Well — it was a much needed victory for the Giants surrounded by some extra weirdness. The roof collapse in Minnesota, getting stranded in KC, playing in Detroit, the whole Brett Favre ending his streak issue, etc. But aside from the story lines, I found that the game itself was quite weird. Some examples: Adrian Peterson and Tavaris Jackson both left the game with injuries from running into each other, Brett Favre was continuously on camera on the sidelines for the first time ever, the crowd of about 50,000 was so quiet at times you could hear a pin drop, tons of penalties… it was a weird game for me.
When it comes to the way the Giants played, at times I felt like banging my head against the TV — and I’m sure there are many others who saw the first 3 offensive offerings from the Giants and felt the exact same way. All I can say is I’m glad the Giants remembered who they are, ran the football, and controlled their destiny last night. Now on to my gut reactions:
• Run the ball first, please. What a novel concept! I’m amazed they don’t do it sooner, but at the start of each and every Giants game where Eli for whatever reason hasn’t settled in the fix is always the run game. Kevin Gilbride, take notice please… make adjustments. The Golden Rule for the Giants: to open up the passing game you must first establish the run. It’s a simple formula, but you know what – it works. You can predict it all you want but the fact is when Brandon Jacobs has 100+ yards rushing the Giants are now 10-1. Last night both Jacobs and Bradshaw went for 100 yards each on the ground and completely gashed the Vikings defense into submission. By the end of the game with minutes to go in the 4th, I actually felt bad that the Vikings were having to deal with Jacobs when the game was completely out of reach. DJ “Danny” Ware was ready to go long before the Giants decided to use him… but if it ain’t broke don’t break it!
• Bradshaw and Jacobs. Just incredible running last night. Truly it’s great to see them celebrating on the sidelines together after letting it all hang out on the field.
• Eli needs to settle in quicker. Two interceptions in the first three series. Not the type of start you’re looking for when you’re supposed to be playing at your best right now. I know, he got his #1 and #2 receivers back and everyone was a bit slower, a bit off… it’s hard to lead everyone around the field and execute an aggressive game plan right out of the gate. He DID settle in and throw some crisp passes along the seams — one redeeming pass to Nicks that went for an INT in the first quarter. But certainly the pass to Kevin Boss in the endzone to make it 14-3 was the most pin point pass he threw last night. Right into double coverage, Manning read that timing just right and delivered a laser into Boss’ hands. Great throw, great catch. Great to see Manning settle in eventually. I just wonder how, besides the running game, the Giants can get in rhythm more quickly going forward when they play the ever-dangerous Eagles and Packers the next two weeks.
• The Wide Receiver Response. I was wondering how Nicks and Smith were going to play after being out for a few weeks — whether or not they were going to be sharp. Nicks got back on track, Smith really didn’t. Steve Smith had a very quiet night in fact. He made one noticeable catch, out of bounds. So I’m actually glad Derek Hagan came in to provide some spark to the slot. Give Smith another few days of practice, he’ll get it back. Which reminds me…
• Mario Manningham is not imposing. On that second INT, why was Eli trying to force a pass into Manningham in the first place? He’s not a bulky guy, he’s not imposing, he has a hard time getting position like that. Nicks is really the only receiver that can get position, and even he has stopped running his routes in the past and isn’t 100% reliable when it’s uber-tight coverage like that. Manningham may be a one trick guy unfortunately, the sideline ninja. Anywhere else and he’s a liability… at least he was last night.
• Bear Pascoe for president. The blocking, the catching, the first downs, the hurdling…. where has this guy been? I think with Pascoe at FB the Giants have found a solution that brings a whole new demension to this team for years to come. Nothing working with the WRs, TEs, or RBs? There’s always our PASS CATCHING FB!
• The offensive line gave up one sack, oh well. David Diehl did a decent job last night, I’ll give him one sack allowed coming from Jared Allen. Besides, Brandon Jacobs deserved an earful from the coach after he missed his chip on Allen to help Diehl out… that’s the main reason that sack was recorded.
• How about that defense? The Giants defense really stepped it up a notch after the Giants got their first score. They knocked out Tavaris Jackson, the third string QB, and then TJ again. They really are the QB killers this year. They started bringing 5 guys consistently, no one knew where they were coming from… everyone seemed to get involved. Barry Cofield’s sack celebration “dance” was hilarious. When Justin Tuck went down, my heart dropped. As good as this defense is, Tuck is the one guy the Giants can’t afford to lose down the stretch.
• Penalties. There were way too many penalties last night. The game had no flow because of it.
• Aaron Ross’s block in the back was complete BS. I don’t care what they say, Ross was already falling over when he was tapped in the back. It was an embarrassing call to take advantage of on a nice punt return, and the Giants got pretty lucky to get that call. The score should have been 21-10.
Again, a much needed with to keep pace with the Eagles at 9-4.