EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - No longer are we on the brink of obliteration, as far as the rest of the sports world is concerned (not that we really were to begin with, but don't let any football analysts find out – they're really committed to their delusions). In all seriousness though, that was a huge win for us last Sunday. HUGE. We were undermanned in a must-win game at home against a division leader, and we found a way to scratch out the W. Yes, the first half was ugly. Like many fans out there, I was really starting to question how much our guys cared. Evidently, so did a few of the team's leaders (most notably Justin Tuck). After what must have been one hell of a halftime speech, they came out a completely different team. It was the turning point fans have been waiting for these last few weeks, and hopefully it will spearhead our final push for the playoffs in the next month.
Finding A Way To Win
When our offense is clicking, you tend to forget whatever issues they're facing (in the case last weekend, it was missing a whole lot of starters) and expect every drive to end in a touchdown. Which we as fans should, because the coaches and players certainly do. At the same time, it also means whenever something goes wrong, you focus solely on that and none of what went right. Case and point, the opening drive of the game. Without David Diehl, Shaun O'Hara, or Shawn Andrews on the offensive line, newly appointed starter Brandon Jacobs ran all over the place guiding the offense pretty smoothly down the field. All hope seemed lost when a dropped pass by Derek Hagan was ruled a fumble on the field, but that was fortunately overturned. However, the drive stalled, and we had to settle for three. Everyone in attendance at that moment, myself included, was infuriated that we weren't able to finish the drive off and get six. What people didn't realize was, without Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, or the previously mentioned offensive lineman, Eli and company still managed to orchestrate the Giants' first game-opening scoring drive of the season. Yet, despite another well-orchestrated drive, we only scored another three points in the first half
Then the second half happened. Jacksonville started with the ball, and on their first play from scrimmage, David Garrard threw a ball a little behind Mike-Sims Walker. It went off his hands and into the waiting arms of Terrell Thomas. That was the big play we needed to turn the tide, and that's when it hit me that this game would be ours.
We'd all expected our offense to struggle slightly, but our defensive struggles in the first half surprised everyone. It's a good thing they reminded everyone how dominant they could be in the latter part of the game. After Eli and Jacobs orchestrated a drive down the field late in the fourth quarter, we finished it on a beautiful touchdown pass to Kevin Boss, taking a lead we wouldn't relinquish. Jacksonville took over and immediately starting driving, making probably every Giants fan alive think "not again," yet our front four promptly woke up and showed the dominance opposing quarterbacks have been fearing all season. Three sacks and one fumble recovery later, and Eli was finally able to kneel out the clock, giving us the win.
One more huge note to take away from their performance, and I can't overstate this enough, is the number zero. That's how many times we turned the ball over on Sunday. It's no coincidence that we also won the game.
The Gift of Gum
Having been home for Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to go to the game this past Sunday (well, at least most of it). Thanks to Continental's fantastic holiday travel schedule, the latest flight available from Newark to LAX was at 6:00pm. But we'll get to that later.
My friend Jon and I got to the game nice and early, with another friend of ours, Ethan. Poor guy's lived in Philly for a while, but he's been back in Jersey for about a year or so I think. True to form, he still repped the Gmen well while living down there. Ethan actually drove, and my dad drove separately and met us there, since he would have to take me to the airport well before the game ended.
After parking, we blasted "Proud To Be" from Ethan's car stereo for a while (the closest thing I can remember to a psych-up Giants theme song, though they stopped playing it in the stadium years ago for some reason…hint, hint – BRING IT BACK!), got ourselves plenty amped for the game, and made our way to our seats.
The first half was pretty hard to watch, and for all the wrong reasons my voice was nearly gone by halftime. I met up with my dad, and we stayed as long as we could before having to depart for Newark. Once the Gmen fought back and tied the game up at 17 apiece, we felt comfortable enough to take off.
I might've mentioned this in my Week 1 article, but for those of you who haven't been to the stadium yet, its coolest aspect is that even if you leave your seats, as long as you're on the grounds you'll know exactly what's going on in the game. They have WFAN's radio call playing everywhere, and even when you walk outside the building the game is played on all the monitors lining the exterior of the stadium. Very cool, and especially accommodating for those fans who pay to park and tailgate, but couldn't get tickets.
We managed to catch Jacksonville's ensuing field goal drive as we walked out to the car, but both my dad and I weren't too worried about it. I think we sensed that our offense would answer. There was little traffic on the turnpike headed to the airport, so we were able to get close enough where we could pull over on one of the exits to listen to the rest of the game on the radio. We pulled off just in time to listen to Bob Papa call Kevin Boss's game-winning touchdown reception. As Tynes kicked the ball off to Jacksonville after our go-ahead touchdown, my dad offered me a piece of gum. I was a little skeptical, since neither of us was chewing gum when we scored. But I took the gum anyway, and was chewing away as Jacksonville started their drive. They promptly began driving the ball right down the field, and it wasn't until Aaron Ross got called for defensive holding on a third and ten that I turned to my dad. "Is this really happening?!?!" He turned right back to me, "You were right. Let's spit the gum out." We did, and on the very next play, Rolle and Tuck blasted Garrard on a huge sack. And the rest of the game is history. It won't make any of the highlight reels or post-game notes, but my dad and I both know, deep down, that win was in part a gift of gum. Thanks again to Newark's horrible flight scheduling for making that wild experience possible.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- A little bummed out regarding the film selection this past holiday weekend. I'd already seen the new Harry Potter, and wasn't really in the mood to see a guy de-limb himself on a big screen. Aside from that, not many attractive options in theaters. Can't wait for Tron: Legacy to get here.
- I love how this week, people are saying that you can't blame Philly for losing a tough game against a good NFC team on the road. Yet, when they beat us in a close game last week, we were suddenly hopeless. There really needs to be some sort of regulations committee to keep contradictory/biased sports writing to a minimum. Especially on national publications.
- Instead of everyone making fun of Lebron and all the drama surrounding him and the Heat, can't we all just stop caring? I think that would bother those premadonnas more than anything. Of course, that's just my opinion. Okay, we've got another huge game this week. A home game against the Redskins. It's looking more and more like we won't be back to full health until the Philly game, but the next two are still definitely winnable. We just have to keep fighting. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to talk about any and all things Giants. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'm on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan." Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, get ready for the 'Skins, and GO GMEN!!!
*Written by Superfan *