Rapid Reaction, Playoff Edition: Giants-Falcons

The Giants won a wild one in the wild card round against the Atlanta Falcons, 24-2. Amazing what can happen when a team that gets hot at the right time, isn’t it? Kudos to the defense for holding down the fort while the offense was finding their rhythm. Now fans are guaranteed at least one more week of Giants football. They will play in the Packers at Lambeau field next week.

-The Giants run defense had, for the most part, been playing much better in the last two games of the season and it carried over into this game. It’s just about impossible to contain a running back like Michael Turner but the Giants defense did a fine job of limiting his productivity today.

-Not only has the Giants run defense improved but so has their own productivity on the ground. And both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have had more success when the Giants run the ball behind left guard Kevin Boothe, not right tackle Kareem McKenzie. McKenzie has been rather soft on run blocking all year and he looked lost at times today, especially on the safety where he failed to pick up the blitz. But when they run it to the left behind Boothe, or pull him to the right, it is overall more effective.

-I bet Mike Smith wished that he’d kicked those two field goals instead of going for it on fourth and short, especially the first one when the game was still 0-0. He would’ve had less of a deficit to overcome in the fourth quarter.

-Speaking of fourth and short, do the Giants have the best fourth down, short yardage defense in the NFL? They stuffed the Cowboys on fourth and short last week and managed to contain the Falcons both times they went for it. Atlanta was in Giants territory both times too, so they could’ve easily could’ve come away with six points instead of turning the ball over on downs.

-The defense choose the right time in the season to get hot. They pitched a shutout today, since Atlanta’s only points came off a safety. Not too shabby considering they were facing a team that can boast Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Matt Ryan. Kudos to them for holding the fort while the offense was trying to find their rhythm.

-It’s nice to have two quality receivers, isn’t it? The Falcons focused on shutting down Victor Cruz, allowing Hakeem Nicks to run wild and get two touchdowns.

-Congratulations to Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin for their first home playoff victory! Remember, the Giants won four straight road games in their playoff/Super Bowl run in 2008 since they’d gotten into the postseason as a wild card team. It was also Manning’s first career playoff win outside of their Super Bowl winning season.

-Overall, it was another complete team victory for the Giants. Their play definitely got better as the game went on and once they were settled in, they dominated the Falcons. If they play like this, next week’s game against the Packers should be another close game.

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Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw Brandon Jacobs Eli Manning Hakeem Nicks Julio Jones Kareem McKenzie Kevin Boothe Michael Turner Mike Smith Roddy White Tom Coughlin Victor Cruz

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