Welcome to the 2015 twilight zone for the Giants, also known as 2016. A season where the defense actually wins games. Where when your offense sputters a bit, the defense steps up to make tackles, defend passes and win games.
To say I’m shocked is an understatement, to say I contemplated how the defense has allowed two touchdowns in two games the entire four-hour car ride home from Oneonta is not something I’m ready to admit. If you had told me they would have turned it over three times and manage no offensive touchdowns in 2015, I’m just hoping the game wasn’t over before half time. 2016 Giants football is some whacky shit that would make a book penned by Stephen King and Tom Greene seem more realistic.
I will say this before we get into analysis, I’m absolutely shocked at how well this team is playing. Three phases of football stepping up to make plays. Giants may not have scored an offensive touchdown yesterday and coughed it up on three consecutive drives, but they moved the ball virtually at will. Benny Big Balls almost was back-page fodder for electing to go for it on fourth-and-goal, but I love the move. You don’t win football games unless you try to win football games. No more of this trying to not lose football games. Definitely trying to not cover that -4 (somewhere my Latin friend Mike Cruz whispers “Vegas knows” and it sends a cold chill up my spine. Dagger to the throat of the opposition. I love it.
So what was great and what was i need of improvement? (Nothing about the Giants is bad, even football Mark Herzlich)
Good: defense and special teams. Two units that have been guilty of back-breaking errors the last four seasons, now miraculously have kept the Giants ballgames while the offense finds their stride. Eli Apple made two huge plays down the stretch yesterday. The defensive tackling has been phenomenal. The run defense is suffocating. Two touchdowns in two games is something I would have sold my soul to sign up for. It’s like everywhere I look, some new addition is making plays. JackRabbit with a blocked-kick return for a touchdown, snacks stuffing the middle, Leon Hall with a sack. I saw more of Thomas Morstead yesterday than I ever have in my life before. The first six Saints drives went: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt and blocked FG-touchdown.
Victor Cruz’s physiological well being. A healthy Cruz is a sure thing. I’m not surprised in the slightest bit by a healthy Cruz making plays for the Giants down the stretch. I’m surprised by him playing a full game after his knee basically exploded two seasons ago. Even though he brain farted earlier in the game, Cruz–being the grown ass man he is–snatched a ball from a nameless New Orleans cornerback to set the Giants up to win the game. Second straight contest where #80 had to step up and win the game. That’s what champions do.
Eli Manning: 80 percent completed passes yesterday to lead the Giants. Three straight drives in the first half undone by interceptions. Another possession where they drove deep into Saints territory before two straight holding penalties by “Fart-With-Pads-On” AKA Marshall Newhouse. He put two balls right on guys in the end zone and had nothing to show for it.
Right tackle: Get Marshall Newhouse off my football team. Someone pack his bags and take him to Laguardia. He has been so bad that I’m more confident in either a 7th round draft pick from a year ago or a guy who hasn’t played football in two years, let alone this particular one since 2009. The man is a fart with pads on.
Finishing: being unable to punch in a single offensive touchdown against lowly New Orleans isn’t cause for panic considering how willfully the Giants moved the ball. But you gotta punctuate drives with 6. You can’t have your first half possessions look like fumble, fumble, fumble, 4th and goal for no points.
Analysis: look the Giants didn’t play a pretty game on offense. They coughed it up, they couldn’t punch it in when they needed to. They committed bad penalties. But they made plays when they had to. Thankfully the defense has been so lights out because it’s allowed for the offense time to find itself. Washington seems like the perfect game to really discover ones self. Blowing the roof off of Josh Norman and co. would be the perfect coming out party for the Giants attack. I’m confident that they will finish in the top five in offense, and it’s going to start with them getting medieval on what’s turning out to be a smoldering dump of a Washington team.