Before yesterday’s Giants game, the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys both won with field goals to put a lot of pressure on New York. Because of how poor the Giants have performed within their division this year, they must maintain a better record than the Cowboys and Redskins to remain in first place in the NFC East. All of the tiebreakers in the division are in favor of their rivals, which makes these games even more important for New York.
Fortunately for the Giants, David Wilson decided to take matters into his own hands yesterday and was able to rack up over 300 all-purpose yards. Those yards included a 97 yard kick return touchdown, 100 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns. David Wilson had shown a lot of ability on kick returns already, but had not played as great as he did yesterday. Without those returns, it is hard to imagine that the Giants could have won that game the way the defense was playing.
The ironic part about all of the kick returns is that the most important one came from Jerrel Jernigan. When the Giants had acquired a 35-13 lead, they began to play very sloppy football. The defense gave up a terrible 60 yard bomb, that by all rights should have been intercepted by one of the three Giants standing and watching the ball fall into the hands of receiver Joe Morgan. The Saints eventually scored a touchdown on that drive with Darren Sproles. On the ensuing drive, New York moved the ball well and had run a play that could have been another touchdown to Martellus Bennett. But for some reason, Eli Manning decided to pat the ball and hesitate allowing New Orleans safety Isa Abdul-Quddus to come across the field and intercept the pass.
On the following drive the Saints scored another touchdown with Sproles and cut the 22 point deficit to eight in about five minutes. This is when Jernigan gave the Giants a 60 yard kick return setting up a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. With that score it became apparent that New Orleans was going to be hard pressed to hold off New York’s offense and allow their own offense to take a lead. The Giants eventually won 52-27.
The Consistently Bad: The New York Giants’ run defense is so bad. It is actually unbelievable how easy it is to run this defensive front. If the score of this game was closer than what it was the Saints would have easily rushed for over 200 yards. I do not see how the Giants can continue to win if they are going to allow running backs gaping holes on a routine basis. Their next two road games will be against two very good running backs in Michael Turner and Ray Rice. New York will have to eventually step up their game against the run if they have any aspirations of repeating as Super Bowl Champions.
Where is the Giants’ pass rush. The defensive line is a bunch of ghosts. Front running ghosts to be exact. The big three will disappear for games at a time, but then reappear when everything is going well. With the talent they have on that defensive front, it is inexcusable how poorly they play at times. Everyone is aware that the Giants’ secondary is below average at covering receivers, so they need those defensive lineman to start playing like they are paid to do.
It makes no sense how extraordinary Eli Manning can be at times and how bad he can be at other times. Those interceptions today were as awful as they get and they do not include the two other passes he threw that could have just as easily been intercepted. For a man as smart as Eli is, you would think that he would eventually significantly cut down on those stupid mistakes. However that has never happened. Just thankfully he is clutch in the big situations.
The Terrific: As stated earlier, David Wilson was unbelievably good yesterday. Without him it is hard to figure out how the Giants would have won that game. Wilson is not going to be able to provide that every week, but when he does it is a huge boost to the Giants’ offense.
The ability of the New York defense to get takeaways. The Giants have had a habit all season long of getting key turnovers, just when they needed them. The leader in takeaways has been strong safety Stevie Brown. Brown was drafted out of Michigan in the seventh round by the Oakland Raiders in 2010. He only started one game for Oakland, and did not record an interception. For the Giants he has fit seamlessly into this scheme. He now has seven interceptions have getting another two yesterday and recovered a fumble.
The Giants still control their own destiny, but they have a tough road ahead. Next week they travel to Atlanta to face the first place Falcons. Atlanta will be looking to lock up the first seed in the NFC and revenge for last season’s playoff loss.