How's that for a statement victory?! I can't begin to express how proud and AMPED I am to be a Giants' fan this morning. I remember after we won Super Bowl 42 everyone was saying, "Nine out of ten times the Patriots would win this matchup. This was the one time the Giants managed to pull it off." Well, now we're two-for-two against them. Care to change that assessment? We did it against all odds - on the road, the first of many really tough games in a really tough stretch, in big, bad New England where opponents simply couldn't win, with Troy Aikman and Joe Buck doing the game on Fox (maybe the toughest hurdle of all), and we STEPPED UP TO THE CHALLENGE. That was as complete a team victory as you could ask for. We needed guys to step up in the absence of others, and they did! Eli is the comeback kid, plain and simple. Wouldn't want anyone else behind center when the game's on the line.
Yes, it was eerily similar to that wonderful game in the desert back in February 2008. In both games we had the lead, lost it late to Brady, then marched right back down the field to get it back again. In both games points were few and far between in the first three quarters, then came in bunches in the fourth. And in both games, we came out on top. As Eli said in an interview after the game, "I'd rather be down by three with 1:30 than up by four with 1:30 with Tom Brady and their offense on the field." At this point, we as fans expect Eli to drive the field and score a touchdown when the game's on the line. If that isn't a perfect definition of what makes an elite quarterback, then I don't know what is.
The View from Home
Being the Fox game of the week was more advantageous than tedious on Sunday. Despite being stuck with the worst team in all of sports commentary, these were the same two guys who voiced our incredible Super Bowl victory over the same opponent. Also, it meant the game was on regionally on the west coast, so JJ, Joe, Vandy, and I all got to watch from the living room. We had another person join us, Justine, who's a good friend and a good luck charm from previous seasons. She showed up just as the Pats missed that first half field goal, so any suspicions anyone may have had of her showing up and throwing off our good vibes were immediately vanquished.
The game was awesome but also insanely intense and stressful. It was kind of funny because while JJ, Justine and I are going crazy watching on the couch, Joe was off to the side on his laptop, throwing out random tidbits from his Google food searches. They quickly went to pie facts, and every minute or so was a new tidbit about a variety of pies.
These pie facts need their own paragraph. I SWEAR TO GOD he dropped this nugget on us right in the middle of the fourth quarter, after we forced the Patriots to settle for three and take a 13-10 lead:
"So, if a boysenberry is a raspberry crossed with a blackberry crossed with a loganberry, and a loganberry is just a raspberry crossed with a blackberry, then why does a boysenberry need a loganberry in the mix? How is a boysenberry not the same as a loganberry?"
We all kind of sat there, looked at each other, and couldn't respond. I feel a little bad because at the time I was so into the game that I didn't appreciate the ridiculousness of it all, but looking back on it, it was pretty funny. Never a dull moment, Joe. Good stuff.
Back to the game, when Eli did come in at the end and lead us down the field to glory, I ran right outside and screamed at the top of my lungs. There was almost no one around except one guy way down the road across the street with his dog, who just glanced over and shrugged. But I like to think a little bit of the Gmen magic made it's way to him and his dog and made their day just a little bit better.
Return of the Road Warriors
As I was saying earlier, that was a complete, bar-setting victory. Everyone who needed to step up and make plays stepped up and made plays. How about Brandon Jacobs? Without Ahmad Bradshaw, he stepped in and played great. He had the one drop and didn't run for a hundred yards, but he did what was needed of him for us to be victorious. Every yard he gained was a tough yard that wore down whoever tried defending him. He's the kind of back who needs to get one or two decent gains off the bat to get rolling, get his confidence up, and then he's a hard man to stop. His first rush was for eight yards. From there, he gained positive yards and broke tackles all day. Not to mention what he did for the passing game. In the third quarter, after Deon Grant made a great play to pick off Brady, Jacobs did a fantastic job in blitz pickup to allow Eli time to find Victor Cruz for a key gain. That drive led to a field goal, the first points of the day for either team.
Eli was great, save for the pick he threw in the end zone (although you have to give credit to Kyle Arrington for making a very good athletic play to bring that one in). Without his center or star wide receiver he played incredibly well. He found all sorts of receivers to help us move the chains on our scoring drives. Jake Ballard had a game he'll never forget. Ramses Barden was welcomed back from injury with a couple key receptions, including a huge reception in the fourth quarter which led to Eli's touchdown pass to Mario a few plays later. Da'Rel Scott saw some time, and had an important first down run in the second quarter. And how about Kevin Boothe stepping in for Baas, and except for a couple missteps, had a very good game overall, keeping Eli upright most of the time.
Defense also was never short of playmakers. Antrel Rolle had a huge third-down tackle on the Patriots first drive of the game to force a punt, which I believe had a large impact in preventing them from getting any early momentum. Kiwi was all over the place with six tackles and a huge interception on the first play of the second quarter off a Michael Boley tip. Michael Boley also made a huge play with a strip of Brady in the third quarter that stunted a potential scoring drive. Even guys like Michael Coe and Mark Herzlich had huge days, with a big tipped pass and a clutch special teams strip, respectively.
Offensive Game Ball - Eli Manning. He's elite. No more needs to be said - I'm glad he's our quarterback.
Defensive Game Ball - Michael Boley. See above.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- ESPN's fantasy "experts" are idiots. I'm playing in an ESPN fantasy league this year, and their "point projections" are almost always wrong. To the point of having to do the opposite of what they predict to be successful. I hope they don't get paid for their expertise.
- Given the events of the last month or so, I have no doubt in my mind that the "Madden Curse" is real. Not only that, but it's getting worse - not only does it force the player featured on the cover to miss significant time of the season with some sort of injury or illness, but it now also turns him into a bad person.
- Just keeping everyone up to date, in case you forgot how mad and hopeless people were when Kevin Boss left for Oakland -
o 2011 Receptions: Jake Ballard 23, Kevin Boss 8.
o 2011 TD Receptions: Jake Ballard 3, Kevin Boss 1.
o 2011 Receiving Yards: Jake Ballard 395, Kevin Boss 160.
o I know it's Gmen-related, and these are the Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week, but I had to throw this in here somewhere. Front office vision! Props!
- Did anyone catch footage of the Cowboys post-game locker room celebration yesterday on Fox? If you look "closely" (it's hard to miss) there's a lovely shot of a shirtless Rob Ryan in the background. That's for you, ladies.
Enjoy the week, but remember this is just the first of many tough games ahead of us. We have a real doozy coming up, where we'll be traveling to the West Coast for another "game of the week" showdown, this time against the 49ers. It also means another week of Troy and Joe. I might make the trip up north just to avoid having to listen to them call the game. That really was a huge statement win, but let's hope our bandwagon doesn't get too crowded - always prefer the underdog card. Gotta keep this momentum rolling here, show everyone we're a team to be reckoned with week after week. To talk all things Giants, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan," or follow me on Twitter under the username "@gmensuperfan1." HUGE VICTORY! 6-2 ATOP THE DIVISION!! Until next week, GO GMEN!!
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