EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - If this were any other sport, Sunday's horrible loss to the Cowboys wouldn't have been a big deal. In baseball, it would've been a bad game, and we would have already played another one to put it in the past. In golf, we'd simply take a mulligan, or at least try to make up a few strokes on the next hole. But this is the NFL. Seventeen weeks, sixteen games, with a week between games to scrutinize each and every performance. Of course, when it happens to New England, and they get embarrassed by the Browns, it's just an "off week" that everyone dismisses as soon as the final whistle blows, realizing there's still plenty of football left to be played. Not with the Giants. With us, it means everything we've done well so far this season is for naught, and we might as well give up on the rest of the season. After all, we lost to the struggling Cowboys, playing their first game under an interim head coach on the road with a backup quarterback. And Michael Vick went crazy Monday night against the Redskins, so he's the hands-down favorite for league MVP. Clearly there's absolutely no hope for the Giants anymore. Clearly, a bad performance one week dictates how the rest of the season will play out. Or at least that's how ESPN and the shortsighted sports writers around the country will describe it this week. Next week, it'll be another story, and everyone will completely contradict every bold statement they made this week.
If you haven't gotten the point of my obnoxious sarcasm yet, it's this – don't let one bad performance send you into panic mode. Most of the "experts" around the country need something to write about to fill the sports pages each week between games, and aren't football-savvy enough to write about teams and their respective matchups on a week-to-week basis. Instead, they decide to formulate an uneducated "best-guess" prediction for the season based on what they saw most recently, not taking each team's season-long performance as a whole into consideration. Henceforth bringing to fruition Tuesday morning's front-page headline on espn.com: "McNabb due just $3.75M if released." This coming the day after he got a 5-year contract extension. Oh, the hype machine is at it again! But enough about all the unnecessary mumbo-jumbo, let's get to our New York Football Giants.
A Tough Game to Watch
Need I say more? JJ came over to my place to watch us get demolished by the Cowboys. We tried switching seats on the couch several times, but never to any avail. Just an all-around frustrating day to be watching a football game.
We never really felt we were completely out of it until the last quarter, but also couldn't help but notice how much Troy Aikman must have been LOVING to call the game on Fox. You could hear the smug satisfaction in his voice all game – he really shouldn't be allowed to call those games. At least when Phil Simms does Giants games, he goes out of his way to not favor the Giants in any way to avoid an unfair bias being perceived. Of course, Phil Simms is a professional. Troy Aikman's just annoying. To quote him late in the second quarter, after Nicks made a great catch, "Hakeem Nicks is Dallas' version of Dez Bryant." Well, Troy, at least you tried.
At least the power source to New Meadowlands Stadium had some pity for the fans watching. It got so hard to believe, the power went out so they didn't have to show the game on TV for a short while until they got things up and running again. Unfortunately, the newly re-electrified stadium didn't provide the comeback "spark" the Gmen so desperately needed (pun intended).
Instead of going back over the ugly performance from last Sunday's loss, let's instead think about what good can be taken away from it. For starters, let's hope this means the Giants will be the underdogs again in the public's mind from this point on. Nothing seems to stir up trouble with this team more than perceived greatness. As soon as people think we're the best team in the league, we're doomed. I'm perfectly fine being called "almost the best," if it means we win more games.
Secondly, we had a nice, large piece of humble pie to feast on. There were fans out there thinking the Giants were going to take this Cowboys team lightly. I responded that there was absolutely no way the Gmen would ever take a divisional opponent lightly, especially a team as desperate for a win as the Cowboys were. Yet, watching the game, it sure looked like that's what happened. The secondary played very poorly, there was virtually no pass rush, and they almost seemed surprised to see Felix Jones getting as many touches early as he did. Don't be surprised, be prepared! Of course, you have to give the Cowboys their due credit – they came ready to play, and hungry to compete. We didn't.
Finally, the depth chart got chipped away at further with Ramses Barden's fractured ankle. He played pretty well in the few opportunities he got the other day, but now he's gone for the season. In the meantime, we went out and signed Derek Hagan to shore up the receiver position a little bit while Steve Smith continues to heal up. And it was hard not to notice the effects of all the injuries to our offensive line lately. Here's to hoping for faster recoveries for Diehl, Boothe, and O'Hara.
All in all, there were dumb penalties, sloppy play, a rough day for Eli passing the ball, very little out of our running game, bad tackling, and worse coverage. So overall just a really bad day. The players and coaches definitely must watch the tape to see what went wrong and what needs fixing, but after that we've got to flush this game away and focus on Philly this Sunday night.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- The new ad campaign for the Toyota Highlander makes me sick to my stomach. Some obnoxious kid bragging about how cool his parents' cars are, while other kids hide in shame from their parents driving older, used cars. Really? We want to teach kids in grade school that its okay to judge other kids based on what kind of cars their parents drive? And advertise it nationally in football games? This is why the rest of the world hates us, America.
- Nothing like having a Harry Potter marathon on all weekend to keep me from being productive. However, it did provide me with a nice distraction after the Giants took that beating on Sunday. Can't wait to see the new flick this weekend.
- I miss Mad Men. A lot. The first episode of The Walking Dead was kind of entertaining, but it's been horrible since. I want Draper back!
We have a huge game coming up Sunday night. Our first game against the Eagles, to decide first place in the division! Does it get any bigger than this in November? We need a huge bounce-back game, and what better place to have it than in Philly? To talk all things Gmen, 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!!