Sep 302008
 

September 29, 2008 New York Giants Injury Report: WR Mario Manningham (flu) and DE Jerome McDougle (knee/calf) did not practice yesterday.

CB R.W. McQuarters (calf) was limited.

Article on Dick Lynch’s Funeral: Former Giants Great Dick Lynch Was an Uncommonly Good Man by Bill Gallo of The Daily News

Notes: The Giants are off today and will return to practice on Wednesday.

The interim head of the NFLPA says he does not believe that WR Plaxico Burress will face discipline from the NFL stemming from two domestic incidents that occurred earlier in the summer. Burress’ wife obtained two restraining orders against Plaxico, but both were thrown out of court.

HB Danny Ware was charged with public intoxication by police in Athens, Georgia after the Georgia-Alabama game. Ware was released after posting a $500 bond.

Sep 252008
 

Plaxico Burress Suspended by New York Giants: The Giants announced yesterday morning that WR Plaxico Burress has been suspended for one game for violating team rules.

According to a Giants’ press release, General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin informed Burress of his suspension in a meeting with the player Wednesday morning. The suspension took effect immediately.  Burress will miss the game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 5 and will not be allowed to return to team activities until October 6.

“We are all saddened by it,” said Coughlin. “But we want to make sure that the message is loud and clear.  We have had success here because of the team concept.  And the team concept means basically that everyone is accountable and responsible and that we don’t let the other guys down.  And that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to acknowledge one of our guys has had a violation of a team rule and we want him back and we want him back under very good terms.  We try to do this thing the right way.”

It appears the reason Burress was suspended was that he missed team meetings on Monday and failed to inform the team why in a timely fashion or return phone calls from the team. “It’s a private matter and it has to do with Plax and his family,” said Burress’ agent. “He had some responsibilities he had to take care of as it relates to his family. The most unfortunate thing here is there was a lack of communication. In talking to Plax, he feels bad about that, obviously, and it’s something we can’t do anything about now.”

But it also appears that Burress and his agent will fight the suspension by taking the case before the NFL Players Association. “Its not something we think is tantamount to Plaxico being suspended for these two weeks, especially for the ball game,” said Burress’ agent. “He wants to help his teammates, his team and the coaches. And (the suspension) is something that just doesn’t sit with us and we’re going to do what we can to get this turned around…At this time, we’re trying to move ahead and see if we can avoid this suspension.”

“He’s apologetic for this, he’s remorseful about it, he’s certainly contrite,” said the agent. “I think he does have a good case here to get back…We just think it means too much to him to be there with his teammates. Again, we’re acknowledging that this is something that there should be some repercussion but not to the extent that hes deprived his right to perform his livelihood – to play.”

Giants Sign WR Taye Biddle to 53-Man Roster: To fill WR Plaxico Burress’ roster spot, the Giants signed WR Taye Biddle from the Practice Squad.

Practice Squad Moves: As reported yesterday, the Giants have signed TE Martrez Milner to the Practice Squad. The Giants have also signed WR John Broussard to the Practice Squad.

The Giants terminated the contract of TE Eric Butler, who was on the Practice Squad.

Dick Lynch Passes Away: Dick Lynch, a long-time Giants radio’ broadcaster and a Giants’ defensive back from 1959-1966, died yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 72. For more on Lynch, see:

Article on WR Domenik HIxon: New York Giants See Hixon in Burress’s Role by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger

Quotes: Wide Receivers Coach Mike Sullivan on WR Domenik Hixon: “Hixon is a young man who is a coach’s dream. He works extremely hard, he puts in extra time, he tries to work on all the fundamental fine details, and he’s a great worker, very, very tough, great stamina, so he’s someone that is very easy to coach because he takes it all in, he’s constantly trying to get better and it’s gratifying to see the improvement. You talk in the locker room and talk to a lot of guys who are excited about his success because he is such a team oriented player and such a hard worker.”

Sep 242008
 

John Carney Named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week”: PK John Carney has been named the “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.” In Sunday’s 26-23 overtime victory over Cincinnati, Carney kicked four field goals: from 24, 46, 26, and 22 yards. The last field goal came in overtime to win the game for the Giants. It was the 15th game-winning field goal of Carney’s career and his third in overtime.

New York Giants Make Practice Squad Move?: The Star-Ledger is reporting that the Giants have signed TE Martrez Milner to the Practice Squad. Milner was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Falcons.  However, who the Giants released from the Practice Squad to make room for Milner was not revealed.

Notes: Through three games, the Giants’ defense has created only one turnover. The lone takeaway ties the Giants with St. Louis and Detroit – two winless teams – for the lowest figure in the league. Fortunately for the Giants, they have only turned over the football once themselves.

The Giants are tied with the Eagles for the League lead in sacks totals with 13.

Sep 242008
 
New York Giants 26 – Cincinnati Bengals 23 (OT)

Summary: In a see-saw battle at the Meadowlands, it took the Giants an extra stanza to dispatch of the desperate 0-2 Bengals and head into the bye week 3-0.  If you’re keeping score at home, after our 0-2 start in 2007, the Giants are 17-4 over their last 21 games.  Not a bad record for a bunch of lucky overachievers huh?

Coming into week 3 most Giant fans, I among them, believed the Bengals were going to be drummed out of the Meadowlands by halftime by our rabid defense and earth shaking ground game.  I admire the Bengals General Custer like stand, but in the end the more talented and more confident team prevailed thanks to yet another Eli Manning 4th quarter TD drive and a game winning FG drive in overtime.  It was not easy and it certainly was not pretty with the Bengals putting the Giants in their first hole of the young season at 3-0 after a solid 12 play 59 yard drive on the games 4th possession.  Immediately countering with an 80 yard drive that seemed to restore order at 7-3, the Giants uncharacteristically gave up a 25 yard TD run by Chris Perry that capped an impressive 74 play drive that again put the Bengals ahead at 10-7.

The Giants trailed 13-10 at the half and finally took the lead at 16-13 early in the 4th quarter but as was the norm the Bengals roared right back with another long drive that chewed up 82 yards in just under 7 minutes to put the G-men in a precarious 20-16 hole.  Eli saved the day as usual though, leading a TD drive that ended with a bullet to Kevin Boss and covering 62 yards in 1:49 in OT to put K John Carney in position for the win.

Quarterbacks: Eli Manning just wins football games.  Put the ball in his hands late in the game or in overtime and Eli finds a way to get it done.  The confidence Eli has with the game on the line is bordering on uncanny and the confidence it gives his teammates is a deadly weapon to have in the NFL.  It didn’t start well offensively, as Eli and his merry men struggled for 27 yards on the first two drives.  The 3rd drive was a charm though as my favorite Manning led his charges on a 9 play 80 yard TD drive in which he was 4 for 5 for 47 yards with his only incompletion being a drop by Plaxico Burress.  Eli went 1-3 on his next drive for 26 yards and just missed a TD to Plaxico Burress as Burress’ feet were out by inches in the back right corner of the end zone.

To put Manning’s late game feat into perspective, consider that on the Giants final three drives in the 4th quarter and OT, Eli went 9 for 15 for 116 yards, 1 TD and one game winning FG drive.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs had a rough go of it Sunday afternoon, only picking up 35 yards on 14 carries and continually being stuffed on the edge by a surprisingly spry and active Bengals’ defense.  Jacobs started ok, picking up a first down right off the bat on 2nd and 1 and 5 yards on the next play to give the Giants a very manageable 2nd and 5.  The very job he used to do exclusively though, he failed on during the Giants’ first drive as he was stacked up on a dive play by ex-Giant Dhani Jones.  (More on how the Bengals stymied Jacobs in the FRR).  Jacobs best runs came when he was patient, waited for the Bengals to penetrate and then chose where to go but it was a constant boxing match all day.

Marvin Lewis and company clearly had every intention of not letting Jacobs get the offense started, as he is prone to do.  The Giants’ offense, specifically its OL feeds off of Jacobs’s intensity and once he gets rolling this team is hard to contain on the ground and the air as the threat of play action comes into the picture.  With Jacobs struggling, suddenly play action is an afterthought and you’re literally playing man on man football out there with little hope of holding LBs and DBs with the play action.

Luckily for the G-Men, when the Beast can’t find any traction they can turn to Derrick Ward, whose exceptional lateral quickness and fluidity pose a problem for defenders who are digging in to slow down Jacobs.  Ward started off with a 22 yard run over right tackle, and proceeded to pound out runs of 9, 8, 9, 14 and 22 yards on a day when Brandon Jacobs longest run WAS a 9 yarder.  Overall “Wind”…or “Fire” (the debate rages on but if it was me, I’d pick Fire as no one wants to be Wind.  Imagine Bob Papa using the nicknames…”Wind breaks a big one, and no one was anywhere near him, first down New York”…) finished with 80 yards on 9 carries and gave the Giants ground game the spark it desperately needed after Brandon Jacobs found little room to operate.

Ahmad Bradshaw was again oddly underused, only touching the ball 3 times for 7 yards, but made the most of his only catch.  #44 leaped high in the middle on a 1st down pass from Manning to snag the pass and make something out of nothing.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith started the game strong hauling in Eli’s first two passes, and finished with 7 grabs for 60 yards.  More notably though, was that Smith was targeted on four 3rd down plays, converting two and falling short by one yard on the other two.  Smith’s consistency on 3rd down and his ability to find soft spots in the defense are making him yet another valuable member of the Giants’ offensive attack and someone defenses are going to have to account for eventually if he keeps getting open on big 3rd downs.  Smith’s best play was a 15 yard jaunt on a nifty slip screen he ran, slipping past blocks from Domenik Hixon and Plaxico Burress on a 3rd and 14 that kept the Giants drive alive long enough for John Carney to boot big blue to a 16-13 lead early in the 4th quarter.  Amani Toomer appeared to make a bad sight adjustment on the first pass he saw from Eli, but just like the rest of the team, Amani made the plays he had to make in crunch time.  Toomer finished with a solid 5 grabs for 64 yards, none more important or impressive than his tip toe job on a 31 yard pass on 3rd and 10 in overtime that put the Giants in position for the win.

Eli’s favorite toy, Plaxico Burress was rudely taken away by the Bengals, presumably because Eli wasn’t sharing again.  Burress was held to 3 catches for 45 yards, but like the rest of his teammates he made the play when it mattered hauling in a perfect Manning pass for a 28 yard gain on the 2nd play of the Giants’ game winning drive.  Burress did drop a catchable dig on the Giants first scoring drive.  Domenik Hixon might be my next man crush, despite appearing to have a mediocre 3 catch 29 yard effort.  Hixon fought Mark Ingram style for a first down on his first catch, a 12 yard gain that required #87 to fight through two tackles to make the yard marker.

Tight Ends: Eli, this is Kevin, Kevin, meet Eli.  Kevin Boss appeared on the stat sheet finally, hauling in 3 passes for 51 yards and a go ahead TD in the 4th quarter when his team needed him most.  Boss’ first real grab of the year was a 21 yard strike that Boss looked in beautifully and held on to.  As has been the case since pre-season game 1, Boss’ blocking continues to improve.  Boss again had a big gain despite being held by LB Rashan Jeanty on a pretty crossing route that gained 26 yards.  Michael Matthews had some issues on the edge early when the Bengals ran some funky fronts but as a lead blocker from H-Back/Full back spot, Matthews continues to pack a wallop.

O-Line: This is where this week’s review gets interesting.  Ordinarily I’d look to Eli or the WRs as to why a drive failed, or perhaps a missed blitz pickup by a RB but right out of the gate, the OL failed to pave the way for a 3rd and 1 run on the Giants’ first possession.  Upon first glance it appeared that Madison Hedgecock failed to seal off LB Dhani Jones, but even if Hedgecock makes that block, Jacobs has no hole to run through.  RG Chris Snee failed to hold his block on DT John Thornton who combined with Jones to snuff out the play.  I can’t kill the guys though, they did not give up a sack on the day, but Eli was hurried more than is usual.

Front 7: Author’s Note: Given the varied fronts and personnel packages the Giants use under Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, I’ll be looking at the front 7 as a whole initially rather than separating the D-line and Linebackers.  Hybrid roles such as LBs playing in a 3 point stance make analyzing the front 7 as one unit more cohesive.  It may change as we move forward or from game to game.

The Giants fearsome defensive line started off strong, with the seemingly healthy Mathias Kiwanuka exploding past RT Levi Jones to force QB Carson Palmer up in the pocket and into the chubby waiting arms of DT Fred Robbins.  In fact, all four starters landed on Palmer as he came crashing down for the game’s first of six sacks.  Robbins notched two sacks for the 2nd consecutive week and was as usual holding the point of attack seemingly by himself.  Robbins was held more than a newborn at a Grandma Convention, though and was absolutely mauled on Chris Perry’s bogus 25 yard TD run.  I’m not one to complain (yes I am), but Robbins’ facemask was practically ripped off and S Michael Johnson was being held at the POA to the point that he was totally turned around as he tried to pursue Perry downfield.  Teams just don’t run on the Giants like that unless someone missed an assignment badly and in this case it was the officials BADLY missing one hands to the face and one blatant hold.  (Former offensive lineman and frequent holder turned annoying broadcaster Dan Dierdorf called it “getting caught up in the wash” which must be idiot for “wow did you see that holding?”)

The rest of the game would not be as easy as the first drive as the Bengals put together five scoring drives.  Early on, aggressiveness was the Giants friend and foe as DE Justin Tuck lost contain on Chris Perry 12 yard run on the Bengals first scoring drive.  Tuck played a fairly quiet game by his standards coming up with 4 total tackles and no sacks but he’s becoming a marked man and will have to learn how to deal with that in coming weeks as the competition improves.  Carson Palmer took advantage of the Giants man coverage and pass rush, ducking a pressure from Kiwanuka and rambling for a 15 yard gain on 3rd and 10 to give the Bengals a 1st goal at the Giants 6.  With tight man coverage, those big holes will appear in the middle of the field if the front four does get to the QB, something to keep in mind when we face more mobile QBs down the road.  I’m not thinking of one QB in particular, or even two, but maybe one who likes Chunky Soup, complaining, and tight silver pants or one with a goofy smile, dimwitted girlfriend, and crying WR at his side.  No one in particular mind you, just…just thoughts.

Kiwanuka notched his only sack on a big 3rd down play as the first half was winding down, again flying around LT Levi Jones and dropping Carson Palmer.

DE Dave Tollefson did notch a sack but was badly kicked out on Perry’s TD run and too often rushed upfield and flew right past the pocket.  I love Tollefson’s hustle, but he needs to play with better leverage and stop thinking he’s Frankie Ferrara II out to “smash puny QBs dead…hmmph!”  Tollefson is a solid rotational player but his aggressiveness and inability to anchor against the run will be a liability.

Barry Cofield started to heat up as well, coming up with 4 tackles, a sack, and one batted ball (ouch).  Cofield’s sack was an impressive play, chasing down Carson Palmer from behind and just tripping up the Bengal QB as he was running out of the pocket.

MLB Antonio Pierce collected a game high 13 tackles.  I say collected because it wasn’t like he was all over the field, I guess he just kind of meandered his way to that many tackles like an old lady picking up change on the street.

Film Room Rewind: Something jumped out at me when the 30th ranked run defense in the NFL suddenly toughened up and stuffed Brandon Jacobs and one of the NFL’s very best running attacks on the Giants’ first drive of the game.  More guys than you can block at the POA, pretty simple really.  Maybe I don’t notice it in other games, but on the very first series of the game, with the Giants offense facing a very manageable 3rd and 1 against a porous defense, the Bengals broke out the famed “Desert Swarm” front also known as the Double Eagle Flex alignment.  There are variations on the front as with any formation, but essentially the idea is to have a nose tackle lined up on the center’s weakside, use two tackles in a “3” technique, stretch one DE out wide of the formation and have a “Flex” player at or near the line of the scrimmage to act as a 5th down lineman/extra LB.  Early on, the Bengals used this front to really confound the Giants’ blocking schemes, and for the first time this season the OL looked a bit confused on who to block.

The “strong side” of the formation where the DE lines up wide seeks to clamp down the edge and force plays back inside where the NT is tying up the center and preventing him from reaching the second level by lining up on his weak shoulder (the non snapping hand generally).  Brandon Jacobs tested the strong side on 3rd and 1 on the Giants’ first possession only to find MLB Dhani Jones in his gap as center Shaun O’Hara was unable to make the reach block after being tied up by NT Domata Peko.

The “weak side” of the formation seemingly invites you to run to it, with only one DL playing between the OG and the OT and only two LBs to hold the edge.  The problem is that if the DE is able to slip that block and re-route the RB outside where an unblocked SS and LB await your run goes nowhere.  This is precisely what happened on the Giants’ second drive when Jacobs was stuffed for a 2 yard gain on 2nd and 9 after DE Robert Geathers knifed between Snee and McKenzie forcing Jacobs wider than he should have gone and he was taken down in the hole by backside pursuit.

Defensive Backs: Statistically speaking a rough day for the usually solid secondary, on the surface anyway.  Carson Palmer had by far his best outing of the year, throwing for 286 yards, 1 TD, and no INTs, despite being sacked 6 times.  When your top three CBs combine for 22 tackles and 5 of your top 6 tacklers for the game are from the secondary, it really means one thing – your opponent threw the ball all day long.  Indeed Palmer and the Bengals did just that, attempting 45 of their 72 plays through the air, clearly indicating an intention to exploit the Giants secondary.

When you consider that 62.5% of the time the Bengals were airing it out and they only gained 5.4 yards per pass (6.7 for Eli and Company), the secondary actually did its job fairly well.  CB Corey Webster flew in on an early blitz to kill the Bengals first drive, and finished with 8 tackles, a sack and one forced fumble.  CB Aaron Ross was busy with 5 tackles and he combined with S Michael Johnson on a key 3rd down stop inside the 5 to topple TE Reggie Kelly and force the Bengals to settle for a FG.  CB Kevin Dockery had a tough time containing WR Antonio Chatman and the entire secondary had trouble with Houshma…zadamama…adaeh.  Why can’t that idiot change his name, NOO, it’s the guy named Johnson who pulls that, not the guy with 47 letters in his surname.  Dockery did make a TD saving play by ripping the ball out of TE Daniel Coates’ hands and as always played well in the running game, coming up on two great stops, dumping Chris Perry and DeDe Dorsey on a point-less drive late in the 3rd quarter.  Even old man Sam Madison made a play when he had to, as he swatted away a 3rd and 8 pass from Palmer in OT that forced the Bengals to punt tripping up Chris Perry on a 2nd and 14.

S James Butler went 1 for 2 against talented WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (the TV is paused and his name is on the screen otherwise I’d have called him #84 or awful hair), knocking away one end zone pass and just missing another on the Bengals go ahead drive in the 4th quarter.  S Kenny Phillips had a great strip of Chad Ocho Stupido to keep the Bengals at bay late in the first half.

The Bengals seemed content to throw short and let their WRs do the damage, but once the Giants DBs caught on, the RAC yards were limited and all in all the Giants DBs did a a solid job considering that they were targeted over 60% of the game.

Special Teams: The coverage units weren’t awful, holding KR Glenn Holt to a 19 yard average on kick returns, but the kudos go to K John Carney, who just seems automatic on field goals, going 4 for 4 with the overtime winner.  On the season, Carney is 9 for 9 on field goals and I pray seriously making Tom Coughlin think first about cutting him for the rapidly healing Lawrence Tynes.

Coaching: Tom Coughlin won’t hear any mess about his team coming out flat, but if the Giants were a chick, they’d have been k.d. Lang on Sunday: Flat, boring, and incredibly hard to look at for very long.  In my experience though, that’s not on the coaches, it’s merely the up and down mental aspect of football.  Some games you just cannot get into the game as you usually do, no matter who yells, screams or tries to inspire.  The team wasn’t ill prepared, they just didn’t bring their A game, and that will happen.  The key though, is that when the game was on the line, Kevin Gilbride put the keys in Eli’s hands and he delivered the game winner.  Steve Spagnuolo’s defense did get beaten at times to the tune of a season high 347 yards, but again when it mattered most his unit (teehee) did its job, holding the Bengals to a critical 3 and out in OT.

Despite the win though, I thought Gilbride was a bit too reliant on Brandon Jacobs early, though in his defense that patience eventually paid off last week vs. the Rams after Jacobs started very slowly.  Derrick Ward was by far more effective against the 8 and 9 man fronts than Jacobs was and I would have liked to see Ahmad Bradshaw get his crack a bit earlier to expose the Bengals lack of speed on defense.

JPog (Joey’s Player of the Game) – It has to be Easy E, no one else really stood out in this game and when we had to have a score, Eli finds a way.  Ernie Accorsi may have done some silly things in his time, and sure no one needs to hear another Bert Jones or John Elway story but the “magic” he saw Eli is real.  It’s not that cheap pull my finger type of magic that I dazzle my nieces and nephews with either, it’s an intangible quality that after watching Eli play, you just start to see.  For his efforts, Eli will be given an Ernie Accorsi replica hairpiece (yeah I’ve heard it’s real I don’t buy it though).

JBog (Joey’s Bum of the Game) – It’s not as easy to be mean as you guys think it is.  At heart, I’m a super terrific happy fun guy, but I suppose it must be done.  Brandon Jacobs, come on down and receive your JBoG.  You did nothing wrong pal, the Bengals just game planned for you but you netted 35 yards on 14 carries for a 2.5 ypc average AND you let another pass bounce off of your hands.  Sure you scored a TD and for that I will give you credit but you were shut down completely and didn’t seem to be the usual exuberant super terrific happy fun back that you normally are.  Your punishment this week, is to wear an “I’m no Christian Okoye” T-Shirt.

(Box Score – Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants, September 21, 2008)
Sep 232008
 

September 22, 2008 New York Giants Injury Report: CB Aaron Ross injured his shoulder in the game against the Bengals on Sunday. “He bumped his shoulder, it’s sore,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “You see him go back in and then hit it again. It is a reoccurring type thing.  I think he has enough time now (with the upcoming bye week), hopefully, to get over that.”

When asked if Ross’ injury was chronic, Coughlin responded, “He had something like that last year, I think, but I don’t know if I would say chronic.”

DE Jerome McDougle was inactive for the game against the Bengals because of issues with his knee and calf.

Articles on the Giants and the Bye Week: New York Giants Not Thrilled with Where Bye Week Falls by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on TE Kevin Boss: Looking Boss’ Way, Giants See He’s Ready by Joe Lapointe of The New York Times

Sep 212008
 

Whew! Giants Prevail 26-23 in Overtime: In a game that looked like a mismatch on paper, the NFL Champion New York Giants were forced into overtime by the winless Cincinnati Bengals at the Meadowlands earlier today. The Giants prevailed 26-23.

The Giants are now 3-0 heading into their bye week. The last Giants’ team to start a season 3-0 was the 2000 New York Giants. That team reached the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Giants’ first two drives of the game produced only 27 yards, one first down, and no points. Meanwhile the Bengals put together a 12-play, 59-yard drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play.

On New York’s third offensive possession, the Giants drove 80 yards in nine plays to take a 7-3 lead.  A defensive pass interference call on ex-Giant LB Dhani Jones gave the Giants a first down on 3rd-and-7. QB Eli Manning then hit TE Kevin Boss for a 21-yard gain. Two plays later, HB Brandon Jacobs scored from one yard out.

The lead was short lived however as the Bengals immediately responded with an 8-play, 74-yard touchdown drive of their own. HB Chris Perry scored from 25 yards out to give the Bengals a 10-7 advantage.

Back came the Giants with a field goal drive that tied the game at 10-10 as the Giants moved 51 yards in seven plays. The big plays were a 26-yard pass to Boss and a 22-yard run by HB Derrick Ward. The drive unfortunately stalled inside the Bengals’ 10-yard line.

The back-and-forth contest continued before halftime as Cincinnati responded yet again, this time with a 13-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal.  At the break, the underdog Bengals were winning 13-10.

The only points generated in the third quarter were a field goal by the Giants. Three consecutive drives by the Bengals only accrued a total of nine yards. The Giants were not much more successful. There was one 3-and-out and the field goal drive only traveled 30 yards in 9 plays, being set up by a 26-yard punt return by WR Domenik Hixon. The drive was also kept alive by a 12-yard catch by Hixon on 3rd-and-10. PK John Carney’s 46-yard field goal tied the game at 13-13.

The Giants’ third possession of the second half also resulted in points as New York drove 67 yards in 11 plays. Manning found WR Steve Smith for 15 yards on 3rd-and-14. But the Giants were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal and a tenuous 16-13 advantage.

Now in the fourth quarter, the Bengals finally began to move the ball. Cincinnati regained the lead by driving 82 yards in 12 plays. On 3rd-and-6, QB Carson Palmer hit WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a 17-yard touchdown. The Bengals led 20-16 with under five minutes to play.

The Giants responded with a 9-play, 68-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Manning to Boss on 3rd-and-goal from the 4-yard line with just under two minutes to go in the game. Giants 23 – Bengals 20.

“I knew we had several plays in there where I could get an opportunity to get the ball,” said Boss. “Great call by Coach Gilbride and a great pass by Eli. I was able to come down with it in traffic. It felt really nice to be able to contribute today. I was able to make some big plays and I felt like I contributed to the victory. It was a long game but it was a lot of fun. We battled back and forth; I think someone said the lead changed seven times. It was a great football game to play in.”

But the Giants’ defense failed to hold.  In 1 minute and 50 seconds, the Bengals drove 71 yards in 10 plays. Luckily for the Giants, time became a factor as the Bengals kicked their game-tying field on 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line as time expired on the clock.

The Giants won the toss in overtime. However, New York was forced to punt after only one first down. The Giants’ defense then forced a 3-and-out and the Bengals punted the ball back to the Giants.

On New York’s second possession in overtime, Manning led his team 62 yards in 7 plays to set up Carney’s game-winning 22-yard field goal. The big plays on the drive were a 28-yard pass to WR Plaxico Burress and a 31-yard pass to WR Amani Toomer on 3rd-and-10.

“I needed it,” said Toomer. “I just got an opportunity to make a play.  Things don’t always go the way you want it, but if it comes down to it, I’m there.  Going into overtime we knew we had a lot of momentum left.  We just find a way to win; that is the key to this team. We just found a way to win; I’m real excited.”

Offensively, Manning finished the game 26-of-43 for 289 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Smith caught 7 passes for 60 yards, Toomer 5 passes for 64 yards, Boss 3 passes for 51 yards, and Burress 3 passes for 45 yards. Ward was the leading rusher with 80 yards on 9 carries as Jacobs was limited to 35 yards on 14 carries.

“That was a fun one,” said Manning. “That’s a game that wasn’t pretty at all times, we didn’t play our best football, but that’s just kind of how it goes sometimes. Everything’s not going to go perfectly and you’ll have some ups and downs, so we kept fighting, we never gave up and when we needed to make plays I think guys stepped up and made plays. We’ve always kind of had that ability and had that about us, and it’s good that we haven’t lost that. It’s something you can’t really coach, you can’t teach. For some reason when it’s clutch time and we need to make some plays, we tend to find a way to make plays.”

Defensively, the Giants accrued 6 sacks. But the team gave up 347 total net yards (245 passing, 102 rushing). LB Antonio Pierce had 13 tackles. CB Corey Webster had a sack and forced a fumble. DT Fred Robbins had his second 2-sack game in a row. And DE Mathias Kiwanuka and DE Dave Tollefson each had a sack.

“They put together some really good drives and spread our defense out,” said CB Aaron Ross. “They hit us with knick knack yards – like a cross here, a cross there. And they were successful on third downs. Getting a chance to pull out the win in overtime is huge. Plax came up with a great play to get us down there and Amani came up with another great play to finish it off. It is great watching those guys perform at that level. I tip my hat to Cincinnati because you could see that they are a good team by the way they played today. They have just been catching bad breaks. They will continue to do good as long as they finish the game.”

“We were able to come through today,” said CB Sam Madison. “I thought we played tough when we had to. We gave up a couple of passes here and there, but overall I think our team played extremely well. We wanted to put pressure on Carson and we did that. But he got some balls out quickly. For us it was a great effort by everybody on this team. Playing the scout team all week and getting the chance to see what they do, you know that they have a lot of confidence in each other and what they do. You just knew they were going to get it done. We just came together as a team when we had to.”

“We didn’t do a lot of things right at certain points of the game, but when it was time for this team to step up and win the game, we did,” said RG Chris Snee. “Obviously we would have liked to play more consistent throughout the game, but we got the win. A game like this is something we can really build on. On the last drive we had a lot of confidence and we knew what we had to do.”

“Give credit where credit is due to Cincinnati, they played well,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “They came in here, they were 0-2, their coach said they were going to play hard, they did play hard, they were physical, they hadn’t shown that kind of pressure in any of their previous games, they really did a nice job of that. Some we were able to manipulate and others we weren’t, they moved the ball, they had some runs in the first half which put us back on the drawing board so to speak at halftime. They made plays when they had to in the passing game. We responded. We had the one long drive in regulation in the fourth quarter and then, of course, they did, too, but then we followed that up with the overtime plays and we are just happy to have the win. The Cincinnati Bengals are a good team. I had a sense that here is a team that was tenth in the league in ranking offensively and hadn’t really gotten themselves on track and we saw them get pretty much on track today, but they also were very good on defense today. We had our hands full and we found a way to win.”

Post-Game Notes and Quotes: The Giants trailed in the fourth quarter, 20-16. This was the seventh time QB Eli Manning has rallied the Giants from a fourth-quarter deficit to win or tie a regular-season game.

The Giants are 17-16-2 in overtime, including 16-14-2 in the regular season. They are 6-9 in home regular season overtime games.

The Giants improved to 16-4 (.800) in games prior to a regular-season bye. Coughlin is 9-4 in pre-bye games, including 4-1 with the Giants.

Inactive for the Giants were HB Danny Ware, WR Mario Mannngham, OT Adam Koets, DE Jerome McDougle, LB Jonathan Goff, CB R.W. McQuarters (calf), CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), and PK Lawrence Tynes (knee).

Commenting on why McDougle was inactive, Coughlin said, “He has been managing a leg situation. He came in with some swelling and soreness this morning and we didn’t know that he would be able to go the four quarters and we had a healthy Dave Tollefson, so the move was to let Dave play and Dave gets a sack.”

Giants Tried to Trade Moss to Seahawks?: According to The Daily News, the Giants were willing to trade WR Sinorice Moss to the Seattle Seahawks, but the Seahawks were not interested.  Seattle’s wide receiving corps has been hard hit with injuries.

Article on TE Kevin Boss: Boss Has Grown Into Role as Blocker by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on DE Jerome McDougle: Giants’ McDougle Works with Troubled Youngsters by Joe Lapointe of The New York Times

Sep 202008
 

September 19, 2008 New York Giants Injury Report: CB R.W. McQuarters (calf) did not practice again yesterday. PK Lawrence Tynes (knee) remained limited in practice.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka (ankle) and CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring) practiced fully for the first time all week.

McQuarters is listed as “doubtful” for the game against the Bengals on Sunday.  Thomas and Tynes are “questionable” and Kiwanuka is “probable.”

FS Michael Johnson (stinger) practiced fully for the second day in a row.  He is listed as “probable” for the game against the Bengals.

Sinorice Moss Says He Does Not Want to Be Traded: Contrary to Friday’s blurb in The New York Post that said the agent for WR Sinorice Moss wanted his client traded, Moss said yesterday he preferred to remain with the Giants.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone about being traded,” said Moss. “That’s not even on my mind. My mind is to do what I have to do for the team, and when I get my opportunities, make some plays. I would love to be here. This is where I want to be. Why not? I don’t want to be nowhere else. But whatever it is, it is. I just want to make some plays.”

Moss was the only active player on the team to not play last week against the Rams.

“I mean, honestly, I don’t know what to think about it,” said Moss. “I’m going to keep working and stay positive, like I’ve been since Day One. And when that time comes, just be a humble person and go out there and shine. Yeah, it does get tougher. I work hard every day. I come out here, I go to work, my coaches see what I do, my teammates see what I do. So it gets frustrating. You want the opportunity to go out and help the team win games. I had a lot of opportunities last year and I helped the team. But I want to do it this year.”

“I really can’t go off,” Moss said. “I don’t know how other guys have handled this situation, but I wasn’t brought up that way. I wasn’t raised that way to go bad-mouthing and go public. That’s not me. All I need to do is focus on myself and take care of what I can take care of, so I can have that opportunity to stay on the field.”

“Sometimes I’ll be wishing that people could come and watch me practice,” Moss said. “But they’ll get their chance. The whole world will see it.”

Article on DE Jerome McDougle: Ex-Eagle McDougle is Holding Up His End for the New York Giants by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger

Sep 192008
 

September 18, 2008 New York Giants Injury Report: CB R.W. McQuarters (calf) did not practice again yesterday.  DE Mathias Kiwanuka (ankle), CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), and PK Lawrence Tynes (knee) were limited.

FS Michael Johnson (stinger) practiced fully after being limited on Wednesday.

When asked about his injury, Kiwanuka responded, “It wasn’t any worse (after the Rams’ game). I think it is just something that I am going to have to manage as far as practice reps and getting into the training room and doing all that stuff.  We will get it done and get it taken care of as long as it gets better, which it is, and I am comfortable.”

“It (swells up after a game),” said Kiwanuka, “but I think to some extent after having surgery last year it is still going to take some time before it doesn’t swell up after a game.  Games are pretty intense, but with the recent injury, yeah it is going to take some time, but we have the bye week so I am looking forward to that and getting off of it.  Hopefully when I come back I shouldn’t have any issues with it.”

“It shouldn’t be all season long,” said Kiwanuka of the possibility of the injury lingering. “It will probably be a couple more weeks, but if I can get it under control over the bye week then it should just be an afterthought.”

Sinorice Moss’ Agent Wants His Client Traded: According to The New York Post, the agent for WR Sinorice Moss has openly talked about his hopes that his client will be traded. Moss was activated for the game against the Rams, but was the only activated player on the team to not play. Domenik Hixon has moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

Article on DE/DT Justin Tuck: Giants’ Tuck Ready to Be Team’s Next Great Defensive Threat by Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger

Quotes: DE Jerome McDougle on the Giants’ defensive line: “These guys really get after it. It’s really like a race to the quarterback and if you got the quarterback you got to hurry up and put him down, because those guys will try to jump in there and get half a sack.”

Sep 182008
 

9/18/2008

By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants, September 21, 2008: While many fans are correctly saying “one game at a time,” we’re all thinking the same thing – the Giants have a good chance to start the season at 6-0 before the level of competition dramatically increases.

Most of us – at least the smart ones – know that the Bengals are certainly capable of beating the Giants.  Just like the Rams were capable of beating the Giants.  But this is a team the Giants should defeat.

The keys are play hard, play smart, execute, and don’t lose the turnover battle.

For every team in the league, the first couple of games are always a mystery.  Fans, media, and the teams themselves are often surprised or shocked at the results.  Some good teams start of poorly.  We also find out that some “good teams” are not really that good after all.

The good news for the Giants is that they have that uncertain time period past them.  They have not been knocked off their feet and ought to be hitting their stride now, confident that they – once again – have the look of a possible Champion.  Now is the time to pile up some wins and keep the heat on the rest of the division rivals.

Giants on Offense: I’m not going to give you a positional rundown of the opponent and identify key match-ups this week.  No, I’m not being lazy.  The Bengals’ defense stinks.  It has stunk for years and stinks once again.  At the heart of their defensive woes is that Cincinnati can’t stop the run.  And the Bengals are not not a physical team.  Enter Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Bradshaw.

How bad is the front seven for the Bengals?  Ex-Giant Dhani Jones, who is starting at middle linebacker, is the team’s defensive captain.  Ouch.

The Bengals have decent corners in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph, but the latter is a bit gimpy with an ankle injury. S Dexter Jackson (thumb) is out; S Chinedum Ndukwe has been bothered by a knee injury.

Don’t get cute.  Simply maul the Bengals with the ground game.  Rip their freaking hearts out.

Giants on Defense: Yes, the Bengals have some very good skill players in Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Chad Johnson (sorry I’m not playing that Ocho crap).  And at any point of a game, Palmer can connect with one of these two receivers for a huge play.

But the Bengals’ offensive line stinks.  The Bengals can’t block for the run or the pass – not a good combination against any opponent, let alone a Giants’ defense that does well stopping the run and rushing the passer.

Just make sure you play physical and aggressive up front so HB Chris Perry doesn’t get untracked.  Then pin your ears back against Palmer, a guy who most likely desperately wants off this team.

Houshmandzadeh, Johnson?  Excellent players.  But so are Aaron Ross and Corey Webster.  No fear baby.

Giants on Special Teams: Glenn Holt has averaged 30 yards per return for the Bengals on kickoff returns so the Giants will have to be vigilant here.  The Giants need to do a better job of blocking on their own kickoff returns for Ahmad Bradshaw.

Sep 182008
 

September 17, 2008 New York Giants Injury Report – Kiwanuka’s Injury Remains an Issue: Head Coach Tom Coughlin indicated yesterday that DE Mathias Kiwanuka’s ankle injury may be a long-term issue this season. “I think it is going to be (lingering),” said Coughlin. “Let’s face it, I don’t know that those things really ever get cleared up.  But we hope that we have an opportunity to maybe shut him down a little bit.  And then maybe he can play without the ankle swelling up on him.”

CB R.W. McQuarters (calf) did not practice yesterday.  Kiwanuka (ankle), FS Michael Johnson (stinger), CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), and PK Lawrence Tynes (knee) were limited.