What a way to celebrate the holidays! You didn't really think the Gmen would make this stress-free, did you? That's not their style. Think about it - Christmas Eve Day, against the Jets, with the playoffs on the line. There was no way that game would be the least bit relaxing. But it was a win, a HUGE win, against the Jets. Our fate is in our hands, and the playoffs are ours for the taking.
While some of what was said was misinterpreted and taken out of context, I wasn't thrilled about the talking we did with regards to a certain Jets' island property-owner. Darrelle Revis is a stud. A king bear. Don't poke the bear. Fortunately he dropped a few picks thrown his way, but the fact that he was motivated I'm sure had more than a little to do with why Eli wound up going 9 for 27. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The real story is that we came into our house as an away team (for the second time in as many regular season meetings by the way - apparently there's a formula involved based on the previous season's rankings instead of good-old-fashioned one away game and one home game - what's up with that?), as the underdog, and outplayed them on both sides of the ball to get the clutch win. Like Coughlin preached to the team before and after the game - that was the first playoff game. We won, and now advance to round two. Win this one, and we're into the second season.
Away at the Meadowlands
It was a family affair last Saturday as I went to the game with my dad and little brother. After navigating the always-more-confusing-than-helpful Meadowlands parking attendants, we found ourselves parked and throwing a football for good measure by 11:30. No drops, which was the first good sign of the day (can't say we had the same luck last week). The next bit of luck was our ability to get out onto the field for pregame. After saying hi to some friends, I was inspired to see Justin Tuck come sprinting out of the tunnel for warm-ups. One of the most encouraging sights of the day was seeing #91 gather the rest of the defensive front in a huddle in the end zone for what looked like one hell of a pep talk. He admitted he wasn't 100 percent, and probably won't be the rest of the season, but he was still out there playing and giving his all. And I have to say it sure makes a certain other defensive lineman on the last year of his contract seem a little iffy for sitting out with an injury. Putting himself before the team to make sure he's healthy enough to sign a big offseason contract perhaps? Doesn't sound like a true Giant to me. That guy could learn a thing or two about heart from Mr. Tuck.
Several moments after the inspiring defensive huddle, we watched the team head off to the locker room for the last time before kickoff. The last two to leave were Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, jogging off together. Seeing them leave the field, the determination in their eyes, the confidence in their swagger, it assured me that Saturday would be a great day.
The game started terribly of course, and the stress levels were off the scale for the remainder of the game. We were in a section completely split between Jets and Giants fans, but it was still all sorts of fun watching. In the second half even the Jets' fans agreed how insanely biased the refereeing was, and how any time a play was up in the air it would no doubt go in the Jets' favor. But despite playing both the Jets and the refs, our team finished the day victorious. Nothing better as a Giants' fan than leaving that stadium and passing thousands of dispirited Jets fans. Gotta love it!
A Road Effort for the Home Crowd
I had mentioned after last week's loss how disappointing it was to root for a team that seems to play down in front of their home fans. This made Saturday's matchup quite interesting, since we were the away team in our home stadium. And it seemed to work. Maybe the Giants' should start wearing white at home. Just a thought…
While we did outplay them, we got lucky that the Jets faltered on more than one occasion. We certainly didn't play our best football on Saturday. There's ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for taking a delay of game penalty on the first offensive drive of the game. While Eli's currently having the best season of his career, these last two weeks have seen his decision-making fall off a bit. The delay of game is one example. Another is throwing the ball to Ramses Barden (our third or fourth receiver) three times when covered by Revis one-on-one. None of those throws were completed, obviously. Finally, there was the interception in the fourth quarter. At first everyone was livid (myself included) at Kevin Gilbride for calling a pass in that area when all we had to do was run the ball. But listening to the post game interviews, we learned that there was a run called that Eli checked out of when he saw eight men crowding the box. Honestly Eli, it's okay to get stuffed on a run there. We were up by seventeen points with less than nine minutes to go in the game at our own twenty-yard line. The clock was our friend, and we needed to keep it moving. So that one's on Eli, not Gilbride.
Though I still wasn't thrilled by Gilbride's play calling throughout the game, especially when he'd call pitches and tosses on second-and-manageables which turned into 3rd and longs. If we're gaining yards on the ground up the middle, KEEP AT IT! There were times when Jacobs or Ahmad were starting to get on a roll, but our play calling suddenly diverted before they could really break a big one. Our biggest play happened not because we had a well-executed drive, but because Victor Cruz is an incredible athlete who made their entire defense miss for 99 yards.
Our defense played great, although there were several times where they'd make a great drive-ending play that wound up getting nullified by either a penalty or a bogus overturned challenge, then simply gave up when they went back out on the field. Things didn't go our way, and their drive isn't over - GET OUT THERE AND STOP THEM AGAIN! They forced turnovers, but again, one was because Sanchez threw what was the equivalent of a punt to Kenny Phillips in the middle of the field and another was a fumbled snap at the goal line.
What I did take away from the game was that our team has a whole lot of heart. I love a guy like Brandon Jacobs (on occasion). We had a huge win, he had a decent game, but he also said what everyone in the tri-state area (and the country, for that matter) who isn't a Jets' fan is thinking - SHUT UP, REX! It's one thing to talk your team up once in a while to keep them motivated. It's another to do it all the time. When it's all you talk about, and it's all you do, it's no longer motivational, but annoying and laughable. At least we won't have to hear him speak for a while now. And everyone's been reminded whose stadium that really is. Don't let the name fool you - IT'S GIANTS STADIUM!
Offensive Game Ball - Victor Cruz. All the guy does is make plays. In one play he saved our season and maybe Coughlin's job. He might as well be featured in every Giants' highlight from this year.
Defensive Game Ball - Jason Pierre-Paul. It was a tough call between him and Justin Tuck, but with four solo tackles, one assist, and two sacks I had to give it to him. Just another day at the office for JPP.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- Facebook Comment of the Week: "Jets embarrassed, Romo hurt and the Eagles eliminated. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER!" - Ian Etheridge.
- What a crazy football weekend to have Fantasy Football championship games. It's hard enough when you have players playing on different days. But because of Christmas landing on a Sunday this year, we had four - yes, FOUR - separate days of football to comprise week 16. Thursday night, Saturday, Sunday night, and Monday night. I'm not complaining - the more football the better - I'm just saying it's crazy, is all.
- Good for Detroit. That's one heck of a football city, and their fans truly deserve to see their team in the playoffs again. Cleveland, on the other hand, will still have to wait a while.
- Saw MI: 4 in IMAX, but unfortunately it wasn't showing the Dark Knight Rises prologue, which I heard was AMAZING. It did have the new trailer though, and that's also pretty amazing. Seeing Heinz Field completely obliterated like that, with Hines Ward himself running across it? Nolan might just have outdone himself yet again. CAN'T WAIT! Oh, and MI: 4 was pretty good too.
- As was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I've seen both the American and Swedish films, and they're both great in their own way. Loved Noomi Rapace, but that doesn't take away from Ms. Gmen herself, Rooney Mara. She did a great job in her turn in the role of Lisbeth Salander, bringing great flare and intensity. And the opening credit sequence is epic - think Fight Club meets James Bond.
This is it! Last game of the year, hosting the Jerry Joneses-- err, Cowboys, with the winner earning the NFC East title and a trip to the post season. Does it get any better than this?! To talk all things Giants, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan," or follow me on Twitter under the name "gmensuperfan1." Hope everyone had a great and safe holiday, I wish Giants' nation a healthy and happy New Year, and until next week, GO GMEN!!
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