New York Giants 13 – New York Jets 6
by Tony in Ninerland
I did not see the game under optimum conditions, so I won’t attempt a full report, but I will share some comments. At least the weather offered an excuse for the conservative game plan. (Did you see the quote in The NY Times? “The Giants’ offense still looks like the playbook was discovered in a sarcophagus buried underneath the sand at Giza.” Ain’t that the truth?) Brown looked in control on the 80 yard touchdown drive. He does well with designed roll outs — which was the call on the Calloway touchdown throw (excellent run by Calloway after the catch). I do believe that Brown is so afraid of mistakes that he is waiting for WRs to be W-I-D-E open before throwing. If that is the case, he’s in trouble. He has to be willing to take reasonable risks form time to time, especially deep. Rodney had a “good game” according to the reports; don’t be fooled. He is getting pathetically slow. With Rodney starting eight yards behind the line of scrimmage, there is no question of the safety having to “cheat” forward against the run — he can wait until the ball is actually handed of because he’s still going to beat Rodney to the line. Another disturbing trend: the Giants seem to abandon plays as soon as it becomes clear they’re working! There was the TD toss to Pierce last week and two nice completion s to Cross early against the Jets, then the play disappears for the rest of the game. Sure, we have so many arrows in out quiver, why go back to something we were having success with? Conrad Hamilton made two nice plays early — he certainly looks like a late round steal (when Willie Beamon dreams, he’s Conrad Hamilton). Strahan is clearly our best defensive player. He had a lot of pressure and a lot of hustle. If Cedric Jones develops as he should (and he will) AND we get Strahan re-signed, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. Watching Strahan play on Sunday brought to mind the ludicrous suggestion in the rapidly deteriorating GIANTS INSIDER that George NOT re-sign Mike so that we can use the money to get Jeff George! Sure, that’s the way forward — let your best play (on either side of the ball so far this year) leave via free agency. Armstead nearly delivered the death blow to the Meadowlands second tenants — he is earning his rep as the “play-maker”. Finally, I hope everyone who thinks Reeves is the answer got a look at the Panthers destroying the Niners. (The glory of sports bars is being able to watch two games at once). This team didn’t exist twenty months ago — yet they are 10 and 4 over their last 14 games. They’ve beaten the Niners twice in that stretch (soundly, by the way) and THEIR PLAYERS MEASURE UP PRETTY EVENLY WITH OUR GUYS. Sure, they’re better in some spots and we are in others, but folks, it comes down to coaching. Capers is my new hero. I’ll keep the Panthers in mind while I “celebrate” our victory over the mighty Jets…Tony in Ninerland.
by Dave B.
Overview: As expected, this was ugly football. It was pouring rain 80% of the time. As such, the both teams were committed to slogging it out on the ground. (Like the Giants need a downpour as an excuse for that).
Offense: The Giants offense was facing a banged-up Jets defense without it’s DL star, Hugh Douglas.
Quarterback: Brown wasn’t asked to throw much. He went 9-13 for 111 yards. No INTs and YES, he threw a TD (savor it, the next one’s due around Nov. 3rd). Seriously, Brown seemed to have more time, and used it pretty well. He was able to check off his 1st and 2nd receivers and find the 3rd guy, as was the case on the TD to Calloway. Of the 4 incompletions, one was a bad throw and at least one was dropped by, guess who, Howard Cross. One thing I keep noticing is that Brown is throwing some of his best and most accurate passes when he rolls out — especially if he has time. I don’t know why this is but I’ve noticed it since preseason. Maybe he’s concentrating too much on getting his mechanics right when he’s in the pocket, and when he rolls out, it just flows automatically. All in all, given the weather and the ground-oriented game plan, Brown had a good day.
Running Backs: You can disagree with me, but I think Rodney Hampton’s days of being an effective featured back FOR THE GIANTS are over. If I check my emotion at the door, I saw a guy who looks like a slow fullback getting very little yards per carry against one of the worst teams in the league, playing without it’s best defensive player. As we keep saying — he has power and skill, but has no explosiveness or speed. You’d THINK that he’d be perfect for punching the ball into the endzone when the ball’s at the 1 yard line, but in 2 if these situations (6 carries I think) he couldn’t get in (AGAIN behind a line that averages 300+ lbs against one of the worst teams in the league without it’s best defensive player). Hampton finished with 27 for 81 for a 3.0 avg. He also caught 3 passes for 12 yards. Hampton also had a fumble — his first in 12 games. If Jimmy Johnson were running this team, either Hampton or Wheatley would be gone — probably Hampton for a bunch of picks. As for Wheatley, he had some nice KRs, but he cannot find his rhythm as a RB when he only gets 3 carries. He’s still too tentative trying to find the hole. As the 3rd down back, he’s still having trouble picking up the blitz, but his size alone makes him a better option than Elias. If he gets the ball 25 times a game, he’s a TD waiting to happen, but he won’t and you can officially put him in the “stunted growth” category. Keith Elias is a good special teams player, but is that reason enough to keep him on the roster? This is probably irrelevant, but in three games with Elias as the 3rd down back, the Giants lost. In one with Wheatley as the 3rd down back we won. Ask yourself this: who would you rather have using that roster spot, Elias or Carl Banks (who could be the desperately-needed leader on defense)? Elias, or a better place kicker (keep Daluiso for kickoffs)? Charles Way had a solid day blocking from what I remember, but gained 0 on his only carry.
Wide Receivers: Another strong outing for Calloway. He caught 3 passes for 53 yards and THE FIRST TD BY A GIANTS WR THIS YEAR. Dawsey caught a nice pass for 21 yards then became the invisible man again. No sign of Lewis, no sign of Toomer except on punts (Toomer returning punts is a mistake — they’re going to get him hurt). Howard Cross actually caught 2 passes, but he dropped a 3rd. Best thing about them was that they weren’t in the red zone. As usual, Cross did some good blocking. Aaron Pierce was invisible.
Offensive line: Dave Brown claims it was “the best performance of the OL since he’s been there.” I have mixed feelings. They protected Brown pretty well — he was sacked only once, which must seem like a vacation to him, but at the risk of whipping the crap out of the dead horse — it was against one of the worst teams in the league without it’s best pass rusher. Furthermore, in two, first-and-goal-from-the-1 situations, the OL was unable to make a hole for a 235lb power runner, nor pull effectively on a sweep.
Defense: The defense gave up 78 yards on the ground and 149 in the air.
Defensive line:Strahan had a good day after a bad one against Washington. Two sacks. Harris had the other sack. Hamilton and Bratzke had quiet days. Jones was in rarely, and a non-factor. Giants Insider recently said about Jones that he’s “on his to becoming the next Kanavis McGhee.” OUCH!
Linebackers: OH Jessie! Almost. Armstead almost broke the game open with a nice pick. On the 23 yard return, he showed tremendous speed (in fact, he looked considerably faster than Hampton) he was headed for the endzone and someone got a hand on his foot. Armstead tripped and fumbled the ball back to the Jets. It was unfortunate, but good teams make those plays. The linebackers were pretty quiet otherwise. Nolan also had several situations where he was playing more DBs than LBs.
Defensive backs: Strong game. I read where the plan was to give the Jets the quick-out, but not to give up the big play, and they did just that. Sparks shut down Keyshawn Johnson completely. Sehorn is still an adventure on every play, Randolph still gives way too much cushion for someone with his speed. Campbell did a bit of what he does best: run support. Read it hear first: CONRAD HAMILTON IS THE GIANTS 2nd BEST DB — Period. He makes plays and is MUCH sounder positionally than everyone other than Sparks. Tito Wooten broke his leg and Ellsworth seemed to be his replacement. I thought in the preseason that Rodney Young looked awful, now it appears that Ellsworth, a walk-on, is ahead of him. (Randolph, Sehorn, and Young represent two #2s and a #3 — to date, there’s not much value here). Maurice Douglass fell on a muffed punt reception which, to date, is the highlight of his career in NY.
Specials: Horan — Currently the team MVP, had a good day considering the weather, 5 for a 44 yard avg and no touchbacks. So did Daluiso — two 20 yard FGs and a PAT. His kick-offs were deep. Wheatley had a 43 and 20 yard KR. Toomer had 3 PRs for 37 yards with one fair catch. He also got lucky on one he let bounce, and the Jets defender slid into the endzone with the ball forcing a touchback.
Coaching: The weather dictated the game plan so I won’t rank on Reeves too much for conservative play calls this week. Other plays and other players might have scored on the two goal-line situations, but the Giants SHOULD HAVE been able to punch it in with Hampton. It’s not Reeves’ fault that they couldn’t.
Summary: A win is a win, but this one would have felt MUCH more satisfying if Hampton could have scored TDs in those two goal-line situations. It would have indicated some progress. Unfortunately there was very little you could call “progress”. Maybe the OL played a little better but it’s hard to say.