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Unpacking The Win: Oakland

Raiders Giants
Final Score 7 Final Score 44
Time of Possession 23:56 Time of Possession 36:04
Total Net Yards 124 Total Net Yards 483

Well that seemed too easy. I know it’s been a long haul already since week 1 – but the Oakland Raiders who nearly toppled Phil Rivers and the mighty Chargers a month ago were completely out matched Sunday in the Meadowlands. I know I know, I said it would be a fairly close game with lots of punting… so I was only half wrong. Again I gave too little credit to the Giants and too much credit to the opposition. Why do I do these things? Because I remember the 2008 Cleveland Browns.

All things considered — the Giants won a game they clearly should have, and they beat the Raiders as fully and completely as one can imagine. The Giants had success in every facet but perhaps the return game which led to the only blemish of the afternoon… otherwise this was a candidate for another shutout for the Giants.

Eli Manning had everything working for him, the play calling was superb. There were quick short passes, dump offs, deep bombs, runs up the gut, finesse runs to the outside, pitches, crosses, curls, play action fakes, draws, sluggos, posts …. this was as impressive a performance on offense as I can remember from the Giants. They moved the ball on their terms, and they scored easily and efficiently with 4 scores on their first 4 possessions.

5 of 5
         

OFFENSE: Passing

Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
E. Manning 8 10 173 2
D. Carr 9 14 90 0

Eli Manning left late in the second quarter after having led his team to 262 yards of offense, while the Raiders only mustered 9. Although I expected Manning to come out at some point, I haden’t expected him to leave before the first half was up. Other teams and other QB’s may have wanted to keep their guy in to run up the score and pad the stats — but that is not Giants football as we know it. Besides, Manning left before the half with a near perfect QB rating of 158 which is pretty hard to improve on.

When David Carr came in he proved why he is a valuable backup quarterback for the Giants, he looked confident in the offense and at times my overall impression that he seemed to be having a ton of fun out there on that field with that finely tuned Giants offense. I don’t feel bad saying the less I see of Carr, the better…. but in games like this you have to play your backup and see what happens.

The Giants spread the ball around quite effectively, getting everyone involved and mixing it up masterfully — Coach Gilbride should be congratulated on staying aggressive until the game was well out of reach… continuing to take shots down the field and stretching things out created a balanced attack without bias toward run or pass, and the Giants have never looked more in sync.

The Giants have outscored their opponents 151-71 over the first 5 games, domination at its finest. Of course without a mainstream sports media anointed #1 receiver, who would have thought the Giants would have the weapons to win games by that kind of margin? True Giants fans who know the team, of course.

4 of 5
         

OFFENSE: Receiving

Receiving REC YDS TD LG
S. Smith 3 70 0 43
A. Bradshaw 1 55 0 55
H. Nicks 4 49 1 17
M. Manningham 2 36 1 30
D. Johnson 3 26 0 13
T. Beckum 2 12 0 11
B. Jacobs 1 8 0 8

The ball was so effectively spread around there is really not a single person you can highlight. Obviously Steve Smith made a great 40+ yard catch down the right sideline setting up a score, Mario Manningham did well to contribute, Hakeem Nicks got in on the action and late in the game was able to create separation on Nnamdi Asomugha (the so-called best corner in football) and nearly complete a deep pass from David Carr… it was only a footstep away from being an incredible play.

Darcy Johnson and Travis Beckum did well with the balls they were thrown…. I did miss seeing Kevin Boss even though the Giants were completely fine without him playing.

Now…. you’ll notice that Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw took the dump off passes this week for nice gains while Madison Hedgecock strictly blocked and did not have an attempt at a reception. That is the absolute right direction to be going in – and Bradshaw proved to everyone the reason why on a 3rd and 26 when he flashed to the outside for 55 yards and the longest play from scrimmage for the Giants this season. Now I hate to keep harping on this but Ahmad needs to be catching more balls out of the backfield – he’s simply electric. He is our Brian Westbrook. Neo-Tiki. He can do it all, and the more times he can get involved the better.

4 of 5
         

OFFENSE: Rushing

Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
A. Bradshaw 11 110 10 2
B. Jacobs 21 67 3.2 0

Does Brandon Jacobs need to be negatively highlighted here? You could make that argument, but overall the Giants rushing attack is still a deadly 1-2 punch with Jacobs and Bradshaw working together. I for one am not overly panicked about Jacobs’ numbers being stunted compared to last year… and as much as I love Ahmad Bradshaw I don’t see a need to get desperate and try to fix a system that really isn’t broken. If Jacobs was held to 25 yards on 20 carries, then yes maybe there would be something to analyze further. But Sunday Jacobs charged down the field and firmly put the Giants in scoring position, he was able to cut outside when asked, he rans routes well and caught a pass or two to help move the chains as a safety valve — overall Jacobs has been adequate in his role in this more dynamic 2009 Giants offense. If anything, preserving the unpredictability of what the Giants are trying to do with their personnel on any given play is a higher priority for me than seeing Jacobs repeatedly plow through the offensive and defensive lines every time he’s in on a snap. The Giants recent red zone success after all is due to the former, not the latter.

That said, Ahmad Bradshaw does deserve to get a few more opportunities, and I would like to see him get in the game earlier going forward like he did this Sunday due to Jacobs coming out with an injury in the first quarter. Ordinarily Jacobs monopolizes the first quarter while Bradshaw takes the bulk of the second quarter, but you should take notice what happened as soon as #44 got in the game extra early this week…. success. The Giants immediately scored on Bradshaw’s first touch, and then he took it into the endzone untouched ona pitch from the 20 yard line on the very next drive. So the question for me really is why have there been constraints on who gets in the game at certain times? “Opportunities” don’t simply mean touches alone and how many, it’s also about when are you getting the ball.

This week there was a nice mix of personnel rotating around and it made for a more dynamic offensive scheme. The Giants seemed to move the ball myriad ways at will… and the Raiders defense was not ready for it. I say the more ways you can mix it up but stay in rhythm, the better.

5 of 5
         

DEFENSE: Pass Rush

Defensively, the Giants kept JaMarcus Russell guessing all game and brought pressure from every angle one could apply it — the Gmen amassed 6 sacks and forced 3 fumbles that all led to more Giants points.

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
J. Tuck 6-0 2.0 0 1
T. Thomas 4-0 1.0 0 1
M. Kiwanuka 3-2 1.0 0 1
M. Johnson 2-1 1.0 0 0
D. Tollefson 1-0 1.0 0 0

Justin Tuck had a stellar game with two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and six tackles. Obviously his shoulder is feeling better.

I liked the pressure packages and switching up the blitzers at the line of scrimmage to create confusion… on more than one occasion JaMarcus Russell got tagged by a defender who came off the line untouched. Lot’s of fun to watch, particularly Dave Tollefson’s smear campaign that spoiled a play action fake for the Raiders late in the game and with that, any hope of Oakland getting more points on the board.

Terrell Thomas also streaked off the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble that Osi recovered…. and he broke up a SLIGHLY underthrown pass from Russell that would have been a guaranteed touchdown had the coverage not been there. Fantastic work from Thomas.

4 of 5
         

DEFENSE: Linebackers

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
C. Blackburn 4-4 0.0 0 0
A. Pierce 4-4 0.0 0 0
C. Sintim 2-0 0.0 0 0
J. Goff 1-0 0.0 0 0

Chase Blackburn and Antonio Peirce did a great job containing the middle of the field, as the Raiders love to work TE Zack Miller up the middle for huge gains. And they basically shut down the Raiders rushing attack with disciplined gap protection and physical tackling.

Raiders: Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
M. Bush 12 37 1 8
J. Fargas 11 18 0 4

Since the Dallas game, the Giants are back to business as usual shutting down their opponents running game. While Michael Boley’s speed was not necessarily missed this past week, going into New Orleans there will be more pressure on the LB’s to stop the run and contain the middle of the field. Drew Brees loves to throw across the middle to his receivers and tight ends while they’re on the move — any loss of a step at Linebacker will be detrimental to the outcome for the Giants. Between moving up to stop the run and making sure not to bite up on the play action to leave the door open for a pass across the middle, Peirce and Blackburn will have their hands full next week. I hope Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff are prepared to be rotated in throughout what is sure to be an important defensive battle in New Orleans next week.

Speaking of Goff – do they hand out tickets to Hawaii for Special Teams coverage? What a beast!

5 of 5
         

DEFENSE: Secondary

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
T. Thomas 4-0 1.0 0 1
M. Johnson 2-1 1.0 0 0
C. Webster 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Brown 0-2 0.0 0 0

The Giants secondary is playing lights out football — even though the unit has been riddled with injuries all season they are completely shutting down their opponents’ offensive weapons. That’s the sign of young and hungry players trying to keep their starting job when guys like Aaron Ross return from injury.

Terrell Thomas had an excellent game with an impressive strip sack and led the unit with tackles.

CC Brown scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown – a play that was called back due to (BS) forward progress and whistles apparently were blown to deaden the play. It’s funny — I didn’t see Adrian Peterson get his forward progress in that exact same situation last week. A note to the officials – if nothing else try to be consistent for crying out loud. You spoiled a 51-0 shutout!!

5 of 5
         

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicking

Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3

Tynes obviously got the memo last week, I’m glad.

Hope you enjoyed this segment, catch you all later this week with more injury updates and of course in the New Orleans Roundtable discussion.

cheers

-ai


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