Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5 Things We Learned from Sunday Night

The Pyramids, the Coliseum, the Great Wall…

On the night Jerry Jones unveiled his own magnificent construction to the world, the mammoth HD screen that overhangs the field at Cowboys Stadium displayed images of these architectural marvels. And while Cowboys Stadium was indeed spectacular (like the Pyramids) and the host to fierce combat (like the Coliseum), it did little to protect its inhabitants from the Northern invaders (like the…you get it).

Everything's ridiculously huger in Texas.

Genghis Tom and his horde of blue-clad warriors rode into town and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 33-31 in a thrilling game, decided in the final seconds by a Lawrence Tynes field goal. The game featured nine lead changes and no team ever led by more than six points. Many will point to the Cowboys 4 turnovers (3 INT’s from Romo) as the deciding factor in the game. I submit the Giants’ converting five trips to the red zone into just 12 points and 0 touchdowns was just as big a factor. You put touchdowns on the board, even half the time, this game is no contest.

Rookie free-agent CB Bruce Johnson returns Romo's first INT for a touchdown.

The win moves the Giants to 2-0 on the season, and perhaps more importantly 2-0 in the NFC East – a fine position to be in early in the season...It is indeed early however, and at this point in the year, players and fans alike are still getting a sense for what their teams are all about. While it is hard to get a pulse still on just how good Big Blue will be in 2009, here are five things that we CAN take away from Sunday night’s victory:

5. Michael Boley looks like a player. Last night Michael Boley made his Giant debut, starting at weak-side linebacker. Boley showed little ill effects from his off-season hip surgery as he was all over the field in the early parts of the game. Watching from home, it looked like he was in on every tackle through the first half (he finished with 7). As his stamina and comfort level with the defense develops, he looks poised to evolve into the play-maker the Giants believe he can be.

4. Our run defense still needs to work out the kinks. A week after completely shutting down the Washington Redskins’ ground attack, the Giants surrendered 251 yards on the ground to the Cowboys, with an average of 8.7 yards per carry. Part of that can be attributed to a great Dallas running game, part of it can also be attributed to a short-handed, still-getting-healthy D-line. A big part of it though is players missing assignments and being out of position. Big Blue will need to rebound to shut down Tampa Bay’s backs next week.

Felix Jones takes off...

3. Eli is the MAN. (This shouldn’t be a news flash to many of you...) His contract stirred up a lot of controversy this off-season among some circles (not any I spend much time in). Sunday night he showed off both the tangible and intangible qualities he possesses as a quarterback that make him one of the best in the NFL, and deserving of his lucrative extension. 25 for 38, for 330 yards and 2 TD’s, and ANOTHER game-winning drive in the clutch. Eli is the man. End of discussion.

Few are better at leading their team down the field in the clutch.

2. Did you catch that? Because Mario Manningham and Steve Smith sure did. Sunday night, as ESPN’s NFC East blogger Matt Mosley put it, the two receivers were the best players on the field. The duo have been catching everything thrown their way through two games, and more than that, they’re making plays with the ball once they have it in their hands. Reese’s decision not to trade for a veteran receiver in the off-season is looking pretty smart right now. When Nicks and Hixon return from injury, the Giants, stunningly, might be looking at one of the more potent passing attacks in the NFL.

Steve Smith has stepped up in a big way for Big Blue.

1. The “green zone” is a red zone for Big Blue. Tom Coughlin’s terminology for the most important area of the football field is rather ironic thus far this season because the Giants’ offense has not been able to “go” anywhere. In eight trips inside the 20 yard line, the Giants have managed zero touchdowns and come away with only 18 points. Eight trips to the red zone – 8 pts. For an offense so effective at moving the ball, this will have to change.

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Two weeks, two wins, and a handful of encouraging signs and concerns that the Giants can build on. How they handle the next few weeks, probably the easiest stretch of the schedule with games against the Bucs, Chiefs and Raiders, will reveal a lot about the identity of this team in 2009.

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Giants 2 - 0
Sack Count: 4
Take-away Count: 6

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Methos1966 said...

Eli has ICE WATER running through those veins...He is the Man!

RG-6 said...

One thing I learned is how good the Giants secondary is.

I can't remember a time when the Giants secondary wasn't the weakest part of our defense. Now, it looks great. And we haven't had Ross or Dockery on the field, yet.

The secondary looks great against the pass but is definitely part of the problem with the run defense but overall is looking really, really strong.