Sep 182003
 
Dallas Cowboys 35 – New York Giants 32 (OT)

Game Overview: Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this game, I want to focus attention on the bigger picture in terms of what this loss meant. This was a very important game because it was home game against a divisional opponent. In other words, it was a far more important game than the previous contest against the Rams. The Giants are now 0-1 in the NFC East with five more division games left to play. The Giants can now only afford to lose possibly one more division game. That’s going to be tough considering they still have to play the Cowboys, Redskins, and Eagles all on the road still.

As I sit writing this document, a couple days removed from the loss to the Cowboys, I feel more angry now than I did in the immediate aftermath of the game. I’m angry because I feel cheated as a fan. I feel cheated from the opportunity of a glorious memory – a miraculous 18 point 4th quarter rally against the hated Cowboys with that fat traitor Parcells at the helm. The Giants – for as badly as they played most of the night – had this game won. It was as good as over. King Fatty had blown his 23-7 lead and was about to suffer a humiliating defeat. But then came the three morons:

  • Jim Fassel: I like Jim Fassel. I think he is a good coach and I really, really root hard for him to succeed – just as I have always rooted for every Giants player and coach to succeed. That’s the fan in me. Put on the Blue uniform and I will follow you faithfully. But it’s the God-given right of every Giant fan to bitch and moan when things don’t go well and that’s what I am going to do right now. Excuse my language, but Fassel fucked up royally in this game. We’ve heard his rationale (new center; wet footballs; leave enough time in case of a botched field goal attempt; if Bryant does his job, game over, etc.). But the safe play was to run another play and get the clock down to 7 seconds. That leaves you with enough time to fall on the ball and call time out if the attempted is botched. If everything does go smoothly, the Cowboys are left with 3-4 seconds. Do that, and you take any possible screw ups by Matt Bryant on the ensuing kick-off out of the equation. Yes, you have a rookie center, but you also have a kicker who has already kicked one ball out-of-bounds in the same game. Fassel shouldn’t have assume that Bryant is going to get the job done.
  • Fassel has learned a few lessons the hard way in this League, but this same type of nightmare scenarios keep occurring. The 1997 playoff game against the Vikings, the 2002 game in Arizona, the 2002 playoff game against the 49ers, and now this wretched result. The margin for error in this League is small. This isn’t baseball or basketball with a shitload of regular season games and a series playoff format. Jim has to stop making these egregious game-day decisions, while at the same time not coach scared. Because the latter will lead to the former – as it did in this case. The weird thing is that late in the game and in the overtime, the Giants were very aggressive on offense – taking shots down the field. Fassel was aggressive in that situation, even with the young offensive line.
  • Lastly, I have no problem with squibbing a kick in this situation. I am actually a fan of it. Keep in mind that back in 1999, the Giants almost lost to Dallas on a Monday night when Fassel had Brad Daluiso kick off. Only a forward lateral on the play to Deion Sanders prevented another last-second nightmare. Squib kicks don’t get returned for touchdowns; regular kick-offs do.
  • PK Matt Bryant: I don’t give a shit who told you what, just keep the damn ball in bounds. You already kicked one out of bounds earlier in the game. If you keep the ball in bounds, the Giants win the game.
  • SS Shaun Williams: On the last pass play, the Giants were in a prevent defense coverage. Unlike most people, I have no problem with the prevent defense in the right situation. And this was the right situation. You blitz, and you can get burned more easily than the average fan realizes. The prevent call was the right call in this situation. The problem was Shaun Williams made a moronic decision. For some reason, instead of playing back and helping to guard against the deep sideline completion to WR Antonio Bryant, Williams moved up to cover the flat against the halfback. With 11 seconds left in the game, why in the world would Williams do that? The flat pass doesn’t help the Cowboys at all. I fully realize that football players are not always the brightest guys in the world, but c’mon. Williams had a monster game against the run, but this mistake (along with a costly pass interference penalty) is what most fans remember.

The three I mentioned above are to blame for losing a game that was largely won. But the game never should have been as close as it was, and a miraculous comeback would not have been needed had (1) the defense not played so damn poorly (400 yards of offense by the Cowboys?!?); (2) the offense not taken half the game off (0 points in the first half – gave the Cowboys 7 points); and (3) special teams had not gotten clearly out-played.

This was a team defeat.

Lastly, give credit to the Cowboys. Their offensive line and tight ends dominated the line of scrimmage. Their quarterback played the best game I’ve ever seen him play (there were many times he made clutch throws or runs). And a very mediocre kicker had a career day, somehow managing to kick 7-of-8 field goals in wet conditions. And three of the kicks were long kicks: 37, 49, 42, 21, 36, 52, and 25. HB Troy Hambrick also did a fantastic job on picking up blitzes.

Overall Defense: Don’t lose site of one fact – the Giants defense gave up 28 points, 403 yards of offense, and 24 first downs to an average offensive team. What Dallas did a lot is spread the Giants defense out with a 3-WR look. This put the Giants in their nickel with only two linebackers on the field (Mike Barrow and Dhani Jones). Dallas then ran out of this set as much as they passed. The biggest problem for the Giants’ defense is that the Dallas offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage against the New York defensive line. There was very little pass rush until late in the game, and the defensive line got hung up on their blocks too often against the run.

Two items:

  1. It seems to me there is some philosophically wrong with the Giants’ coverage schemes in that opposing offenses are completing passes too easily over the short and intermediate middle of the defense. It appears that this usually occurs when the Giants are in zone coverage. Perhaps, the lack of pass rush against the Cowboys exacerbated the problem. But there are too many big plays being made in the center of the field.
  2. Those complaining that the Giants didn’t blitz enough against the Cowboys are not looking at what actually transpired on the playing field. The Giants blitzed a lot. I saw all three linebackers blitz (and Barrow and Jones repeatedly), both safeties blitz, and even a corner blitz. The problem was the Giants were not getting to the quarterback because the Dallas offensive line, tight ends, and HB Troy Hambrick did such a great job in picking up the blitzers. Fans always seem to notice the blitz when it works, but they seldom notice it when it doesn’t. The Giants were very aggressive in overtime as well. So in reality, the truth of the matter is that their blockers were better than our rushers on Monday night for whatever reason. The Giants were out-played up front. Dallas certainly was not confused with what the Giants threw at them either – this is where defensive game planning can have some impact. One thing I would consider dropping if I’m Johnnie Lynn is running too many zone-blitz plays…they don’t seem to be working.

Defensive Line: This unit played like crap until very late in the game. Their pass rush was almost non-existent and the run defense was at times downright embarrassing. In particular, DE Michael Strahan (1 tackle) didn’t bother to show up until the 4th quarter. Perhaps he is too busy thinking about renovating his new home. Both him and DT Cornelius Griffin (2 tackles) were easily blocked. There was one 11-yard fullback run in the 1st quarter where Strahan and Griffin looked like they weren’t even trying. These two are two talented to be non-factors in a game this big. Strahan came alive on the pass rush late in the game, but it was a case of too little, too late in my opinion. DE Kenny Holmes (4 tackles, 1 sack) had problems at the point-of-attack defending the run. There was one play where Dan Campbell really man-handled him. DE Osi Umenyiora (0 tackles) really struggled against the run and it was pretty obvious Dallas was running right at him when he was in the game – the run that really killed New York was the 9-yarder on Dallas’ second possession overtime where both Osi and DT Williams Joseph got handled. DT Keith Hamilton (2 tackles) left the game early and Joseph (1 tackle) was far, far too quiet and easily blocked on most plays. In my opinion, the best performance of the group was turned in by DT Lance Legree (1 tackle) in limited playing time. He really stood his ground on running plays, unlike the rest of his defensive line teammates. Legree did get flagged for a tripping penalty however.

Another problem remains defending the mobile quarterback. On Dallas’ first TD drive, Hamilton and Griffin let Quincy Carter scramble right up the middle easily for an 8-yard touchdown. Strahan also left his rush lane on Dallas’ game-winning field goal drive in overtime on the play where Carter picked up 6 yards.

TRUTH OF THE MATTER: The front four of the Giants defense was dominated by the Dallas offensive line and tight ends. This was a HUGE factor in New York losing the football game. No pass rush for most of the game; poor run defense.

Linebackers: There were a few negatives, but for the most part Michael Barrow (19 tackles) and Dhani Jones (15 tackles, 1 sack) played a stellar game. Brandon Short didn’t see the field much as Dallas often played in a 3-WR set. Both Barrow and Griffin were extremely active against the run and made a number of excellent plays at, near, or behind the line of scrimmage. Both also blitzed a lot, although they seldom got there (Jones did get a big sack in the 4th quarter). Pass coverage was mostly decent. Dhani Jones made a great play on a screen pass that lost 4 yards. He also did a good job on a fullback swing pass that only picked up 2 yards. Jones did get fooled on misdirection rollout pass to the tight end for 15 yards however. Barrow read another screen pass well, but missed the tackle. Barrow had very tight coverage on an end zone pass to Dan Campbell; he too nailed the fullback on a swing pass for only a 1-yard gain. TE Jason Witten did beat him on a 1-yard play in overtime on a fantastic throw from Quincy Carter. The few plays Brandon Short played, he did well (except for one off-sides penalty). He didn’t look bad in coverage and was strong against the run. Brandon also got pressure on one blitz. GOOD GAME BY THE LINEBACKERS…especially given how poorly the defensive line played.

Defensive Backs: With very little pass rush and facing a hot quarterback (Quincy Carter was darn accurate and made some clutch throws), the job of the secondary was tough. The big problem it seems to me is that too many times the Dallas receivers were running over the middle unopposed. Why? Did players make mental mistakes (linebackers included)? Are the schemes unsound? Did the players get physically beat? I don’t have the answers. But too many easy completions.

Nickel back Ralph Brown started off the game well when Carter misread the Giants’ zone coverage. Brown intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown. Perhaps this play gave the players and coaching staff the belief that they could continue to confuse Carter and force him to make mistakes by switching up their coverages. They didn’t. Too often Carter read the coverages beautifully and made crisp, accurate throws. At the end of many of these completions was Brown. Examples where he got beat: 20 yard completion to Terry Glenn on 2nd-and-14, 8 yard completion to Glenn on 2nd-and-3, 21 yard completion to Joey Galloway on 2nd-and-4, and a 22 yard completion to Antonio Bryant on 3rd-and-3.

The two Wills played mostly well. You didn’t hear much from Will Allen at all, which tells me he was doing a number on his man, especially on deep pass attempts. However, there were two mistakes by Allen in overtime. First he was flagged for defensive holding on the game-winning drive. On the very next play, he could have possibly changed the outcome of the game if he could have managed to intercept the deep pass that landed right in his hands. Excellent coverage, but the true stud corner picks off that pass and makes a difference in the ball game. Allen was beat by Terry Glenn for 27 yards in the 3rd quarter. Kato Serwanga filled in for Allen on one play. He had very tight coverage on Terry Glenn on a HUGE 3rd-and-4 play where Carter was forced to scramble due to pressure from Strahan, but Carter made a simply fantastic throw.

Will Peterson was mostly positive in coverage and run defense, but he had a couple of screw ups. He fell down on a 2nd-and-9 play that was completed to Antonio Bryant for 25 yards that helped to set up Dallas’ first field goal in the second half. The 34-yard pass interference penalty on Peterson on the next drive was bullshit, but Peterson could have helped himself if he had turned around and looked for the ball. In the 4th quarter, Peterson got beat in zone coverage on a Bryant pass over the middle for 22 yards. In overtime, Peterson got beat for 17 yards by Joey Galloway on 3rd-and-7.

Shaun Williams (11 tackles) had a monster game in run support. If it weren’t for him as well as Dhani Jones and Mike Barrow, the defensive stats would have looked far worse. Time after time, Williams was seen making plays at or behind the line of scrimmage against the run. However, Williams made two bad plays in pass defense. On Dallas’ second-to-last field goal drive in regulation, Williams was flagged with an obvious pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-13. That was a killer penalty as it put Dallas in field goal range. And his second mistake was the costliest and simply inexcusable. On Dallas’ last offensive play of regulation, Williams moved up to defend the halfback in the flat instead of helping out Will Peterson deep on Antonio Bryant. With 11 second left in the game, the flat pass meant nothing, but the 26-yard reception to Bryant was everything as it set up the tying field goal. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Omar Stoutmire (9 tackles) was active, but really didn’t stand out except for one play where he strung out the running back on a Troy Hambrick run around right end.

Quarterback: I thought Kerry Collins (21-of-51 for 265 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions) was just way too inconsistent. Yes, his pass protection in the first half and at times in the second half was shoddy. But there were times when he had time to make plays and simply didn’t. The 18-point rally in the 4th quarter was great, but it shouldn’t overshadow some of his earlier mistakes that helped put the Giants in such a big hole. For example, on the Giants’ first drive, Collins stepped up into the pocket to avoid the outside rush and badly overthrew Amani Toomer deep on what may have resulted in a 53-yard touchdown catch-and-run. In the second period, Collins made a horrible decision to force the ball under heavy pressure on 3rd-and-9. The pass was thrown right to a Dallas linebacker who returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. Two plays later, Collins had tried to force the ball to a well-covered Jeremy Shockey. And things continued to be bad for Collins on the next drive. He threw a couple of passes behind intended receivers and threw an inaccurate deep pass to a wide-open Amani Toomer. Toomer caught the ball for 40-yards, but Toomer had not been forced to severely adjust for the ball, a 62-yard touchdown would have resulted. On 3rd-and-20, on the same drive, Collins made a poor decision to try to force a deep pass to Jeremy Shockey. Even if Collins had not been hit on the play, there was no way that intercepted pass would have been completed.

Collins was pretty damn impressive for much of the second half. He threw three touchdown passes…all of them very good throws. But on a late 3rd quarter drive, he missed Toomer again deep. On the next play, he foolishly tried to force the ball into double coverage on a seam pass to Visanthe Shiancoe.

Wide Receivers: Amani Toomer (7 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown) had a big game and would have had monster numbers had Collins been more accurate with a few deep passes. I particularly liked the 40-yard reception he made on a deep Collins pass thrown to the wrong shoulder. Great adjustment. Toomer later scored on a 20-yard reception where Collins this time intentionally put the ball on the other shoulder in order to keep it away from the defender. Toomer had to make a great spinning adjustment to come down with the football. On the negative side, Toomer was flagged for a false start and was lucky that a fumble was erased due to a Dallas penalty.

Ike Hilliard (6 catches for 85 yards and 1 touchdown) had a decent night and it is pretty clear that Hilliard is a favorite of Collins on 3rd down. Hilliard is particularly effective against zone coverage because he can change direction on a dime and get the defensive back leaning in the wrong direction – such as on his 5-yard touchdown reception on 3rd down. Hilliard also had a key deep reception over the middle for 38 yards that helped to set up New York’s final touchdown.

Tim Carter (3 catches for 28 yards) is starting to see the ball come his way. He did drop a 3rd-and-7 pass in the second quarter and he also couldn’t hang on to a deep over-the-shoulder catch in the 4th quarter. Carter appeared to have some problems with his footing on the wet turf.

Halfbacks: Not a good game for HB Tiki Barber (15 carries for 41 yards – a poor 2.7 yards-per-carry average). Barber fumbled the ball away for the second week in a row, setting up an easy 1st quarter field goal for Dallas. What stunk is that this play was exceptionally well-blocked by the offensive line and tight ends. Barber’s fumbling is now becoming a real concern. Barber was not a factor in the passing game (2 catches for 7 yards). I also thought Barber was late on recognizing a CB blitz on a play where Collins missed Toomer deep.

Brian Mitchell (1 catch for 11 yards) actually filled in a fullback for a time in this game and didn’t look bad at all as a lead blocker. He’s an aggressive guy and doesn’t mind get physical despite his lack of ideal size.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey is being hampered by sore ribs and the need for additional blocking assistance by the young offensive line. But he didn’t play very well in the passing game (just 2 catches for 8 yards, 1 touchdown). He dropped two passes – one a 3rd-and-8 deep seam pass where it looked like he was afraid of being hit by the safety; and a very easy end zone pass where he was wide open. Shockey’s run blocking was mostly very positive.

Visanthe Shiancoe continues his development as a blocker. I didn’t think he did bad at all, but the fact that Mitchell saw some time at fullback seems to indicate that Shiancoe must have made some mistakes. Like Dan Campbell before him, I don’t think Shiancoe is very comfortable lead blocking from the fullback spot (though Shiancoe is much more fluid than Campbell in this position). Shiancoe also dropped a pass where he was wide open.

What is strange is some of the blocking schemes the Giants ran against the Cowboys which I think made their pass protection look worse than it should have. For example, there was one play where Shiancoe was called upon to block DE Greg Ellis by himself (on this play Shockey for some reason, chose to help out inside where no help was needed). There was another play where Dallas rushed only their down four defensive linemen, but Shockey was called upon to handle the defensive end all by himself. Why?

Offensive Line: It really was a mixed bag for this group that unbelievably had three rookies starting (Jeff Roehl at left tackle, Wayne Lucier at center, David Diehl at right guard) and a center starting at right tackle for the first time in his career (Chris Bober). But the inexperience WAS a big factor in the Giants losing the football game. There were times, even in the first half, when pass protection was actually very good. But there were also complete breakdowns that helped to stall drives. The most glaring mistakes were made by the two tackles. Both got out-quicked to the outside for sacks and hits on Collins. Roehl also had some problems with power (he needs to get stronger). There was one embarrassing moment when the Dallas 3-man rush pressured Collins into throwing an interception TD when Roehl couldn’t handle his defender (why the hell didn’t Seubert help out here?). There were also some rough spots in run blocking for both as both seemed a bit unsure of themselves. There were some physical breakdowns too. Bober, for example, stumbled on one pull and on another play didn’t sustain his block long enough, allowing his man to make the tackle. Roehl blocked well at times at the point-of-attack when drive blocking, but got overpowered at times when pulling.

I thought Wayne Lucier did a pretty darn good job. He seemed to get movement in his blocks and also seemed to do fairly well moving out to engage defenders at the second level. He did give up a pressure that was a factor on Collins’ second interception.

David Diehl looks like the real deal, but he still makes plenty of mistakes too. For much of the game, he did a fine job. But he also had some rough moments such as his holding call on a screen pass. He also continues to look confused at times on picking up stunts. And he does get beat every now and then in pass protection – though to be fair, he was facing LaRoi Glover by himself at times.

Pass protection really settled down in the second half. Unfortunately, the ugliness reappeared in overtime. Bober gave up two pressures, Rich Seubert gave up one pressure, and Diehl was flagged with a false start on New York’s only offensive possession. The mistakes of these three sabotaged any hopes the Giants had of winning the game on that drive.

For additional information on how the offensive line performed, see Chris Jacobs’ review below.

Special Teams: Brian Mitchell had 8 kick-off returns and did nothing with any of them: returns of 29, 21, 24, 27, 25, 21, 24, and 23 yards. Obviously, blocking on returns remains a problem.

Mitchell was only able to return 1 punt for 9 yards.

Matt Bryant’s kick-offs were fielded at the 10, went out of bounds, 3, 3, 8, out of bounds, and the 8. Terrible.

Kick-off coverage was mostly decent, but the Giants did give up one big return. Dallas returns went for 37 yards (Shaun Williams made the tackle), 25 yards (Wes Mallard), 17 yards (David Tyree and Ryan Clark), 20 yards (David Tyree), and 21 yards (Wes Mallard). The 37-yard return helped to set up Dallas’ only offensive touchdown.

Jeff Feagles punts went for 47, 48, 39, 44, 56, 30 (out of bounds at 9 yard line), and 42 yards.

Punt return coverage was not real good. Dallas punt returns weren’t for 7 yards (Wes Mallard, Dhani Jones), 18 yards (Brian Mitchell), 15 yards (Brian Mitchell), 5 yards (David Tyree), touchback, out of bounds, and fair catch. On the 18 yard return, Tyree pulled up on the returner who he thought was going to call for a fair catch instead of crushing the guy. Tyree also screwed up real bad on the touchback when he was unable to down the punt inside the 5-yard line despite an easy opportunity to do so.


 Offensive Line Review

by BBI Contributor Chris Jacobs

I’m going to give some brief comments on each guy and then breakdown each series and point out the good and the bad.

Bober – His biggest weakness is that he’s susceptible to the outside speed rush; I believe this was our fear when he was being groomed for the RT spot last year. All in all though he didn’t have a bad game.

Diehl – Strong and aggressive, his biggest problem is picking up stunts, and he has to recognize who needs the most help when he has no one to block. There were a few times when Lucier was fine and Bober needed some help. I’m sure that will come with time. He also needs to do a better job getting out on the LB’s on certain running plays; he’s letting the DT tie him up. I like how he gets downfield to try and make a block after the ball is thrown.

Lucier – I would not be uncomfortable with Lucier as the starting center. He was able to make some nice drive blocks in the running game and didn’t give up much pressure in pass protection. It was an all around solid effort by him. There was one draw play where he was bull rushed into Tiki.

Seubert – He had a pretty good game, he was beat inside by a swim move resulting in KC’s arm getting hit while he threw. And there was a running play where he pulled and never made it out of the backfield, I couldn’t tell if he tripped or the DT pulled him down, but if he makes it out there Tiki gets more yards.

Roehl – He’s just not strong enough, that’s really his only downside. He has good feet, he’s quick, and he gets off the ball nicely on drive blocks. His only problem is that he gets tossed around a little bit and he gets bull rushed sometimes. On that one sack where KC fumbles in the first quarter, the DE pulls him down by his shoulders and runs right around him. Besides that, he really didn’t have that bad of a game. There was a blitz pickup here and there it looked like he may have missed, it could have been the backs responsibility but I can’t be sure.

First Quarter

First Series

  1. Run, Roehl Seubert Lucier all fail to sustain their blocks, 2 yd loss
  2. Pass, Good protection, good feet by Bober
  3. Pass, Good blitz pickup by Tiki
  4. Pass, Bobers man gets around him as he fails to ride his man outside and just stands there, KC steps up to avoid the pressure, but it’s a bad throw and he misses a wide open Toomer
  5. KC pressured by Ellis, Shiancoe does a terrible job trying to pass block
  6. Bober beat bad by Ellis outside, his head is down and he’s not moving his feet, Roehl tossed by Ekuban

Punt

Second Series

  1. Run, Nice job by Lucier chips DT then gets to LB, Diehl crushes the DT and Bober walls off his man 5yd gain
  2. Roehl out muscled by Ekuban
  3. Good pass protection – pulled the guard to block Ekuban, full back helped

Punt

Third Series

  1. Run, everyone makes a great block except Bober who tries to cut the LB who makes the tackle
  2. Pass- Dallas has 6 men on the line, Zone blitz, the DT’s drop into coverage and the LB’s blitz outside no one blocks the LB on the left side resulting in pressure, assignment bust
  3. Pass- 3 man rush, Bober and Roehl alone, the other 3 are blocking one guy….
  4. Good run blocking by everyone drove the entire defense off the ball, fumble by Tiki

Fumble

Second Quarter

Fourth Series

  1. Pass Quick slant, no one blocks the DE but doesn’t matter ball is away
  2. Run, Sprint Draw, Tiki not running with his head up (possibly gun-shy after fumble) Shiancoe as fullback gets knocked backwards by the LB into Tiki
  3. Pass, Bober bull rushed by DT (pressure) after a twist stunt, good pickup on the stunt by Diehl
  4. Run, great job by Shockey hooking the DE, Diehl pulls and makes a nice block, Seubert pulls but falls and there’s not one to block the backer, 2 yd gain
  5. Run- Draw play, Roehl and Lucierget bull rushed into Tiki who bounces outside and loses 3 yards
  6. Pass- Good blitz pickup by Tiki on Williams, good job by Bober on Ellis out in space (Shockey’s Drop)

Punt

Fifth Series

  1. Pass, Ekuban beats Roehl bad on the inside but KC gets the ball to Mitchell in the flat
  2. Run, Not bad upfront, Tiki can bounce it outside but doesn’t see it (possibly fumble still looming)
  3. Pass- Good protection, bad throw to Amani
  4. Pass- 3rd and 7, Good protection, Bober is moving his feet much better, short throw to Carter

Punt (Pass protection is getting better KC’s throws are way off the mark)

Sixth Series

  1. Pass, 3 step drop, good protection, bad throw to Shockey
  2. Run, nice pull/trap by Seubert, if Bober sustains his block it would be a huge gain by Tiki, but the DE sheds him and stops Tiki for a 1yd gain
  3. Pass, 3 man rush, Lucier gets tossed aside by the NG who puts a swim move on Seubert and hits KCs arm resulting in an interception for a TD

Seventh Series

  1. Pass, 7 step drop, Bober gets beat outside and gets away with a hold, Roehl does a good job riding his man outside on a speed rush
  2. Pass, 3 man rush, good protection, bad pass
  3. Pass, 3 man rush, Dallas has 8 guys in coverage, the Giants have 2 backs in to help protect (that’s 7 guys blocking 3, and 8 defenders covering 3 WRs) Toomer puts a great move on Williams and gets behind the defense, a terrible throw results in a big gain that should have been a TD
  4. Pass, good job by line, drop by Shiancoe
  5. Pass, something has to be wrong assignment wise, 4 man rush Diehl pulls and is alone on Ekuban, Shiancoe of all people is alone on Ellis (borderline hold, wasn’t called) Shockey, Lucier, Bober, Roehl and Seubert are all blocking 2 guys. Incomplete pass to Tiki in the flat.
  6. Screen Pass, terrible job by Diehl who only has to occupy his guy for a second, lets him get by then grabs his jersey (holding is called)
  7. Pass, Bober almost gets beat outside with a swim move, Lucier gets beat badly but should get help from Diehl who blocks no one with 6 men rushing on a blitz, Seubert and Tiki pick up blitz nicely but Luciers man hits KCs arm resulting in and Intercepted pass

Interception

Second Half

First series

  1. Run- off tackle Tiki, Roehl collapses the entire left side of the D-line, Shockey does a good job on the end, Seubert pulls but can’t get to anyone but it doesn’t matter gain of 9 yards
  2. Run- good job by Roehl and Seubert, Mitchell makes a nice block as FB, Diehl has to fight through to get to the LB
  3. Pass, Tiki can’t cut Ellis who bats the pass down
  4. Pass- 5 step drop, quick slant to Ike, good protection
  5. Pass – the reverse flea flicker, the play was almost blown up because Roehl did not sustain his man
  6. Pass- (the Shockey TD drop) Ellis didn’t fall for the play fake, KC does nice job with pressure
  7. Run- Tiki 3 yd loss, Roehl whiffs completely on the DT who knocks Mitchell into Tiki
  8. Pass, nice protection, good time, Tiki makes a nice chip on the DE that could have blown up the play, TD to Ike

Touchdown

Series Two

  1. Run, Hilliard reverse, if Roehl makes the backside block it goes for 10 more but he misses the DE who makes the play 10 yards downfield
  2. Pass, good pass pro, nice blitz pickup by Tiki
  3. Pass, corner Blitz, Tiki misses causing KC to miss a wide open Toomer
  4. Pass, Bobers technique is much better than earlier, head up, feet moving, Roehl gets bull rushed a little but not bad. Incomplete pass

Punt

Fourth Quarter

Series Three

  1. Pass, Bober ok, pressure from Roehl getting bull rushed into KC
  2. Pass, nice pocket, bad throw to Shockey
  3. Pass, Good protection, Toomer fumble (BS, he was down) (offside on defense)
  4. Pass, Roehl is letting his guy get separation. Interference call on Carter
  5. Pass, Roehl does a nice gob getting out on Ekubans speed rush, Bober bull rushed into KC
  6. Pass, good protection, Carter +8
  7. Pass, someone missed the blitz pickup, Seubert pulls and blocks the DE, looks like Roehl should pick up the blitz but he’s helping Lucier. KC gets the ball off, Toomer to 2 yard line.
  8. Pass, nice play fake, Shockey TD

Touchdown

Fourth Series

  1. Pass, Diehls man shed him and hits KC as he throws but he completes it
  2. Pass, Good job by Bober riding his man outside on the speed rush, allowing KC to step up in the pocket. Ike +38
  3. Pass, good protection, Toomer TD

Touchdown

Fifth Series

  1. Pass, Carters review play, Diehl does a good job as his man tries a spin move.
  2. Pass, Bober almost beat outside again
  3. Pass, good job, nice pocket, Toomer first down
  4. Pass, Audible, good protection again, incomplete
  5. Pass, Dallas sends 7, good pickup by Shockey, bad throw incomplete
  6. Pass, 3 & 10, Deihl and Bober get fooled by a twist stunt, both miss causing KC to throw off his back foot into a double covered Ike

Punt

Sixth Series

  1. Run, Bober nice kick out on end, Diehl got held up again and can’t get to the backer, but Tiki breaks the tackle +10
  2. Pass, Bober beat outside, KC’s arm gets hit (Bober has to move his feet)
  3. Pass, Tiki goes the wrong way and doesn’t pick up the safety blitz even though everyone in the stadium and watching on TV knows Roy Williams was blitzing, amazingly KC hits Shockey.
  4. Pass, Dallas sends 6 nice pick up by Tiki who cuts the blitzing backer
  5. Pass, again Bober almost beat outside – incomplete
  6. Pass, Diehl beat by swim move, complete to Ike
  7. Run, 3rd & 2, Nice push upfront, Lucier, Deihl and Bober completely collapse the right side of the defense and Tiki cuts back and gets the first down.
  8. Run, nice hole on the right side again, Tiki picks up yards off of Diehl and Bober.

Field Goal

I don’t have the series they ran in overtime because my tape stopped; I didn’t anticipate a 4 ½ hour game….


Even Mike Ditka Needs Levitra

by BBI Reporter/Photographer David Oliver

And he is MAN enough to stand up and say it (for a small fee, of course). So my question for the week is a simple one: when is anyone on this Giants’ Coaching staff going to stand up and say just flat out, “I screwed up”, rather than he screwed up or they screwed up? I ask this question because Monday’s night’s fiasco was, more than anything else, a Coaching catastrophe. That is not to excuse some shoddy play by presumed playmakers, or a brain fart by a kicker who should have been, by all rights, a hero.

I have something unusual this week: a very abbreviated report. I only saw the last few minutes and the overtime (that part I could bear to watch), from a standing position outside a café at the Oakland Airport, as I was waiting to board the ‘red eye’ for my flight home. I can say this; the Giants were not the only frustration of the weekend. I went to San Francisco for the T-Mobile Bicycle Race, the toughest race in America. I went to get some photos of Lance Armstrong, Gilberto Simone, Alexander Vinoukorov and other luminaries who usually do not grace us with their presence. US Postal wore silver instead of blue so we couldn’t tell who was who, Lance was sick and quit early and team Saeco rode team tactics only for a lap at the end, so I shot everybody in red, hoping to get Simone. Not only that but the America’s Cup Champion, Alinghi was racing Oracle in the Bay. No publicity so I’m walking around town on Monday shooting Cable Cars and Harbor Seals while the two greatest racing boats in the world are racing in the Bay. I bump into a Yacht Club member up on Russian Hill where he was watching the start of the second race and he graciously gave me an extra set of binoculars, then drove me down to the Club so I could get a couple of shots. Problem with that was that I only had a wide angle and a super wide angle, having left my long lens in my bag in hotel storage because I am a lazy and stupid bastard. Nevertheless, I got a precious few shots of these magnificent racers as they passed the Club. To top it off, they are racing all week, and I easily could have arranged an extra day or two.

So here I am watching this great comeback, all the while wondering how Dallas got 29 points anyway. I am standing behind a couple of so-so Skins fans, who really are not thrilled with the thought of a Cowboy win, and don’t mind a Giants’ win, so long as the G-Men collapse this week on their annual visit to the Stadium and Parking lots from Hell. We watch the Giants maneuver into position to win the game. I’m thinking to myself, why is Coach diddling here? He could go for a score; he could run another play and exhaust the clock; he could even kneel on the damn ball and go to overtime – bizarre, but not unthinkable for a guy who likes to use the Handley system but doesn’t have the first hand knowledge of the odds to use it with any success. Matt Bryant kicks the FG, and that should be it. But wait – there are 11 seconds left on the clock. I say to my viewing partners, as I am walking away, I cannot bear to watch it; I smell a screw up. They laughed and said to me, “spoken like a long-time observer.” Yep, that’s me. I hear the scream as the ball apparently trickles out of bounds. So like a fool, I stagger back to the monitor. And I see that cursed 3-man line defense, which has not worked yet and will not work. And it did not work. A 26-yard completion with 11 seconds on the clock. If this game is lost on a Hail Mary completion, maybe you could hold the kicker responsible. But to lose on a 26-yard completion, with 8 men dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy routine from the Nutcracker Suite, only one person can be held responsible; only one person should stand up and say, “I am going to see that this never happens again.” Only one person should say, “We either have the worst defensive backfield playing the game today or the worst defensive strategy designed to win a game in the game today.” But he won’t; all we get is finger pointing and huffing. There is not a QB in football today that will not beat the Giants 3-man line defense when the game is on the line because that defense doesn’t work. With 8 men in the secondary, it is inconceivable that anyone can get free for a 26-yard reception; unless you are playing flag football, do not rush the passer rules. Which apparently someone in this organization believes might be the case.

Well, like many of you, I didn’t sleep Monday night, not at all; but then, I hadn’t planned to get any sleep, as I never do on the red eye flights. I thought a little about the game and I thought to myself, no, the Giants weren’t going to win every game. But they needed to start fast before they play the Dolphins and the Bucs and the Saints and the Eagles twice and a resurgent Vikings team in the Dome. I felt that 3-and-0 would show us a contender; 2-and-1 will at least leave hope for a fast December finish; 1-and-2 will give us a pretender, another tease, a possible winning, but going nowhere effort. Forget the breaks, forget the bad officiating, forget the errors; someone on the Giants Coaching Staff needs to acknowledge a certain amount of stupidity, or timidity, or something to show us a little reality. Unless something changes between now and Sunday, they will be having Canonization parties for Coach Spurrier in this town, and we will be sleepless in Giants land once again. Spurrier’s offense will kick the crap out of a 3-man line defense; on the other hand, the Giants front 4, plus a little dog now and then, will deflate the Skins balloon real quick. Of all the million reasons for losing, or winning, it seems to be really simple right now; go with four and prevent the score; stay with three and there’s no victory. Oh, and correct the other million deficiencies everyone has pointed out!!

(Box Score – Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, September 15, 2003)
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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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