Welcome to the fourth installment of my weekly segment dealing with statistical breakdowns of each 2011 Giants matchup — Unpacking The Game.
Some stats speak for themselves, others need to be expanded upon because they speak volumes. This is the place where we get behind the numbers and show what’s really going on with the New York Giants.
Let’s begin after the jump
The score of the game says a lot about where the Giants are focused right now… on finishing games.
We’ve talked all week long about the various ways in which the Giants have finished not only this game, but on the emphasis placed on finishing game since last seasons bitter collapse after a very promising start. Tom Coughlin has clearly kept the locker room this year focused on finishing week in and week out – because that’s all they seem to be doing this year. Finishing their games in a very strong fashion. One of the reasons for that is of course the stellar play of QB Eli Manning. Check out Mr. Blueworthy — Eli led his team to 21 4th quarter points and has been on a serious hot streak heading into week 5 of the season.
Eli Manning has a 4th quarter passer rating of 139 right now — that’s the highest in the league according to the Giants Communications dept. Be that as it may — his 105 total rating is still 3rd best in the league. Not that it matters more than wins, because it doesn’t. And the Giants have won 3 in a row and Manning hasn’t thrown an INT since week 2 — things are certainly looking up for the NY Giants led by a truly elite QB in Eli Manning this season.
Kevin Kolb – not so much.
Hakeem Nicks had a beast of a game, not only did he get the brunt of the most physical coverage on the field from Arizona DBs last Sunday — he lit them up to the tune of 10 catches for 162 yards and the game winning TD. Stellar performance from the 3rd year phenom.
Victor Cruz’s controversial first down aside — he had a decent game. Not great, but he came up in the clutch for sure.
Mario Manningham on the other hand is probably feeling down and out this week after only registering 1 catch over 4 targets. Not big numbers from the #2 WR on the Giants roster — and Cruz probably has stolen a lot of thunder the last couple weeks. But there are plenty of receptions to go around for everyone and I’d rather have 3 good-great receivers to mix it up than 1 REALLY amazing WR. (ex: see Larry Fitzgerald, AZ Cardinals)
How about TE Jake Ballard? Targeted 3 times, 3 receptions including a clutch TD to put the Giants right back in the game along the back of the endzone. Big time playmaking ability from a guy that was largely overlooked as the answer at TE this season for the Giants… if he likes that chip on his shoulder he can certainly keep it there!
What ever happened to run and stop the run… AKA Tom Coughlin priority 1? We all were prepared for a scrappy AZ run defense as we went over in the Enemy Exchange last week. But a 2 ypc average for Jacobs and Bradshaw? Coupled with Beanie Wells putting on a clinic for 27 carries and 138 yards with 3 TD’s, the Giants barely stopped Wells from controlling the outcome of the game himself. I even talked about his formidable performance 2 years ago the last time he faced the Giants — I am SHOCKED the Giants weren’t more prepared to stop the run this game.
If Justin Tuck can make it back healthy against the Seahawks, I doubt another surprise ground assault is waged on the Giants next week.
One of the things that has impressed me most this year with the Giants is holding the opposing offense to average or slightly below average third down conversion rates, while the Giants offense has made progress every week. Almost averaging 50% for and 25% conversion against — that is a significant advantage the Giants have in their favor. They may not be winning the time of possession battles, but they are winning the execution battles on the most important downs in football without their token slot receiver… Third downs. Steve who?
In terms of penalties, Arizona killed themselves and the Giants barely made it out alive here as well. What is it about going west sometimes that gets the Giants so sloppy in the trenches? Any way you slice it it’s hard to be happy with a 7 penalty performance and Tom Coughlin is going to get that addressed this week during practice by every means necessary. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants come out with 1 or less penalties due to line movement at home next week against the Seahawks. Coughlin will have the team prepared for that game in terms of discipline, I assure you.
One good thing about the line this week though — they only allowed 1 sack and Eli was good enough to release before the pressure got to him. Lots of big plays resulted. How about Eli looking sharp with 7.5 yards per play, leaps and bounds about their measly 5 ypp just a couple weeks ago. It looks like the offense is settling into their big play abilities just fine.
But in terms of consistency in scoring — 75% in the red zone and 100% yet again from goal to go territory, who are these guys playing in Giants uniforms down in the red zone? This facet of the game has COMPLETELY turned around for the Gmen, and it’s great to see. 2 TD through the air, 2 on the ground. I’ll take that balanced attack and 100% from the goal line any day of the week and twice on Sunday. LOVE IT!
There were a couple of fumbles this week, but fortunately for the Giants the Cardinals made their share of mistakes too and the differential was a wash.
Of course no INTs for Manning, although he did fumble once on a busted blitz pickup — but Antrel Rolle may have made the defensive play of the game to setup a comeback opportunity for the Giants defense. Talk about baiting a throw into double coverage and getting all over the ball at the exact right time so Larry Fitz couldn’t even make a play. Tremendous coverage by Rolle there, and he deserves some respect after proving his word on the field like that against his former team.
He didn’t get a pick 6, but his play resulted in 6 just the same and he deserves a lot of credit for the Giants 4th quarter heroics Sunday.
TACKLES AND SACKS
This is usually where I talk about the brick wall that is the Giants run defense… not so much this week.
Tolly and Osi had a big day when it mattered most. I mean the first time I actually looked for Umenyiora to make a game changing play he did with his patented strip sack routine. For Osi it’s obviously like riding a bike… next week I expect more of the same from both and hopefully some JPP and Justin Tuck getting in on the action as well.
That’s all for this week folks. Stay Blue!
[stats via National Football Post]