The New York Giants essentially played a perfect game last night, improving their record to 2-1. Aside from settling for too many field goals, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. From the defense playing their first good game this season, to Ramses Barden, yes Ramses Barden, playing an extraordinary game.
The Exceptional : This is Barden’s fourth season in the league and as a third round pick it was expected that he would have made some sort of impact by now. Unfortunately, he was hampered by numerous injuries along the way. With the absence of Hakeem Nicks last night, Barden received his first true shot to make plays for this offense, and he did not disappoint. He ran all types of routes, ranging from slants, to posts and ins. And most importantly he did not drop a pass. Barden finished the day with nine catches for 138 yards.
With that performance, Barden could adjust the way the Giants aim to use their receivers. Cruz’ best wide receiver spot is in the slot, and if the coaches trust Barden enough he could fulfill the roll as the flanker opposite of Nicks allowing Cruz to spend most of his time in the slot.
Last week New York’s offensive line allowed all kinds of time for Manning in the pocket, and it was no different last night. With Diehl out this line continues to play outstanding football. They only allowed one sack and prevented any kind of pressure on Eli. Manning had another very good performance, which has become his normal day of work. They also did an excellent job of opening up holes for Andre Brown, who has been a revelation since entering the starting lineup.
Brown played fantastic again, really demonstrating his patience to set up runs last night. Brown rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries and two scores. He really ran with authority on a couple of runs and broke several tackles throughout the game. I think it may be hard for Bradshaw to win his starting spot back at this point, but he will certainly receive plenty of snaps. In any case Bradshaw is more effective when he is coming into the game as a change of pace.
The most positive thing that came from last night’s game was the play of the defense. New York’s defense had struggled at stopping the passing game, and rushing the quarterback thus far. However, that all changed last night against a dynamic offense.
It was nice to see the big three on the defensive line play well. Jason Pierre-Paul was all over the field last night, breaking up running plays, swatting passes, and pressuring Cam Newton all night. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were also very effective against the run, and combined to cause pressure in the backfield of the Panthers. Quietly, Linval Joseph has been very productive for the Giants so far. Joseph is very good inside against the run and can rush the passer as well. He has filled in for Barry Cofield nicely since he left for greener pastures in Washington.
I was extremely surprised to see the secondary play very well last night. Corey Webster DID look alive out there, and Jayron Hosley continues to impress. Hosley was able to cause a bad pass from Newton on a blitz and also intercepted one, which for all intensive purposes ended the game. Both Kenny Philips and Antrel Rolle have been solid this season and I would expect that to continue. Webster did break his hand last night, but he should be able to play through that injury.
The Stupid: Cam Newton, you are a moron. You and the rest of the bums on your team did not outscore yourselves by 29 points. The Giants did. So if you think that the manhandling you received last night, by a superior team, was all because you guys did not do things right then you should get your head examined. You can take your crocodile tears and the money you received from Auburn and shove it.
The Giants will now get 10 days to prepare for the Egirls, who they will face next week on Sunday Night Football.