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Giants Continue To Win … Ughh-Leeeeee!

Giants Continue To Win … Ughh-Leeeeee!
By Martin Alvin

With great adversity comes great opportunity. And the Giants are in a position to do something great because of the adversity they created with their 0-6 start. If they can somehow dig themselves out of the grave they dug, and parlay that into the playoffs; they’ll have an opportunity to go on one of the most spectacular championship runs -– by any NFL team — ever.

And seemingly, Big Blue has started to do just that. And that’s why it seems like such a shame to complain about any victory. And believe me, I’d much rather not; but good grief, that win yesterday over the Raiders, with their injured, rookie QB, was ugly. Ugly as in almost un-watchable. I mean, Ughh-Leeeeee!

Yes, as usual, the ‘D’ stepped up — as they have since the acquisition of Jon Beason and then, the simplification of the scheme. And yesterday Antrel Rolle played a great game; and what more can anyone say about Terrell Thomas? No question about it, the ‘D’ has kept them in every one of the last three games, giving up only 34 points in the last three games — only 17 of which were the fault of the ‘D.’ The other points were due to special team gaffs, fumbles on offense, or Eli’s Pick-sixes.

And okay, for what it’s worth, the Giants only got flagged for one penalty all game. That’s pretty good.

And yes, rookie DE Damontre Moore blocked a punt and rookie safety Cooper Taylor recovered it and scored a TD. That’s good, too.

And the north/south running attack has settled things down, gaining some decent yardage and making the play-action passing game more effective. And no question about it, the return of Andre Brown was a Godsend: rushing for 115 yards on 30 carries –- with no fumbles — after being on temporary I.R. for a couple of months.

So, those positives aside, what’s caused the last three wins to be so damn ugly — including yesterday’s monstrosity? Well, to paraphrase John Keats: “Let me count the ways.”

Yesterday, for example, the Giants gave up 17 of the Raider’s 20 points on turnovers. That’s pretty ugly.

Their not-so-special teams gave up a 41yard kickoff return, a fumbled the opening kickoff and they had a punt blocked.

On an early Raiders punt, with the ball headed into the end zone for a sure touchback — for some bizarre reason –- Reuben Randal fields it on his own three yard line and then barely manages to get it back to the fifteen. This is followed by a horrible three and out series.

All day long, Weatherford was kicking line drive, dying ducks, as if he was kicking into a South Pacific typhoon, shanking one and having another blocked. Meanwhile, the Raiders punter –- except for the blocked punt -– kicked the hell out of the ball all game long: with the wind … and into the wind.

Eli throws yet another interception (16) and another pick-six – what is that, his hundreth pick-six? Sure seems like it.

And speaking of Eli -– as in, who is this guy and what did he do with the real Eli? — with about eight minutes to go, and the Giants up 21-20, and a chance to finally put the game away, Eli misses a sure TD pass to a wide-open Victor Cruz. They have to settle for a FG that keeps the Raiders within one score.

And then, again, with just a few minutes left, with yet another opportunity to put the Raiders away, the Giants ‘O’ goes three and out. Weatherford punts. It’s blocked. The Raiders get ball at their own 35 and need just 65 yards to take the lead. Fortunately, the ‘D’ came to the rescue when Kiwi strip-sacked Pryor.

Meanwhile, the Giants didn’t attempt a flare or a dump-off pass to their backs all day long until well into the third quarter -– and then, it went for a first down to Andre Brown. Meanwhile, the Raiders –- like a lot of teams — utilize their backs with successful short flares and dump-offs, and they did so yesterday against the Giants -– with success — all game long.

And while we’re on the subject of throwing to the RBs: is there a team worse at screen passes than the Giants? When was the last time they threw a successful screen pass? They threw one yesterday and it resulted in a Peyton Hillis fumble. That’s ridiculous.

So, okay: they did some bad things, yesterday; and they did some good things. And they’ve won three in a row — but they beat three very bad teams with three of the worst QBs in the league. And they may face a fourth maimed team next week against the Packers. Let’s face it; the Giants aren’t playing championship football. Not at all. So, what happens when they finally play a team with a decent, healthy, QB, like RG III or Nick Foles … or, a good QB like Tony Romo or Mathew Stafford or Russell Wilson or Phillip Rivers? Hey, I’m just saying, maybe we should hold off on the champagne, okay? What do you guys think?

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2 Responses to “Giants Continue To Win … Ughh-Leeeeee!”

  1. bucker says:

    Martin — As usual, you are spot on with your analysis. Not to get carried away, but you are virtually the only writer on the web and in the print media that actually tells it like it is about the Giants – your comments actually reflect what those of us without rose colored glasses are clearly seeing on the field without any Giants apologist spin ( I am a very devoted, long time Giants fan, but really appreciate honest critical analysis ).

    I agree with you regarding the passes to the backs. Frankly, I could not believe that Gilbride ( a story for another day ) called only one pass to the backs all day. If you recall, in previous games, the Giants executed several successful passes to John Conner ( who should be on the field for every offensive play ) and Peyton Hillis ( who slipped underneath for easy completions ). I agree with you that other teams playing the Giants seem to effortlessly and routinely gain five or six yards a pop by using swing passes to their backs. By the way, it was mind boggling that Gilbride tried to utilize Hillis for draw plays when he has neither the quickness nor acceleration to successfully execute a draw. He does however have good hands and should principally be used as a target when he slips out of the backfield underneath the coverage.

    Clearly the Giants offensive strategy going forward needs to be a ball control offense, consisting of a sound running game and a short ball control passing attack. Three step drops, quick slants, flare passes, dump offs should be the order of the day. It is alarming that Gilbride still has Eli throwing 20-25 yard outs ( more pick sixes waiting to happen ) when Eli is incapable of throwing them with any velocity or accuracy. I believe the Giants only threw two quick slants both of which were very successful. When will Gilbride and Eli finally see the light — keep the chains moving, use the clock, keep the opposition from getting the ball, rest the defense and avoid interceptions ( dink and dunk them to death ). I would much prefer a 17 play, 9 minute drive ( as in the Viking game ) to relying on drive killing long passes downfield. Obviously, if a particular opportunity to complete a deep ball presents itself, go for it — but only on an occasional basis and to keep the defenses honest. But come on guys — let’s look short first and then long rather than vice versa. Let’s put Eli in a position where he can be moderately successful.

    Finally, — special teams — how Tom Quinn still has a job with the Giants is ludicrous. His tenure has been marked by special teams play which has been mediocre at best. The Giants special teams play has become a serious liability. Replacing Quinn is long overdue.

    Thanks again for your insights. I look forward to your thoughts on my comments.

  2. bucker says:

    – forgot to mention one more thing in my comment: how can a professional football team be so shockingly inept as are the Giants at executing a screen pass — do they practice between games? —- another Gilbride success story. To me, Gilbride’s inability or unwillingness to adjust his offensive strategy ( taking into account the limitations of the offensive line and the erratic play of his quarterback) until losing 6 games in a row is the principal reason the Giants season is on the brink.

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