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Unpacking the Win: Tampa

Overview

Giants Bucs
Final Score 24 Final Score 0
Time of Possession 43:38 Time of Possession 16:22

In the interest of full disclosure… I kinda feel a bit silly today. Originally I had thought the injury riddled Giants heading into Tampa Bay this week might have a difficult test of resolve against a dangerous opponent, all things possibly pointing to a trap game. As it turned out I was over-estimating the Bucs while at the same time under-estimating the Giants. Clearly, the Gmen dominated this game in every respect and came away with an impressive shutout of what many considered a formidable foe.

Defense

The Giants were back to work on defense and looked like the Superbowl champion versions I must say. The D-Line came away with no sacks, but its a meaningless stat when you consider the fact that they pressured Byron Leftwich heavily all day, got extremely physical on every snap, and the rush created one particular opportunity – a Terrell Thomas interception, which was the only takeaway of the afternoon.

Giants
Defense T-A SCK INT FF
C. Webster 4-0 0.0 0 0
D. Clark 3-0 0.0 0 0
T. Thomas 3-0 0.0 1 0
M. Boley 2-1 0.0 0 0
C. Brown 2-0 0.0 0 0
B. Johnson 2-0 0.0 0 0
A. Pierce 2-1 0.0 0 0
M. Johnson 1-0 0.0 0 0
F. Robbins 1-0 0.0 0 0
R. Bernard 0-1 0.0 0 0

So while there were no sacks to speak of, there was brutal pressure applied to every facet of the Bucs offense. People looked to the secondary to collapse this week with injuries, but to me the pass rush was so annoying for the bulk of the game that the secondary had a pretty easy time with the Bucs limited offensive weapons. When they had to step it up in the 4th quarter to keep the shutout going, even the backups did extremely well to deny a garbage-time touchdown drive and the Giants forced a takeover on downs right at the goal line. I dont want to single anyone out because the Giants played extremely tight, mistake free team football, but perhaps I can just say with relief that CC Brown redeemed himself in Tampa. And what I mean is, he didnt screw up – no missed tackles, no blown coverage, no horribly unnecessary penalties…. he did his job and did it well.

Giants: Rushing Defense
Bucs Rushing Stats ATT YDS TD LG
J. Johnson 1 15 0 15
C. Williams 2 8 0 5
B. Leftwich 2 3 0 4
D. Ward 5 2 0 7

As far as the Giants front 7 goes, they were able to get back to basics this week and clamp down on the Bucs rushing attack, something they obviously could not do last week against the Cowboys. If you came into this week thinking the Gmen might have trouble remembering how to shut out a team’s rushing attack, consider your questions answered. Derrick Ward did NOT run all over the Giants… not that I thought he would (or could) but seriously he barely got back to the line of scrimmage in a lousy 2 yards on 5 carries — that’s a pitiful 0.4 ypa in case you were wondering. We shouldn’t be too hard on Ward though, the Giants Defense deserves the credit here. Fred Robbins in particular was able to slice through the Bucs O-Line in an early first half series and tackle Ward for a loss, twice… in a row.

It was that kind of day for the Giants, and of course for the Bucs.

Offense

Giants
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
A. Bradshaw 14 104 0 38
B. Jacobs 26 92 1 11
G. Johnson 6 23 0 11
E. Manning 1 9 0 9

Ahmad Bradshaw made the memory of Derrick Ward fade even faster for me – and he illustrated to many today that he can handle a larger work load and still put up impressive numbers. Lighting it up with 7.4 ypa on 14 touches, you have to wonder why he had such limited participation in 2008. Bradshaw is obviously a talented runner – he’s lightening quick, he finds seams like its his job, has incredible vision in the open field, and it seems like every time he touches the ball he is able to make big plays happen. #44 is a yet another Giants star on the rise, and is quickly bursting out of Brandon Jacobs shadow.

Speaking of Jacobs – he was FINALLY able to punch the ball in the endzone. And as Brandon Jacobs’ stuff up the gut is my #1 goal line play to run in the red zone, particularly goal to go – I was happy to see it work right off the bat to break the Giants 0/8 red zone shutout streak. They got away from that play call last week, but I was glad to see it back in Kevin Gilbride’s repertoire this week. The Giants O-Line opened up a huge hole for that run, and overall everyone looked good helping to get the Giants into the endzone on that first drive. Now to the not so nice stuff… I have been formally asked that I bring this up, and in my heart of hearts I hate to say it but there is visual evidence that cannot be ignored as we wrap up week 3: Brandon Jacobs has perhaps lost some of his edge. It seems like Jacobs is being brought down in the backfield much more this season, almost as if he’s not running as hard this year. If I had to assign a percentage to it… Jacobs has made an impact the last 2 seasons running with 110% effort. This year however, it seems like Jacobs is running more around 85% – he’s not busting through tackles on every down, he’s not dropping his shoulder leveling defenders, he’s not bulldozing his way down field like we’ve seen him in years past. Granted the defenses the Giants have been facing seem to game plan for shutting Jacobs down, but wouldn’t they have been doing that the last two seasons as well? I’m perplexed — is he fighting an injury we don’t know about? Is he trying to preserve his health for later on in the season by not going all out right now? Is he just getting outplayed by the defense? Hasn’t anyone else noticed this or maybe are we being too critical… leave a comment. But whatever the case may be, Brandon Jacobs’ numbers are certainly not what they were last year and it’s beginning to concern me.

One guy though that shouldn’t be a concern to Giants fans is Eli Manning – is it just me or has the guy been just fantastic this season? His pocket awareness has been amazing, he moves unbelievably well and throws darts on the run, and he scrambled today for a crucial first down which rarely happens — and he looked great doing it. Eli had several roll out passes for completions, and the passes were tight and accurate which is something he struggled with in past seasons. I for one predicted Eli Manning would come into his own this year, become even more of a complete package – and he really seems to be doing just that. It’s great to watch.

Giants: Passing
E. Manning 14/24 161 2 0
D. Carr 2/3 10 0 0

Eli Manning had an efficient day with 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Steve Smith was able to get his hands on one particular pass that I thought for sure was an interception – Smith was able to draw it in for a first down instead in a remarkable show of focus. Manning rewarded his efforts with a quick curl touchdown pass, Sinorice Moss was able to get in on the action as well with a nice throw and catch along the right sideline of the end zone. While Manning’s numbers were not as lofty as weeks 1 + 2, they did not need to be as padded due to the success with running the football and controlling the clock.

David Carr came in for a few series and was able to help wind the game down, and did little else. Good to see he’s still plugged into the offense though, just in case. (gulp)

But Eli Manning’s favorite target for the day needs no introduction – I call him “Mr. Third Down” – some call him the better Steve Smith… crap I just gave it away.

Giants: Receiving
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
S. Smith 7 63 1 13
M. Manningham 4 55 0 20
K. Boss 2 27 0 24
S. Moss 1 18 1 18
T. Beckum 2 8 0 7
M. Hedgecock 0 0 0 0
B. Jacobs 0 0 0 0
D. Johnson 0 0 0 0
G. Johnson 0 0 0 0

Steve Smith is one of the most dependable and underrated receivers in the NFL, period. Eli Manning often takes a snap on 3rd down, does not break eyesight with Smith’s route, and connects for a flawless first down. Yes it’s that predictable, but it’s also that effective – Steve Smith makes plays.

Mario Manningham did what he was asked, there were no quick screens to speak of this week but Manningham was able to flash a couple moves here and there to break tackles for extra yards and get some first downs. Good to see him continue with a respectable effort considering the pass / run ratio was back to normal for the Giants.

Kevin Boss had a few balls thrown his way – but I still think he has a larger role in the Giants offense than he is being given. Take away the plays where Darcy Johnson gets the nod, send it over to Boss instead. Find a way to get the guy involved and watch the touchdowns roll in, that’s a guarantee.

Sinorice Moss – great grab in the endzone, well done. This is the reason why the Giants kept 7 receivers on the roster… to see what these guys will do with their opportunities. How bad do you want it? Show it to us. These receivers are hungry and chomping at the bit to make plays for this team, it shows, and that is a dynamic that starts at the top with leadership, discipline, and vision personified in Reese and Coughlin – I’ve been impressed thus far. This is the intangible that many struggling teams like the Redskins are missing – and it’s obviously a key ingredient. These guys want to win together… and you should look to the Giants as the best model of team building there is in the NFL.

Now – this should not have to be mentioned again, but… Madison Hedgecock has NO BUSINESS CATCHING A BALL. He’s a blocker, and a damn good one. That’s that. Why are the Giants trying to turn a mountain into a mole hill? Stop throwing Hedge these finesse little passes, they are throwaway plays!! If you want a little designed dump off play, drop it off to Bradshaw and watch the sparks fly.

Red Zone Offense

I had rightly predicted the Giants would improve on their scoring opportunities this week, and they outperformed my expectations going 3/5 in the red zone — I saw them only converting a modest 2 around the goal line.

Giants Bucs
Red Zone Efficiency 3/5 – 60% Red Zone Efficiency 0/1 – 0%
Goal To Go Efficiency 2/2 – 100% Goal To Go Efficiency 0/1 – 0%

So let’s review which of my lucky 7 red zone play calls accounted for a score inside the ‘green’ zone this week:
(therefore they are highlighted in green)

  1. RB Brandon Jacobs up the gut (video)
  2. Playaction pass to TE; or
  3. Playaction pass to WR Sinorice Moss (video)
  4. *note: this was not a playaction pass, RB Jacobs ran a route effectively as a safety valve option.

  5. Delayed QB Draw to RB
  6. Quick-slant to WR Steve Smith (video)
  7. *note: this was not a slant, more of a curl route but it certainly was a quick pass to Steve Smith.

  8. Bootleg QB sneak / option pass to TE
  9. Corner Fade to WR

While I will not criticize the play calling in the red zone this week as the Giants were able to execute 3 different options and looked fantastic around the goal line – I will simply say that I’m puzzled why Ramses Barden is not getting any opportunities down there. Of the two drives that ended in a field goal try I would have liked to see a fade to their 6’6″ rookie stud. I understand, Hagan and Moss got the nod to show their stuff this week and Barden is further down the depth chart, but when you’re blowing a team out like that and your field goal kicker missed a chip shot earlier (ugh, curse word, sigh) what is the harm in taking a gamble with the fade? On the drive where the Giants ran 3 times and settled for a field goal, it looked like they had a pass called and Eli Manning audibled and changed over to a run that was stuffed… let’s see Ramses Barden in action with a fade instead of yet another run when you’re dominating a team like that. That is my only suggestion this week for the red zone offense, I think I speak for most when I say we want to see Ramses Barden get a look one of these next 2 weeks – give him a shot coach!.

Kicking

Jeff Feagles, A+
Lawrence Tyne, C –

Giants Bucs
Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3 Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0
Kicking (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3 Kicking (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0
Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0 Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0
Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 1 – 2 Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0

I’m at a loss. How do you miss a chip shot and then go 3/5 in kicking into the endzone in a marked improvement this week? Mr. Tynes, you are now on double secret probation, if you catch my drift.

….

Final Thoughts

The Giants completely dominated this game, end of story. I hesitate to criticize anybody when you rack up 24 points on a team that has no answer – it looked like pure hell for Byron Leftwich who was under duress all day, and I feel bad for the running backs who were stuffed repeatedly by a hungry and talented Giants defensive line… it was a show. The Giants offense was able to overcome their red zone issues and go 2/2 at the goal line. They ran the ball well, they were efficient in the passing game, bravo. This is the kind of Giants team that you want to say will go all the way – and yes I realize the Giants are starting out with the only real standout test having been at the Cowboys, but frankly any team can show up to play on Sundays, and the Giants have looked damn good. We’re well on our way to a 14-2 projected season if they stay this course… and I look for them to only improve as they get their injured starters back.

Hope you enjoyed this segment, please feel free to comment and I’ll catch you all later in the week with injury updates, newsworthy tid bits, and of course another installment of the Giants Gab Roundtable.

Cheers

-ai


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10 Responses to “Unpacking the Win: Tampa”

  1. […] original here: Unpacking the Win: Tampa By admin | category: Review? | tags: bucs, charles, chest, difficult-test, final-score, […]

  2. FloydEddings says:

    In response to your call for Jacobs comments, I agree with your assessment. In years past he hits the line at full speed and deals out punishment. This year he’s hitting the line at a noticeably lower speed and by the coaches’ silence I’m guessing that the coaches want him to be more patient and let the play develop. At least I hope that’s what’s happening.

  3. gbill says:

    yes your right jacobs has definetly lost something i dont know what but he lost it

  4. It could also be that they said to him in camp — Hey Brandon, we’re going to need you down the stretch so can you manage your opportunities a bit better this year? You know, maybe not pummel everyone all the time and take yourself out of the season on a dry one yard gain before week 6?

    I’m really loving seeing Jacobs and Bradshaw as the 1-2 punch this year… particularly watching Bradshaw do well with more of a work load. I wish they gave him more opps last year.

  5. I was going to mention something about Jacobs hurt as well. Maybe a lower, nagging leg injury?

    He looks a step slow, but maybe he’s just not in full game condition yet or something.

    I’m not worried yet, but Bradshaw had exceeded my expectations.

  6. Yeah I’m not sure about the reason, but the proof is in the pudding.

    Maybe its because my Giants jersey is that of #44… but I feel he’s just getting started.

    I’ve recommended him to friends for fantasy football as a sleeper.. and I almost nailed my prediction that Bradshaw would take one in from around the 50 this past weekend… if he got one last block from David Diehl down-field he would have had a 47 yard scamper for a TD.

    almost but not quite!

    serves as fuel for next week in KC lets say. haha!

  7. MJ says:

    It was mentioned by one of the announcers that Jacobs was not running hard. If fact they were saying that TC should use Bradshaw more because he was the more punishing runner that day. Jacobs seems to be a proud man. Hopefully when he watches the game film, he will see how Bradshaw out performed him yesterday and step it up. We’ll see.

  8. Scott says:

    With regards to Brandon Jacobs, you are right. Yesterday was the first game that I have seen since last season, and I kept thinking to myself that he looks a lot slower. There was that one play on the goal line where he got tackled from behind, but he went down too easily in my opinion.

  9. Andrew Ilnicki says:

    I think he had a talk with the coaches, and they said you need to run smarter, not harder.

    Running hard when the play develops and there is a first down at stake — thats where Brandon looks like Jacobs, if you dig.

    Its when there is nothing there that he seems to go down easier, maybe thats where he’s running a bit smarter to conserve his energy and preserve his health.

    who know honestly, but it could be our imaginations as well.

  10. Andrew Ilnicki says:

    Here is a nice article from the Post today discussing this:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/ex_cowboy_johnston_jacobs_not_using_vV6QJa3RXMOAFEoSKnytVN

    The most incriminating number of all thus far for Jacobs is that of his 58 rushing attempts, 32 of them have resulted in gains of two yards or less.

    “That’s very surprising,” Johnston said. “He’s too big and too physical to be able to be stopped for two yards or less that many times. That’s a guy who’s looking for the home run, a guy looking for that big play.”

    Instead, Jacobs needs to go back to being a singles hitter. He signed a four-year, $25 million contract ($13 million guaranteed) this past offseason. Big money can siphon the desire out of a player, but that’s not the case with Jacobs.

    “If anything, I see it the other way,” Johnston said. “I’ve got that big contract, now I’ve got to live up to it. I need to be ripping off 35-, 40-yard runs week after week. That’s not happening, and all of a sudden there’s that tendency to try to make something big when it’s not really there.”

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