I re-watched the game, sifting through the myriad of Ford and ATT commercials to find the keys to this victory. Here are a few tid-bits as I see them, and also some telling stats as we go through the game.
The first half didn’t have too many key plays for the New York Giants, but a few points that kept them in the game.
At 4:19 of the first, Brandon Jacobs takes a check down pass from Eli at his own 14, runs through a few Jets and fights for 12 yards and a first down. Showing the fight and the physical nature the Giants would play with later in the day.
At the start of the second quarter Hakeem Nicks caught his only ball from Eli, on an inside release against Revis, that was followed at 13:34 by a third and 11 catch and run for 28 yards by Victor Cruz. The Giants couldn’t convert from the one, but they were starting to find some holes in the Jets.
AT 6:56 of the second Williams makes a great tackle on Tomlinson to keep him short of a first down and force a punt.
Then at 2:27, of course, we know that Victor Cruz made the longest play he will ever make in his NFL career. 99 yards for a T.D.
AT :19 Defensive lineman J.P.P. sacks Sanchez pushing the Jets 7 yards back. After a timeout by Tom Coughlin, the Jets miss the 44 yard field goal attempt.
GIANTS LEAD 10-7
The second half started with pressure on Mark Sanchez that he would see the remainder of the day. The first Jet drive consisted of two awful passes by Mark, and one of many tipped balls on the day.
At 10:53 Justin Tuck gets a sack to force 3rd and 12, and another punt by the Jets.
At 9:04 Shonn Greene gains 8 yards, but gets up very slow, and limps off the field. From that point on Greene had runs of 0,-2,and 2 with a dropped pass mixed in.
Then finishing the 3rd quarter at 1:19 Eli hits Cruz for 36, Jacobs runs for 28, and Bradshaw destroys the Jet secondary on a 14 yard T.D. run. Again the pure toughness of the Giants running game shows itself.
Starting the 4th quarter Sanchez throws an interception which leads to a Field Goal.
At 8:58 after a long drive by the Jets, they fumble in the end zone and the Giants recover. The Jets, however, would never recover.
At 5:23 The pressure continues with another sack of Sanchez attributed to Tollefson, but one that involved 3 of the 4 lineman.
And then at 3:33 the Giants faced 3rd and 3…What call does everyone hate in this situation? The DRAW…except when it works, D.J. Ware takes the handoff from Eli lined up in shotgun and converts for the first down. He gains 17 and the Jets take a penalty for another 15. This play allows the Giants to take the clock down to 2:24, and forces the Jets to use 2 timeouts. Then the former Jet Steve Weatherford pins the Jets inside their own 10. This of course leads to the safety. Rex Ryan them loses his mind completely and calls for an onside free kick from his own 20. Bradshaw runs in the next snap 19 yards for a touchdown. Game over.
So here are some interesting numbers: In the second half, after the big introduction of Plaxico Burress, after naming him the sole captain of the team, Plaxico pulls the ultimate disappearing act and has zero catches and an offensive pass interference call. So, instead of visiting the “end zone three, maybe four times” Plaxico ultimately couldn’t beat anyone, not even the rookie. Santonio Holmes had 2 catches in the second half, one for 15 and one for 6.
For the game the Jets ran 89 plays for 331 total yards, an average of 3.719. They had 59 pass attempts. 10 penalties, 3 turnovers, were 4-21 on third down conversions, and after going 48 yards on 10 plays in their first drive for a T.D. ultimately did nothing the remainder of the game. I like “ball possession” as a stat, but when you run 89 plays and average 3 to 4 yards a play you are inviting disaster. There are going to be penalties, drops, tipped balls, bad snaps, bad play execution. The complete lack of big play ability just bogs this offense down almost by design. This is the proverbial offense you could play in a phone booth.
The Giants D shut down the Jets as much as the Jets shut themselves down all day. Giants play next week for a division crown, but I’m sure Rex will try and make the Miami-Jets game THE game this week, one that might get the Jets a 6 seed, if all the other teams lose.