Delayed Gut Reactions, Jaguars Edition


What a fantastic Sunday back in central VA after a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family up in NY.

At first I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t be able to watch the Giants game yesterday in NY with the fam, but after watching them lose to the Eagles last week from the foothills of the Adirondacks surrounded by fellow upstaters the thought of getting back to my favorite Giants Bar in Richmond started sounding more appealing the further I drove below the Mason Dixon Line.  In fact, the Giants have lost every game I was NOT at The Forest…. to the superstitious among you – y’all know what that means.  My wife is currently forwarding all my mail.

Check out my reaction to yesterday’s game after the jump.

• Let me just sum up the first half of defensive play in this one bullet point with a series of unintelligible characters…. @#$%^&!!!!

For reasons I almost cannot fathom, I found myself screaming at the TV yesterday more than usual.  Screaming “HANG ON TO Why oh why after the Colts game would Perry Fewell wait so damn long to put in 3 linebackers… how many times did we need to see Deon Grant get plowed before Keith Bulluck, Jon Goff, and Michael Boley started to slow down Jacksonville’s rushing attack?  I mean, of all the days to sit MJD from my fantasy team, the Giants choose that day to roll over and get gashed at will on the ground.  From soup to nuts, it wasn’t anywhere near good enough for the Giants defense. Fewell had no business playing 3 safeties… the only player who has shown they can tackle consistenltly out of the secondary is Kenny Phillips and even he was late to the party at times yesterday.  Rolle, Grant, Thomas, Webster, Ross… everyone got burned.  And even when the right package was in, Michael Boley was repeatedly out of position.  I have no idea why the Giants went into a nickle package after the first TD from the Jaguars… and aside from that it seemed like everyone forgot to tackle for 30 minutes.  Forget Michael Vick — they made David Garrard look like Usain Bolt for crying out loud. The only redeeming quality was that the first half ended, and when Tom Coughlin took off his headset I thought for sure he was going to slam them to the turf…. he didn’t but in my mind that’s exactly what he was going to do before they were taken from him.

On offense, I was glad to see a glimpse in the first half.  Just a peek.  The running game looked solid, the receivers stepped up and I thought the Giants moved the ball at will for the most part. They just could not punch it in for a TD.  I thought Eli spread the ball around well, the running lanes were wide open, and the blocking was solid. Kevin Boss was targeted as we thought he might be, he had a lousy first half though with penalties and a badly dropped ball that was needed to keep a drive alive.  Any time you take a score off the board because of a dumb penalty, it hurts.  For the first time in a while, their red zone efficiency was putrid and the Giants settled for too many field goals.  Like the defensive side of the ball, glad to see that first half come to a close.

• The second half started with quite a break for the Giants, a much needed break.  A tipped ball for an INT by Terrell Thomas ended up getting the Giants another field goal, but it was a start.  The defense in the second half had 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and this Thomas INT to get things started.  It was small, but it was a sign of things to come for the Giants defense.

• I was unimpressed with the goal line play calling in this series after the pick… a 2nd and 9 with Brandon Jacobs in the backfield is a guaranteed run. Everyone knows it –  you, me and everyone coaching defense in the NFL that plays the Giants. A couple of incomplete passes as bookends and it was a lackluster red zone appearance gifted to the Giants… I wanted to see more deception than what I got.  Potential reasons could be that Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and a pass happy offense really give the defense some problems in the red zone, because the Giants have significantly improved this season in that area.  With both players out though, the Giants really struggled yesterday around the goal line.  Both TDs came from outside the 20, something that was so comical last year.  They could score from the 21, but not the 19 and in.  Interesting to see that problem resurface again this year with injuries to the WR core and Jacobs in the backfield.

• The drive that led to Mario Manninham’s 26 yard TD catch was just a tremendous series of plays for the Giants.  It started with some hard running from Jacobs, Eli hooked up with Kevin Boss for two huge gains and setup the Giants just outside the red zone where as I mentioned above, the Giants have been more dangerous at times.  Eli had to get the ball out, and it was great concentration from Manningham to adjust his route and get to the ball… great catch and spin for a much needed TD.  I was happy to see the TE used more in this series, the Jaguars had let off Boss for much of the second half after targeting him heavily in the first half.  Eli was able to put it on the Big Boss Man for some critical yardage – glad he was able to haul them in and hang on to the ball… one of the key adjustments for the Giants in the second half that made a difference.

•   After forcing some Jaguar punts, the Giants defense held Jacksonville on their most promising drive to just 3 points, and it would be all they could muster in the second half thankfully.

• The 3 and out that followed a Jaguar field goal only bothered me for one reason — that the Giants chose that series to not only play but feature Michael Clayton. The guy was just signed, it’s a tight game in a must win situation — why don’t we just let him observe in that situation until he has a full week of practice under his belt as a NY Giant?

• After that, it was all Giants.  A good defensive stop followed by a great offensive series that put the Giants up for good.  3 huge plays went the length of the field for the score, each more important than the next.  Mario Manningham’s back shoulder catch on the sidelines for 18 yards, followed by Brandon Jacobs run up the gut for 18 yards.  A few plays later on 3rd and 10 — Kevin Boss with the crucial first down off a hot read, and more.   I was impressed with Eli Manning for his judgement on this final drive, I was impressed with the offensive line for both their pass and run blocking, I was impressed with Manningham for his catch, and I was extremely impressed with Kevin Boss for shaking his tackler and getting into the end zone.   His 32 yard TD reception was so huge, that it pushed momentum all the way over to the side of the NY Giants… you could feel it.

• The Jaguars hit a few plays to get to the NYG 40 yard line or thereabouts – and for a minute I got nervous that the first half Giants defense came back out on the field.  Then, another switch must have been flipped because once they crossed midfield they entered sack city.  3 consecutive snaps ended with David Garrard on the ground and in pain, much further away from the end zone.  After the second snap and forced fumble by JPP, I knew it was over.  The third sack and fumble was the cherry on top — because Antrel Rolle was able to recover and let the Giants close it out with the victory formation. A much needed win in hand, the Giants defense stepped it up big time, at the right time.

A very special and much welcomed Unpacking The Win will be up tomorrow. Leave a comment and let us know how you liked your Giants win yesterday.