Oct 092002
 
New York Giants 21 – Dallas Cowboys 17

Game Overview: This was a typical NFC East battle, fought right down to the wire. What was surprising is that both offenses had so much success against the opposing defenses. It is interesting that the Giants under Kerry Collins are starting demonstrate the ability to come-from-behind on a regular basis. At the end of the 2001 season, Kerry Collins led the Giants on late 4th quarter game-tying or game-winning touchdown drives against the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Eagles. The Giants tied the game late against the 49ers in the 2002 opener and came-from-behind in the 4th quarter to take the lead against Seattle. This past Sunday they did it again against Dallas, with Collins leading the G-Men on an 8-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in the game-winning touchdown pass to TE Marcellus Rivers.

The worst news to come out of this game were all the injuries – most noticeably to CB Will Peterson, TE Jeremy Shockey, and RG Jason Whittle. Hopefully they will not miss much time.

Offensive Line/Tight End/Fullback/Wide Receiver Blocking: This was the offensive line’s finest all-around game this year both in terms of pass and run blocking. And make no mistake about it, Dallas has a very good front seven on defense and two outstanding run-force safeties. What was surprising was how easily the Giants controlled the line of scrimmage, except for a few negative plays that I will highlight.

On the Giants first drive of the game, the Giants got a great surge all along the front wall as Tiki Barber picked up 3 yards on first down and Ron Dayne picked up 6 yards on second down. (On the second play, FB Charles Stackhouse made a good block as well). On 3rd-and-1, Ron Dayne was stuffed, but this was not the fault of the offensive line. WR Ike Hilliard missed his block on a defensive back who caused a pile in the backfield…and this pile prevented FB Charles Stackhouse from hitting the free linebacker who made the play. Ron Dayne should have also done a better job of pushing forward despite the contact. He’s a big boy who doesn’t play like it.

New York’s control of the line of scrimmage continued on the second drive. Barber picked up 13 yards behind LG Rich Seubert, LT Luke Petitgout, and OC Chris Bober. RT Mike Rosenthal gave up a pressure on the play after that and the pass fell incomplete. Collins had fine protection on the next play. On 3rd-and-2, Petitgout got beat outside and Stackhouse failed to pick up a blitz, but Collins did a great job of getting rid of the ball quickly and throwing an accurate pass to Toomer despite throwing off his back foot. Three plays later, Barber picked up six more yards as Seubert, Bober, and Whittle just destroyed the middle of the Dallas defense. On the very next play, Whittle threw a crushing block on 3rd-and-1 as Barber picked up the first down. Three plays later, Collins hit Hilliard for 12 yards and a touchdown.

The next two series were not so good for the Giants. Dallas blitzed two defenders off the right-side of their defense. Petitgout picked up one of the blitzers, but Seubert didn’t see the second. Since he was being called upon to block the tackle right in front of him, I wonder if the problem was not with Seubert but with the line call. Regardless, safety Roy Williams came free and crushed Collins. On second down, a Barber run went nowhere as Bober couldn’t sustain his block and safety Darren Woodson came free. Collins was intercepted on the next play. Bober had problems on the next series too as once again Bober couldn’t handle a tackle lined up right over his head and DT La’Roi Glover sacked Collins on 3rd-and-8. Incidentally, this is the only noticeable play Glover made all day and the second and last sack given up by the Giants. The fifth and last drive for New York in the first half was a quick one…3-plays, 78-yards and a touchdown. Pass protection on the bomb from Collins to Toomer was superb.

Second half. On the first play, Barber had good blocking to his right but for some reason cut the run back to his left and was tackled for no gain. Whittle then gave up a pass pressure, but Collins completed the pass to Barber for 6 yards. Rosenthal was flagged for a false start two plays later, but the Giants converted on 3rd-and-9. A 3rd-and-2 pass to Toomer was ruled out-of-bounds and the Giants were forced to punt. On the second drive, Barber picked up 3 yards up the middle behind solid blocking. Delvin Joyce got his one carry, but Whittle couldn’t get out on the defensive end on the short pull in time and Joyce was limited to a 1-yard gain. The next four plays were pass plays with fine pass protection…but the drive ended when Barber dropped a well set up screen pass.

Third drive of the second half. Collins picks up 21 yards on the first carry. The Dallas defense over-pursued the play to their right and Tiki hurt them with a big gain on the cutback. On the next play, Rosenthal was bullrushed (Mike is much better at this now than he was earlier – he’s playing with better leverage); Collins got the pass off but it was dropped by Stackhouse. On 2nd-and-10, Darren Woodson made a superb play in limiting Barber to 1-yard. On 3rd-and-9, Dallas came with a big blitz, but Seubert, Joyce, and Bennett did a good job of picking it up and Dallas was flagged for pass interference. The next play was a well-blocked Ron Dayne run, but Collins’ hand-off to Dayne was too high and the ball was fumbled away. It’s too bad because Dayne had a big hole to run through.

The fourth drive was excellent…the 8-play, 80-yarder that regained the lead. On 1st down, Barber picked up 23-yards around right end behind excellent blocks from Ike Hilliard, Charles Stackhouse, and Dan Campbell. After a short pass to Toomer, Dayne powered his way for 4-yards and a first down behind good blocks from Campbell (lined up in the FB position), Rosenthal, and RG Tam Hopkins (who was subbing for the injured Whittle). Three straight pass attempts – and fine pass protection – picked up 27 yards. On 1st-and-10 from the Dallas 18, Barber was tackled for only a 1-yard gain as Stackhouse missed his block on LB Dexter Coakley. On the very next play, Collins had fine time to hit Rivers for 17-yards and the game-winner.

The fifth drive was a 3-and-out despite an excellent lead block on the first play from Stackhouse, allowing Barber to pick up 3-yards. But the 3rd-and-7 completion to Bennett fell 2-yards short. The sixth drive was the Giants’ final of the game, where they successfully ran out the clock. On 1st-and-10, the Dallas defense again over-pursued to their right and Tiki cut back for 7-yards with Marcellus Rivers making a good block on the backside. On 2nd-and-3, New York ended the game as Barber picked up 4-yards behind strong blocks from Rosenthal and Hopkins.

Aside from the few negative plays I mentioned, pass protection was very good. The Giants run blocked very well between the tackles and got key contributions from Campbell, Stackhouse, and Rivers. Ike Hilliard missed a key block on the 3rd-and-1 play, but made a good block on one of Tiki’s big runs. Tam Hopkins deserves special praise for filling in for the injured Whittle and not missing a beat. Incidentally, I thought this was Whittle’s best game of the year. For more commentary on the offensive line, see Chris Jacob’s commentary below.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber (17 carries for 94 yards; 4 catches for 29 yards) had a very productive day, but I thought he made some critical mistakes as well. The bad news was that (1) Barber fumbled the ball for the second game in a row and was lucky that Hilliard did such a good job of recovering the ball; (2) Tiki continues to cutback sometimes even when there is fine blocking in front of him; (3) Barber dropped a beautifully set-up screen pass on 3rd-and-8; and (4) for some odd reason, Barber failed to hand the ball off to Toomer on a WR-reverse that was incredibly well set-up (Dallas had over-pursued on the play and the Giants had a line of blockers all the way to the endzone).

The good news was that Tiki continues to look healthier and healthier and broke off two big runs – one coming on one of his patented cutbacks that picked up 21 yards (Tiki broke a tackle on this run as well). He then broke off a 23-yarder to start the game-winning drive (and ran threw four tacklers on this carry). Tiki’s cutback on first down when the Giants were attempting to run out the clock picked up 7 yards and largely finished Dallas.

Ron Dayne (5 carries for 13 yards) had two strong runs. One came on the first drive when he picked up 6-yards up the gut. However, on the very next play, he tippy-toed it up to the line of scrimmage and was stuffed on 3rd-and-1. No the play was not perfectly blocked, but why does it seem that every play has to be perfectly blocked for Dayne in order for him to succeed? In the 3rd quarter, he again looked hesitant on a 2nd-and-3 carry that only picked up 1-yard. On the Giants’ game-winning drive, Dayne had a very good and strong 4-yard blast to pick up a 1st down on 2nd-and-2. But it was interesting to note that it was Barber, not Dayne, who the Giants wanted to run out the clock.

Let’s be honest. Dayne is a colossal disappointment and is playing worse now than when he did late last year. He will remain on the roster because he’s relatively cheap and he knows the system, but I doubt he is on the team next year. As it is, expect to see Delvin Joyce to start eating into his playing time now. Unless Tiki Barber gets hurt, Dayne most likely will remain a seldom-used back-up.

Charles Stackhouse dropped a pass and missed a run block and a blitz pick-up, but I’ve been impressed with how quickly his blocking is improving. He’s playing with more leverage now and sustaining better.

Quarterback: Except for a few miscues, this was another strong game by Kerry Collins (18/27 for 228 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception). What I liked about his performance was not only was it another come-from-behind demonstration, but Collins has started to look off the coverage more by first looking in one direction and then coming back to the other side of the field more often. Most importantly, thus far, Kerry has shown a marked improvement in his toughness. Teams have hit him in the mouth early this year and, unlike previous seasons, Collins is not getting rattled. I also like the fact that Collins is dumping the ball off more often when he doesn’t see a man open down the field.

On the Giant’ first touchdown drive, Collins hit Toomer for 8-yards on an out pass after he looked off the coverage in the opposite direction. On the next play (3rd-and-2), Collins made a great play when falling backwards to avoid immediate pressure, he delivered a strike to Toomer for a first down. This was a play where it is good that Collins can throw off the back of his foot. On 3rd-and-6 from the Dallas 12, Collins fired another strike, this time to Hilliard for the touchdown.

Collins’ worst plays came on his next two drives. On 3rd-and-15, Collins threw a terrible pass along the right sideline to Toomer and was intercepted. The problem was that Toomer was well-covered and the ball had no air under it. On the next drive, he badly missed Ike Hilliard on 2nd-and-8. On the next play, he was sacked and once again fumbled the ball away (luckily he recovered). Collins really needs to do a better job of protecting the ball when he knows he’s about to get hit.

Collins got back on track on the next drive. He made another great play as he stood in tough against an unblocked blitzing linebacker, and despite knowing he was going to get clobbered he threw a strike to Hilliard for 18-yards. This play was very “Simms-like”. On the very next play, he threw a beautiful deep post pass to Toomer for 56-yards and a touchdown.

In the 3rd quarter, on the first drive, Collins threw a nice slant pass to Hilliard for 20-yards. However, his 3rd-and-2 pass three plays later was a too wide for Toomer to come down with it in-bounds and the Giants were forced to punt. On the next drive, Collins was again a tad off the mark as he just missed Ike Hilliard coming over the middle all alone against Dexter Coakley. This would have been a big play if Collins threw a more accurate pass. On the next drive, the botched exchange between Collins and Dayne was Collins’ fault – the hand-off was far too high by Kerry.

Collins was masterful on the Giants’ game-winning drive, hitting 4-of-5 passes. He hit Toomer on an 8-yard slant and Barber on a screen for 7 yards. Then on 3rd-and-3, after his primary receiver to his right was covered, he came off and looked to his left to find the wide open TE Dan Campbell for 20-yards and a first down. Two plays later he hit TE Marcellus Rivers over the middle for a 17-yard touchdown.

Wide Receivers/Tight End Receiving: TE Jeremy Shockey (1 catch for 11 yards) was forced to leave early with a turf toe injury. His one pass play was a neat design by Sean Payton. They had Shockey line up in the backfield, faking as a lead blocker. The play-action completely fooled Dallas and Shockey picked up the first down.

Dan Campbell (3 catches for 30 yards) and Marcellus Rivers (1 catch for 17 yards and a touchdown) did a great job of filling in for Shockey. Campell had two clutch 3rd down receptions for first downs (one for 8 yards on 3rd-and-6 and one for 20 yards on 3rd-and-3). Rivers beat Dexter Coakley on his touchdown reception – Coakley may be the best pass coverage linebacker in the game.

The best part of the game for Amani Toomer (5 catches for 98 yards, 1 touchdown) and Ike Hilliard (3 catches for 38 yards, 1 touchdown) is that they both finally scored. I’ve been waiting for Toomer to break one deep; it’s been a long time. His 56-yard touchdown reception was huge because Dallas had just scored and this play regained the all-important momentum for the Giants. Hilliard’s touchdown score was a great effort play. He had the first down with his catch, but it was his ability to fight through two defenders that got the Giants seven points. Give Hilliard special kudos too for fighting hard to recover Barber’s fumble…that was a huge play.

Defensive Line: It was a bit of an up-and-down game for the defensive line who had some problems with injuries coming into the game (Kenny Holmes – elbow, Keith Hamilton – groin, Cornelius Griffin – knee). The excessive heat and humidity in Dallas on Sunday was also a factor. Fortunately for the Giants, HB Emmitt Smith isn’t very good running outside the tackles and Dallas never really attacked the injured Holmes and his replacement, Frank Ferrara, as much as I anticipated. The pass rush was inconsistent – more of a factor in the first half than the second. This may partially be due to the fact that once Will Peterson left the game with injury, New York probably felt it couldn’t blitz as often as it would like.

Michael Strahan (3 tackles, 1 sack) is the one most notable for causing more problems early. But since Strahan was only spelled for two snaps, the heat and constant double-teams most likely wore him down. On Dallas’ first drive of the game, he forced an incomplete pass on 2nd-and-7 when he cleanly beat Larry Allen. On the next drive, Strahan beat a double-team by the tackle and back to pressure QB Quincy Carter on 3rd-and-10 and force an incompletion. On the next drive, once again Strahan pressured Carter – this time on 3rd-and-20 forcing another inaccurate throw. At the end of the half, Strahan was credited with a sack on an aborted halfback option pass on 3rd-and-9 from the Giants’ 14 yard line. In the second half, Michael didn’t make much noise at all.

Kenny Holmes (elbow) was clearly not 100 percent and didn’t even play in the second half, as Frank Ferrara subbed for him. In the 2nd quarter, Holmes and LB Brandon Short disrupted an Emmitt run around left end, allowing SS Shaun Williams to clean up for a 4-yard loss. But two plays later, Holmes and LB Dhani Jones got killed on a run around left end by Tony Hambrick for 10-yards on 3rd-and-2.

Ferrara (no tackles) got good penetration on Smith’s 30-yard touchdown run, but because he didn’t make the tackle, the spot he vacated left a big hole. To make matters worse, DT Keith Hamilton got blocked (and showed poor effort on the play), FS Omar Stoutmire took the wrong angle, and SS Shaun Williams missed the tackle. In the 4th quarter, Ferrara was the only player on the defense not fooled by a misdirection running play to Smith. However, again Ferrara couldn’t make the tackle in the backfield (he’s a pretty stiff athlete in the open field). Smith picked up 6 yards on this play. Aside from these two plays, I didn’t see any major mistakes by Ferrara. He didn’t make any plays, but he didn’t get killed out there like a lot of people think he did.

Keith Hamilton (3 tackles, 1 sack) got pressure on Carter on the first series of the game, forcing a quick throw. On the second series, he was right behind MLB Mike Barrow when Barrow nailed Smith in the backfield for a 4-yard loss. On the next play, his very quick pressure on a tight end screen to Tony McGee forced an incompletion that was almost intercepted by Brandon Short. Two plays later DT Cornelius Griffin (2 tackles) disrupted a Smith run to the right (along with Dhani Jones); Smith got away from the tackle but Griffin was athletic enough to still chase him down to the left for no gain. Late in the second quarter, Hamilton forced an inaccurate throw with his pass pressure. Two plays later, both Hamilton and Griffen disrupted an Emmitt run, but couldn’t make the tackle; LB Kevin Lewis cleaned up for a 1-yard gain. In the second half, Griffen forced an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-8 on Dallas’ first possession. Griffen later tripped Carter up from behind when it looked like he was going to scramble for first down yardage near the end of the 3rd quarter. Hamilton was manhandled by a double-team block on Carter’s quarterback keeper up the middle for 8-yards on the play right before WR Antonio Bryant’s go-ahead touchdown catch. New York shouldn’t have been fooled like this because Dallas is apt to run this play in their open backfield set. (Earlier in the game, the Giants had stuffed this play on 4th-and-2). Hamilton was also flagged for a false start in the game.

DT Lance Legree (1 tackle) made a great play at the end of the second quarter when he diagnosed a tight end screen pass, stopped his rush, and then turned around to chase Tony McGee and hold him to a 2-yard gain. The play had big yardage written all over it if Legree doesn’t make the play. DT/DE Dwight Johnson saw a few snaps at both left defensive end and defensive tackle. He got a good pass rush from the tackle spot early in the 4th quarter, forcing an incompletion.

Linebackers: Like the rest of the defense, this unit was up-and-down. On the first play of the game, Barrow (5 tackles) nailed Emmitt Smith in the hole and limited him to a 1-yard gain. Two plays later, Dhani Jones (5 tackles) got beat on a short out to HB Michael Wiley out of the slot position for 6 yards on 3rd-and-2. On the next play, Jones did a good job in coverage holding Smith to a 3-yard gain. Two plays later, Brandon Short (2 tackles, 1 sack) tackled Carter in the backfield on a quarterback keeper on 4th-and-2.

On the next series, tight end Tony McGee was left wide open in the middle of the field on a 14-yard gain. I think it was Barrow who blew the coverage, but I’m not sure. Two plays later, a run blitz by Barrow nailed Smith in the backfield for a 4-yard loss. On Dallas’ fourth drive, Smith picked up 16 yards off left tackle as all three linebackers got handled on the play – poor run defense by all three. Jones (and Holmes) was then run at on 3rd-and-2 for 10 yards by Hambrick. Two plays after that, the Giants sent both Jones and Short at Carter; Short beat the block of the fullback and sacked Carter for an 8-yard loss.

On the long touchdown run by Emmitt where there were breakdowns by Ferrara, Hamilton, and the safeties – Jones also got blocked. On the next drive, the Giants blitzed two linebackers and got burned badly when Michael Wiley was left all alone down the seam for a 25-yard gain. This set up Dallas’ field goal at the end of the half.

In the second half, on Dallas’ first drive, Short penetrated into the backfield but missed the tackle on Smith. Like the Ferrara play earlier, this left a gap that Smith ran through – this time for 15 yards. On the next drive, Short did a good job maintaining his contain responsibilities and an end around by Bryant was limited to 3-yards. On Dallas’ final scoring drive, Barrow was beaten by TE Tony McGee on 3rd-and-4 for 7-yards. Three plays later, Jones penetrated and tackled Hambrick for a 2-yard loss. On Dallas’ last drive of the game, Barrow got beat by Emmitt for a 12-yard reception, despite quick pass pressure from Hamilton. Then a blitz by Jones forced Carter to throw inaccurately.

LB Kevin Lewis (3 tackles) was pretty quiet, but he didn’t hurt the Giants when he replaced Dhani Jones at times due to the latter’s tight hamstring.

Defensive Backs: The Giants suffered a major blow when Will Peterson was forced to leave the game when he re-injured his dislocated toe. With CB Jason Sehorn still not able to back-pedal effectively due to his continued recovery from off-season knee surgery, Ralph Brown was forced to play much of the game at right cornerback. Except for a mental breakdown late in the game, he played pretty decently. CB Will Allen was limited himself with a groin injury. How much of a factor this was in the game is unknown but he had his worst game of the year against WR Joey Galloway (who gave him some problems last year too).

Allen (6 tackles) had excellent coverage on Galloway on a deep sideline pass in the first quarter and just barely missed swatting the ball away; but the ball was completed for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, Allen knocked the ball away on an out-pattern to Galloway. On the very next play, Dallas tried to go after Allen again and again Allen had great coverage – this time in the end zone. Allen had good coverage on TE James Whalen on 3rd-and-20 in the 2nd quarter.

On Dallas’ first scoring drive, Allen played too far off of Galloway and an easy 13-yard reception was the result. In the 3rd quarter, Allen was too far off again and Galloway got another easy 13-yard gain. On Dallas’ go-ahead drive in the 4th quarter, Allen was beat by Galloway down the field and only a big hit by Shaun Williams forced an incompletion. On the next play, Allen was beaten by WR Reggie Swinton for 16-yards as Barrow and Sehorn blitzed. Midway through the 4th quarter, Galloway got inside position on Allen and a 19-yard reception resulted. Allen did have a nice run force on the next play.

Before he left the game, Will Peterson (2 tackles) had great coverage on a deep pass to Galloway near the beginning of the 2nd quarter. But Peterson was beat by Galloway on a slant pass for 12-yards on 2nd-and-14 on the next drive.

Ralph Brown (3 tackles) got beat over the middle on a slant pass by WR Antonio Bryant for 9-yards right before Smith’s 30-yard touchdown run. At the start of the 3rd quarter, Brown did a good job of filling the hole off left tackle and holding Smith to a 3-yard gain. On Dallas’ second drive in the second half, Brown had superb coverage on a short out pass to Galloway and caused the incompletion on 3rd-and-3. If Brown had only seen the ball, he could have intercepted it and scored. Still, it was an outstanding play. On 3rd-and-4 from the Giants’ 19-yard line, Brown was beaten on a short out for 8-yards and a first down by Reggie Swinton. Dallas scored two plays later. Ralph was flagged for a 16-yard pass interference penalty on Dallas’ last drive on a play over the middle to the speedster Swinton, but I thought it was solid coverage by Brown. On the very next play, Brown made his biggest mistake of the game, failing to understand the coverage call he thought he had deep safety help on the long pass to Bryant. Luckily the ball was overthrown or the Giants probably would have lost the game. All in all, Brown played a good game and was sounder than Allen.

Shaun Williams (4 tackles) made some fine plays, but also had some bad ones. He got beat by TE James Whalen for 33-yards down the middle of the field on Dallas’ second drive. Williams tackled Emmitt Smith for a 4-yard loss in the first half. Three plays later, he disrupted another Smith run that Barrow clean up on for no gain. But it was Williams who missed the tackle on Smith on his long TD run. In the 4th quarter, a big hit by Williams on Galloway prevented a sure 25+ yard completion (Allen was beat on the play). However, three plays later, Williams was flagged with a costly pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-12. It was an especially bad play too because the pass was off the mark. Williams got suckered on the play-action fake on the TD pass to Antonio Bryant. On 3rd-and-3 with 4:56 left in the game, Williams knocked the ball away intended for WR Ken-Yon Rambo.

Omar Stoutmire (7 tackles) was late on the deep sideline throw to Galloway in the first quarter. His was pretty quiet until Dallas’ last drive. First he made a great play in the flat on a pass to Hambrick, limiting him to a 1-yard gain. On the very next play, he jumped on a 3rd-and-9 slant to Ken-Yon Rambo and broke up the play. The only bad thing is that he should have caught the ball and scored.

Special Teams: Things didn’t start off well for PK Matt Bryant as he kicked his opening kick-off out-of-bounds. This was a terrible play that gave Dallas the ball on the 40-yard line. His other kick-offs landed at the 1 (return of 26 yards, tackle by Kevin Lewis), the 4 (return of 37 yards, tackle by Bryant himself), and the 9 (return of 20 yards, tackle by Wes Mallard). Kick coverage against the dangerous Reggie Swinton was fine except for the one big 37-yard return. Little Matt Bryant made a heck of a tackle on that play.

P Matt Allen got off punts of 46 (this was misleading as it was a poor kick where he got a good bounce), 42, 36, 40, and 51 yards. Allen’s last punt – the 51 yarder – was clutch as it came with the Giants backed up at their own 16-yard line with 3:49 left to play. Dallas punt returns were for 0 (downed by Kevin Lewis), 16 (Wes Mallard), 0 (fair catch), 0 (fair catch), and 0 (holding penalty on Dallas). On the two fair catches and the 16-yard return, Dallas couldn’t block gunner/WR Tim Carter – a great debut for the speedster.

Delvin Joyce handled all the punt and kick return chances. Ironically, Joyce’s best punt return came on a play where he muffed the punt. He showed good quickness, elusiveness, and some power on his 20-yard return. His only other return chance only picked up 3 yards. Joyce’s kickoffs went for 19, 30, 18, and a touchback.

Great job by DeWayne Patmon and Will Allen on the field goal fake by Dallas in the first quarter. Allen stayed with the receiver down the field and Patmon didn’t allow the kicker to get around him and made a quick, sure tackle. A huge play.


Offensive Line Review

by Chris Jacobs

It’s ironic that this be my first official O-Line review of the season considering this was the best that this line has played this season. As a matter of fact, it’s the best a NY Giant line has played in two years. They completely dominated the line of scrimmage from the first snap to the final whistle. The game plan the Giants put together as far as the running game is concerned was brilliant. The Dallas front four is on the small side and very, very quick. To counter that, the Giants stayed in base/drive blocking most of the game. Dallas D-Line and LB’s are great at pursuit and the Giants figured they could pound, and it worked. The first four plays of the game were straight ahead runs and right on the snap of the ball the Dallas D-Line was on roller-skates all four plays. On the Dayne non-converted 3rd-and-1 one of the WR’s missed his block allowing a defender to slip in and disrupt the play. (He should have got the yard anyway). As far as the pass protection was concerned there was one miscue by Bober and one by Seubert, but besides that any pressure or sack on Collins was due to a blitz or a missed block by a back or a tight end.

Mike Rosenthal: (A-) He’s improving week to week and this was clearly his best effort this season so far. A lot of his bad habits are gone, he’s not hesitating off the snap on his drive blocking, he didn’t get bull rushed into the QB, and he did a much better job moving his feet and riding his man outside on the speed rush. He still needs some work on sustaining his blocks just a second longer on run blocks, and there was one or two occasions where he missed a reach block but I don’t know how much you can fault him for that since he’s not too quick and the defender was.

Jason Whittle: (A-) I hate to break it to Manny in CA but up until he got hurt he was having a terrific game. He was driving defenders 5 yards downfield every time the Giants ran the ball. There was even one time where his pad level was too high in pass pro and the defender was under him but he held his ground long enough to allow the QB to get rid of the ball. The Collins/Dayne fumble was either Whittle’s or Rosenthal’s fault, it’s hard to tell, it looked like Whittle was suppose to pull outside and Rosey was suppose to come flat down the line but the defender was too quick upfield and got his hand on Collins arm which caused the fumble.

Chris Bober: (B+) Much to the credit of the coaching staff, Bober did a lot less pulling this week and therefore he had a much better game. He does much better drive blocking straight ahead than he does in space, besides, the Dallas LB’s are way too quick to try any of that stuff anyway. On the play that Collins recovered his own fumble, Bober was beat bad by a swim move from the defender right off the line. Besides that I thought he played an outstanding game.

Rich Seubert: (B+) Again he benefited from not having to do much pulling, and like everyone else on the line did a great job drive blocking. There were a couple of straight dives where he and Petitgout completely collapsed the left side of the line but the back (I think once it was Tiki and once it was Dayne) didn’t recognize it but could have turned the play into a big gain. Did a great job in pass protection, the only fault on his part was the Roy Williams blitz which he should have recognized and picked up. He was doubling the nose with Bober who didn’t need help there, if he recognizes the blitz he could have picked it up and at least prevented the sack.

Luke Petitgout: (A) Like I’ve said in the past, I think he is the best lineman they have but the other guys seem to be catching up with him. The DE mostly tried the outside speed rush on him most of the day and the worst it did was cause Collins to have to step up in the pocket, it never really resulted in a pressure.

(Box Score – New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, October 6, 2002)
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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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