Back in the mid 1970’s, Stevie Wonder had a hit song called “Superstitious.” In my previous post I said that I was afflicted with this trait, and that if I picked the Bills to win I’d happily eat crow again. I also said that the final score would be 27-24. Damn, I’m good.
In our previous post, we hit on a number of factors. The Bills were opportunistic on defense with a +11 turnover rate. We noted that the G-Men would have to play error free football and force pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick in order to limit Buffalo’s big play offense and come out ahead. We also noted that the Giants would have to establish a running game while limiting Fred Jackson’s yardage from scrimmage. And now, the relevant portion of our show.
More after the jump…
Giants offense. They controlled the clock, and held the ball for just over 30 minutes. Ahmad Bradshaw had a good game with over 100 yards rushing, and there were no fumbles by the offense. 3 1 yard touchdown runs by Ahmad Bradshaw showed the ability to punch it in from in close.The rushing total was impressive in light of the fact that Chris Snee was out of the game with a concussion, and the G-Men were playing with a somewhat patchwork line. The passing game looked sharp, as Eli manning had no interceptions. In fact, the vast majority of Manning’s incompletion passes were in places where the Bills were unable to have a chance at an interception. Manning spread the ball around, and Mario Manningham came out of the shadows with a good game. Other than the pass he dropped late in the game he played well. Hakeem Nicks came up with his usual big play, and Jake Ballard continues to provide a strong presence at the tight end slot. Basically, no turnovers, control the clock, sharp passing game, big strike capability. Cool.
The ugly part came when the Giants had the chance to put the Bills away for good. Up by 7, Manning threw for Manningham in the end zone, but Mario couldn’t hold on. The Giants lined up for a field goal, but the kick was blocked. At this point, all Giants fans were probably thinking “here we go again.” How many times have the G-Men given away games like this. Buffalo drove the length of the field and scored the tying touchdown. 6 Minutes left, and it’s 24-24. This brings us to…
The Defense. The Giants actually played a pretty decent game. Yes, Fred Jackson had the 80 yard run after Ahmad Bradshaw’s score. Other than that, the Giants defense held Jackson to only 45 yards on 15 carries, a 3 yard average. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 2 touchdowns, including a 10 yard catch and 50 yard run. Big deal. The Giants sacked him three times, forced a fumble, put pressure on him, and intercepted him twice. Corey Webster came up big at the end. Just when it looked as if the Bills would pull it out, he intercepted Fitzpatrick late in the game, and the penalty on the play took the Giants from the four to the seventeen yard line. This gave the Giants some confidence, and gave Manning some room to work with.
Late Game Heroics. The G-Men came up big at the end, and the drive under pressure that resulted in the winning field goal was sweet. Other than the blocked kick, the special teams play was sharp. The only downers for the Giants were the penalties and the blocked field goal.
The game was actually statistically even. Time of possession, number of penalties, penalty yards, you name it. As was probably going to be the case, both teams were evenly matched, and the final score reflected this. The sacks and positive turnover ratio for the Giants were the difference. The G-Men go into the bye week at 4-2, which gives them a chance to get healthy before the Miami game. The Redskins lost to the Eagles, so they’re 3-2, the Cowboys lost as well. They looked good in their loss to the Patriots, so they aren’t a pushover despite their record. Philly gained confidence with their win, and there’s still a lot of the season left. 4-2 heading into the break, and first place in the division. I think most Giants fans will take that.