This was a great win, warts and all. Yes, there are a multitude of problems that need fixing, but there were MANY positives gained from this victory. We have been saying since the middle of preseason that the defense needed time to come together- they are buying time with wins. Phil Simms said before the game that the Giants defense gives up the big play and that that would cost us the game. Well, he was right, but he did not know that the Giants would have a +4 turnover ratio. Dallas beat themselves with those turnovers, so DO NOT try giving back this win with all the warts we had. Collect a nice win, move on to next week, fix the problems, get PEOPLE BACK HEALTHY and improve the defense.
1) The Giants have their #1 Wide Receiver, his name is Mario Manningham (10 catches for 150 yds) and to quote Al Michaels, he is their “budding star.” Look over to the right side of the blog and give yourselves a pat on the back- you saw Mario Manningham as the breakout WR for the Giants this year, LONG BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. (Okay, let’s throw a bone to Peter King, he was there too.)
2) Eli Manning (330 yds, 2 TDs) was tremendous. Cool as a cucumber in the 2 minute offense. Evaded pressure with poise in the pocket all night. He did it all.
3) Steve Smith (10 catches for 134 yds) is the Rock of Gibraltar. You can lean on him, clutch, reliable, money. Did you see that move he put on Scandrick for the TD? He left him in a different zip code.
4) The Bruce Johnson INT for a TD is how you win on the road. Make impact plays and make the home team pay for their mistakes. That was a huge lift for the team because this game could have been a rout early, the way that Dallas was dominating. Antonio Pierce is slowing down on defense but he changed the defense when Romo audibled and that set up Johnson.
5) Pass protection was good. Wonder and I disagree on this one. Wonder felt the protection was not good and that Eli Manning’s pocket presence did it all, that there were plenty of times Dallas guys were getting through. There were no sacks, that is GOOD enough for us.
6) PLUS FOUR TURNOVER RATIO.
7) Ahmad Bradshaw was a jack of all trades. Picked up blitzes, pushed the pile, got respectable yardage when Jacobs was having trouble.
8) The defensive secondary did enough things well to be on the other side of Romo going for 13 for 29 with 3 INTs. Romo may have been tied with Eli for the Giants MVP, but the DBs played well in pass coverage. Phillips was playing hurt or else this unit will look better in run coverage. We could have used Gibril Wilson out there to clean up all of the run defense mistakes.
1) OL run blocking did not get the surge. Wonder asks aloud if these guys have lost something from last year. Jacobs likes getting the handoff about 28 yards behind the line of scrimmage so that he can have a running start and a head of steam, but the problem is that he was getting greeted at the line of scrimmage too often and the plays look too slow-devloping.
2) Kickoff returns
3) Kickoff coverage
The Ugly (aka “warts”)
1) RUN DEFENSE was GASHED repeatedly. The DL was blown off the ball, Osi overpursued (creating wide gaps), our LBers are too slow. Boley was gassed and was out there far longer than he should have been, considering it was his first game back. Yes, it was hot and hurt both DLs, but there is no excuse for 251 yards. Would we have been aided by rotation with Tuck and Canty? Yes. But it has to improve.
2) This game, like the Redskins game, could have been over much earlier in the evening if the Red Zone offense could do better that 0 for 3 for 2 FGs.
3) Gilbride did not call Kevin Boss’s number ONCE in the red zone. Instead, in this mission critical area, we get balls thrown to Hedgecock and pitchouts to Bradshaw
(See Rule #5, AGAIN!). Brilliant. NOT.
4) If Tuck’s injury is serious.
Yes, the Giants were dominated at the line of scrimmage. When you have difficulties running the ball AND you give up 251 yards at the point of attack, you will not survive for very long if that does not get straightened out.
We have been complaining about the inadequacies of Kevin Gilbride for over a year now, but it has gotten so bad that even Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth now are talking about it on National TV.
Re kickoffs, each team was getting a runback of ~22 yards per kick. But their kicker makes us start from 2 yards inside the endzone while ours (thanks to Tynes’ weak leg) makes our coverage of kicks start from the +10 yard line. So we get out to the 20 and they are at the 32. Bad.
With all of this, the game is still in the WIN column. GOOD FOR THE GIANTS. COLLECT THE “W” and move on to the next game. Thankfully the playoffs do not start for another 16 weeks, so there is PLENTY OF TIME TO IMPROVE. We need time to heal. We need time for Boley to get his legs. We need time for Canty, Ross, Dockery and Sintim to get back. This win was well deserved and well earned in a great fight. The most exciting part of the game is watching Mario Manningham grow up before our very eyes. This has very good long term implications for the team.