Giants-Cowboys: Hits, Misses & Musings
Repeat after me.
A win is a win. A win is a win. A win is a win.
Yes the Giants managed to preserve their undefeated streak at the Cowboys’ new stadium, at which they are 4-0.
And yes, the win certainly counts not just in the division race but also in the standings.
But let’s face it, it was an ugly win. And at Inside Football, we have a saying that ugly wins ultimately lead to ugly losses.
If there’s one thing that’s absolutely frustrating to watch with this Giants team is how they seem to struggle week after week to rise above their competition. Oh sure, we saw it with the 49ers, whom they soundly defeated, but since then, the Giants have faced two teams, Washington and Dallas, that aren’t quite in the same class as the 49ers, yet who they had to struggle to keep up with.
Still a win is a win, and the Giants are 6-2 at the midway point. We all know the history under head coach Tom Coughlin and the schedule isn’t going to get any easier.
But let’s give credit to this scrappy group for finding a way to get it done, even if it’s not always pretty.
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I got a bit of a chuckle over a suggestion by a reader that quarterback Eli Manning is in a slump the last two weeks. While certainly his numbers haven’t been eye-popping, what I think people are overlooking is a characteristic for which Manning was criticized earlier in his career.
I’m talking about his patience. A couple of years ago when Manning threw for an uncharacteristically high 25 interceptions, people were screaming about how he was never going to be a top shelf quarterback. So what does he do? He develops more patience in letting the plays come to him versus trying to force things. He develops better acumen in terms of knowing when to throw the ball away.
In other words, he doesn’t take unnecessary risks that can lead to turnovers, sacks, or mistakes. So yeas, the numbers aren’t impressive nor will they win the guy Offensive Player of the Week Honors, but isn’t it better to see lower passing yards vs. higher interceptions and sacks?
Ahmad Bradshaw continues to leave yards on the field and it’s starting to become a bit frustrating to watch. All he has to do is follow his lead blocking – it’s really that simple, I you think about it. He has a fullback in Henry Hynoski who’s begun blocking lie, well, “Hank the Tank.” His offensive line has done a fairly decent job with the run blocking as well. Yet for some reason, Bradshaw loses patience and tends to take the weight of the world on his shoulders, only to end up missing out on additional yards.
Yeah, I know about the last couple of weeks – those were examples of him being patient. And perhaps the perceived lack of patience might have something to do with the score at the time and hence a greater sense of urgency. I’m not saying Bradshaw has lost his touch – he’s shown otherwise—but it sure would be nice if he was just a bit more patient out there, especially given that he has a quarterback who can make things happen.
While on the subject of the running game, while it’s great that David Wilson is getting touches, at this point, when he comes onto the field, the whole world knows what’s coming and that is Wilson will get the ball—no neon sign needed to see that. Yes, it’s a tough decision to make – the coaches obviously want to get Wilson some touches in games – but is the expense really worth it at this point considering that even Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t see the ball much in his rookie season until later that year and he pretty much turned into a serviceable back.
I mentioned Henry Hynoski before, and just want to point out that this kid has gone against some very, very good linebackers of late, making them virtually a nonfactor – Bowman and Willis of the 49ers, and then this week, against Anthony Spencer. That’s pretty good production from a second-year, undrafted free agent whose teammates praise as being one of the smartest guys on the offense, a guy who knows all the assignments and who while not always perfect in his execution, at least knows where to be on any given play.
I really thought Martellus Bennett would be more amped up for his return back to Dallas, but that wasn’t the case. I mean, if he thought he played a poor game against Washington the week before, I can’t wait to hear what he thought of his showing against his former teammates. Overall, Bennett’s blocking technique looked shoddy – at times he was too high—and that dropped pass at the one-yard line? If he’s looking for that big pay day at the end of the year, he has to make that reception.
I had wondered how center David Baas, who remember last week was working through an ankle injury that caused him to miss chinks of practice time, might fare against Dallas NT Jay Ratliff, who is a very big man to have to move. Well, Baas did appear to have his share of struggles against Ratliff, and I thought it interesting that he had to take him on one-on-one with very little help blocking.
How good was it to see Chris Canty get a larger amount of snaps this week? Not only did Canty help shore up the middle against the run, he was productive in the pass rush, making a pest of himself against his former teammates.
I was a little disappointed that Mark Herzlich didn’t get more snaps when he came in for Chase Blackburn on defense, especially after he was a topic of conversation the previous week as far as his learning from Blackburn. However, the Giants went to their nickel defense which limited Herzlich’s snaps. If Blackburn’s hamstring is a long term affair—and I’m hearing that he probably won’t play this weekend–Herzlich will probably get the nod this week.
I have to give props to punter Steve Weatherford. His punting this year has been solid, but not quite as strong as it was last season. This past week that changed as he as back to executing his coffin corner kicks with precision.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
I’m not sure that Prince Amukamara had to flash his puppy dog eyes to get an official to pick up a flag when it appeared he was going to be called for defensive pass interference. It sure looked like Ogletree was the one initiating the contact.
I know what the Ref said about the last ten seconds of the game, but for what it’s worth, I put a stop watch on that last sequence of plays – three times. And each time the Cowboys went over the allotted ten seconds with their three plays. And it sure looked like to me that the clock was late in getting started on a couple of plays.
The Dez Bryant touchdown that wasn’t is without question the turning point of the game, so it bears taking a closer look as to what happened.
The first thing is that Corey Webster bit on a move by Bryant. Why this happened, I’m not quite sure as there was no need for him to react to any move inside the end zone.
Michael Coe was also a guilty party on that play. Lined up at safety, the film showed that Coe had his eyes fixated on the quarterback rather than the receiver. If he keeps an eye on the receiver, there’s likely no way Bryant gets that much separation. That Bryant was out of bounds by literally a fingertip was a huge, huge break for a Giants team that had they lost this game, it would have been the largest lead (23-0) they went on to blow in their franchise history.
Not to take anything away from Jason Witten, who’s a future Hall of Famer, but of all the Giants defenders, I would have thought that Michael Boley might have had the goods to keep Witten under wraps. This was not the case, and I wonder if that decision was a result of Boley’s hip injury still being a problem to where it forced the coaches to reconsider how they deployed their personnel.
I like the flashes of talent Keith Rivers has shown, but my gosh, it’s one injury after another, after another with this guy, and I have to wonder just how much that missed time has kept him from really taking to this Giants defense.
Want to know the biggest difference Stevie Brown has brought to the table over Kenny Phillips? Brown doesn’t play deep into the next county when he lines up, something that Philips often did which I never quite understood. And I can’t help but wonder if that’s why Brown has been so successful in the interception department.