In a game that could have been dubbed the 9/11 Bowl, two division rivals squared off against each other looking to start the season at the top of their class and to bestow a sense of honor upon those football fans who suffered through the tragic events that took place ten years ago. It was an emotional day all across this great nation, from sea to shining sea. But there were no two geographic locations on the globe that had more of a vested, emotional interest in the day’s events than New York and Washington DC.
The World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the targets of the senseless terrorist plot of 9/11/01. Ten years later: The New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, along with the 80,121 NFL fans in attendance at FedEx Field, and countless diehards around the world took part in memorials to remember those who have fallen and to cry out in one single, undeniable voice that the American spirit will never falter. The New York Giants’ on-field play? Well, that’s another story.
It was a gorgeous day at FedEx Field and for fans of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew, things were off to a roaring start. The Giants’ defense kept the Skins to 2- three and outs on the first two drives. On the second possession for the Gmen, and on the fourth play of the drive, Eli Manning found himself with his first rushing touchdown in three years. It was the fourth rushing TD of his career.
Rushing TD’s were the only means of scoring for the out of sync Giants. Ahmad Bradshaw ran one in from 6 yards out on an eight play drive to put the Boys In Blue ahead by seven. But not for long. The Redskins came back on the very next drive to even the score up at 14 to close out the first half. That, my friends, was as good as it got for the Giants.
It was, to say the least, a sloppy opener for Eli and co. To have been picked apart by a team who finished in the basement of the NFC East last year will undoubtedly have many an easily rattled fan thinking the worst about the Gmen. Hell, you’ll probably read more articles about how the Giants are destined for a dismal season than Charlie Sheen has tiger blood. But you won’t hear that from me.
It’s the first game of the season. I am not going to use that lame excuse of the Giants not having the appropriate amount of time to prepare and practice due to the lockout. Every team has had the same hand dealt to them. No, our problems are still very much what they were last year – poor play calling, penalties, missed tackles from a secondary that is lacking, and a QB who continues to make rookie errors. Thankfully, at least for this game, special teams was not an issue.
8 penalties for 63 yards…seriously? Granted, there was a call or two that was more than questionable. But, we’re still making the same mistakes as last year. Kevin Gilbride has shown us that he hasn’t gotten any better at his job. Eli is still looking like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – brilliant at some points and UNBELIEVABLY amateurish at others. I, along with many a Giants fan, found myself saying this all throughout last year’s disappointing season. The players themselves copped to all of these things last year too. However, they were never able to overcome these obstacles and make a playoff appearance, at the very least.
I hope that the front office and coaching staff can get their players to overcome these hurdles NOW. Because they WILL come back and bite them in the Big Blue Butt. It wasn’t all bad though. We did see some good things out there. Hakeem Nicks looks great. Jake Ballard looks like he could make us all say “Kevin who?” in the near future. David Baas did a fantastic job going up against ex-Giant Barry Cofield…and that’s NO easy task. The defense looks good up front. Jason Pierre Paul continues to prove himself as a dominant force of nature. So, there are some things that are going right.
So, what did bear witness to? We witnessed a shaky opener from an away team who are suffering from a slew of key injuries, who need to realize their updated identity and shake the cobwebs off. Let’s not take anything away from the Redskins, who played a great game and had the power of the home field advantage, on one of the most significant days in our country’s history, whom were also playing for the pride of the nation. Giants fans, don’t go jumping off the ledge just yet. We’ve got a LONG way to go!