Dec 312011
 
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December 30, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report - Ballard Out: TE Jake Ballard (knee) and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle) did not practice yesterday. Both have been officially ruled out of the game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Ballard. “Sitting out last weekend was really tough. I thought there could be a chance I would get back for this game, but it hasn’t turned out that way. This is a playoff game for us. We have to win to get in. It’s killing me right now (not playing). Sitting and watching practice all week was driving me crazy.”

“I’m definitely making progress,” Ballard said. “They said it’s a two-week injury and I’m right at almost two weeks. The team just has to take care of the Cowboys and hopefully I’ll play next week.”

Herzlich not only has a high ankle sprain, but apparently a chip in the bone as well. “Hopefully, we get the win (against Dallas) and I’ll be able to help contribute going forward,” said Herzlich.

HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), WR Mario Manningham (knee) and DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) practiced on a limited basis. Umenyiora is officially “questionable” while the other three players are “probable” for the game.

“(Nicks) did alright. He did okay,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He practiced well for a Friday, did well, moved around well…I don’t want to game plan around any of that stuff. I want to let him play. Let him play the game…I’m confident he’s going to give it all he’s got. He wants to play in the worst way.”

“I did a few reps each period (in practice),” said Nicks. “I did some cuts, in and out, burst a little bit. It’s a matter of me knowing it’s there, but it wasn’t limiting me at all…I pushed to where I would at least have an idea where I would be on certain routes and certain plays. There weren’t any setbacks…I’m confident I’ll get the job done.”

WFAN Interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Friday Press Conference: The transcript and video of yesterday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The transcript of this week’s Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at Giants.com.

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of yesterday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2011 New York Giants: Giants’ Newer Players Want to Know the Feeling of Postseason by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Article on HB Ahmad Bradshaw: ‘Bulldog’ Bradshaw Eager to Sink Teeth Into Dallas by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on OC David Baas: Baas Ready for Blitzing Cowboys by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on DE Osi Umenyiora: Umenyiora Preparing to Return for Finale by Mark Viera of The New York Times

Article on Former Giant LB Lawrence Taylor: Lawrence Taylor: Giants Should Win by Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com

Dec 302011
 
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December 29, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: The following Giants did not practice yesterday: HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), TE Jake Ballard (knee), and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle).

“Hakeem didn’t practice,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

“(I) did a little bit of light jogging on the sideline,” Nicks said. “We kind of wanted to see where it was at by striding it out a little bit today. It was alright. It is a situation where you know it is going to be there, it’s not just going to go away overnight. Luckily, I have played with it before, I just have to keep taking care of it and I have no setbacks to this point…I have no doubt in my mind that I am playing, I know that. It’s all or nothing.”

“I feel like I know what I’m working with now,” Nicks said. “We know how to probably gameplan around it or within it. Hopefully it won’t limit my game, hopefully I can still have the extra burst to push down the field and do what it is that I do, I make plays for us.”

“No (Ballard did not run), (the trainers) didn’t think he could do it,” said Coughlin. “(The trainers) initially thought about running him. He ran hard yesterday, did a lot yesterday. They didn’t want to do that again today. He wasn’t ready to do that today.”

WR Mario Manningham (knee) and DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) practiced on a limited basis.

“(Manningham) worked,” said Coughlin. “He was limited, but he worked.”

“I’m playing,” Manningham said. “I didn’t practice last week. I practiced this week.”

“(Umenyiora) did good,” said Coughlin. “He did a little bit more, felt better, felt good, moved around well…We’ll see (if he plays on Sunday).”

Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of yesterday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

Player Media Q&As: The transcripts and video of yesterday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Coughlin Expects Return to Giants by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the 2011 New York Giants: If Only Every Quarter Were Like the Fourth by Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal

Article on the Giants’ Passing Game: Deep Thoughts for the Giants Against Dallas by Mark Viera of The New York Times

Article on DE Justin Tuck: Giants’ Playoff Future Could Rest on Justin Tuck as They Face Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys by Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger

Article on DT Chris Canty: Giants’ Chris Canty Hoping for a Different Fate Than His Last Game with Dallas Cowboys by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Dec 292011
 
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December 28, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report – Umenyiora Practices, but Nicks Does Not: The following Giants did not practice yesterday: HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), TE Jake Ballard (knee), and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle).

“(Nicks) strained a hamstring in the (Jets) game and kept on playing, to his credit,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He really didn’t have that other gear, which you probably observed.”

Nicks originally injured the hamstring in Week 2 and later missed the Patriots’ game in Week 9. “I wouldn’t say it is as bad (as it was earlier in the season) but it is definitely there and I can’t really dig like I want to right now,” Nicks said. “Honestly, it took away my deep part of my game. It affected some of my releases off the line but I wanted to stay out there because I know that even my presence out there still helps us out…I just have to start working around it, find ways to do what I need to do…I will just take care of everything today and tomorrow, we’ll see by the end of the week what it’s feeling like. It’s the playoffs now, so I don’t see myself missing it.”

Ballard did some running on the sidelines. “(Ballard is) improving,” said Coughlin. “I’m holding out hope here. He won’t work today.”

“It’s not like a hand or something where you can play though it,” said Ballard. “If I can’t run and get the job done, somebody else can do a better job. And I feel like some guys when they get hurt they push through it but they end up hurting their team because the healthy guy behind them might be able to run better.”

“Nothing new (on Herzlich),” said Coughlin.

WR Mario Manningham (knee) and DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) practiced on a limited basis.

“(Umenyiora is)  going to practice today,” said Coughlin. “He’s tested everything, lots of times. That’s what he’s been doing. He’s been working his tail off. He just hasn’t been able to get right.”

“I am optimistic that (Nicks and Manningham) both will be ready to go because we have a little bit of time left,” said Coughlin. “I would like to see them both practice. That has not been something that has been available all year long. We need that and we certainly need the timing work because that was something definitely needed. We are going to try to work on that this week.”

Jason Pierre-Paul Named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week”: DE Jason Pierre-Paul has been named the “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance against the New York Jets last Saturday. In that game, Pierre-Paul was credited with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 quarterback hits.

It is the second time in three weeks that Pierre-Paul has won the award with the first award coming after his game against the Dallas Cowboys on December 11.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday Press Conference: The transcript and video of yesterday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of yesterday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the Giants and Home Games: Giants Have Home Field, but It’s Been a Disadvantage by Mark Viera of The New York Times

Articles on WR Hakeem Nicks:

Article on TE Jake Ballard: Giants’ Jake Ballard Not Making Much Progress in Recovery from Knee Injury by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Dec 292011
 
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New York Giants 29 (8-7) – New York Jets 14 (8-7)

by rnargi for BigBlueInteractive.com

Game Summary

After a sluggish start, the New York Giants rallied to defeat their co-tenants at MetLife Stadium, cementing their status of Big Brother of New York and setting up a showdown with the Dallas Cowboys on the final week of the season for the NFC East division crown.

As was mentioned often before the action commenced, this was as close to a playoff game as one could get to.  Interestingly, there was a ton of trash talk between both teams before hand and there was more afterward.  Both teams needed the game, but as it turned out after Dallas was trounced for the second time by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Jets needed it more and their playoff chances took a big hit in the loss.

New York must now put this game completely behind them and focus on just one thing: Dallas.

As far as football games go, this one was simply odd.  Every time it appeared one team got momentum going, it would shift dramatically, sometimes play by play.  One thing is certain and that is the replay system is severely flawed and needs to be addressed.  Several reviews were questionable at best and left everyone scratching their heads.

Overall, the Giants were fortuitous in the end and made their own breaks as they fought and won the 4th quarter by creating 3 turnovers to put the game away despite the Jets holding nearly a full quarter time of possession advantage and running 34 more offensive plays than the Giants (89 total!).  Neither team fared well on 3rd down, but the Jets were woeful, converting just 4 of 21 (19%).  The difference in the game came down to turnovers (Jets 3, Giants 1) and penalties (Jets 10 for 95 yards Giants 5 for 45 yards).  The Giants were close to getting what seemed half a dozen more turnovers and had what looked to be two defensive touchdowns taken off the board (one by penalty on what was ruled a forward pass but may have been challenged) and another on a fumble that was reversed to down by contact despite no clear evidence to overturn the call.

The Jets also missed a field goal just before halftime that would have tied the score and had two other apparent fumbles overturned due to one being ruled the “tuck rule” though the ball was clearly knocked from QB Mark Sanchez’s hand and another that was ruled an incomplete pass despite the ball never leaving the hand of Sanchez before it was knocked out.  Baffling stuff, indeed.

As for the Giants, they were unable to convert a 1st and goal from the 2 yard line into a touchdown and also failed to convert a 1st and 10 from the 14 following a Jets turnover into a touchdown as well.  Both teams were just 2 of 4 converting touchdowns inside the green zone.

The Giants, who had 16 drives in the game, suffered through 6 three-and-outs and only had three drives of six plays or more (6, 6 and 9).  The Jets didn’t fare much better.  They also had 16 possessions and they suffered 4 three-and-outs and several other short duration drives.  The Jets did move the ball well on occasion, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive of 10 plays but also had two 13 play drives end in failure: one a missed field goal and the other a fumble on the 1 yard line.

Offense

The Giant offense got very little going in the first half, and again had a disastrous first quarter in which they ran just 12 plays for a total of 25 yards (20 net).  Though they finally got going in the second quarter with a 53 yard drive to the Jet 2 yard line, they had to settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal.  Later, after going 3-and-out for the third time in five possessions, they caught lightning in a bottle to take the lead on a 99 yard catch and run with just 2:12 to go in the half.

The 3rd quarter looked much of the same early on, with the Giants going three-and-out on their first two possessions and running just four plays on their third.  Then, again, the Giants scored on a quick strike drive of four plays, going 81 yards to extend their lead to 10 points going into the 4th quarter.

On the first play of their next possession following another Jets turnover with just 8:53 left in the ball game, the Giants gave the gift right back when QB Eli Manning checked out of a running play and had a ball clang off the hands of Hakeem Nicks into the waiting arms of a Jets defender.  The interception led to a Jets touchdown to bring them within 6 points.  The offense continued to sputter on their next drive, going three-and-out and again setting up the Jets with good field position.  The defense held the Jets to a three-and-out and when the Giants offense got the ball back they were finally able to get a couple first downs and milk the clock and the Jets timeouts before having to punt with 2:31 left in the game.

New York’s passing game was all hit or all miss, as they completed just 9 of 27 attempts.  I counted a minimum of 7 drops by the receivers, and a couple others were near interceptions.  In between, the Giants connected on passes of 20, 29, 36 and 99 yards.  Everything else was 13 yards or shorter in the passing game.  The running game resulted in good numbers, but again they were big gains or little gains and not much in between.  How the Giants managed to amass 332 total yards is somewhat of a mystery.

Quarterback

Eli Manning didn’t seem to have his “A” game from the very beginning, as he uncharacteristically threw into coverage and nearly had a couple balls picked off that probably should have been.  On the day, Manning completed just 9 passes out of 27 attempts for 225 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  Manning’s passer rating was once again pedestrian, just 61.5.  Manning’s rating still stands at 90.3, which is the second highest rating of his career.  His 4,587 yards is the highest total of his career with a game to play.  Manning’s Total QBR was a woeful 20.7.  For the season Manning’s QBR dipped under 60 for the first time this year and now stands at 59.2, good for 12th in the NFL.

To be sure, Manning wasn’t helped much by his receivers in this game.  His lone interception was the result of a dropped pass by WR Hakeem Nicks who also had a couple other passes that he flat out dropped.  I counted 7 passes that Giants receivers couldn’t find the handle on.

Running Backs

The Giants were completely unable to run the ball in the first half, registering a scant 6 yards rushing on 7 carries.  Simply put, that is pathetic and frankly there is no excuse for it.  Once again, this resulted in the Giants falling way behind in the time of possession battle.  In the first half, the Jets had nearly 20 minutes possession to the Giants’ 10.

In the second half, the Giants didn’t exactly light it up on the ground, but had several big runs (one aided by a 15 yard late hit penalty).  Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 54 yards (51 in the second half) on 15 carries with a long of 19.  He simply wasn’t able to get untracked most of the game.  Bradshaw also caught just 1 pass for 8 yards, but on the play Manning was roughed which made it a 23 yard play.

Brandon Jacobs was also bottled up early but did have two outstanding plays on the day.  The first was a short pass on a 3rd and 10 play in the 1st quarter that looked to be going for 3 or 4 yards.  Jacobs ran through a couple would-be-tacklers to gain 13 yards and the Giant’s first 1st down of the day.  It was tough, tough running and set a tone that although the Giants were unable to do much offensively early, showed that he was there to play.  The second play was a stretch play in the 3rd quarter that went for 28 yards and set up the Giants’ second touchdown.  On the day, Jacobs gained 42 yards on 7 carries.

D.J. Ware also had a very nice run late in the game to keep the chains moving, converting a critical 3rd and 3 into a 17 yard gain.  Ware also caught a 5 yard pass off the dreaded bubble screen.

Henry Hynoski wasn’t targeted in the passing game this week, which was a bit of a surprise seeing as Manning was missing two of his receivers: TE Jake Ballard and WR Mario Manningham.  Hynoski had his troubles blocking in the running game, but much of that seemed to be because he was pulling off his assignments to help C David Bass when he lost his man.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Last week, Manning threw 27 times to his wideouts completing just 14 of them.  This week was actually worse.  Manning attempted 22 passes to Nicks, Cruz, Barden, Jernigan and Devin Thomas.  He completed just 6 of them.  That is horrendous.  As mentioned above, the Giants (particularly Hakeem Nicks) had a case of the dropsies and frankly it could very well have added up to a Giants loss.

The Jets didn’t get very cute with their coverages, but they did mix up who Revis was playing against and he did a great job breaking up passes (5 of the Jets’ 10 total).  It did seem a couple of times that Revis could have been called for at worst defensive holding and at best interference.

Nicks just couldn’t seem to get going.  He dropped another touchdown pass on a short slant in the end zone, though Revis did have tight coverage.   He also had the drop that resulted in the Jets’ interception.  On the day, Nicks caught just 1 pass out of 7 thrown his way.

Victor Cruz had 8 balls thrown his way and caught only 3, but those 3 were absolutely huge.  On a 3rd and 10 play from their own 1 yard line, Cruz caught a nice throw from Manning around the 13 yard line and turned what should have been a short 1st down into a 99 yard touchdown.  Cruz also had another 29 yard catch and run to set up the Giants in a 1st and goal from the 2 yard line that resulted in only a field goal.  Cruz was also instrumental on the second Giants touchdown drive as he hauled in a 2nd and 7 pass for 36 yards setting up the ensuing big Jacobs and Bradshaw runs.  Cruz ended up with 164 total yards, meaning he broke Amani Toomer’s club record for receiving yardage in his first active season as a professional football player.  The rest of the team managed a total of just 61 yards receiving in the game.

Ramses Barden had a tough day, catching just one 4 yard pass on a 3rd and 10 play.  Barden did not attack the ball and use his frame to make a play.  A prime example came on the 1st and 10 play two plays before Cruz’ 99 yard touchdown.  Eli Manning attempted to throw a quick slant to Barden that should have caught, but instead of attacking the ball he began to fade backwards and let the ball come to him.  Because of that, Revis was able to close the gap and knock the ball away.

The tight ends were nonexistent on Saturday.  Neither Bear Pascoe nor Travis Beckum caught a pass, and only Beckum was targeted once, and he dropped the short pass near the goal line.  All was not lost for Beckum, however, as he was sharp in pass protection – particularly on the possession where Manning threw from his own end zone three times.

Offensive Line

C David Baas returned to the fold with reserve C Kevin Boothe moving back to LG and sending Mitch Petrus back to the bench.

The group was again troublesome in this game, particularly in the first half.  Baas had a particularly hard time out there and despite Eric from BBI stating that he got better as the game went on, he nearly was the cause of the 3rd and 3 play that D.J. Ware turned into a 17 yard gain (32 with the penalty) getting blown up before it even began.

On the play, a 3rd and 3 from the Jets 27 with 3:34 to play, the Giants lined up in shotgun with TE Bear Pascoe to Eli’s left.  Victor Cruz was in the slot and Jerrel Jernigan was split wide, both on the strong side.  Nicks was split outside the numbers on the weak side.  D.J. Ware was to Eli’s left, a bit deeper than him.  The Jets countered with a three man front with a safety and 2 linebackers overloaded on the strong side and the WIL backer on the line outside the LDE.  In all, it was an 8 man Jets front.  At the snap, Kevin Boothe made the play of the day as he pulled to the weak side.  David Baas was completely blown into the backfield, so much so that TE Bear Pascoe who was pulling behind Boothe ran into him face to face.  That actually was serendipitous as it enabled Baas to maintain his balance and the nose tackle was unable to penetrate any further.  Booth continued down the line and completely destroyed the WIL backer, taking him out of the play.  RG Chris Snee got to the second level and though he may have gotten away with a slight hold, managed to keep the second linebacker from gaining any momentum.  RT Kareem McKenzie pushed the LDE into the line and between him, Boothe and Snee created the huge hole for Ware.  Frankly, it’s the best blocked play (despite Baas and Pascoe colliding, which looked a lot like the commercial for Jimmy Dean breakfast when the planets haven’t had their breakfast and the Sun says “and Venus is down”) I’ve seen in quite some time.

The Jets have an aggressive front seven, yet managed just three QB hits and two sacks.  Unfortunately, in the running game, the Giants offensive line allowed seven other plays to go for a loss.

Defense

On Saturday, the Giants defense played their best game in since the New England game.  The Giants reversed an extremely disturbing trend of allowing the majority of 3rd downs to be converted by allowing the Jets to convert just 4 of 19.  Still, they allowed a 4th and 4 to be converted (an apparent defensive touchdown off the lateral pass that was ruled a forward pass) by having 12 men on the field, a 15 yard gain on 3rd and 10 in the 2nd quarter, a questionable pass interference penalty on Deon Grant on 4th and 1, a 15 yard gain on 3rd and 17 and then an ensuing 10 yard gain on 4th and 2, and finally an 11 yard scramble on  3rd and 12 and got the first down when a 5 yard defensive holding penalty was tacked on.  If the Giants can tighten up in these situations the defense will be sound.

The Giants were extremely effective against the pass, and it’s a wonder that the Jets didn’t try to run more often as they were effective while rushing the football, gaining seven first downs on the ground.  On the day, the Jets rushed for 105 yards on just 25 carries, a serviceable 4.2 ypc average.  The Jets were pass happy however, dropping back an astounding 64 times.  The average gain per pass play for the Jets was a woeful 3.5 yards, and that is an astounding win for the Giants considering the back 7 play of the past several weeks.

The Giants managed 5 sacks and 6 total QB hits and had Sanchez unsettled in the pocket most of the day.  Most devastating to the Jets however is that the Giants were able to defense 13 Sanchez passes.

The Jets turned the football over three times and the Giants nearly had four more.  One was overturned due to a penalty (at the least the Giants would have received the ball on downs), one was overturned due to the tuck rule, the third was overturned due to the fumble call being reversed on replay despite no clear evidence it should have been reversed, and the fourth was another fumble that was reversed because Sanchez’s arm was moving forward despite the fact he never threw the football.  On the play the Jets recovered but it would have put the Jets in a 2nd and extremely long situation if it hadn’t been overturned.  Additionally, the Giants had several tipped and defensed balls fall either just out of their reach or in the case of Deon Grant, dropped.

All in all, the defense allowed only 14 points and 331 total yards to the Jets.

Front 7

Justin Tuck had arguably his best game of the season.  Tuck got good pressure on Sanchez all day and made 4 solo tackles to go along with a sack and knocking 2 passes down at the line of scrimmage.  Tuck also made an outstanding play to corner Sanchez on a scramble and nearly get a sack, but Sanchez managed to get over the line of scrimmage for about half a yard.  Tuck covered about 15 yards to make the play.  If Tuck is truly back, the pairing with the surging Jason Pierre-Paul could be a deadly combination going forward into the Dallas game and possibly beyond.  JPP had another stellar game, abusing Pro Bowl tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson on several occasions on his way to two sacks, 3 QB hits and 5 tackles.  Reserve DE Dave Tollefson did a good job as well, registering a sack and a pass knocked down at the line.

In the middle, DT Chris Canty also got a couple good pressures including the gigantic sack for a safety late in the 4th quarter.  The play was almost entirely individual effort as he went right through the RG/C “A” gap to get to Sanchez.  The trio of Canty, Joseph and Rocky Bernard combined for 7 tackles and 2 passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.  All in all, the six defensive linemen combined to knock down 5 balls down at the line.

LB Mathais Kiwanuka wasn’t as active on Saturday as he usually is, but he was asked to play off the line more than normal possibly with the re-emergence of Justin Tuck.  Rookie 6th round draft pick Jacquian Williams had a hell of a game.  He made several tackles to keep the Jets from moving the chains and nearly got to Sanchez on a well disguised blitz.  On the play he elevated to knock the ball away.  Williams also recovered a fumble.  Michael Boley also had a solid game, though on a couple occasions he seemed to take himself pre-snap out of position on running plays to his vacated area.  As for Chase Blackburn, he had 5 solo tackles.  All the linebackers played well in coverage, particularly against LaDainian Tomlinson and TE Dustin Keller, the latter being targeted 18 times but only making only 8 catches.

Secondary

The Giants clearly didn’t think much of the deep game brought by Plaxico Burress, who was the lone Jet captain for the opening coin toss, as they put CB Aaron Ross on him for most of the game and Webster on the speedier Santonio Holmes.  Jets wideouts (Kerley, Burress and Holmes) caught just 12 of the 23 passes thrown their way.  Ross made 3 tackles and had 1 pass defensed while on the other side Corey Webster led the Giants with 7 solo tackles and also had 2 passes defensed and another intercepted to end the game.  Rookie Prince Amukamara saw limited action and it appeared he was burned for a touchdown by Burress but the replay showed that Plax clearly pushed off and the offensive pass interference penalty was called.

The Giants safeties were outstanding on Saturday.  Antrel Rolle played up in the box more often than he has lately and also had 7 solo tackles.  He did have a defensive holding penalty that kept a Jets drive alive, however.  S Kenny Phillips showed again why he’s invaluable in the middle despite the fact he rarely shows up on the stat sheet.  The Jets never got over the top of the Giants and while playing centerfield he was able to corral an errant Sanchez pass for an easy interception, setting up the Giants’ second field goal.  Deon Grant had a solid game in coverage, making 5 tackles and breaking up 2 passes as well.  He dropped an interception on the Jets’ first drive of the second half and nearly got to two other tipped balls.

By far, this was the best game for the Giants defense in the middle of the field in as long as I can remember.

Special Teams

The kickoff team was solid as Lawrence Tynes kicked 4 of 6 into the end zone with 1 touchback in December weather.  The kickoff coverage team was solid, allowing 5 returns for an average of 22 yards per kick and a long of 29.  As for the punt team, Steve Weatherford had an up and down game punting 9 times, but frankly the Jets were putting on very good pressure and he just got a couple of them away.  Weatherford netted just 35 yards per kick with no touchbacks and 2 dropped inside the 20.  Unfortunately, the Giants punt coverage teams were not up to snuff as Kerley was able to return 4 of 8 for an 18.5 yards per return average and a long of 28.

The Giants kick return team was solid, with Jernigan returning 3 for 77 yards with a long of 31.  The punt return team wasn’t quite as good, with Rolle and Blackmon only being able to return 3 of 7 for a total of 7 yards.  The average starting field position off kickoffs was the 24 yard line for the Giants and the Jets at the 22.  As for overall starting field position average, the Jets started from their 31 and the Giants from their 30.

Tynes kicked two field goals of 21 and 36 yards.

Coaching

After coming out with seemingly little effort against Washington, the Giants were ready to play in this game.  As noted, despite little early offensive success, the Giants were playing with emotion as evidenced by Jacobs’ hard run described above.  HC Tom Coughlin apparently had a heart-to-heart talk with Justin Tuck during the week and according to Tuck, it paid huge dividends.  Tuck was a force on Saturday and again it points to the fact that Coughlin knows this team and knows what’s needed and when.

As for Perry Fewell, rumors are already floating that the lame duck DC is on the hot seat and that St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnoulo may be his replacement if indeed he is fired.  If that’s so, he didn’t show it on Saturday as he simplified the game plan and eliminated the issues that lead to communication problems the past several weeks.

Many people were questioning two play calls on Saturday.  The first was the decision to go deep on a 3rd and 1 early in the 3rd quarter and the 1st and 10 pass play from the Jets 20 after recovering a Jets fumble in the end zone.  The first play resulted in an incomplete pass and a punt and the second resulted in an interception that put the Jets back in the game.  It’s not clear who called the first one, but frankly the Giants needed to give the defense a rest and in that situation they needed to find a way to get one yard without going to a low percentage deep pass.  The second has been reported as a check from a run by Manning when he saw 8 men in the box, and again, in the situation it may have been better served to concede the play, run clock, and move on to the next play.  Manning also made another head scratcher on the first series by taking a delay of game penalty after a 2nd down run.

Finally, every team has a coach of some sort who is responsible for counting the men on the field before every play.  How the Giants could get caught, after the Jets were at the line for a good 6 or 7 seconds, with 12 men on the field is both mind boggling and inexcusable.

Final Thoughts

Well, the Giants have every opportunity that they wanted right in front of them, at home, come Sunday night.  Beat the Cowboys and win the East.  That’s it in a nutshell, and the losses to Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia and Washington again will all be forgiven and forgotten as the Giants will host a Wild Card playoff game next weekend.  Remember, the vast majority of the pundits picked the Eagles, the Cowboys, and then the Giants in the NFC East.  Most people including the majority of BBI’ers expected the Giants to win between 7 and 9 games this season.  As Eric of BBI said months ago, this is a team that will win some they’re expected to lose and lose some expected to win and it’s gone pretty much that way all season.

Beating the Cowboys and winning the East would be a huge accomplishment considering the obstacles the Giants have had to overcome to get to this particular point.  Now it’s time to finish and go make some noise in the playoffs.

At the risk of offending BBI ‘contributor’ Hudson, Happy New Year everyone!  Be safe and be happy!

(Boxscore – New York Giants at New York Jets, December 24, 2011)
Dec 282011
 
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By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, January 1, 2012: It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Giants and their fans. The Giants lost the opener to the Redskins, won their next three including a game in Philadelphia, lost at home to Seattle, won three more in a row including in New England, lost four in a row, beat the Cowboys in Dallas, lost to the Redskins again, and then beat their cross-town rivals.  The Cardiac Giants have come from behind in the fourth quarter in five of their eight wins.  The offense, and specifically the passing attack, has carried the team.  The Giants remain dead last in the NFL in rushing the football (88 yards per game).  The defense is one of the worst in team history and has allowed almost 400 points.

With all of that, it’s truly remarkable that the Giants find themselves in the fortunate position to be playing for the NFC East title, at home, in the last game of the regular season, against the arch rival Dallas Cowboys.  With last week’s victories over the Jets, the Giants finally knocked the Eagles out of the playoff hunt and probably did so with the turds they share the stadium with.  With a win on Sunday night, the Giants not only will keep the Cowboys out of the playoffs, but they will ensure a home playoff game for themselves – their first since 2008.  That’s not too shabby given all of the injuries, new faces, anemic rushing game, and dreadful defense.

But the Giants have to still win one more game, and if the 2011 New York Giants have been anything to their fans, they have been incredibly frustrating.  I said a couple of months ago this team has the feel of an 8-8 squad to me and I still stand by that assessment.  They have won games they were expected to lose and lost games they were expected to win.  And no one should be foolish enough to think the Giants have turned the corner simply because they beat a mediocre Jets team in a game where the Jets actually dominated many key statistical categories.

What I am saying is this: I don’t trust this team.  They’ll make you jump for joy one moment and rip your heart out the next.  The defense was better last week, but one game does not make a trend and the Giants were playing a poor offensive football team that still rushed the ball pretty well.  The passing game – which has carried this team all year – has struggled the past two weeks.  And now the equally inconsistent Dallas Cowboys, who in many ways mirror the Giants in their ability to inspire and annoy the hell out of their fans, come to town.

But winning a division title, at home, in the season-finale, against the Dallas Cowboys would make much of this season a success.  The key words here are “at home.”  The Giants have never been a really scary opponent in the Meadowlands, even under Bill Parcells.  And certainly not under Ray Handley, Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin.  Strangely, Coughlin’s Giants’ teams have been far tougher and more resilient on the road than at home.  Disappointing late-season, home defeats to division rivals include the Cowboys and Eagles in 2006, Redskins in 2007, and Eagles in each of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons.

Giants’ fans want to be loud.  They want to cheer for the home team.  But the home team has to give them something to cheer about.  The Dallas Cowboys are coming to town.  Do you want Jerry Jones and the team with the stars on their helmets to be celebrating a division title on your own field in what would be your last game of the season?  No?  Then PROTECT THIS HOUSE!

Giants on Offense: Eli plays great against Dallas in Dallas, but not so great against Dallas at home.  And more alarming is that Eli and his receivers haven’t played their best football since the last Dallas game.  In fact, they’ve been at their worst the last two weeks.  Manning has to get back to the elite level he was playing at for much of the season and the receivers have to stop running the wrong routes and start catching the football.  If these things don’t happen, it is highly unlikely that the rest of the team is going to be able to pick up the slack.  The running game and defense couldn’t do it against the Redskins and they are far less likely to do it against the Cowboys.

Aside from Manning, the Giants need Hakeem Nicks to get out of his funk.  They need Mario Manningham (knee issues) to play and to play well (no more mental mistakes).  Unfortunately, TE Jake Ballard (knee) is banged up and may miss his second game in a row.  Even if he gives it a try, how well can he play on a partially torn PCL?  The Giants missed his pass receiving (which helps open things up for the receivers) and blocking (which is critical to the Giants’ ground game) against the Jets.  Now would be an ideal time for Travis Beckum to consistently deliver, but that’s most likely wishful thinking.

New York needs to do a better job of pass blocking the Cowboys up front than they did in Dallas.  On paper, it looked good as the Giants gave up zero sacks, but that was misleading.  Eli did a superb job in that game of avoiding the rush and getting rid of the football quickly without throwing it up for grabs.  David Diehl had all kinds of issues with DeMarcus Ware.  And one wonders how David Baas, who didn’t play in that game, will deal with one of the better nose tackles in the NFL in Jay Ratliff.  Kareem McKenzie also needs to hold up against Anthony Spencer and Ware (the Cowboys will move Ware around).

The Giants actually ran the ball decently against the Cowboys a few weeks ago, but the Dallas run defense is pretty stingy (7th in the NFL).  On a chilly night, it’s always good to have a strong ground attack, but to do so Brandon Jacobs will have to run with the same intensity and focus he did in Dallas and the Giants need a better game out of Ahmad Bradshaw than they got in that game (Bradshaw only rushed for 12 yards on 8 carries).

The Dallas secondary is not good.  And we know these Giants can put up a lot of points against it.  But Eli has to get back on track, his receivers have to do their job and win some one-on-one match-ups, and the blockers up front need to give Eli time.  Do those things – and protect the football – and the Giants will be OK.  But if the passing game continues to struggle, the Giants are toast.

Giants on Defense: One game does not make a trend so until proven otherwise, color me not overly impressed by the defense’s performance against the quarterback-poor Jets.  Moreover, the Giants had problems stopping the Jets’ running attack between the tackles.  Linval Joseph, Chris Canty, and Rocky Bernard have to play better or Felix Jones will put up big numbers just like he did in the first game (16 carries for 106 yards and a 6.6 yards-per-carry average).  Dallas has an explosive offense and the first thing you have to do against them is stop the run.  There is no depth behind Jones, who has a tight hamstring but is supposedly near 100 percent.  Jones is an explosive runner who can break a big play as a runner or receiver.  The good news for the Giants is that the Cowboys will be without LG Montrae Holland, one of Dallas’ better run blockers.

Don’t fall for this crap about Tony Romo’s hand.  He is going to play and play well.  Regardless of whether you hate him or not, Romo has been playing outstanding football since the Cowboys’ fiasco against the Detroit Lions.  In the last 11 games, he has thrown 22 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.  And he has a very dangerous set of targets in tight ends Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett and wide receivers Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Laurent Robinson.  Against the Giants in Week 14, Romo was 21-of-31 for 321 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.  Numbers like that again will kill the Giants.

The Giants did a nice job on Witten in the last game.  Hopefully that will continue as Witten is Romo’s security blanket.  But Bryant, Austin, and Robinson all made huge plays against the Giants a few weeks ago.  Austin gave CB Aaron Ross fits and it could have been much worse.  Keep in mind that Austin beat Ross for what should have been the game-sealing touchdown late in the game but Romo overthrew the receiver.  Austin continued to abuse Ross on Dallas’ last desperate drive to tie the game.  We’d be calling for Ross’ head right now had JPP not blocked the attempted game-tying field goal.

Prince Amukamara needs to play better as well.  Amukamara didn’t play much against the Jets, but I’m not sure the Giants can do that this week with all of the speedy targets the Cowboys have.  Remember, it was Amukamara who was victimized on Robinson’s 74-yard catch that set up a touchdown.  And Corey Webster and/or Antrel Rolle did screw up on the play where Dez Bryant was left wide open for a 50-yard touchdown.

The pass defense can obviously be helped by a strong pass rush.  Last time, only Jason-Pierre Paul showed up.  The best thing to come out of the Jets game was that Justin Tuck had his best game of the season.  While not much of a factor against the run, he was regularly applying pressure on Sanchez.  Tuck really struggled against Dallas RT Tyron Smith in the first game.  Smith is an incredibly young (just turned 21) phenom who completely shut Tuck out of the stats column.  The Giants need Tuck to keep it going and use some of his veteran savvy to make some plays.  It also looks like the Giants might get Osi Umenyiora back this week.  That should help the pass rush too if Umenyiora’s ankle isn’t too sore and Umenyiora isn’t too rusty.

The Jets’ game should have helped the defense’s confidence.  And to their credit, they kept at it after the Jets scored on their opening drive.  They seem to have some renewed energy and confidence in what they are doing now that Fewell has simplified some things.  What took Fewell so long to make some changes is another matter, but it’s better late than never.  The Giants need to play with great intensity, focus, toughness, and intelligence on Sunday night.  Stuff the run.  Get heat on Romo and hit him.  Play aggressive coverage and don’t make mental mistakes that allow cheap big plays.  Get some turnovers!

Giants on Special Teams: This is a big game for Steve Weatherford and the punt coverage unit against Dez Bryant.  Remember, Dez Bryant returned a punt for a touchdown last year in the Meadowlands.  Punt coverage against the Jets was spotty.

Lawrence Tynes has been doing a great job on kickoffs and hopefully that will continue for this game.  Tynes was a big factor in Dallas in stymieing the Cowboys’ kickoff return game.

The Giants came darn close to blocking a number of punts against the Jets by having starting defensive linemen rush the punter.  Keep an eye on that in this game.

I tell you, the Giants are getting close to breaking a kick return.

Dec 282011
 
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Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul Voted to the Pro Bowl: QB Eli Manning and DE Jason Pierre-Paul were elected to the NFC’s 2011 Pro Bowl team. Since Manning was only fifth in fan voting and Pierre-Paul was not even listed on the fan ballot, the selection of both demonstrates how well both are respected by coaches and peers around the NFL. Pro Bowl voting is based on voting from fans (1/3 of vote), players (1/3), and coaches (1/3).

This is Manning’s second Pro Bowl, the first coming in 2008. Through 15 games this season, Manning has thrown for 4,587 yards and 26 touchdowns, including an NFL-record 14 touchdowns in the 4th quarter.

“It’s a real honor,” Manning said. “Obviously, when you make it to the Pro Bowl it’s because your team, the offensive line, my receivers are doing a great job protecting me, getting open, making plays. It is an honor. Considering some of the other quarterbacks in the NFC who have had outstanding seasons, I’m really thrilled and truly honored to be named to the Pro Bowl team.”

“I think I have thrown the ball well, but again, I think the receivers have done a good job,” Manning said. “We had some guys step up, so a lot of credit goes to them. I feel like I improved on some things. There are still some improvements to be made, and obviously my whole mindset is the team having success and us winning games. At this point right now we have a chance to make it to the playoffs and win this last game versus Dallas. That’s the mindset right now. I’m not losing focus. I’m not going to be planning any reservations in Hawaii right now. I’m trying to get ready for Dallas and get ready to play that game.”

This is Pierre-Paul’s first Pro Bowl honor. He currently has 15.5 sacks and 81 tackles on the season.

“It means a lot,” Pierre-Paul said. “I don’t really understand the whole Pro Bowl thing, but it means a lot. It means I’m doing good.”

“With Tuck and Osi being out, it gave me a chance to show my coaches that I can perform at a high level, even though they didn’t expect me to have a breakout season,” Pierre-Paul said. “Just feel the joy right now. I’m having a good feeling even though I knew I could do it all along. I’m happy because everybody sees it now. They know that I am one of the key players that the Giants have on their team.”

WR Victor Cruz and OG Chris Snee were not selected to the Pro Bowl, but the are both second alternates and may go if others drop out of the game. Like Pierre-Paul, Cruz was not listed on the fan ballot.

WFAN Interview with DE Jason Pierre-Paul: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with DE Jason Pierre-Paul is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Back to the Basics, Giants Defense Hopes to Stay Strong with Season on the Line by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on WR Victor Cruz: The Man from Paterson: Victor Cruz Saves the Giants and Himself, Again and Again by Greg Hanlon of CapitalNewYork.com

Dec 272011
 
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December 26, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked for an injury update on WR Mario Manningham (knee), TE Jake Ballard (knee), and DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) yesterday.  “Probably questionable to start the week,” replied Coughlin. “I would hope Manningham could make it. He started to feel better at the end of the week…Today, nothing different (with Ballard). Hopefully by Wednesday it improves a little bit…Osi’s still (the same).”

Ballard has a partially-torn posterior cruciate ligament and he said the normal recovery time for such an injury is 2-4 weeks. “It is getting better every day,” said Ballard. “It is day-to-day. I am going to keep rehabbing and try to build the strength up and hopefully be able to go. We will see…I haven’t even run outside yet so we will see what happens.”

Press reports quoting unnamed sources say that Umenyiora is unlikely to return for at least a couple more weeks.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday Press Conference: The transcript and video of yesterday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of yesterday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

WFAN Interview with DE Justin Tuck: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with DE Justin Tuck is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on the Giants-Jets Game: Giants-Jets Game Review: Emotions Run High in Giants Victory by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Toughness of Coughlin Rubs Off on Giants by Mark Vierra of The New York Times

Quotes: LB Michael Boley on why the defense improved on Saturday against the Jets: “As a defensive unit, we said we’re going to take it upon ourselves to place more emphasis in practice. You play how you practice. All week it was an all-out mentality, and it carried over into the game. There was a different mentality, guys took a very different approach. It was more businesslike. It was everybody. It’s not just one person saying, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ It was a collective agreement. I think it was a mindset vs. the week before. Things were a little lackadaisical at times in practice. That was something we didn’t want to keep happening.”

DE Dave Tollefson on the same: “Sometimes at practice you get caught up in, ‘Oh, it was practice, we messed it up, we’ll get it right.’ More often than not that’s not necessarily the case. You mess it up in practice, eight out of 10 times, you’re probably going to mess it up in the game. We were really focused that we crossed all our Ts and dotted all our Is last week. You go out, you practice well and you play well. That’s something you learn. It’s not like you figure it out by seeing it on T.V. or film. You practice well, you play well – oh, ain’t that a weird thing? These young guys are figuring it out and the old guys are putting the pressure on each other, too. We expect to have another great week of practice.”

Dec 262011
 
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Battle for NFC East Title Flexed to Sunday Night: The NFL has flexed Sunday’s Giants-Cowboys game to 8:20PM on Sunday night on NBC. The game was originally scheduled to be played at 1:00PM on FOX.

The winner of the game will win the NFC East title while the loser stays home for the playoffs. In the unlikely event of a tie, the Giants would win the division.

Editorial on the 2011 New York Giants: Giants’ Season Resting on Players, Not Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Coughlin Beats Ryan at His Own Game by Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Manning Loses His Hot Hand, and Doesn’t Have Much Time to Find It by Sam Borden of The New York Times

Dec 242011
 
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Staying Alive, Giants Are Kings of New York (and New Jersey): The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets 29-14 earlier today at MetLife Stadium. The victory keeps the Giants’ playoff hopes alive and sets up a winner-take-all battle for the NFC East divisional crown next Sunday at home against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants’ win also officially knocked the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoff hunt.

Statistically, it was a very strange game as aside for a few plays, the Giants’ offense did not play particularly well. The Jets had a huge advantage in offensive plays (89 to 55), first downs (22 to 11), and time of possession (36:06 to 23:54). But total net yards were virtually identical (332 for the Giants and 331 for the Jets). Turnovers in the game were a significant factor in the outcome (Giants won the turnover battle 3 to 1).

For once, it was the Giants’ defense that won the game for the G-Men. “I told our defense that last week we practiced with more energy and more enthusiasm and greater speed than we had in a long time,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It was shocking, I looked up and said is that the same guys. I tell you they had great purpose and the way they practiced is the way they played. Tonight they were exceptional and regardless of the circumstances, kept turning the Jet offense back and that was the determining factor in the game.”

The first quarter did not go well for the Giants. The Giants went three-and-out on their first two possessions and only gained 17 yards on their third. Meanwhile, the Jets scored a touchdown on their first offensive series by driving the football 53 yards in 10 plays. The Jets did not score again in the first half as the Giants’ forced four punts and the Jets missed a 44-yard field goal as time expired at the end of the first half.

The Giants finally got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when the G-Men put together a 9-play, 53-yard drive that resulted in a 21-yard field goal by PK Lawrence Tynes. Passes from QB Eli Manning to WR Hakeem Nicks for 20 yards and WR Victor Cruz for 29 yards were key offensive plays. Unfortunately for the Giants, they had a 1st-and-goal situation from the Jets’ 2-yard line and could not score a touchdown. Jets 7 – Giants 3.

The key play of the game came late in the second quarter. After a Jets’ punt pinned the Giants at their own 1-yard line and after two incomplete passes, the Giants faced a third-and-10 with 2:27 before halftime. Manning hit Cruz with a short pass for the first down, but Cruz avoided a tackler and was off to the races en route to a 99-yard touchdown – the longest offensive play in the 87-year history of the Giants.

“Just a great effort by him,” said Manning who only completed nine passes in the game. “We wanted to call something to have a shot to get the first down, but get the ball out of my hands pretty quickly when you’re backed up in your own end zone. Threw it to him and it was going to be close if we got the first down or not. I was just kind of hoping that he could maybe fall forward to get the first down in that situation. But he made two guys miss and then you saw a little speed. I thought the safety had an angle on him on the sideline, but he ran by everybody. A huge play in the game right there – we’re down, at that point we were backed up. If we were to punt there, the Jets would’ve gotten great field position, a chance to score before halftime and take a pretty big lead. Obviously that flip-flopped everything, We take the lead, they miss the field goal, we go into halftime with a three-point lead in that situation. So a great effort by him and a huge play.”

At the intermission, the Giants led 10-7.

The Giants’ defense really did a number on the Jets in the second half. The Jets punted five times, turned the ball over three times, and were victimized for a safety. The Jets only prolonged offensive series of the second half was a 13-play, 73-yard affair that fortunately ended with a fumbled snap by QB Mark Sanchez on 3rd-and-goal from the Giants’ 1-yard line. LB Jacquian Williams recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.

Meanwhile, the Giants were not experiencing very much offensive success for the bulk of the third quarter. Like the first half, the Giants went three-and-out on their first two series and then only gained one first down on their third. But late in the quarter, the Giants struck quickly, driving 81 yards in just four plays. After a 3-yard run by HB D.J. Ware, Manning hit Cruz for 36 yards to the Jets’ 42-yard line. HB Brandon Jacobs then broke off a 28 yard run. HB Ahmad Bradshaw finished the drive with a punishing 14-yard scamper up the middle for a touchdown and a 17-7 Giants advantage.

On the third play of the ensuing series, Sanchez was picked off by S Kenny Phillips who returned the football 31 yards to the Jets’ 14-yard line. However, the Giants lost four yards in three plays and settled for a 36-yard field goal by Tynes. Giants 20 – Jets 7.

Then came the one long drive by the Jets and the turnover in the endzone. With just under nine minutes to play, the Giants had all the momentum and a 13-point lead. However, on the Giants’ first play following Sanchez’ fumble, Manning’s pass to Nicks bounced off of the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by the Jets and returned to the Giants’ 11-yard line. Four plays later, the Jets scored from one yard out and the Giants’ held only a 6-point lead with just under seven and a half minutes to play.

“We weren’t having a very good night offensively and the thought to me was let’s just not turn it over and of course in that one situation, which was a crusher, we had a run called and we had too many people in the box,” said Coughlin. “We threw a simple pass and it got bounced up in the air and it was a great play by the linebacker.”

Things looked even bleaker after the Giants went three-and-out and were forced to punt from their own 8-yard line. But the Giants’ defense held, highlighted by a 4-yard sack by DE Dave Tollefson on 3rd-and-10. After the Jets punted, the Giants regained the field position war by moving the ball from their 18-yard line to the Jets’ 39. The key play on this drive was a 17-yard run by Ware on 3rd-and-3, followed by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the Jets. Steve Weatherford’s punt pinned the Jets at their own 8-yard line. With 2:24 left in the game, Sanchez was sacked in the end zone by DT Chris Canty for a safety. Giants 22 – Jets 14.

The Giants put the Jets away after a failed onside kickoff that went out of bounds. On the Giants’ very next play, Bradshaw broke off a 19-yard run for a touchdown right before the 2-minute warning. CB Corey Webster officially sealed the deal with an interception with under a minute to play.

Manning finished the game only 9-of-27 for 225 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The only Giant to catch more than one pass was Cruz (3 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown). Bradshaw carried the ball 15 times for 54 yards and two touchdowns while Jacobs chipped in with 42 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, the Giants accrued five sacks, two by DE Jason Pierre-Paul and one each by Tollefson, Canty, and DE Justin Tuck. Phillips and Webster each had interceptions and Williams had a fumble recovery.

Highlights/lowlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Video of the post-game locker room celebration is available at Giants.com.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference are available at Giants.com.

Post-Game Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of post-game media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Mario Manningham (knee), TE Jake Ballard (knee), OC Jim Cordle, OT James Brewer, DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee), DT Jimmy Kennedy, and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle).

The eighth victory guarantees the Giants will finish with a non-losing record for the seventh consecutive season, the franchise’s longest such streak since the Giants had 10 in a row from 1954-63.

The Giants swept their four AFC foes this season, the first time they were undefeated in inter-conference games since 1989, when they were also 4-0.

The Giants won their fifth consecutive regular season game vs. the Jets and lead the series, 8-4.

WR Victor Cruz has 1,358 yards receiving yards on the season, a new franchise record. The previous mark of 1,343 yards was set by Amani Toomer in 2002. Cruz’s sixth 100-yard game of the season set another Giants record. He had been tied with wide receivers Del Shofner (1963) and Homer Jones (1968).

DE Jason Pierre-Paul has 15.5 sacks, the most by a Giant since DE Michael Strahan had 18.5 in 2003.

CB Corey Webster has six interceptions this season, the highest total by a Giant since CB Emmanuel McDaniel had six in 2000.

Dec 242011
 
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December 23, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report - Manningham Doubtful: TE Jake Ballard (knee), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee), and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle) have all been officially ruled out of today’s Giants-Jets game.

WR Mario Manningham (knee) is officially “doubtful” and unlikely to play.

HB D.J. Ware (knee) is “questionable.”

HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Devin Thomas (neck), TE/FB Bear Pascoe (ribs), H-Back Travis Beckum (chest), OC David Baas (neck), and S Derrick Martin (back) are all “probable” for the game.

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The transcript of this week’s Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at Giants.com.

NY Post Q&A With DE Justin Tuck: Steve Serby’s Special Q&A with…Justin Tuck by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Against Jets, Giants Defense Will Return to the Basics by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on S Chad Jones: Jones Making Steps Toward Return by Pam Oliver of FoxSports.com