Another less than enthralling effort from the Giants, but progress in the standings is the name of the game. The Jints defeated the Raiders 24-20 to capture their fourth straight victory, moving within a game of both Dallas and Philadelphia in the loss column. Moving on up.
- The Giants rushing attack looked as stable as it has all season long. Seeing his first regular season action since November 25th 2012, fresh-legged Andre Brown carried the rock 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown, running with north/south intent and making crisp, decisive cuts. He’s no gamebreaker by any means, but the difference in explosiveness between he and the Hillis/Jacobs combo is night and day. Outside of a few busted runs in the backfield, the offensive line looked cohesive and opened holes for a patient scampering Brown. He salted away the game with two first downs in the final 3:21.
- I can’t emphasize it enough: Rueben Randle needs more ACTIVITY, bonehead plays or not. Randle caught a five-yard score, getting a step on his man for a perfect back of the end zone strike. On his other two grabs he racked up 33 yards after catch, displaying his slippery attributes and long strides. When he’s not returning punts, Randle is afforded limited opportunity to make plays in space.
- An opportunistic defense and specials teams essentially set up the Giants for 14 points, bailing out a lackadaisical offensive effort. Damontre Moore’s second blocked punt of his rookie year was returned by fellow rook Cooper Taylor for the Jints first points. In the third quarter, Terrell Thomas read the eye of the ever-predictable Terrell Pryor and returned it 65 yards to the Raiders five yard line. That’s back-to-back weeks of forcing game changing turnovers for Thomas.
- Antrel Rolle recorded double-digit solo tackles in a game for the first time since 2008. Among his 12 total tackles, Rolle stopped Rashad Jennings at the one yard line twice. The Giants goal line stand on Oakland’s opening drive of the third quarter, which limited the deficit to a single score, swung the momentum dramatically for the final 22 minutes of play.
- The G-men got off the field on 11 of the Raiders 13 third-down attempts. Pryor was hobbled and indecisive, and the Giants took away his security blanket throws/runs. He looked about as raw as you can look at this level.
- I discussed Oakland’s penalty-free performance thus far in 2013, but it was New York who played a nearly pristine game. One penalty, a five-yard offside.
There was no “bad” on this day… the Giants skipped right to “ugly”.
- Eli Manning was terribly inaccurate for an overwhelmingly large portion of the afternoon (12/22), even tossing in his commonplace end of half momentum destroying blunder. He missed an open Victor Cruz on two would-be touchdowns; an elementary crossing route and an even simpler option route. Manning connected with Cruz on just three of ten targets for 37 yards.
- While the G-men’s punt block group made a course altering play on special teams, the overall unit was a mess. Jerel Jernigan coughed up the opening kickoff, setting up a dreadful road team with an abysmal track record on the east coast with the immediate scoreboard advantage. Punter Steve Weatherford averaged 30.3 yards on four punts, including a partially blocked kick late in the fourth quarter, which happened to take a fortunate bounce forward. Realistically, ST’s was the only way Oakland could score in the fourth quarter. They looked inept. Having a punt blocked in that situation is unacceptable.