Sunday, November 13, 2005

One Day Later...
By Imtiaz Mussa

So maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. Yesterday, I gave the Giants Special Teams an A for the job they have done this season (click here). Today, they deserved an F. Actually, I take that back. Is there a grade lower than an F?

On the opening kickoff of the game, Willie Ponder fumbled after running into teammate Chase Blackburn. But that’s okay, the Giants defense holds and Paul Edinger misses the field goal. In the second quarter, Jay Feely misses a chip shot from 28 yards as it goes wider right. Fast forward to the opening kickoff of the third quarter and Koren Robinson returns it 86 yards for a touchdown. Then, Mewelde Moore returns a punt 71 yards for another touchdown. So thanks to the ineptitude of the Giants special teams, they account for a 17 point swing in today’s game. But believe me, there is someone else who deserves plenty of blame for today’s disappointment.

This is the 19th game of Eli Manning’s NFL career (16th that he has started) and he looked like it was the first game. First quarter numbers: 2 for 9 and giving Darren Sharper his first interception of the game. His interception in the second quarter which Sharper returned for a touchdown was especially frustrating because I had no idea how he intended to get the ball to Plaxico Burress. His interception in the third quarter which was intended for Amani Toomer and grabbed instead by Brian Williams was a classic under thrown hanger and Sharper’s third of the game was simply deflected around a bit but still off target. Eli finishes 23 of 48 for 291 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. There are two things that can sum up Eli’s performance today; poor accuracy and inability to check off the safeties. That is not going to get it done for a team that wants to go to the playoffs.

Plenty of credit should be given to the Giants defense. They are the reason why the Giants even had a chance in this game. For the third straight game, they have not allowed a touchdown but did allow the Vikings to drive far enough to get the game winning field goal. Tim Lewis probably should not have blitzed as much as he did on that drive. The Vikings were picking it up and Brad Johnson found the open man in very quick fashion.

And Tiki Barber does it again. He ran the ball 23 times for 95 yards and a touchdown as well as the two point conversion. He also caught 7 passes for a career high 103 yards. During the broadcast, Brian Baldinger said that Jeremy Shockey was the key to the Giants offense. It’s Tiki Barber.


Blogger David Arnott said...

I saw the final 2:30 or so of the fourth quarter, since that's what Fox switched to after the Niners-Bears debacle. My observation: whoever the hell calls plays for the Giants should be relieved of said duty -- on both sides of the ball. On offense, they called timeout with about 1:20 to go, with the ball inside the Vikes' 5 yard line. Why? Run down the damn clock and then punch it home. You've got time to use all your downs. Then, after kicking off, the defense couldn't be stopped... from blitzing. Play after play, they sent five or six guys after Johnson, and they kept picking it up, and he kept hitting receivers who were open in single man coverage until they got into field goal range. THEN (as my dad and I both stared, slack-jawed), after Minnesota's botched squib kick gave them the ball on their own 40, with only twenty-five yards to go to get them into distant field goal range, with no timeouts, and with 10 precious seconds on the clock, the Giants inexplicably ran a hook and lateral ten yards down the field. Pass complete, lateral, tackle, drive home safely. There's a reason the guy was open: the Vikings were expecting a twenty to thirty yard out pattern. If NYG had taken that tack, and the pass went incomplete, they still would've had time for a Hail Mary. Say what you will about how they played before that point, but the game management in those final minutes was inexcusably bad, and I think Coughlin's comments after the game about how the players just didn't execute were laughable in light of his staff's poor performance.

"It's just beyond belief that we would play that poorly," an irate Tom Coughlin said... "With that much at stake and that much on the line, for first place in the division, to play like that... I have no idea why."

"I thought we were one snap away from seeing them maybe kneel down," Coughlin said. "How in the world did they get the ball out of bounds on us?"

What a douche.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Eli didn't call timeout, he spiked the ball which is even WORSE because that not only stopped the clock but also wastes a down in a situation where downs are much more important than time. But in that spot I doubt the call came from Coughlin; I figure Manning is the one who decided to spike it. Inexperience showing itself there.

As for the the Vikings ensuing drive, the coaches deserve some of the blame, but a lot of it has to go to players. They have to know you can't let the Viking players get out of bounds. The entire endgame was miserable by the Giants.

But of course, the Manning was terrible the entire game. 4 picks against the worst road defense in the NFL? If Brooks Bollinger isn't an NFL QB after his four pick performance on the road against a much better defense; what's Manning's excuse? And Manning has been bad for weeks now. Right now, I think you have to consider him a below average NFL QB. And unless he starts to play better, forget the Super Bowl, the Giants have to worry about making the playoffs.

11:48 PM  

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