EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - I don't know about the rest of Giants nation, but I haven't stopped smiling since I woke up Tuesday morning. To take control of the NFC East, and all but end the Cowboys' season, in the same night? A dream come true. I was really excited yesterday, anticipating a huge game all day, knowing when the Cowboys and Giants meet on Monday night, it's usually anything but ordinary football. But nothing could have prepared me for what transpired last night. Forget about how close they made it at the end – I'm unbelievably proud of how Big Blue came back from an early deficit, and did pretty much whatever we wanted offensively against the (formerly) 3rd-ranked defense in the league for most of the game.
And after watching the post-game video of Coughlin addressing the team in the locker room several times last night, I really want the "Bring in Cowher" talk to stop. Seeing him get down on one knee to be at eye level with the other members of the team, seeing him with his players, and seeing the looks in the players' eyes as he spoke to them, I don't want another coach. And the players don't either. They want to play for him. They want to win for him. And he wants to win for us. As a football fan, could you really ask for anything more? I'll get into the amazing coaching job he did last night in a little bit.
First, let's go over the wild ride I experienced watching Monday night's game:
Monday Night Madness
There's no worse feeling than having your favorite team playing Monday Night Football during a workweek when you live on the West Coast. That's right – I was at work for the first quarter and change. I managed to find a decent live streaming feed online, which didn't last long. Unfortunately, ESPN isn't as fan-friendly as NBC, and therefore it's very difficult to watch live NFL Monday night games online, unless you have Time Warner Cable, with your account number and statement password handy. Yeah, because that's what I want to do while I'm trying to watch a game online at work – worry about finding and reading my cable bill. Way to continue to find ways to connect with your audience, ESPN.
Needless to say the 1st quarter was all over the place, with me half watching streaming video online, half running into the one office in the hall with a TV, and half getting text and AIM updates from friends and family. Very stressful, especially given how we started the game off. Near the beginning of the second quarter, my co-workers seemed to notice that I was doing probably more harm then good by being there and stressing out about how best to watch the game, and they let me take off early. I got into the car just as Romo got knocked out, and didn't get back home until half time. So the crazy comeback happened in traffic, in the car. Southern California traffic during rush hour is bad enough – imagine having to fight through it while trying to get home to watch your team make a remarkable comeback on Monday night! Aggravating, to say the least.
Eight illegal lane changes, three cars cut off, and several honking horns later, and I was back home by halftime. JJ made it back in time to see the second half kickoff. The whole third quarter we were in disbelief about how great we were playing, and how bad the Cowboys were playing. In fact, we were so impressed that we almost didn't notice most of the Cowboys late comeback in the fourth, up until the end. The game was over at that point, even if they did cut it close. I wasn't thrilled they actually had a chance pending the final onsides kick attempt, but once we recovered it, the worry evaporated quickly. It was a great night, and JJ and I relished in the post-game recap and highlights for about an hour before he finally headed back to his place. Now we just have to figure out what we're going to do about watching football during the bye week.
A Huge W in Big D
Let's start from the top. Like most other Giants' fans out there, I was pretty peeved when we spotted them that 10-0 lead. I felt bad for Eli, that he had two more tipped passes turn into interceptions (although that first pass was pretty high, and there was an earlier pass in the drive that should have been intercepted in the first place). But our defense held strong. Can't really get too upset with them for giving up a touchdown against an offense that started five yards from pay dirt. And holding them to a field goal on their next drive, which also started in the red zone, was huge.
What impressed me more than anything about our offense was that they kept at it. Even down 20-7 in the second quarter, after an abomination by our punt coverage allowed Dez Bryant to return one for a touchdown, the offense never abandoned their game plan. They kept plugging away with the run, and Eli remained confident in his ability to pass downfield, despite two early interceptions. And boy did it pay off. Eli stayed cool under pressure, our O-line did nothing but push the Cowboys around, and Ahmad and Brandon ran the ball very well (although I think they each need to visit the Tiki Barber school of fixing fumblitis). Fumbles aside, Ahmad Bradshaw is the NFL's leading rusher through seven weeks of football. How about that! And since I rag on him when I feel he deserves it, I'll certainly give him praise here. Kevin Gilbride – GREAT PLAYCALLING MONDAY NIGHT!
Tom Coughlin is a really good football coach. As much as I dislike relying on statistics to prove a point, they absolutely do that here – 2 for 2 on two HUGE challenges. He knew when to challenge, and when not to. And even though it turns out they called in a challenge from upstairs in the 2nd quarter, negating Coughlin's timeout call, it still would've been a great idea, if for no other reason than to give the guys upstairs time to realize the call (Witten's fumble) was incorrect and should be reviewed.
Our defense is scary. Very scary. You almost think opposing quarterbacks have to take out new insurance policies before lining up against our pass rush. We've knocked five quarterbacks out of games this season, and have knocked seven out for at least one offensive possession. There were moments in the game, especially early in the third quarter, where I felt like I was watching a scene from The Waterboy, with Jon Kitna running around like a high school quarterback, scared for his life. IT WAS AWESOME.
The only real negatives I took away were: 1 – we had to burn timeouts to prevent two potential delay of game penalties; 2 – turned the ball over way too often; and 3 – our inability to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Fortunately those are all correctable mistakes, and we have the bye week to work on them. If Eli can play every game like he did in the middle two quarters of last night's game, there's no question in my mind he's one of the top five quarterbacks in the league. Still, nothing can make a Giants' fan happier than knowing the Cowboys' hopes for playing in a Super Bowl that they're hosting ended at the hands of the Gmen. In Dallas. What a great time to be alive and rooting for the New York Football Giants.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- I've never seen such a highly touted lineup play so poorly in October until I watched the Yankees this month. Embarrassing. And one of the rare times a starter actually had a decent start to a game, Girardi decided to pull him in the ninth. Glad it's football season!
- Maybe it's just me, but does anyone really care that the NBA's starting back up? Really? I know I don't. There are real, more entertaining sports on.
- You think anyone at Fox is happy about a Rangers-Giants World Series? Me neither. I think a new episode of Glee might net them better ratings than any of those World Series games will. And I'm not just saying that out of bitterness. We'll let the numbers speak for themselves.
- Amazing past weekend of football. One of the best seasons I've seen play out in a long time. Cleveland over New Orleans, Oakland putting 59 up in Denver. Good luck making any predictions this season.
- Very excited about The Walking Dead, which premieres on AMC this Sunday (Halloween). Finally, a TV show about zombies!!! Yes!!!
Awesome Facebook Comment of the Season (so far)
Posted by Brian Pugliesi: "Can you really save 15% or more on your car insurance by switching to Geico? Is lining up at QB against the NY Giant Defense a bad idea?" I think they should start airing that commercial next weekend.
That's all for this week, sports fans. Loneliest weekend of the season coming up (the bye), then it's smooth sailing until January. A lot to be happy about while we wait to play Seattle in two weeks. To talk all things Gmen, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan." Happy Halloween everybody, and until next week, Go Gmen!!
- Written by Superfan*