Teams can win badly and teams can lose well. The Giants lost well last night. I know that to many, if not all of us, that that is small consolation. But you have to trust me on this- LOSING WELL IS IMPORTANT. It means you are fighting.
Just like in the NE game 4 weeks ago, if the Giants fell short that day, it would have been a good effort. And just like the NE game of 4 years ago, falling short (38-35, coincidence?!) with good effort against a great (15-0) team can mean Super opportunities. Similarly, versus the 11-0 Packers, the Giants fell short, but as fans we can recognize great energy and effort. The Giants got measured and they played toe to toe with the Super Bowl champs. Just like in 2007, it means that anything is possible.
The Giants in 2011 are NOT where the 2007 team was. Gilbride in his 1st year + Spags were far more dynamic than Gilbride in his 5th year and Perry Fewell. Also, when you have your umpteenth CB (Blackmon) covering Nelson instead of Terrell Thomas, you have to be fair about the realities of this roster. But at least this Giants team gave the requisite effort that we can be proud of. They need to keep delivering that effort consistently from here on out.
1) Effort and Energy. The entire team fought and battled to the end vs a terrific team. The Packers arguably had an off day and presented an opportunity for the Giants to win. That the Giants missed winning is disheartening, but now the Giants can play the remaining 4 games with the confidence that they can win ALL FOUR remaining games and win the division. Yes, that is quite possible. If the Giants play against Dallas, Washington and the NY Jets with the same effort and energy as they played yesterday, the Giants WILL WIN all 4 and be NFC East champs. (Technically speaking, I believe that if the Giants sweep Dallas, they just need to beat EITHER the Jets or Wash to win the division.)
2) Mitch Petrus. Yes, that’s right, the Guard. We tweeted about him in Q3 and need to point out that with Baas out (haedaches) at Center and Petrus moving in at Guard, the Giants running attack improved dramatically.
3) Nicks/Cruz/Eli/Ballard/Barden. These guys all have game. I’l go to war with these guys. Do you realize that Victor Freaking Cruz has 1076 yards in 12 games, on pace for over 1400 yards?!!!!!! He’s only STARTED 3 games this season, lol!
4) Beckum IN THE SLOT. The Gilbride strobe flickered on in Q1. We have been asking for this for how long? And all of a sudden it happens and the guy goes house. Earth to Gilbride, Planet Earth to Captain Gilbride.
5) JPP. The guy is an animal. We know he had physical skills. But is there anyone on defense who is able to wreak more havoc than him? Tuck, perhaps, when healthy. Batted balls, sacks, and it is going to get even better. He’s still learning the game.
6) Bradshaw and Jacobs. The running game was the best we have seen all season. Energy and effort.
7) Gotta tip my hat to Chase Blackburn. He is part of our loser LBers, but he got his # called from the Sunday sofa and he made an impact.
8) Run defense. Stout.
1) Still too much zone for my liking.
2) Lack of pocket contain on Rodgers. When this QB squeezes out of the pocket, he is worse than Michael Vick, because he is smart enough to protect his body so that he can keep coming at you. When able to escape the pocket, he is lethal in passing and running the ball. He hurts every NFL team this way, but you have to prioritize making it as difficult for him to do this as possible. (This is one of the many ways that Michael Strahan was a true maestro. Yes, Strahan is going to the Hall of Fame and he was UNDERAPPRECIATED in this capacity.)
3) The Matthews pick of Eli. Eli is playing his greatest season as a NY Giant. But that mistake was a killer. It changed tempo and the Giants never were able to climb out of the hole. It should serve as a reminder that the Giants can play better and have another gear still left. Oh, and a reminder to Reese, that LBers can make an impact in addition to Defensive Linemen.
3a) Ross blown coverage of Driver for wide open TD. Just another reminder that the Giants can make a few less mistakes and play at a higher level.
3b) Boothe and 10 other Giants players need to fall on a loose ball.
4) Challenge by Coughlin with 27:12 left in the game. You cannot be without a challenge for an entire half on a somewhat marginal situation on a marginal challenge.
5) The Giants defense needs to make a stop when it counts at the end of the game.
6) The 3 man rush. In Q1, it happens to be that Garafolo tweets that no one is complaining that the Giants had a 3 man rush on that set where GB has to punt. Ironically, I had just tweeted that I DID have a problem with it, regardless of whether it worked THAT particular play. I tweeted back that I did. And so we fast forward to Q4, when it counts, when the Packers are up 28-27, 3:44 left, 2nd and goal from the 7. Rodgers has all day, LITERALLY SEVEN FULL SECONDS with ZERO HEAT.. after finishing a delicious cup of tea and crumpets, he finds Driver for the TD. All thanks to a THREE MAN RUSH. You simply cannot allow these QBs this kind of passive set. Eventually it will come back to haunt you. And it did. This is why when the chips are down, I do not have confidence in Fewell.
Yes, it blows to lose a close one like this. But I promise you, if the Giants play with this effort and energy for the 4 remaining weeks, the NY Giants will be NFC East Champions. This has to be a building block for this team to get confidence that they can play good football. Against anyone. I still do not like the coordinators. But effort matters and there is still a big opportunity to do something with this season.