In his postgame interview, New York Giants’ LT David Diehl said,
“It’s a determination. We knew in order to win this football game, you can’t settle for field goals down there. So, we had that determination – “Hey we get it down there, we’re putting touchdowns up” and that was the case today. It was an awesome win.”
There is bittersweet irony in that statement. The obvious, the Giants were forced into kicking 3 FGs yesterday against a solid Buffalo Bills defense, one of which was blocked from 50 yards out. The not so obvious, the Gmen are dead LAST in the FG department throughout the league. That might sound jarring, if it were any other category. But our Boys In Blue have been very successful down in the red zone thus far in the season and have been registering more touchdowns this year than those, quite often, disappointing 3 pointers. Is this the secret to their overwhelming, under the radar success? Read on my friends.
It didn’t take long for Giants fans to realize that Sunday was going to be a LONG day! The first Big Blue drive was sloppy and uneventful. Then, the Giants D came out, made their stand and we found ourselves with the ball once again. Eli Manning took matters into his own hands and lead his offense down the field to put the first points up on the board. He was 5 ATT, 6 CMP for 67 YDS which resulted in a TD. It was a very impressive start, once that earned Manning a QB Rating of 158.3 for that drive.
The crowd was about to be quieted as on Buffalo’s very next offensive play, the Giants defense got caught sleeping on the job. Being the welcoming, hospitable hosts that the Giants like to be, they allowed their guests to record an 80 yard TD in just 14 seconds. After a quick 3 and out for New York’s next offensive rally, their defense came back out to show that they still hadn’t patched up the holes from the last Bills drive. Buffalo didn’t take much time to figure that out and exploited that fact by marching his soldiers down filed on a 6 play, 78 yard scoring drive, including the 60 yard TD pass to Naaman Roosevelt. Things were not looking good for the Giants.
Then, what seemed impossible became possible. The underrated defense of the New York Giants shutdown the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL for the next 2 quarters, limiting the Bills to a field goal. It was this display of defensive excellence that made Big Blue’s 27-24 victory possible.
We are all aware of who our gazelles of receiving are, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham. Of course, that list used to be a bit longer. Losing a few good men to Free Agency and injury was expected to hurt us tremendously. Thankfully, that has not been the case. Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride have been able to repeat, if not surpass, the superb patchwork that they did last season with a brand new set of receivers. Naturally, we must give a “we’re not worthy” bow to Victor Cruz for the work he has been doing on the field. However, there is not way that the Giants would have been able to pull off this game without the critical receptions made from Jake Ballard. This seems to be a recurring weekly theme this season.
Ballard is a 6′ 6″, 275 lb monster who has 273 yards on 15 receptions with 2 TDs in just three games. These are not numbers to sneeze at, folks. Jake was targeted 3 times in Sunday’s game and he caught all three passes thrown his way. He also grabbed a cool 50 yards on the day with a long of 24. This is one TE that will leave a defense hurting and hobbling on any given Monday morning. Ballard is our third leading receiver, behind Nicks and Cruz, and has the third most receiving TDs on the team. Keep your eyes on this guy. Although, it’s kind of hard not to.
The Two Key Elements:
There were many Giants who became heroes on Sunday. But this win came down to two things, our secondary and our offensive line. You have to hand it to the DBs, and it’s not all that often that we can say that. However, they played one helluva game. Sure, they got burned a time or two. Regardless, they were able to keep their sides of the fence clean for an entire 30 minutes. Corey Webster was outstanding. Buffalo certainly showed us that he was the primary target. Alas, they picked on the wrong guy on the wrong day and they paid a very large price for it. I don’t think they, or any other team for that matter, will be underestimating him anytime soon again. 4 tackles, 1 assist, 2 interceptions and 3 pass deflections…’nuff said.
Our offensive line was stellar and as cohesive a unit as I have seen all season. Eli was hit just once in the entire game. Ahmad Bradshaw was able to rush for 104 yards and 3 TDs. None of that would have been possible if not for the brick wall building and jack hammering of our Oline. Having David Baas back in the game definitely helped achieve all this. The offensive line, like the receiving corps, went through a major overhaul and shaking of the tree, so to speak. Yet, the front office and coaching staff of the New York Giants have been able to get this line, and team, into great playing shape and whom seem to get better each week. At least, that’s how it looks right now.
As we go into the Bye Week, here are a few stats to chew on to help us feel good about our overwhelming, under the radar success of a team.
Eli Manning is the 3rd ranked QB in the league right now. He has the 5th most passing yards, the 5th least INTs, the 6th most TDs, the 2nd best AVG, and the 3rd best QB Rating in the NFL.
Jason Pierre-Paul is has the 2nd most sacks in the league.
Aaron Ross is tied for the 2nd most INTs in the NFL.
The NY Giants have the most collective sacks in the league. They have the 4th most pass deflections, 5th most interceptions, 3rd most forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and the 3rd most defensive TDs.
In the six NFL Weekly leaders categories, the Giants find themselves with 5 players listed for Week 6 – Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Lawrence Tynes and Steve Weatherford. Just a quick note on Weatherford – he had 3 punts for 161 YDs with a gross average of 53.7 YDs and a long of 56. Breathe a sigh of relief Giants fans, as we recall quite clearly, all too painfully, what a train wreck the punting situation was last season.
Where Are We Now G Man?
Well, right now, at the top of the NFC East. We’re heading into the Bye Week with a nice head of steam and our wheels in motion. We’re not out in the front, like some of the other fancy shmancy teams. But, in Big Blue fashion, we’re getting the job done. I suspect we will find ourselves higher up on the leader ladder as the season progresses, which is where and how you want to be. A team that makes its mistakes early, learns from them, continues to develop and get better on a weekly basis is who makes it to the postseason. Just ask the Green Bay Packers. Better yet, take another look at our 2007 season.
We will see some of our injured come back off of the bench soon. Hopefully, we will be able to keep those we have on the field now healthy. What the Gmen did yesterday was a much needed boost of hope, given the difficulty level of our remaining schedule. Every team we will be facing have proved that they are beatable. The Giants proved on Sunday that they have what it takes to beat the elite. Don’t look now folks, we’ve got ourselves a football season!
Topics: Aaron Ross, Ahmad Bradshaw, Buffalo Bills, Corey Webster, David Baas, David Diehl, Eli Manning, Free Agency, Green Bay Packers, Hakeem Nicks, Jake Ballard, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kevin Gilbride, Lawrence Tynes, Mario Manningham, National Football League, New York Giants, NFC East, NFL, Sean Kerr, Steve Weatherford, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz