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Unpacking The Win: Atlanta

It’s true that a win is a win, and the truth about the way the Giants played Sunday night is that Giants fans have a whole lot to feel good about heading into the thick of the schedule and wind things down to the playoffs. Unfortunately there is also plenty to feel bad about, too. The Giants Defense completely fell apart AGAIN and let a beaten team back into the game at the 11th hour with sloppy play, blown coverage, and stupid penalties… a trend that by comparison represents the exact opposite effectiveness of the 2007 Superbowl winning Giants. If that isn’t a truth bomb I don’t know what is — Defense Wins Championships.

Telling stats

Falcons Giants
Net Yards Passing 262 Net Yards Passing 368
Penalties 2 – 16 yds Penalties 8 – 64 yds
Red Zone Efficiency 4/6 – 66% Red Zone Efficiency 3/5 – 60%
Goal to Go Efficiency 3/4 – 75% Goal to Go Efficiency 2/2 – 100%
Field Goals (made – attempts) 1 – 2 Field Goals (made – attempts) 2 – 3

Eli Manning was the difference maker this game, it was totally evident that the run was not working and without that extra spark from Manning this game may have ended a bit differently, even before overtime got under way.

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Offense: Rushing

Giants: Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
B. Jacobs 12 39 3.2 1
A. Bradshaw 12 34 2.8 0

Without sounding like a broken record and a total jackass by recommending the Giants rethink how they use their backs, yet again, I’m going to give the Giants the benefit of the doubt and say that the running game simply is not a priority for this team anymore. That’s the only conclusion I can come to anymore, because the lack of production from one season to another makes absolutely no sense unless you consider motive. And by motive, what I really mean is game plan.

Think about this… every team the Giants have faced and are going to face going forward study film and they clearly think they have found the best way to beat the Giants — stop the run. Every single player that gets into reach of Brandon Jacobs is dying to tackle him, almost like they want to prove to the world that they can stop the myth, the man, the legend. Have the Giants calculatingly used this heightened focus on Jacobs to their advantage this season, almost a slight of hand / misdirection kind of strategy? Hmm…

After last year’s loss to the Eagles, I think the Giants did some soul searching and discovered that in order to have a legit shot at another title, they need to become more than a one dimensional run first offense, and they probably realized that over reliance on the run was not a key to winning games that mattered. When the Giants lost Burress and teams started stacking the box to shut down the run, the Giants had no time to develop a separate identity, thus no new game plan. They failed when it mattered.

All offseason we heard about Eli working with his receivers on the deep ball, and we’ve seen a ton of it this year already, especially last game where we were all led to believe that Eli would come out throwing short passes and Brandon Jacobs would get 25 carries and 100 yards. The Giants week in a week out indicate that they are going to get back to the run, but they have not once SHOWN that to be the case at game time, not all year! So what, are they joking? Are they purposely misleading and deceiving their own fans as well as their opposition? Has Brandon Jacobs become the biggest red herring on the planet? Seriously, IT MUST BE… because what we’re seeing is defenses take pride in tackling Jacobs as if they’ve been practicing the same drill all week, but no one is prepared for Eli’s deep ball down the right sideline on 3rd and short. It’s so effective when Manning and his receivers are in sync that I’m beginning to think the mythical Giants running game is a trap for defenses… they “zig” and defenses plan for the run, and all the Giants do is work on “zagging”.

Could it be that deceptive? Has a game plan ever been that calculating? You tell me…. but the proof is in the pudding, the coaches said Jacobs would have more than 12 carries and he didn’t. Jacobs swore up and down he’d have more carries and more yards, he didn’t. But the Giants offense was incredibly effective in the passing game — almost like it was part of the game plan to fake a run and actually pass. Check out this quote from Hakeem Nicks:

“We just went out there and competed. We had a good week of practice this week. We believed in ourselves and as long as we stuck to the game plan, we would be fine. We did spread the ball around a lot today. Everybody had an opportunity to make plays today.”

He’s right — the offense had so many varying opportunities it looked like a game plan out of New Orleans. So whatever the nature of the motive is, the bottom line is it worked. Eli and his many talented young receivers turned a lot of heads with their performance. But I doubt anyone expected that kind of production from the passing game… it was Eli’s first 300+ yard passing game at home in his CAREER for crying out loud!! Something tells me there is more to this game plan than we’re being led to believe, and only time will tell.

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Offense: Passing

Giants Cmp Att Yds TDs
E. Manning 25/39 384 3 1

Eli Manning had a career day, and led his team to a much needed victory. While overtime was in fact necessary, it should not have been needed given the breakout performance from Manning that was one of the only clear highlights of a very evenly matched game. If the Giants defense plays for 60 minutes, the Giants win that game by atleast a touchdown in regulation.

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Offense: Receiving

Receiving REC YDS TD LG
M. Manningham 6 126 0 33
S. Smith 4 79 0 51
K. Boss 5 76 2 28
H. Nicks 5 65 0 30
D. Hixon 1 16 0 16
B. Jacobs 2 13 0 16
M. Hedgecock 2 9 1 6

While Manningham, Smith, and Nicks all head stellar games – the real story Sunday was Kevin Boss. Welcome back to the end zone and the offense at large, we missed you. Here is what coach Coughlin had to say about including Boss more in the play calling:

“We have had the idea that this would be one way to help ourselves in the green zone. It proved true today. Kevin made some big plays. The play before the touchdown to Madison was a big play.”

Here is what Boss confirmed about his own effectiveness:

“I’m confident in my abilities to score some touchdowns and I think I have the size to be a threat down there. I was fortunate enough to have those opportunities today.” Kevin Boss

So basically the entire blogosphere has been proven right about Kevin Boss, and it’s only now that the Giants have decided to integrate the Big Boss Man into the offense, as if it was a new idea.

“It proved true today.”

ARE YOU F*&^$ING KIDDING?

That’s all you have to say for yourself after 4 straight losses and virtually NO passes to your former team leader in touchdowns???

“It proved true today.”

You know what else proved true today, the Giants Gab staff has a career in play calling and game plans for the Giants because we have been over and over the missing link for the Giants green zone woes for weeks – Kevin Boss. Better late than never, but never let anyone tell you that your opinion isn’t worth anything when it comes to this team. You may be ahead of your time knowing this crack staff.

Here’s one more to drive the point home, Kevin Boss on his second touchdown catch:

It was a play that has always worked for us. It was just a shallow cross there at the goal line and Eli put it right on me. It was a great call and a great pass. ”

Sheesh.

Moving on slightly to Madison Hedgecock — he clearly has gotten his hands into pass catching shape over the past several weeks. And the Giants seem to be committed to getting him the ball when the defense least expects it, hence the touchdown. Here is interstingly what Hedge had to say about the score:

“It was kind of a rub route. They went and they doubled Kevin Boss and forgot about me.” Madison Hedgecock

This is the pinnacle of what can happen when you use your tight end effectively, you make the other options on your offense that much more dangerous. The defense starts doubling up on Kevin Boss because they realize they can’t stop him otherwise — and that leaves the door open for someone like Hedge to make a play. I’ll take it!! That is good creative play calling that was made possible by the continued use of your best play makers and creating confusion in the green zone, nicely done.

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Defense

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
M. Boley 11-2 1.0 0 0
A. Rouse 7-2 0.0 0 0
T. Thomas 6-1 0.0 0 0
C. Blackburn 3-4 0.0 0 0
A. Ross 3-1 0.0 0 0
J. Tuck 3-1 1.0 0 1
C. Webster 3-1 0.0 0 0

Here are the notables for the Giants defense, and the star performers should not surprise you one bit.

“I think this team collectively played really, really good. On defense we definitely gave up too many points. The heart and the energy were there. But hopefully this is something that we can build on.” Justin Tuck

The Giants are going to have to build on their successes on defense and eliminate the poor decisions that led to a forced overtime and coin flip. Cut the penalties, get more pressure by any means necessary, and can we STOP the over the middle crossing routes for pete’s sake? It’s going to take some very physical defense to step up and stop these teams down the stretch that are going to be gunning to take the Giants out — basically every team they face between now and the Minnesota game. It’s going to be hellish, so I recommend you start playing your rookies like Goff and Sintim as soon as Thursday night in Denver. I want to see Sintim on the line and I want to see Goff in place of Blackburn, and of course I want to see both of them help the QB back to his feet after trucking him.

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Special Teams: Kicking

Kicking FG LG XP PTS
L. Tynes 2/3 39 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG I20 LG
J. Feagles 3 33.0 0 46

You boys are lucky the Giants won, and let’s leave it at that.

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Alright folks, hope you enjoyed the segment. We’ll see what tricks the Giants have up their sleeve Thursday night in Denver, maybe they zag again and run for 200+ yards and 4 touchdowns.

You never know I guess!

cheers
-ai


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4 Responses to “Unpacking The Win: Atlanta”

  1. Russo says:

    I’m not buying the fact that our run game is suffering because the “Giants have duped people in to believing the run is #1 but they realy want to pass” If that was the case we would see A LOT more PA passes…especially in the redzone. Ive seen 2 or three redzone PA Passes where they fake the hand off to Jacobs..he dives on the line..EVERYONE bites and the WR is wide ass open. And I think I saw those plays last year. NY doesnt utilize the PA enough. WHen they do, they usually connect for some big yardage down field. I think the offensive line, as seasoned as they are, is getting a little beat down and old. This will account for the lack of gaps opening on the run plays as well as the lack of protection Eli has been getting. It blows my mind when I see medocre rushing teams punch a ball in the endzone on 1st and 2nd and goal right up the middle against teams the giants went 3 and out on and settled for a field goal. You cant tell me that Jacobs cant hit a hole and gain 3 yards or less with his size and momentum.

    Ive been a giants fan for years but really only started payign attention to all facets of the game in the past few seasons. Although I’m still learning I think there are glaring issues that need to be resolved asap. Defensive play calling is one. This is two games in a row that should have been wins that were almost lost because of shotty playcalling. Two is offensive playcalling. Why in the hell did Gilbride wait until now to use Boss? Fans have been screaming it for months…and look what happened when he finialy got some action..two TDs! People should respect the talent of our TE. and if they dont..make them pay. The other issues are personel. G-Men need to get some fresh bodies at DT, MLB, and Safety. They fix those issues, and get the play calling in check..and we will all be sitting pretty at the top of the NFC again.

    • andrew ilnicki says:

      It’s not so much duping as it is acknowledging that defenses are planning to stop the run, so you come out passing to catch teams off guard.

      and one of the reasons is to be a complete team, if the defenses that prep for the Giants stop stacking the box all the time they will have an easier time running the ball. so it goes hand in hand — I think the Giants have commited to SAYING they want to get back to the run but are also fully committed to PLAYING the pass.

      Now, there have been play action passes – but you’re right you would think there would be more. I think they could use it more because, yes, it does work. But you’re taking the situation too literally. I’m talking about general game plan, not exactly specific play calling techniques.

      But even more to my point, we see a lot more 3 and 4 wide formations this year then I remember seeing the past couple of years. They really have abandoned the way we’re used to seeing them play the past few years but in a way we as fans have been clamoring for them to be a more complete team. I think they’re getting there this year.

      And this goes without saying, but you feel alot better about changes when you win.

      • Russo says:

        I agree that the game has changed and NY is adapting to that change by letting everyone know that they are a threat both in the air and running. I’m happy with the way the ball was spread around last game. I think with the amount of talent on the team it should be a crime not to. Keep teams guessing by utilizing all of the weapons and doing trick plays like direct snaps to the Rb, end arounds, PA Passes, and draws. I think that the giants are on the right track but lack the creativity in the playcalling to become a great team.

        As far as my comments about the run i guess I was addressing the many posts on here that the run game has declined. Even if the giants want to become a more well rounded team and pass more, that doesnt explain why jacobs cant punch it in on X and goal from the 3 or closer. Atlanta did it to us last week with ease. You have to attribute that to either stagnant play calling or poor lanes by the line. I think its both. Fake the run to Jacobs and pass = touchdown…Draw by Bradshaw = TD….using boss in the endzone = 2 TD. The proof is in the pudding my friends.

        If the Giants stay creative in the redzone it will open up the run.

        Until then Im perfectly content watching teams stack against the run and have Eli hit manningham, smith, and nicks for yards.

  2. andrew ilnicki says:

    i agree with your red zone assessment.

    they telegraph the play — they dont get in.

    if you stay creative and deceive a bit then its not so easy.

    the cowboys often fake 2 or 3 times before they run a play, they went 100% from the goaline because they understood the importance of faking.

    If you remember, the giants went ZERO for 5 — that a big fat goose egg. Why? They simply tried to out-execute the other team and telegraphed the play call.

    this week execution was better and there was better play calling in the red zone, using the tight end and such.

    keep that up and the Giants will be fine

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