for the Giants to get anything going.  Eli tried to hit a few big plays right off the bat as opposed to get into a rythem utilizing short passes and the running game.  It reminded me of the 2009 week 2 Cowboys game where they ran the same first series with playaction — the difference was Eli’s pass was completed to Steve Smith and the Giants scored on their opening drive.  I suppose when the defense is as dominant as it was last night, your offense has the luxury to burn some opportunities.  But next week against the Texans on the road, I hope Eli and Gilbride get together, modify that approach and find a way to control the game from the get go with their offense as well.

– One example from the start of the second half, the Giants ended up punting after a decent start.  But why?  On a 3-4 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, Eli just didn’t pull the trigger when he had Bradshaw WIDE OPEN in space out of the backfield. And a defender was closing in on Kevin Boss, but he was also open with a chance to get that first down for a couple of seconds.  This is the quintessence of my feeling that the offense has many weapons to be utilized, but Eli just needs to figure out where he’s going with the ball quicker, and pull the trigger.  Here is a screenshot of the play, you can see Bradshaw is wide open along the bottom of the screen with room to run, Eli has a clear line of sight to the right play but he’s looking deep down field again unnecessarily, and he squandered the opportunity to hit Bradshaw.

– The offensive line played better. 2 sacks from the Bears isn’t too bad, but David Diehl still has a weekness giving up hits on the QB from outside speed rushers without help from a TE.  Not great….

– Speaking of TEs, I liked the rotation of TEs from the Giants to keep the Bears guessing.  Boss, Beckum, Pascoe and OT Shawn Andrews all rotated through and did a decent job in blocking, opening running lanes for Bradshaw and Jacobs to work with.  Boss had an off night in terms of catching, his timing was a bit off and Eli’s passes seemed a little high at times too.  In time though, I see the Giants offense coming around and converting these plays to keep their offense on the field and controlling the clock.  The question is, is one week enough time to iron out these issues?

– Eventually, Ahmad Bradshaw was able to do his thing.  23 carries for 129 yards and a TD, absolutely well done. The fumble on the goal line really frustrated me though.  While the Bears ended up getting stuffed back on their one yard line… that should have been a TD.   Bradshaw has an awful habit of not finishing his runs when a defender is in tow and he doesn’t realize it…. I’m reminded of him being brought down on the 1 yard line in 2008 against the Ravens after a 70+ yard run when he visibly slowed down near the goal line.  He needs to close the door on those opportunities– and by that I mean not slow down, not let the ball come loose in his arms, and just plow through the back of the endzone like his life depends on it from now on…  Forrest Gump style. So get back to fundamentals and capitalize on a great run next time #44.

-Brandon Jacobs was able to punch one in for the first time in what feels like a decade. He was also able to get outside with some running room after the game was in hand and Bradshaw got nicked up after a great first down run.  Over 180 yards on the ground against the so-called best run defense in the NFL… do people really still think there is no running game in NY?  I totally called the Bears’ bluff on that one.

– Memo to Tiki Barber, stay retired please.

–  Matt Dodge, Darius Reynaud, and Lawrence Tynes… how many lives do these cats really have?

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