Sunday’s contest against the Giants and the Redskins (Seriously, guys – you’re still the Redskins? Why not be the "Cottin’ Pickin’ Good Fer Nuttin’ —" well, you see where I’m going with this. And if you don’t get it, let me speak plainly: your team nickname is racist. Very Racist.) was sloppy, but given how few games the NFL plays, every win is important, and all that matters is you win. The Giants didn’t look especially good doing it, but they got it done.
Mr. Robert Griffen III sure can play. I know that’s not news, but jeez, that dude has some moves, some legs and a serious arm. I do think he’s a catastrophic knee injury waiting to happen (based on the way he pivots and scrambles), but wow. He’s an amazing player, and yesterday, it often looked like he had to deal with the ineptitude that Eli Manning usually has to do deal with – although this weekend, Manning contributed a bit of that bad play himself. Anyway, much props to RG3 (as the kids say… right? kids still say that?), but in the end, Eli decided that he preferred to win the game rather than loose it and KABOOM – touchdown! Just like that. Victor Cruz and Eli Manning make it look so easy, don’t they? And that’s how it goes – if you let Eli Manning have the ball with time left late in the game and it’s a one score game, you are screwed. Very, very screwed.
It’s good to be a Giants fan.
I’m glad I don’t bet, because last night would have cleaned me out.
The Dallas Cowboys really impressed me with their play last night – Tony Romo kept his boneheaded mistakes to a minimum, which I didn’t think was possible. Meanwhile, the Giants were dropping the ball all over the field (Victor Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz) and not exactly blowing me away with their second half defense. Oh well – every lose is a big lose in the NFL, but the Giants still have time to right the ship.
The Yankees do not.
Sure, the Yankees won last night, but just barely – without help form Tampa via a 2 run throwing era, I don’t see the Yankees winning that game. The Yankees were off last Thursday – take a look at the game scores (and awful results against division rivals) since then:
Aug 31 L 1-6
Sept 1 W 4-3
Sept 2 L 3-8
Sept 3 L 3-4
Sept 4 L 2-5
Sept 5 W 6-4
Even when they win, they can barely hold the opposition to 3 runs. As putrid as the offense has been of late, the pitching isn’t any better. All of the starters look tired or flat and the only relievers worth a damn are the big three (Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Boone Logan) – everyone else pretty much sucks. Joba Chamberlain has been better of late, but I don’t know what to expect going forward as he gets further away from his various injuries and rehabs until he’s got some serious innings under his belt.
Well, here we are – the Yankees are starting a four game series tonight that will make or break their season. They’ll need to at least split the four games with the Baltimore Orioles and hope that the team formerly known as the Boston Red Sox isn’t much of a competition in the remaining contests and hope they can keep the Toronto Blue Jays in check.
But mostly, the Yankees need to play better. Since the All Star Break, they’ve been mediocre at best (maybe under .500? too lazy to do the math…) in all categories except the back of their bullpen. Derek Jeter aside… I don’t know. Maybe A-Rod’s return will help. Maybe Teixeira will get back sooner rather than later and contribute meaningfully… maybe the same will go for Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova. But I don’t think the Yankees can count on any of their injured guys to be meaningful contributors – there are too many quesiton marks.
I think it’s down to the guys that are in the clubhouse today – either they can get it done, or they can’t… and I’m starting to lose hope that they can. If they can at least split the contests in Camden Yards… that’ll be something. BUT COME ON! IT’ THE ORIOLES! The Yankees missing out of the playoffs because of the Orioles is a tough pill to swallow.
"Where was the pass rush? Brees was having a field day."
This was the question one my friends put to me this morning, and the answer probably lies in the current status of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, neither of whom are anywhere near 100% healthy. I’m sure few players are at the point in the season, but still, without these two guys playing at a high level, I think it’s pretty clear that the Giants are not able to get it done.
Here we are: the Giants have met the hard part of their schedule and for the most part, they have failed miserably. Although many thought that beating the Patriots was a sign of what was to come, it’s now looking like the last hurray in a season that may now be beyond recovery.
(It’s easy to forget that the Patriots were not looking good that game and the Giants weren’t exactly making plays; I remember the Pats offense looking fairly disorganized, especially in the 1st half, and the Giants couldn’t get out of their own way. Of course, the second half was a different story all together, and the Giants defense was able to hold on.)
So what has happened to the Giants season? Was it a front loaded schedule of easier opponents that made the Giants look better than they are? Is it the injuries? Or maybe just the roster construction over all? Perhaps that loss to the Eagles took some fight out of them.
Now the Giants have to prepare for the Packers on a short weak with a roster weakened by injuries, but even at full strength, the Giants have fundamental flaws, so it’s not like I’m disappointed – i predicted them to be a .500 team, and I still believe that’s where they’ll end up. Sure, they still have to play Dallas twice, and those as well as others are winnable games coming up on the horizon, but I can’t get too excited about their prospects. Even if the Giants do sneak into the playoffs (not that one really sneaks into the playoffs in the NFL but rather falls in ass first), I just dont see the them doing any significant post season damage.
But you never know how things will turn out. My buddy reminded me that the Jets got the last seed with a 9-7 record and went to the AFC championship. There they were, beating teams that won 11 and 12 games… well, they didn’t win the Super Bowl, but they certainly made a statement.
One they haven’t followed up on since.
The Bright Spot
Since Mario Manningham doesn’t seem to have the playbook memorized, it’s been fun to watch the emerging of Victor Cruz, this week coming up with 9 receptions good for 157 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Maybe Cruz is the long term answer at wide receiver that the Giants have been looking for since the fall of Plexico Buress…
The New York Giants just don’t have the pieces they need to succeed, and while I’m usually yelling at the receiver core until I’m blue in the face, it’s time to take a hard look at the Giants running game.
Or lack there of.
The Giants rushed for 29 yards. Twenty-nine yards. That’s it. Brandon Jacobs averaged under 2 yards per carry in 12 tries. What. The. Hell. Is. That. About?!? At this point, the guy just doesn’t provide the Giants with much value, and I don’t know what they can do to turn around his season.
Whatever. This is who the Giants are. They play close games against mediocre teams and sometimes they make fewer mistakes than their opponents, and sometimes they make more. It’s a weak division in a weak league, so ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because the Giants don’t have what it takes to go all the way. If you have any fantasies about the Giants going deep in the playoffs, it’s time to let those go. If they were in the other league, they’d have a .500 record instead of being 6-4, and yet, they could easily be 8-2 and it still wouldn’t change who they fundamentally are – a flawed team that can’t get out of it’s own way and has no hope of winning the Super Bowl this year.
It’s always nice when someone can admit they’re wrong. In this case, it’s the Giants wide receiver core. Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole has got the goods:
…on at least half of Eli Manning’s eight interceptions this season, the problem has been tied to the receiver being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “There have been some pretty crucial times when we haven’t finished routes or read them correctly,” a Giants source said earlier this week. The latest example came on Manning’s second interception during Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers as wide receiver Mario Manningham didn’t finish a route the quarterback expected.
“You could say I’m supposed to work through it a little further,” Manningham said, a little sheepishly. “We definitely weren’t on the same page, so that has to get fixed.”
Likewise, Manning had an interception on a pass to Cruz in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season when Cruz was in the wrong spot.
Yeah, I noticed that myself. I’m sure that memorizing an NFL playbook is no easy task, but when it’s your job, I’d like to think there would be a bit more emphasis on getting that done. Hell, Plexico Burress was usually hurt and couldn’t even practice with the team, but I don’t remember him having this problem. I’m willing to give Cruz a pass for now; after all, he’s been on the team for like five minutes, right? But Manningham needs to get his act together so I can start making Super Mario puns.
But yeah, look at Yahoo! Sports coming in handy! I usually don’t have much in the way of positive words for them, but this was a decent article… although they did make the obligatory joke about Giants receivers being in the wrong place at the wrong time in reference to a shooting at a nightclub that some of the Giants were at to celebrate Victor Cruz’s birthday. It’s not an especially funny joke and given that someone died, it’s not in the best of taste.
So, you know – standard Yahoo! article.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with the Giants defensive performance in the first half. Shutting out Tom Brady and the Patriots at home is something to be proud of. Yet, the Giants were also unable to score on a weak New England secondary, so while beating the Pats at home is an achievement, it hasn’t convinced me that the Giants are ready to go to the next level on offense.
Again (before I start complaining), great job by the defense. The 3rd down stops, the interceptions, the secondary (until late in the game) – GREAT JOB! (Although, 20 points in one half is pushing it.)
Of course, the ball had to bounce of somebody’s chest this week, so why not pick the biggest chest on the team? Still, I di think that despite that blooper, Brandon Jacobs looked pretty good. I’m still not convinced that Victor Cruz is the answer at wide receiver, but he’s pretty good. I was also impressed by Jake Ballard; key receptions combined with his huge 6 ft 6 in, 275 lbs frame is a recipe for limited success. D.J. Ware, however, might be getting too many touches.
The Giants brutal stretch of games continues next week at the San Francisco 49ers, then the game I’m most looking forward to: in East Rutherford against the Eagles!
The New York Giants were able to get another win, this time over the Arizona Cardinals, even if it was in dubious fashion.
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz fell to the ground untouched and then got up as if the play was over and dropped the football as he rose from the turf. As you can see by the expression on Eli Manning’s face, he and everyone else on earth thought it was a fumble, but it was ruled that the Cruz ‘gave himself up,’ which is akin to a quarterback sliding or a player running out of bounds. You can see the video here. Apparently, the official rule goes something like this:
Official shall declare ball dead […] when runner declares himself down by falling to ground.
And I guess it does look like that’s what Cruz did – he clearly thought the play was over, but I thought the rule was that the play was NOT over until a member of the defense touched the ball carrier. I guess this means that the player has the right of way, so to speak – meaning it’s up to the offensive player to decide when the play is over, not the defensive player – so after the offensive player falls on the ground, they reserve the right to either drop the ball intentionally (and I think it’s clear that Cruz dropped the ball intentionally and did not fumble) or get up and run again. I don’t think that’s a good rule, but that appears to be the letter of the law.
Check out the video, make up your own mind… but it’s a strange case indeed. For Giants fans, I think we can all just say, “Whatever. Better to be lucky than good.” As for Cardinals fans,I’m sure they’re pissed… and they’re not wrong, either.