I finally got a chance to watch the Bills game, having been away. Some takeaways…
On the 80 yard TD, four things go wrong. (1) The Giants are in that 4-2-5 with the three safeties. So there is no Middle Linebacker. LBers matter in this league, Mr. Reese. I will not criticize the coaches here because the hand they are dealt is DL and Secondary draft choices at the expense of Linebacker. (2) Phillips comes up on the left side and that leaves Williams to be the de facto MLBer, but Williams is caught up on the left out/side and he had to have inside responsibility. (3) Rocky Bernard is pushed around and just looks awful, completely blown off the ball. (4) As everyone saw, Deon Grant took the wrong angle.
This season, the Bills have been scoring a ton on offense and giving up a ton on defense. That we had a 27-24 game should not surprise. That the Giants offense was made to look good and the Giants defense looked soft should not surprise.
After Manningham gets a Pass Interference call his way when he his grabbed on the hips by the defender, the Giants have a first and goal at the 9. The Giants have 5 OLmen, a TE, Bear Pascoe as the H-back lead blocker for Bradshaw, and the Bills are thinking run. So Gilbride gives them play action, a great playcall. The Bills are frozen at the line and Manning has plenty of time and protection. But only two men are in routes. Bradshaw at the end of the play is squeezing out slowly, as he is not being asked for a checkdown. This is PRECISELY where he needs to go. If the flare checkdown is worked on with this playcall, Bradshaw will have one player to beat for a TD. Instead, it is 2nd and goal at the 9 off what was a good try, and the Giants end up settling for 3.
Why is it suddenly dawning on Fewell that Webster needs to go in lockdown on the opponent’s best WR? We have been beating this drum for two seasons now. If losing Thomas woke up Fewell for how to use Webster, so be it. Better late than never. Let’s hope this ray of light is not a strobe.
My apologies for being redundant to everyone’s comments, but Manning and Ballard each had a great game. Bradshaw was terrific, but he was even better in picking up the blitz. Speaking about the blitz, Eli looked like he had eyes behind his head, with a veteran QB’s pocket presence.
There was too much 3-man rush for my liking. Infrequently it is ok because the opposition doesn’t expect it and won’t be able to adjust, but the Giants went to it too much, especially at the end. That is Prevent. It worked this time. They will get burned if they do that against more experienced teams.
The Giants miss Snee. They miss Tuck. They missed Baas and got much more solid on the OL with him back.
Did you notice how the Bills were giving up sacks and would then respond with an effective screen to slow the Giants’ pass rushers down just a little bit? In today’s NFL, this has to be a staple. Remember the chess game. 1) NFL rules encourage passing. 2) Defenses must disrupt passing game by breaking up rhythm and getting to the QB. 3) When defensive linemen become obsessed with getting to the QB, offenses then need to take advantage of that by keeping them honest, burning them when they sellout w pure pass rush.
The Giants played with great effort. They were focused. They won the turnover battle. They did not lose their composure. They kept running the ball. The Bills played with great effort too, but that should add to the Giants confidence. The Manningham drop and the two big Giants defensive gaffes are blemishes on an otherwise great game. The Giants played 60 minutes of football and need to keep doing this. If they do, we have a season.