EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - What a way to kick off the greatest sports month of the year! Not since Tom Brady in February of 2008 have I ever seen a professional quarterback so scared for his life in the pocket as Jay Cutler looked to be Sunday night in the Meadowlands. What an impressively dominating win. Don't let the final score fool you, that win was complete and total domination. As a Giants fan, its exactly what you want to see from your team. The fashion in which we played and won should be what all fans hope this team will establish as its identity moving forward – aggressively endless blitzing and the ability to pound the rock when we need to. And that's exactly what the Gmen did against the Bears. And it was awesome.
There's a certain swagger you feel creeping back after a game like this. Incredibly proud of your team, and the way they played. But most importantly, they gave the fans and the legends in attendance what they wanted – a physically dominant game. When I talk about that being the kind of Giants' football we've grown to love, I mean it. When opposing quarterbacks view their upcoming schedules, they should be circling a match up against the Giants, scared already for the pain they know they'll endure at the hands of one of the scariest, most intimidating defensive lines in football. There should be extra ice in the trainer's rooms in anticipation of the beating their team's quarterback will be taking. It should simply be expected, as it was on a regular basis during the 2007 season.
So, where do we begin?? How about my new viewing spot? It sure worked this time around…
A Comfortable Viewing Experience
That's right, there's no place like home! And that's exactly where I was this past Sunday night, comfortably settled in my place in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, JJ couldn't be there, but I'll get to that in a bit. But no worries - in his stead, my good friend Justine (a friend from back home in Jersey, who recently relocated out west, of course) came over to watch the game. At first she was only planning to stay for the first half. But with the score as unexpectedly close as it was, I couldn't take the risk. She stuck around. By the fourth quarter, she was having a ball watching our Gmen dominate. Needless to say, I hope you had fun the other day Justine. It looks like you might have to watch the games with us more often. Don't mess with a good luck charm!
Now, back to JJ. JJ couldn't make it. He had a dinner with his girlfriend's parents. DURING A HUGE PRIMETIME SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME!!!! It's the west coast man – you could've moved that dinner back and been just fine. And while some might say, "It's not appropriate to ask your girlfriend's parents to reschedule a dinner where they're supposed to get to know you because of football game," I say in response to that – you're a die-hard Giants' fan, right?? Shouldn't they just get to know the real you?!?! Ah, I'm just giving you a hard time, buddy.
He did call in the middle of the third quarter, having gotten back from dinner. Just after Ahmad Bradshaw scored to give us a ten-point lead. On the phone he said, "Dude, I just sat down and turned the TV on, and we scored! Should I come over?" My response, "You just sat down and they scored. That means you have to stay exactly where you are, in the exact sitting position you're in, and keep watching from there. Things are clicking right now!" Needless to say, he didn't make it over for the game. It was strange, but the system worked, and I got a little extra jab in there for him missing the first half. No worries JJ – you're coming over next weekend for sure. But don't expect me to let you live that one down any time soon. Moving on…
A Nostalgic Performance
Perhaps it was the presence of so many Giants' legends in attendance for the Ring of Honor unveiling, but there certainly seemed to be an ominous feeling in the air during the game. I'm sure the Gmen Alums were more than pleased by the performance they were treated to Sunday night. But let's get the ugly out of the way first.
Our special teams play has been nothing short of an abomination since the season started. I understand Matt Dodge is new, and he's trying hard, but that can only get you so far. Punters aren't like quarterbacks – there's no one-to-two year grace period where they're allowed to play poorly as they adjust to the speed of the game at the professional level. I'd honestly be surprised if he's still on the team when we line up against Houston next week. You all I know how I feel about Lawrence Tynes and his inconsistency. More importantly, I almost feel like it might be worth it to sign another kicker if for no other reason than to be used on kickoffs. Although with the way our coverage team's been playing, it might not even make a difference. All in all, that entire group needs a whole lot of work. Special teams typically don't stand out much unless things are going wrong (minus a punt or kick return for a TD). This year, our special teams have stuck out like a sore thumb. Let's hope they address the issue.
Our offense, while it wasn't great, wasn't horrible either. The first couple drives, while they only produced three points, had good play calls and execution. We just fell short on a couple of key third downs. When we needed it, our rushing came was huge, totaling almost 200 yards on the day. That's the kind of in-you-face, down-your-throat aggressive running attack Giants fans remember from the earth, wind, and fire days. Sans the wind. Or the fire? Couldn't always decide which elements Bradshaw and Ward were, respectively. Two big concerns stand out to me regarding our offense – dropped passes and time management. Too many tipped and dropped passes this season - let's not start making a habit of them. Speaking of bad habits, another game in the books, and another series of plays barely getting off before the play clock ran out. I wonder if we'll ever address that problem.
And to the defense – WOW. WHAT A GAME. If the ten sacks and two knocked-out quarterbacks weren't enough, how's this for a stat – with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, the Bears had made ZERO third down conversions. Wow. This is what we want to see week in and week out. Remember, back in 2007, it took a few games for the defense to really start clicking under Steve Spagnuolo's direction – looks like the same thing is happening for us this year under Perry Fewell, and I'm loving it. I saw many defensive looks where we had 3 defensive ends playing on the line. That's awesome – imagine what that must be like for an opposing quarterback. They (Jay and Todd) must have changed pants several times throughout the course of the game. To give you another eye-opening stat from Sunday night – our defense had more sacks of Jay Cutler (9) than he had completed passes (8). Just amazing. But enough about our awesome team. Here are a few thoughts from outside the Giants' box.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week
- Can't believe Randy Moss is a Viking again. Great for Brett Favre, great for Vikings fans. Terrible for Packers fans, even worse for Bernard Berrian.
- I was going to say something this week that I meant to write last week about the Michael Vick over-hypage, but it seems wrong now that he's hurt. All I'll say is this – yes, he looked great in the 10 quarters he was in there. But don't forget he played a half against a Packers team that had game-planned the week before to face Kevin Kolb, and his next two opponents were Detroit and Jacksonville. Not exactly like he played full games against any top-ten defenses. When he's healthy, let's see him really get tested before crowning him this generation's Muhammad Ali.
- Time for playoff baseball, baby!!!! Let the games begin!!! GO YANKEES!!! We've got a lot to look forward to, Giants fans! A huge win last Sunday, let's follow it up with a big performance next Sunday in Houston. You can reach me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan." Until next week, GO GMEN!!!
Written by Superfan