For the fifth consecutive meeting the New York Giants toppled the St. Louis Rams. Needless to say, winning streaks mean NOTHING. But try telling that to an Eagles fan. It was both an unpolished victory and a dominant display of Big Blue athleticism, against a team that were not operating on all four cylinders. The same can be said of the NY Giants, however.
The end result shouldn’t come as a surprise to the football world, as the Giants were the odds on favorites. Many, including SS Kenny Phillips, considered this to be a “must win” situation. It seems more than a bit premature to pin the second game of the season as a “must win.” But when you factor in the magnitude of the upcoming game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it makes all the sense in the world. There were numerous comforting and unsettling familiarities that took place in last night’s matchup. Let’s take a look at them.
The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive. The first play of the drive found Eli Manning dumping a quick pass off to Mario Manningham. Ahmad Bradshaw got the ball on the next two plays to convert the first down. On the next set of downs, Eli looked to connect with Bear Pascoe to no avail. Bradshaw got the ball on the next down and converted once more. The running game was looking effective at that point. The passing game was looking somewhat iffy. Then, on the next play, Eli looked to hook up with Manningham on the deep ball, only to find the hands of Quintin Mikell. It was Manning’s second interception for the year.
The Rams went on to exploit the Giants’ most blatant weakness, their secondary, to put themselves into coring position. The red zone defense of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew held the Rams to a field goal – which wound up to be the theme of the evening. In a brand new, shiny season we are still looking at the same things that plagued us last season beginning to wreak a little havoc…and it’s early yet.
Eli Manning threw 25 interceptions last year. That equates to 1.6 interceptions per game. Now, in the second week of the 2011 NFL season, we find Eli Manning with one interception per game. Granted, it is a .6 improvement. But this is one of those unsettling familiarities that was mentioned earlier. Another one is the secondary getting beat by the opposing receivers. Our defensive backs did very well in the red zone defensive schemes. But it was their lack of containment out in space that put them in the red zone defensive dilemmas. Unsettling familiarities.
In all fairness, Sam Bradford is a gun slinger. Last year, he threw for 3,512 yards for 18 TD’s. The Rams fancy themselves a West Coast, high flying offense. There was never any question that we would be relying on our secondary to step up and shut down the passing lanes. Judging by the score, you can see that they did that for the most part. Here’s a look at some of their stats:
- Antrel Rolle:
8 solo tackles, 1 assist and 1 forced fumble.
4 solo tackles, 1 QB hit and 2 pass deflections
- Corey Webster:
4 solo tackles.
- Deon Grant:
2 solo tackles, 2 assists and 1 QB hit.
- Aaron Ross:
2 solo tackles, 1 assist and 3 pass deflections.
Tom Coughlin seemed a bit miffed about the play of his secondary, Aaron Ross in particular. He benched him in the fourth quarter. Ross did not look too happy about the decision and made his feelings well known by reacting poorly on the sidelines, something I am quite certain will be dealt with in the coming days. But for all of the dismay that the Giants showed on the field at times, it still wasn’t all that bad. The secondary held the aerial attack of the Rams to 1 TD out of 4 scoring drives.
The front seven of the New York Giants defense looked brilliant. The contained the Rams’ running game to a total of 59 yards and ZERO TD’s. The pressure was kept on Sam Bradford. However, the coaching staff designed some quick dump offs to avoid the Big Blue Sack Machine and did it rather well, considering. Regardless, the Giants were able to spoon feed Bradford a couple of helpings of Giants..I mean MetLife Stadium turf for dinner via Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre Paul. They combined for 2.0 sacks. Tuck who was questionable for last night’s game rallied to add 1.5 sacks, 4 solo tackles, 1 assist and 3 hits on the QB.
Ahmad Bradhshaw and Brandon Jacobs ran for a combined 119 yards – 59 and 50 respectfully. Jacobs had the only rushing touchdown for the night. Eli Manning threw for 200 yards and 2 TD’s. He was sacked 3 times and finished the game with a 91.2 QB Rating. Again, we did see some unsettling familiarities from him. If he continues on with his current INT streak, he will finish the year out with 16. Granted, that’s 9 less than last season, or .6 less per game depending on whatever is easier for you to swallow.
There were some other notable plays/players last night that need mentioning. Michael Boley, Tyler Sash, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon proved something that I have maintained for some time – that the NY Giants find a way to win because they play with heart. Yes, some of the wins we have seen haven’t been the most polished. If you look back at Super Bowl XLII you will see that we didn’t win that game with a coat of Armor All on our helmets But we got the job done. I wouldn’t concern myself with the “pretty wins” too much.
What I would concern myself with are the widening apertures in the Big Blue flag that need immediate mending. It wasn’t too hard for the Rams to figure out that the quickest way to score on the Giants was to exploit their secondary. We will be facing a number of teams in the upcoming weeks that will be all too happy to accommodate. Get out those needles boys and sew!
Mario Manningham was deemed as having a concussion by the Giants – although he has disagreed with the diagnosis.
Domenik Hixon reported that his injury was to his calf and not his knee.
Topics: Aaron Ross, Ahmad Bradshaw, Antrel Rolle, Brandon Jacobs, Deon Grant, Domenik Hixon, Eli Manning, Giants, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck, Mario Manningham, New York Giants, NFC East, NY Giants, NYG, Philadelphia Eagles, Sam Bradford, Sean Kerr, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl, Tom Coughlin