"We played poorly. When you don't deserve to win, you don't win." - *Coach *Coughlin.
I think that sums up Sunday's travesty at the Meadowlands pretty accurately. This should have been a statement game. We've already had our sloppy wins over lesser teams. This time we were supposed to come out and dominate on both sides of the ball. We had better matchups on offense, defense, and special teams. It shouldn't have been close. Unfortunately for us, it really wasn't.
I don't know why the Giants seem to always play to the level of their opponent. And why they always have to defy expectations. Are we afraid of consistency? Maybe. Are we afraid of success? I hope not. But it seems that when our backs are against the wall and we have no shot the Gmen play their best, and when we're expected to play well and win easily, we do just the opposite.
Home for the High Holidays
I was back east for Yom Kippur, and was able to make it to the game at the stadium on Sunday before flying home. I figured if there were ever a safe bet for a pleasant flight home, it would be after this game in particular. Not so much.
I went with my buddies Jon and Ethan, my brother, and my dad. The place was rocking. Our section was nearly all Giants' fans, with only about two or three people wearing Seattle gear. That was the good start. The bad start was when we were driving into the stadium. We were blasting "Proud To Be (a New York Giant)" through Ethan's car's speakers from "an" ipod. The ipod was set to random, and "someone" forgot to set it to repeat. So as we were pulling into our parking spot, what song randomly comes blasting out when "Proud To Be" finishes, with our adrenaline pumping and voices screaming? You guessed it - the Backstreet Boys single Everybody. For whatever reason, "some person" had that song on their ipod. Maybe if it had been 'N Sync this would be a different story, but let's not split hairs. We should've known the Gmen were doomed from the start. "Our" bad.
Anyway, we got to our seats and melted immediately. I never thought I'd have a legitimate reason to take a jersey off during a game (except out of shame, perhaps), but I did on Sunday. That had to have been some kind of record heat for a game in October. Fortunately, the shade came around to our side, but we didn't really get to enjoy it because of what was happening in front of us. Let's all take a deep breath and examine the misery that was:
Getting Roasted by the Bird
This really was a punch in the gut, and a huge wake-up call. Maybe it's a good thing, but I'll save the naïve optimism for later. I don't want to hear about us being hampered by injuries, because excuses like that are for losers. We have far superior coaching, management, and talent, but lost to a lesser opponent, plain and simple.
The secondary was a joke. Sure they kept our inept offense in the game, and forced turnovers, but they did so at the expense of many lost opportunities. And let's be honest - they made Charlie Whitehurst and Doug Baldwin look like Tom Brady and Randy Moss circa 2007. Pathetic. Our D-line made some plays and brought some pressure, but unfortunately they can only do so much - the other seven guys have to hold up their end, which includes converting more than just one out of three or four interception opportunities. Just ask Seattle! And for the third straight week our run defense got thrashed. I promise you Fred Jackson won't be any easier next week.
Now for the offense. It was very noticeable how much we missed not having David Baas at center or Brandon Jacobs to come in as a change of pace behind Bradshaw. The offensive line gave our running game very few opportunities, but to be fair, the running backs weren't breaking many tackles. And Eli played poorly. Sure, he threw for over 400 yards. A lot of that had to do with the fact that Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard were BEASTS and refused to go down or drop passes. But most of Eli's best passes were touch passes, and when he needed to step into a throw and get some power behind it, he didn't. On 3rd and three, when he had a lane to run and slide for the first, he opted to scramble around and throw an incompletion into coverage. And he wasn't helped at all by everyone's favorite play-caller. I've said this many times before, and I'll say it again. Our players have shown tremendous play-making ability, and it always seems like if not for our poor play-calling, we'd be a much more productive offense. We try the whole first three quarters to force the running game despite it not being there, which I agree with (you have to try to to establish the run in this league), but in the fourth quarter when we had three timeouts and time to kill, he opted to call short intermediate routes near the end zone. When we had the ball backed up inside the five, with Ahmad on the sideline, he called a sweep with an unproven third-stringer in the backfield which resulted in a safety, instead of trying something straight up the gut to be safe, or at least a play action pass. No, we instead go with the play everyone in the world knew we were going to run. And we still managed to put up twenty-five points. Imagine how good we'd be if we didn't have such predictable play-calling!
It's frustrating because we have the talent and potential to be an elite team, but we've been playing like one that's rebuilding. Maybe when the rest of the starters (not on IR) get healthy things will be better. Or maybe we just needed this wake-up call.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- I would like to thank everyone in my fantasy football league for refusing to trade me any of their quarterbacks for Ben Roethlisberger, who'd been playing just so-so with a terrible offensive line and a new foot injury. Five touchdowns on Sunday! Thanks again for looking out, competition.
- Not to sound too much like an obnoxious Yankees fan, but with that payroll and lineup, I do think it's a failure not to make it past the ALDS. The team's like a video game fantasy roster with all the rules turned off. Inexcusable. Also, Coach Girardi, why do you insist on pitching C.C. so much in April and September? We had the playoffs locked up early. The year the Yanks won the World Series (2009), you rested him for nearly the entire month of September. Why change a routine that worked?
- At least Philly lost. A Giants loss is always easier to swallow when Philly loses. Especially the way they have been lately.
- A little late on this one, but VERY EXCITED about the announcement of the upcoming fourth season of Arrested Development. There's always money in the banana stand!
The last two seasons we've had great starts that ended terribly. Maybe there's a silver lining for this season. We've had a rough start, but maybe that means we'll have a strong finish. We've started slow before and bounced back well, losing to seemingly lesser teams in the process. Why not do it again? We have a very tough game coming up against the Bills. A great opportunity to go into the bye on a positive note with a big W. We have to learn from this one, flush it away, and get ready for Buffalo. To talk all things Giants, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan." It's a long season, and it's not like any other team in our division is running away with anything just yet. I'm not giving up hope, and you shouldn't either! Until next week, GO GMEN!