Monday, September 24, 2012
Eli Manning and the Giants rocked it on Thursday night in Carolina. Here's some highlights from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column, a must read for any respectable football fan.
Why the Giants win ... at least one big reason.
Patience wins in the NFL. Impetuousness rarely does, and when it does, it doesn't last. The 2009 NFL draft illustrates that well. That spring, the Giants picked Connecticut tackle Will Beatty 60th overall, Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden 85th overall and North Carolina State running back Andre Brown 129th. Until Thursday night, Beatty had been an oft-injured disappointment, Barden got passed -- and lapped several times -- in wideout impact by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and Brown had been cut by half the free world. On Thursday, they were three of the 10 most important Giants in a 36-7 rout of Carolina on the road.
That's the strength of Jerry Reese as a general manager. He's not a knee-jerk guy. Last April, I wrote a story on Reese (and, in particular, how well he works with Tom Coughlin), and I sat in his office for a while talking about roster-building. The subject of the abuse he took from the talk-show set and fans came up for letting Steve Smith and Kevin Boss go in the 2011 offseason. He got a smile on his face and played me a couple of, shall we say, interesting, voice mails from critical fans after those players went to Philadelphia and Kansas City by way of Oakland, respectively. He asked me not to report what was said in the voicemails, but let's just say you need to have some blisters on your hide to be a general manager for a New York sports team.
"We don't have a template for how we build here,'' says Reese, and the Giants don't. But the one thing they have no problem doing is saying goodbye. They loved Boss -- loved him. But he wasn't worth a $6 million signing bonus to them. Gone. "Around here, when the money gets above X, we say goodbye,'' John Mara told me in the spring. They figured Barden could slide into Manningham's role and so they let Manningham walk to San Francisco. Brandon Jacobs had worn out his welcome; Brown and rookie David Wilson will have a shot to replace him -- and that looks good so far.
Charting players who have been good Reese picks in his first six drafts with the Giants:
2012: CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (Round 3, 94 overall)
Precocious and instinctive from day one of camp, Hosley's one of the best rookie DBs in the league. He intercepted a Cam Newton pass Thursday.
2011: LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida (R6, 202)
A top special-teamer from day one, Williams stripped Kyle Williams in overtime of last season's NFC title game, setting up the Giants win.
2010: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida (R1, 15)
Think the Eagles (Brandon Graham at 13) or Raiders (Rolando McClain at 8) would like to have a draft-day do-over?
2009: RB Andre Brown, North Carolina State (R4, 129)
Tore his Achilles as a rookie, and has been cut eight times since, but Reese brought him back, and Brown finally paid off with his big night against Carolina.
2008: WR Mario Manningham, Michigan (R3, 95)
Made the second-greatest catch in modern Giants history, but the Giants let him walk in free agency. "I don't agonize over anyone,'' Reese says.
2007: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall (R7, 250)
Troubled in college, he was worth a seventh-round risk, to put it mildly. What I love about the Giants 2007 draft: All eight rookies on this Super Bowl roster not only made the team, but also were active for at least one of the Giants' four playoff wins that year.
The Fine 15:
5. New York Giants (2-1). Sitting in a good position after three weeks. They're the hottest offense in football -- Giants 61, Foes 14 over the last five quarters -- and they now sit back on their mini-bye, three days away from football, while the Eagles wake up after a long trip home from Arizona and a very short night. The Giants will be well-rested when they arrive at the Linc next Sunday night.
Dr. Z Unsung Man in the Trenches of the Week
The award for the offensive lineman who was the biggest factor for his team in the weekend's games, named for my friend Paul Zimmerman, the longtime SI football writer struggling in New Jersey to recover from three strokes suffered in November 2008. Zim, a former collegiate offensive lineman himself, loved watching offensive line play.
Will Beatty, T, New York Giants. Except for two late pressures allowed, Beatty, in his first start of the season, provided a safety net for Eli Manning and paved the way for Andre Brown, in his first start in the NFL, to run for 113 yards. More lithe and agile than he seemed as a rookie out of UConn, Beatty's going to be a vital part of the New York offense. He showed against Carolina he's ready.
Coaches of the Week
Pat Flaherty, offensive line coach, New York Giants.
Preparing on a short week, going on the road ... those are problems enough for a team playing on a Thursday night, and playing a team that just beat up the New Orleans Saints. But add this: Flaherty had to prepare an offensive line that would be starting in tandem for the first time ever -- and with a right tackle, Sean Lockler, starting his first game at right tackle for the Giants, and with Will Beatty starting for the first time this season at left tackle.
Flaherty's the unsung hero on the Giants' coaching staff, and he proved it again Thursday night. Eli Manning was sacked once in 51 minutes of play time, and rarely under duress. A first-time starting back, Andre Brown, rushed for 113 yards, and the Giants held the ball for 36 minutes. It shouldn't be this easy, but Flaherty's line made it look that way.
Ten Things I Think I Think
s. Good instincts and intelligence, Jayron Hosley, the Giants rookie cornerback. Hosley, on a blitz of Cam Newton Thursday, wasn't faked out by the nimble Newton. Then, when he contacted Newton as he released the ball, Hosley had the presence of mind to not drive him into the ground, but to slide off him and avoid a possible roughing penalty. That was a five-year-vet play by a third-round rookie.
7. I think, in case you didn't catch my drift about Cam Newton, I objected to three things he did Thursday night, aside from playing his worst all-around game as an NFL player. One: Scoring in the third quarter to make it 23-7, and then pulling the Superman act in the end zone; bush league. Two: Setting himself apart on the bench late in the game when things were going bad, causing Steve Smith to read him the riot act for being a baby. Three: Talking postgame about the loss like his dog just died.
Bernie Kosar once had a great line about a quarterback's job once the game ends. He said the postgame interview scrum is like the fifth quarter, where you help set the agenda for your teammates and, in part, your organization, for the next week. When you do that, you can't be an all-is-lost guy, which is what Newton looked like after the Giants beat Carolina.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The Triple Crown is a pretty big deal. The last time it was won, 1967, I was sitting on the couch in my living room in Enfield, Conn., nerdily keeping score of the final Red Sox game of the Impossible Dream season. That's the weekend my hero, Carl Yastrzemski, went 7 for 8 as the Sox swept the Twins in a two-game series to win the pennant, and it's the weekend Yaz won the Triple Crown. (Yaz homered in the seventh Saturday, his 44th, and Harmon Killebrew followed two innings later with his 44th.) Yaz won the Crown, tying Killebrew in homers and winning the Batting and RBI titles outright. It hasn't been done in the 45 years since.
If the season ended Sunday, Miguel Cabrera would do the exact same thing -- win the batting and RBI titles, and tie Josh Hamilton for the homer run title with 42. I admire the ridiculous season of Mike Trout, but if the season were over and I had a vote, Cabrera would be my MVP.
c. Happy 63rd birthday (Sunday), Bruce Springsteen.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Felix Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners' 26 year old ace and savior throws his first perfect game and no hitter on August 15th, 2012. King Felix, who was the AL Cy Young Winner in 2010, pitched the second perfect game at Safeco Field this year. In true Mariners fashion, the team won the game against the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Thanks King Felix for being here when times have been rough, giving us performances like this, and we hope you're still here when it gets good again. Some nuggets from the game:
-Felix Hernandez became just the 23rd pitcher—and first Mariner—in MLB history to throw a perfect game by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0.
-This was the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, three of them coming at Safeco Field.
-King Felix generated 26 swings-and-misses for the day, 10 via his curveball, nine via his changeup, five via his slider and one apiece via his four- and two-seam fastballs. The 26 whiffs are tied for third on the year with the White Sox’ Chris Sale (May 28 against these same Rays) and the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (May 20 against the Pirates), behind CC Sabathia (27 on June 7 against — surprise! — the Rays) and Francisco Liriano (30 on July 13 against the A’s). Among the no-hitters and perfect games this year, his total far outstrips those of Johan Santana (18), Kevin Millwood and five Mariner relievers (16, seven by Millwood), Matt Cain (14), Philip Humber (14) and Jered Weaver (10).
-Felix: "It was always in my mind, every game. `I need to throw a perfect game.' For every pitcher I think it's in their mind," Hernandez said. "Today it happened and it's something special. I don't have any words to explain this. This is pretty amazing. It doesn't happen every day."
-It marks the first time in MLB history three perfect games have been thrown in the same season
-King Felix struck out Sean Rodriguez looking for the last out.
As Mariner fans like to say: "Felix Is Ours And You Cannot Have Him"
Monday, August 6, 2012
When Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for Best Director and her film "The Hurt Locker" won for best picture, film fans around the world were eagerly anticipating what her follow up would be. Entertainment Weekly offers the first in-depth interview about the film and also has exclusive screen shots.
Not looking to take it easy after the gritty and hyper-real Iraq war film, Bigelow looked to take on another story from her "Hurt Locker" screenwriter Mark Boal, about the hunt for Bin Laden. After the criminal mastermind was killed by Seal Team 6, Bigelow and Boal re-worked the movie into "Zero Dark Thirty," which Bigelow explains: "It’s a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade long mission."
The film has a strong ensemble cast, including Kyle Chandler from "Friday Night Lights," recent Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong as a CIA agent, Chris Pratt, Mark Duplass, Harold Perrineau, Jason Clarke and Edgar Ramirez.
The interview offers many details about the film, while also keeping the story and build up a secret. Said Bigelow: "There are over 100 speaking roles, featuring teams of operatives, from [Department of Defense], CIA, Navy SEALs, et. al. that intersect with foreign nationals and enemy combatants."
Here are a few of the screenshots, check out the rest at EW's main website.
In somewhat surprising news, Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" will be moved from Christmas 2012 until summer 2013.
The move has a few repercussions, the most notable of course is the removal of the film from this years Oscar race. From what we've seen so far, the set design and costumes are a shoe-in for nominations, and performances from past nominees like DiCaprio and Mulligan are always worth keeping an eye on.
The studio has a number of other titles to push for this years awards, including Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Hobbit" and Ben Affleck's Iran hostage crisis drama "Argo". This also gives DiCaprio some breathing room in the public relations department because he also has a starring role in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which is also slated for a Christmas 2012.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
You knew Baz would make the world of Gatsby luxurious, and boy does he. Leonardo Dicaprio is a perfect Gatsby and the rest of the cast looks fantastic as well, including Tobey Maguire, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan. Can't wait til Christmas.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Christopher Nolan, I salute you. Cannot wait until July 20th.
Monday, April 9, 2012
The girl just can't be stopped. For another week "The Hunger Games" struck down all competitors and showed the reason why Gary Ross would want a few more bucks to return as director of the sequel.
Also it's less than one month until THE AVENGERS and the unofficial start of summer movie season. CANNOT WAIT.
Monday, March 5, 2012
The Giants' Super Bowl DVD is finally here and Peter King in his MMQB column throws out some great nuggets about it:
As usual, some good nuggets in the Giants' Super Bowl DVD.
One of my favorite video events of the year is the hour-long Super Bowl winners' DVD, which goes on sale tonight at midnight and will debut in Times Square in New York this evening. We've already seen some of the good moments previewed on shows like "Inside the NFL'' on Showtime, and on NFL Network programming, the best of which was Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl imploring his defense -- right before Eli Manning rainbowed the greatest throw of his life into Mario Manningham's arms down the left sideline -- to watch out for Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and let the Giants throw it to Manningham or Bear Pascoe.
The other points I enjoyed about Vivendi Entertainment's Super Bowl XLVI Champions: New York Giants:
• Good NFL Films slo-mo angles of stopping Vernon Davis in the NFC Championship Game. Tight, compelling shots. And a perfect angle on the ball grazing Kyle Williams' knee on the poor returner's muffed punt.
• Victor Cruz on the field before the Super Bowl, speaking to himself incredulously, sounding like a perfectly programmed Tom Coughlin football player. This Cruz talking to Victor Cruz: "I used to think it was all about me. It's about this team. THIS TEAM.''
• The mechanics of officiating on the early-game safety in the Super Bowl. After Tom Brady, standing in the pocket in the end zone, sails a pass way over any intended receiver, umpire Carl Paganelli rushes in to speak with ref John Parry in the end zone. "Nobody down there!'' Paganelli said. And Parry looked downfield and said, "He's [Brady] in the pocket.'' Good scene of how officials work together.
• Telling camera shot: After Chase Blackburn intercepted Brady, Brady sat glumly on the field. For three or four seconds, a teammate offered a hand to help Brady get up. Brady didn't.
• Cruz, again, watching the replay board after the incredible catch by Manningham down the sideline, during the replay review, seeing if Manningham did indeed make a legal catch: "Catch ... right ... left ... YEAH!!!!''
• New England linebacker Jerod Mayo in the huddle with a minute to play, telling his defense to play dead: "Huddle up! Huddle up! Gotta let 'em score! Gotta let 'em score!'' And they did.
• Finally, Tom Brady, with urgency, just before his Hail Mary on the final play of the game, to Aaron Hernandez: "Run to the goal post and catch it!'' That's exactly what Hernandez tried to do. And failed.
Good stuff, though I'm guessing it won't sell so well in the 617 area code.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
In addition to MMQB this morning, this was Ernie's full Eli scouting report from the 2003 college football season:
"WEARS LEFT KNEE BRACE... DURING PREGAME WARMUP, DIDN'T LOOK LIKE HE HAD A ROCKET ARM... AS GAME PROGRESSED, I SAW EXCELLENT ARM STRENGTH UNDER PRESSURE AND THE ABILITY TO GET VELOCITY ON THE BALL ON MOST THROWS. GOOD DEEP BALL RANGE. GOOD TOUCH. GOOD VISION AND POISE. SEES THE FIELD... IN A SHOTGUN ON MOST PLAYS AND HIS ONLY RUNNING OPTION IS A DRAW... HIS OFFENSIVE LINE IS POOR. RED-SHIRT FRESHMAN LEFT TACKLE. ELI DOESN'T TRUST HIS PROTECTION. CAN'T.
NO WAY CAN HE TAKE ANY FORM OF DEEP DROP AND LOOK DOWNFIELD. WITH NO RUNNING GAME (10 YARDS RUSHING THE FIRST HALF0 AND NO REAL TOP RECEIVERS, HE'S STUCK WITH THREE-STEP DROPS AND WAITING TIL THE LAST SECOND TO SEE IF A RECEIVER CAN GET FREE. NO TIGHT END EITHER. NO FLAIRING BACK. SO HE'S TAKING SOME BIG HITS. TAKING THEM WELL. CARRIED AN OVERMATCHED TEAM ENTIRELY ON HIS SHOULDERS. I IMAGINE, EXCEPT FOR VANDERBILT, HIS TEAM IS OVERMATCHED IN EVERY SEC [SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE] GAME... HE'S BIG, NEVER GETS RATTLED. RALLIED HIS TEAM FROM A 14-3 HALF-TIME DEFICIT BASICALLY ALL BY HIMSELF. LED THEM ON TWO SUCCESSIVE THIRD QUARTER DRIVES TO GO AHEAD, 17-16. THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN, ON A 40-YARD STREAK DOWN THE LEFT SIDELINE, HE DROPPED THE BALL OVER THE RECEIVER'S RIGHT SHOULDER. CALLED THE NEXT TOUCHDOWN PASS HIMSELF, CHECKING OFF TO A 12-YARD SLANT... MAKES A LOT OF DECISIONS ON PLAY CALLS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, BUT THEY ASK TOO MUCH OF HIM. THEY DON'T LET HIM JUST PLAY. THIS IS A GUY YOU SHOULD JUST LET PLAY... WHEN HE'S INACCURATE, HE'S USUALLY HIGH, BUT RARELY OFF TARGET TO EITHER SIDE... PLAYS SMART AND WITH COMPLETE CONFIDENCE. DOESN'T SCOLD HIS TEAMMATES, BUT LETS THEM KNOW WHEN THEY LINE UP WRONG OR RUN THE WRONG PATTERN... THREW THREE INTERCEPTIONS. TWO WERE HIS FAULT. TRYING TO FORCE SOMETHING BOTH TIMES. HE COULD HAVE RUN ON ONE OF THEM, A FOURTH DOWN PLAY. HE HAS A LOT TO LEARN.
SUMMARY: I THINK HE'S THE COMPLETE PACKAGE. HE'S NOT GOING TO BE A FAST RUNNER, BUT A LITTLE LIKE JOE MONTANA, HE HAS ENOUGH ATHLETIC ABILITY TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE. REMEMBER HOW ARCHIE RAN? IN THAT DEPARTMENT, ELI DOESN'T HAVE THE BEST GENES, ALTHOUGH I NEVER TIMED MOM OLIVIA IN THE 40. BUT HE HAS A FEEL FOR THE POCKET. FEELS THE RUSH THROWS THE BALL, TAKES THE HIT, GETS RIGHT BACK UP... HAS COURAGE AND POISE. IN MY OPINION, MOST OF ALL, HE HAS THAT QUALITY THAT YOU CAN'T DEFINE. CALL IT MAGIC. AS [FORMER BALTIMORE COLTS DEFENSIVE BACK] BOBBY BOYD TOLD ME ONCE ABOUT UNITAS, "TWO THINGS SET HIM APART: HIS LEFT TESTICLE AND HIS RIGHT TESTICLE"... PEYTON HAD MUCH BETTER TALENT AROUND HIM AT TENNESSEE. BUT I HONESTLY GIVE THIS GUY A CHANCE TO BE BETTER THAN HIS BROTHER. ELI DOESNT GET MUCH HELP FROM THE COACHING STAFF. IF HE COMES OUT EARLY, WE SHOULD MOVE UP TO TAKE HIM. THESE GUYS ARE RARE, YOU KNOW."
Eli Manning... New York Legend.
Some more Manning and post-Super Bowl thoughts:
Eli Manning needed to sleep. After three days of revelry, parades, ring-sizing and backslapping, he'd had enough. "We've got to get out of here,'' he told his wife, Abby, and so they left their Hoboken, N.J., nest Thursday and went somewhere. Where, I don't know. But he was good enough to call me Friday and explain two things: how he survived 2004, and how he won the fourth quarter in last week's Super Bowl.
Remember what happened in 2004. The Giants could have stayed where they were on draft day, at number four in the first round, and taken Miami of Ohio's Ben Roethlisberger. But Accorsi traded a bushel full of picks to San Diego to get Manning.
In training camp, Kurt Warner won the starting job. He got off to a 5-2 start, but then lost to Chicago and Arizona, and rookie coach Tom Coughlin went to Accorsi and said he wanted to make a change at quarterback. He wanted Manning to play. He knew Manning was the future, and even though Warner likely would have given them a better chance to beat the defensively strong upcoming foes, Coughlin thought he was going to Manning at some point, and he knew the kid's confidence wouldn't get strafed if he played. That's what Coughlin thought, anyway. "I do recall how desperately Eli wanted to be in there,'' Gilbride said last week. "He was dying to play.''
"I redshirted my freshman year at Ole Miss,'' Manning told me, "and when I was put in there, I was ready to play. My rookie year here, at first, it was an opportunity to watch an MVP play. Kurt was great to me. I would ask him tips about picking up the blitz. And when coach Coughlin went to me, I knew it hurt Kurt. I felt for him. But he was still a professional, helping me. He could have been a lot of things, but I can tell you he was a help to me.''
Warner likes Manning, and vice versa. This was a tough situation, because Warner thought the Giants were throwing away the season -- maybe to justify the trade and the selection of Manning. And Warner looked right for the first month. Manning put up only 23 points in losses to Arizona, Philly and Washington, and then there was the 37-14 debacle at Baltimore, the day Warner had to come in to rescue Manning in relief. "He was overwhelmed by the situation,'' Warner told me on my podcast last week. "It was some of the worst quarterbacking I'd seen at the NFL level.''
The Ravens, Gilbride said, "did everything they could to humiliate Eli.''
Manning didn't fold. He had a huge week coming up, and a short week. The Giants took the train back to New Jersey after the Sunday game in Baltimore. Coming the following Saturday: a nationally televised game against Pittsburgh, at home, with Roethlisberger, who looked like a big star in the making for the Steelers, coming to the Meadowlands to show everyone in football that Accorsi and the Giants made a big mistake in picking Manning and not him.
On the two-hour ride to Newark, Manning spoke with Gilbride and then-offensive coordinator John Hufnagel. Rather than sulk about the disastrous game he'd played, he told them his eight favorite plays. He told them, "If you could put these in the game plan next week, it'd give me eight plays I'd be comfortable with -- rhythm plays, plays I know I'd have an open receiver even if it was just a short gain.''
Notable that Manning could think about the next game 90 minutes after the most embarrassing game of his life. "I was down, really down,'' he said. "But I knew if we could put some plays in the plan for the next week that I liked, I'd feel better about it -- and the offense would see in practice we'd be able to move the ball.''
That week, he met with Coughlin. "I'm better than this coach,'' Manning told him. And Coughlin said he knew that, and don't look over your shoulder; just play. But around the team, this was a big week, and a tense week. Roethlisberger and the Steelers were 11-0. In the New York Daily News, Gary Myers wrote, "So far, it's shocking how inept Manning has looked. The field looks 200 yards long.'' Accorsi told Myers that week: "I don't want to talk about Roethlisberger. This thing will be written over a long time, not, in Eli's case, four weeks."
Now, Manning says: "I didn't read the paper in high school, and I never got the paper in college. I could kind of tell what was being said about me by the questions the reporters would ask. So I didn't read about me. Same thing when I got to the Giants. But I could tell that week was a big week. The media was like a bunch of hungry dogs. They were coming for me. And I hadn't played well, so that's the way it goes.''
Strange game. Willie Ponder of the Giants returned the opening kick 91 yards for a touchdown. Roethlisberger threw a pick on his first drive. The Steelers scored on an Antwaan Randle El shovel pass. Manning followed with a 55-yard touchdown drive ending in a two-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey. The crowd was getting into it.
Back and forth they went, the Giants taking a 24-23 lead at the end of the third quarter on Manning's second touchdown pass of the day, the Steelers coming back to take the lead on a Jeff Reed field goal, Manning driving the Giants 52 yards for another TD (a Tiki Barber TD run) to put the Giants up 30-26 midway through the fourth quarter, and Jerome Bettis burrowing behind right tackle with five minutes left to make it 33-30, Steelers.
Driving to tie or win it, Manning threw a pick at the Steelers 18 with three minutes to play. Ballgame. "You don't like to say losing a game was a big mental boost for us,'' Manning said, "but it was. That was the day I thought I showed our team I could play at a high level.''
Manning that day: 16-of-23 (.696), 182 yards, two TDs, one interception, 103.9 rating.
Roethlisberger: 18-of-28 (.643), 316, one TD, two interceptions, 84.8 rating.
That's the day Manning took the heat off himself. He's never really felt it since.------------------
A bit more on "The throw":
Now to the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl last week. Much has been said and written about the fateful final drive, and the throw to Manningham in particular, when Nicks and Victor Cruz were lined up to the right and Manningham to the left.
The Giants took over at their 12 with 3:46 to go. Gilbride wanted to take a shot on first down.
"I thought 'Rio' [Mario Manningham] could run by the one corner on the left,'' Gilbride said. "I didn't know if Eli would choose that side, but I thought the play might be there. The thing is, I knew Eli wouldn't make a bad decision there. He's rooted solidly in this offense, and he has a strong belief what's there and what isn't there.''
In a story about this play for Sports Illustrated this week, I wrote that Manningham had gone to Gilbride on Thursday and was blunt about the Giants' playcaller not forgetting him -- or the receivers as a group -- in the game against the Patriots. "We feel we can win this game,'' Manningham said. "You have to understand --we're not nervous. We're excited. The stage is definitely not too big for us.''
On Friday, Manning told me Manningham came to him, too. There wasn't much three-wide stuff in the game plan, Manningham said, so when he's in there, he was going to get open and take advantage of his opportunities. The strong inference: Don't forget me. I'm going to help us win.
During the week, Manning had written notes in his game plan about this play. He wrote about how the New England safeties don't get very wide when they're taking a half of the field apiece. Manning thought, watching tape of the Patriots, "There'll be opportunities to make plays downfield on them.'' But still he didn't think this play was a lock to go right, as he had --according to backup quarterback David Carr -- every time he'd ever seen this play run in practice or a game.
When the ball was snapped, Manning was still thinking Cruz or Nicks first, and that made Chung, the safety who would have responsibility over the top on Manningham, creep over to his left, to provide help if Manning went to that side. "I wasn't looking [Chung] off,'' Manning told me. "I was truly throwing to the right. But the cornerback looked like he was in good position on Victor. I thought the nickel was too close to Hakeem. I didn't like what I saw.''
In his split-second look to the left, Manning saw Manningham with a step or step-and-a-half on corner Sterling Moore, with Chung, hips open to the left and inside the numbers, with very far to turn and run to break up the play if Manning threw left to Manningham.
"It's one of those plays,' Manning said, "where I can't throw it inside, toward the field, or the safety could knock it away. And I can't underthrow it. Those are the two no-nos. If I throw it too far, nothing's lost. It's second down, and we'll be OK.''
The throw traveled 42 yards in the air. As it dropped into Manningham's hands at the Giant 47, Moore's right forearm clubbed Manningham's right shoulder, trying to dislodge the ball; Chung arrived a split-second later and mugged Manningham over the boundary into the Patriots' bench area. Every Patriot but Bill Belichick signaled the play was no good because Manningham surely was out of bounds. But he wasn't. Manningham got both feet in the field of play before the mugging.
Later, Gilbride asked Manning why he'd made that decision. "The other guys got jammed,'' Manning told him. "And I threw it where no one else could get it.''
Eli Manning might play 10 more years and never make a throw better than that one. Sheer perfection ... and thrown to a receiver determined to make a big play in the biggest game of his life.
The audible to the slant to Nicks "was easy,'' Manning said. "I could see the two safeties crowding the line, so it was the only call to make.''
After the completion to Nicks gave the Giants first-and-10 at the two-minute warning at the Patriot 18, Manning looked across the line. "We hit 'em in the mouth,'' he said. "I think they were getting worried then.''
Funny thing about the touchdown, the six-yard score by Ahmad Bradshaw three plays later. Manning thought to tell Bradshaw not to score when he got to the line. However, Gilbride and Coughlin never thought to tell the Giants to beware of the Patriots handing them the touchdown.
Manning saw the Pats being a little lax when he got to the line, and when the snap came, he saw a defensive lineman stand up -- as though he wasn't going to try to make a tackle or rush the passer. So when Manning handed the ball to Bradshaw, he said, "Don't score!'' But Bradshaw couldn't process it in time, and by the time he got to the two-yard line and tried to stop, his momentum carried him into the end zone.
Two takeaways: The fact that Gilbride and Manning have been together for eight years is a huge factor in Gilbride knowing what Manning will execute well in a certain situation. "He completes my sentences,'' Gilbride said. And Manning told me this about Gilbride: "He is what I know about NFL offenses. I can't tell you how huge an advantage it is to be with the same coordinator for so long.''
And Manning's approach to football is a factor in him being so good, late, in such big games. He's been down to the Patriots in the final two minutes the last three times he's played them. And he's driven the Giants 83, 80 and 88 yards in those three games, scoring each time in the final minute to win. How does a person not allow the moment to overwhelm him? Or at least to affect his play? Manning looks like he'd rather play in the fourth quarter, with 116 million people watching.
"I think it comes from the fact I can only do so much,'' Manning said. "And I want to give our team every chance to win, and I want to give myself every chance to compete and to win. I control half the game, and even then I can't control one of our guys fumbling. So I have always had the attitude that if I do everything in my power to prepare, and then I have confidence that we've got a good plan and I know it's good enough to win, then I just go play and whatever happens happens.
"If we lose, will I be mad or upset? Yes. For a few days. But I think after some time, a few days, I'm not going to let it ruin my life for the next two months. I've got a wife and a daughter, and it's not fair to them to ruin the offseason because we lost a football game. I need to be there for them.''
One last thing from that Accorsi scouting report. Something about guts. Manning may not look the part, but someone who plays the way he does late in games has something that Accorsi saw that day in Mississippi, something he'd also seen in his Colts days with Johnny Unitas, something Colts teammate Bobby Boyd saw too. Wrote Accorsi: "BOYD TOLD ME ONCE ABOUT UNITAS, 'TWO THINGS SET HIM APART: HIS LEFT TESTICLE AND HIS RIGHT TESTICLE.' ''
Lots of lessons here. A good organization, with a strong GM, should be trusted above all. Young, Accorsi and Reese have served the Giants extraordinarily well in the last 33 years. Good coaching, with a staff that mostly stays in place, is most often the hallmark of a winning organization. And a good quarterback, with guts, well, that doesn't hurt either.----------------------
The story of Ernie Accorsi, Eli Manning, the draft, the trade and the New York Giants has been well documented already, but there's some great stuff from Peter King in his latest MMQB column on where it all began.
From Peter King:
Scene 1: Nov. 2, 2002, Oxford, Miss. The general manager of the New York Giants, Ernie Accorsi, is sitting outside, in the row of seats in front of the Mississippi press box, scouting the quarterback of Ole Miss, Eli Manning, against heavily favored Auburn. It's bitterly cold. Taking notes that afternoon for his scouting report (which six years later would be an important element of Tom Callahan's insightful book, The GM, on Accorsi's last year with the Giants), Accorsi is watching two future first-round picks at quarterback -- Manning and Auburn's Jason Campbell -- and seems riveted by Manning.
A couple of days later, Accorsi types his report in all capital letters to be submitted as part of the team's scouting report on Manning. In a section of the report covering the second half, he writes: "NEVER GETS RATTLED. RALLIED HIS TEAM FROM A 14-3 HALFTIME DEFICIT BASICALLY ALL BY HIMSELF. LED THEM ON TWO SUCCESSIVE THIRD QUARTER DRIVES TO GO AHEAD, 17-16. THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN, ON A 40-YARD STREAK DOWN THE LEFT SIDELINE, HE DROPPED THE BALL OVER THE RECEIVER'S RIGHT SHOULDER. CALLED THE NEXT TOUCHDOWN PASS HIMSELF, CHECKING OFF TO A 12-YARD SLANT. MAKES A LOT OF DECISIONS ON PLAY CALLS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE.''
Scene 2: Dec. 12, 2004, Baltimore. The one thing Eli Manning always has had is poise. That's what makes this horror show at the Ravens so weird, and so troubling.
When quarterbacks go to the line of scrimmage, they most often point to the foe they're using as the middle linebacker, in order for the offensive line to know which man they're going to block. The first man to the right of the "mike'' linebacker, for instance, will be blocked by the right guard, etc. And so when Manning would see Ray Lewis, number 52 on the Ravens, across the line and bark out, "52's the mike,'' Lewis would scurry to the outside of the formation and yell, "I'm the mike!'' And Ed Reed or another defender would slip into Lewis' spot and yell, "I'm the mike!'' They were taunting Manning, and it shook him up.
Says Manning now: "A nightmare. A disaster. They saw me sweating it, and they took advantage of me, to say the least.''
In the fourth start of his Giants' career, Manning was the definition of pathetic, four of 18 for 27 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions ... for a 0.0 passer rating. In the press box, one veteran Giants scribe took to calling Eli "Billy Ripken'' over and over again. As in, "The brother of a great player who'll just never make it.''
Scene 3: Feb. 5, 2012, Indianapolis. Manning was down by 11 that cold day in Oxford. He was down eight here in Super Bowl XLVI. But he led the Giants to two field goals in the third quarter, and when he took over at the New York 12 with 3:46 to go, the Accorsi scouting report comes to life. On the first snap (ON A 40-YARD STREAK DOWN THE LEFT SIDELINE, HE DROPPED THE BALL OVER THE RECEIVER'S RIGHT SHOULDER), Manning, on a 38-yard streak by Mario Manningham down the left sideline, dropped the ball over the receiver's right shoulder, and Manningham made a perfect catch and got both feet down and the Giants were in business at midfield. The Patriots were stunned.
Four plays later, on second-and-eight from the Patriots' 32, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride thinks the Pats may blitz. He gives Manning a running play to use if they don't, and tells him to check to a quick slant if they do blitz. "Alert, alert!'' Manning says, walking up and down the line when he sees safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Brandon Spikes getting ready to blitz. The run is off. The pass is on. (Remember Auburn-Ole Miss, and Accorsi. CHECKING OFF TO A 12-YARD SLANT.)
Manning takes the shotgun snap. Three Patriot blitzers are erased by Kareem McKenzie, Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boothe. Textbook blitz pickup orchestrated by veteran line coach Pat Flaherty and running backs coach Jerald Ingram; both men came to the Giants with Coughlin in 2004. Hakeem Nicks runs a quick slant inside cornerback Antwaan Molden, and Manning throws a strike. Gain of 14.
The other day I asked Gilbride to pick the plays on that drive he thought were the crucial ones. He picked two. "The one to Manningham, of course,'' he said, "and a quick slant to Nicks. We were not settling for the field goal. No way. Not unless we had to. We were attacking.''
Two vital passes against Auburn, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.
Two vital passes against the Patriots, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.
Accorsi, who lives in Manhattan, watched the game in the solitude of his home in his hometown of Hershey, Pa. "On that last drive,'' Accorsi said, "I said, 'He's gonna do it.' I've seen it before.''----------------------
G-MEN baby. Eli.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Says it all right there.
Super Bowl champ.
Super Bowl MVP.
SI cover boy.
New York legend.
One name status.
NFL Films is the best at what they do and this time around is no different. Some sound bytes from the game and some stuff from the NY Times on the footage. Giants fans will relish in this for years to come:
-Belichick on the receivers and the last drive:
"Crouched on the sideline in front of the players, Belichick emphasized that they had to focus on Giants receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
“This is still a Cruz and Nicks game,” he said. “I mean I know we’re right on them, it’s tight. But those are still the guys. Make them go to Manningham, make them go to Pascoe, all right. But let’s make sure we get Cruz and Nicks.”
"When Patriots receiver Wes Welker failed to hang on to a pass from Brady on second-and-11 from the Giants’ 44 with about four minutes remaining, at least one of the game officials appreciated the significance. The ball fell from Welker’s hands at the Giants’ 20, with the Patriots leading, 17-15. After the drop, the referee John Parry turned to a fellow official and said, “Whoa, that was the game.”
There are great links to video and sound from the game in the article as well.
Monday, February 6, 2012
GIANTS WIN THE SUPER BOWL!
-From friend of the Breeze and game attendee Gary Hartman:
"I honestly don't know where to begin. I guess with the one word that continued to define this team. Resiliency. It is truly astounding. Always overcoming. We were 7-7 before that Jets game. 7-7! What an unbelievable, amazing run. Jets or go home. Cowboys or go home for the division. Shutout Atlanta. Knock off the PREVIOUS Super Bowl Champions in Lambeau. Go face the possibly best defense in the league on the road for a chance to play today and take care of business. Then de ja blue. Wa La. SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS. SUPERBOWL 46 CHAMPIONS. ONE MORE TIME. SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS. I am so thrilled. Actually the best night of my life. Never have experienced anything like this before. I wasn't joking before when I said I can now die happy. In person, I saw my New York Football Giants win the Superbowl. Obviously no questions about Eli anymore. Hall of Famer. Same goes for Coach. Tom Coughlin is a god as far as I'm concerned. Pass Rush was shit for 3 quarters, but defense came up big when it needed to in the 3rd quarter. Manningham- amazing. Nicks-amazing. Bradshaw coming up big when need be and this whole team was, well, resilient. I'm sitting in my hotel room in Indianpolis with a huge smile on my face. Beyond happy. This is so surreal. We are Super Bowl Champions. Can't say it enough. Now need to get back to College Park tomorrow night, get my car and off to The canyon of Heroes for Tuesday. Can't Wait. WE DID IT. WE WANTED IT MORE. WE OVERCAME EVERYTHING AND ARE NOW WORLD CHAMPIONS. NYG FOOTBALL."
-On Manningham's catch from the NY Times:
"Quarterback Eli Manning took the snap on first down from the shotgun. Manningham was not the first option on the play, but Manning seemed to know where he planned to throw the ball the entire time. Manningham said the Patriot who defended him gave him a cushion of 5 or 6 yards, that he started inside and worked outside, streaking up the left sideline.
The ball arched high, went long and arrived over Manningham’s shoulder, in the only place Manning could have thrown it with success. Manningham told himself to “freeze your feet,” and he stomped them at the turf, conscious of the out-of-bounds line and his position relative to it. “That was clutch,” Nicks said. “We had to get the ball downfield. Someone had to make a play.”
"I thought I heard Eli yelling at me to fall down ... I tried," Bradshaw would say, but not unhappily. People can argue about the right and wrong thing to do there. If he had stopped and not scored the touchdown, and the field goal was somehow missed, that would be the worst decision in the history of the NFL. Of course, if he had scored and Tom Brady then drove the Patriots for the win, people would second-guess that too."
From Don Banks on SI.com:
"It's a pretty select club Eli Manning joined here Sunday night. You could almost call it an "elite'' membership to belong to.
Quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins have a cache all their own in NFL history, and we had best start wrapping our minds around the reality that Peyton Manning's little brother is in the fraternity, and the Colts' long-time great isn't. That last shall be first stuff really does come to pass sometimes."
-From Peter King's MMQB on SI.com:
"I've noticed this about the guy. Football's his job, and he likes it a lot. But let's say God tapped him on the shoulder tomorrow and said, "I've got different plans for you. You're going to be an architect.'' Manning would handle that pretty well. He is a sick competitor, but he'd figure a way to satisfy that part of his life. Golf with the other architects, Friday night poker, trying to be a better architect than anyone else out there.
"He just doesn't care,'' Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said by his locker 90 minutes after the Super Bowl. "He doesn't. If we lose the game today, life goes on. He's fine. He'll just start getting ready for next year. That's who he is.''
It's a wrap. 1. New York Giants (13-7).
The other day, Tom Coughlin said to me, "Don Shula's amazing. Amazing! Look at how many games he's won!'' Shula's won 347. Coughlin won his 154th last night and would be lucky, obviously, to get to 200 one day. But I do think Coughlin's amazing himself, to have withstood the stress of this job with an expansion team for half his career and one of the modern powerhouses for the other half ... and to have won an average of 9.6 games a year."
The Award Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Giants QB Eli Manning. I've come to the conclusion that his laissez-faire attitude is one of the things that makes him a great player. He doesn't sweat the small stuff. How else do you explain the great play late in so many big games? In his two Super Bowl victories, Manning is a 66 percent passer with 551 passing yards and one turnover. And his throw to Manningham with the season on the line ... priceless.
Defensive Player of the Week
Giants DL Justin Tuck. Give credit to the Patriots for sealing off the holes they couldn't seal four years ago. The Giants weren't as successful rushing the passer as they were in the previous Super Bowl against New England, but Tuck did get two sacks, the second of which left Brady with a left shoulder injury that will be painful this morning. While the Patriots shut down the rush of Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul with strong play on the left side of their line, Tuck got the best penetration of the night.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Giants P Steve Weatherford. Other than one sloppy touchback, his day was stellar. His four punts left the Patriots to start from their 6-, 20-, 4- and 8-yard lines.
Coach of the Week
Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you. Sometimes you have to attack the defense when it's not giving you much, in hopes that your key guys can make a play or two that logic says isn't coming. I thought Gilbride had a great feel for this game. It's not always total rushing yards; number of rushes is just as important when you want to keep the ball away from the other quarterback. The Giants' 28 rushes (4.1 per rush) helped them to 37 minutes of possession time. Gilbride had to figure out what the Patriots were doing on defense, which took a while (like, about 55 minutes). "It was a tough game to call,'' Gilbride said, "because they're a tough team to go against. They don't let you figure out what they're doing very easily.''
Giants all the way baby. From 7-7 to World Champs. LOVE IT.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Some great surprises and some not-so-surprises this year, including a first nomination for Gary Oldman (finally!) as well as some deserving nominations for Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Alexander Payne, Nick Nolte and Rooney Mara. There will be a ton of time for analysis, predictions and snubs, but for now, the full list:
Actor in a Leading Role
- Demián Bichir in "A Better Life"
- George Clooney in "The Descendants"
- Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"
- Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
- Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"
Actor in a Supporting Role
- Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"
- Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"
- Nick Nolte in "Warrior"
- Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
- Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Actress in a Leading Role
- Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs"
- Viola Davis in "The Help"
- Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
- Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"
- Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn"
Actress in a Supporting Role
- Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
- Jessica Chastain in "The Help"
- Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"
- Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
- Octavia Spencer in "The Help"
- "The Artist" Guillaume Schiffman
- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Jeff Cronenweth
- "Hugo" Robert Richardson
- "The Tree of Life" Emmanuel Lubezki
- "War Horse" Janusz Kaminski
- "The Artist" Michel Hazanavicius
- "The Descendants" Alexander Payne
- "Hugo" Martin Scorsese
- "Midnight in Paris" Woody Allen
- "The Tree of Life" Terrence Malick
- "The Artist" Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
- "The Descendants" Kevin Tent
- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
- "Hugo" Thelma Schoonmaker
- "Moneyball" Christopher Tellefsen
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- "The Descendants" Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
- "Hugo" Screenplay by John Logan
- "The Ides of March" Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
- "Moneyball" Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
- "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- "The Artist" Written by Michel Hazanavicius
- "Bridesmaids" Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
- "Margin Call" Written by J.C. Chandor
- "Midnight in Paris" Written by Woody Allen
- "A Separation" Written by Asghar Farhadi
Monday, January 23, 2012
Emotions running crazy, never giving up. The Giants are back in the Super Bowl for the second time in five years behind the brilliant play this season of our boy Eli Manning. Hard to explain, no need to explain.
From Don Banks on SI.com:
"Here's my favorite summation of this plucky Giants team, all wrapped up in one mind-boggling statistic: There have now been 92 Super Bowl teams in NFL history, and New York is the first one to have been outscored in the regular season (400 to 394). But somehow, I don't think the Giants care. Their story was never about how they started, it was about how they finished. And New York knows how to finish. Just ask the Jets, Cowboys, Falcons, Packers and 49ers, their past five opponents/victims."
"Manning's toughness and determination was on full display all night. San Francisco's tenacious defense sacked him six times, hit him some 20 times according to the FOX telecast, and limited him to just 5.4 yards per pass attempt. But they didn't beat him, and now he gets a rematch with New England's Tom Brady, meaning the Super Bowl will have a Manning in it for the fourth time in six years."
From ESPN New York:
"Eli Manning began the season telling everyone that he's an elite signal caller who should be considered on the same level as Tom Brady. Manning should add toughness to that list. Once again, the Giants' franchise quarterback proved not only how good he is, but how he may be the toughest player on Tom Coughlin's team. And now the best season of his life will end in the Super Bowl against Brady' Patriots."
From Peter King's MMQB on SI.com:
"How about this incredible Xerox of fate for the Giants.
In 2007, the Giants started the playoffs by beating an NFC South team. Then they beat the No. 1 seed on the road. Then they beat the No. 2 seed in the conference title game when the foe turned it over in overtime and gave the Giants a short field and the Giants won on a Lawrence Tynes overtime field goal. Then they moved on to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl."
In 2011, let's see ... NFC South team, No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, overtime, turnover, Tynes, Patriots. Check.
One more thing:
2007: Giants lose to Washington 22-10 in Week 15.
2011: Giants lose to Washington 23-10 in Week 15.
--YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP
More from Peter:
The Fine Fifteen:
1. New York Giants (12-7). There's something about getting hot at the right time. The Giants have played five straight elimination games and won them all, which sounds a lot like the last time they played the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Defensive Players of the Week:
New York DL Justin Tuck. As usual, you could name two or three guys from the Giants' defensive front to this august honor. Tuck's 1.5 sacks and three pressures helped keep the Niners out of scoring position for 11 of their last 13 drives.
Special Teams Player of the Week:
New York LB Jacquian Williams. In overtime of the NFC title game, Williams stripped punt returner Kyle Williams at the Niners' 24-yard line. Devin Thomas recovered, and the Giants kicked the winning field goal five plays later.
Coach of the Week:
New York head coach Tom Coughlin. For a guy who's been fired at least 65 times in the last five years, Coughlin sure can organize, plan, motivate and game-day-coach exceedingly well. That showed with a poised team that understood the basics of how to win this game: Don't turn it over ... punting is fine ... you'll be in position to win at the end. And the Giants were.
Eli vs Brady rematch in the house that Peyton built. Let's do it boys.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Giants take down the mighty Pack and set up a huge NFC Championship matchup with a team they may have been able to beat earlier in the year, the San Francisco 49ers.
From friend of the Breeze and all around g money all star Gary Hartman:
"I said after the last GB game that they were very beatable, just needed the right test and that I'd love to see them again. This being said, GIANTS FOOTBALL BABY. What a game! We dominated in every facet. Yeah they dropped passes but doesn't change the fact that we simply out played them. Playing unbelievably right now.Eli and Nicks truly are Gods. Defense is playing at a different level and everyone from coaching down is stepping up huge. PLAYING FOR THE SUPERBOWL BABY!!!! Bring on San Fran!!!"
From Peter King at SI.com:
Quote of the Week II:
"How the hell is that not a fumble?''
-- Giants play-by-play man Bob Papa, on the Giants Radio Network, after ref Bill Leavy did not overturn a first-quarter non-fumble call against the Packers. (SERIOUSLY..how???)
One of the Offensive Players of the Week: "New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks. His second straight strong playoff game -- seven catches for 165 yards, with two touchdowns -- is reason enough to honor him. But the dagger he plunged into the Packers just before halftime was the play of the game. "Those Hail Marys work about twice a year,'' said Tom Coughlin. Nicks, with the help of a Packer defense that was far too passive near the goal line, caught the 37-yard fly ball from Manning cleanly, and the Giants went into halftime up by 10, not three. Huge factor.
One of the Defensive Players of the Week: "New York Giants DE Osi Umenyiora. After Umenyiora batted the ball out of Rodgers' right hand, FOX showed clearly how incredibly open Greg Jennings was down the left sideline. Umenyiora saved a touchdown, clearly. For the day, he had two sacks for 12 yards, and the forced fumble."
One of the Special Teams Players of the Week: "New York Giants S Derrick Martin. It's one thing to tell your front players on the kick-return team to stay alert for an onside kick. It's another thing for every guy on the line to wait until the ball is kicked. Martin and his mates did wait for Mason Crosby to kick it deep in the first half -- and when Crosby pooched an onside kick, it went right into the arms of the waiting Martin, who is a former Packer, by the way. Smart, smart play by Martin."
"I must be the only guy in America who didn't think his non-reversal on the Greg Jennings fumble or non-fumble was horrible. But his blow-to-Rodgers'-head call, extending a desperation fourth-quarter drive, was a fictitious call if I ever saw one. I wouldn't expect to see Leavy doing any games until next September."
Some stats and interesting nuggets:
-The Giants are Giant killers in the postseason. In terms of difference of wins during the regular season, the Giants have authored the 3 biggest wins in NFL postseason history. The Giants have defeated three teams that had won at least 5 more games than they did during the regular season. In fact, they own the two 6-win differential games with Sunday and back in Super Bowl XLII when they knocked off the unbeaten Patriots.
-Hakeem Nicks had 165 yards receiving in Saturday night's upset victory. That total is the second-most in a playoff game in Giants history.
-Eli Manning threw for 330 yards, the 3rd-most in a single postseason game in Giants history.
-Hakeem Nicks has two TD receptions of 66 or more yards this postseason. He's the 2nd player in NFL history with 2 TD receptions that long in a single postseason, joining Isaac Bruce of the 1999 Rams.
Let's go G-Men.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Hey why not us? Giants dominate the Falcons setting up a rematch with the Pack in Green Bay.
From Sports Illustrated:
"In winning their first playoff game since upending the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants finally showed themselves to be a complete team after relying on Manning's arm (he threw a career-high 4,933 yards) for most of 2011."
From the head Ball Coach Tommy Coughs:
"The two fourth-down stops were just outstanding. Those plays that our defense made really inspired everybody. If we continue to play defense like that, we can make ourselves heard in this tournament. "
From ESPN New York: Eli.....the athlete?
"The timing of the play," Tom Coughlin said of Manning's scramble, "was outstanding."
Atlanta was holding a 2-0 lead -- Greg Maddux had a one-hitter going -- when Manning faked a third-and-2 handoff to Jacobs, dropped back and looked downfield. Six minutes into the second quarter, the Giants had no successful third-down conversions to their name, and the MetLife crowd was already giving off that uneasy vibe felt in the old place in the squandered postseason openers of '05 and '08.
John Abraham was closing fast on Manning, and the quarterback felt the heat of his vile intentions, stepped up and took off through the gaping hole that had been the left side of the line, kicking free of the diving, flailing Abraham. As Eli "raced" Sean Weatherspoon to the sideline, he huffed and puffed and, finally, mercifully, hit the brakes and veered out of bounds.
From ESPN's Grantland:
"Twice yesterday, the New York Giants defense faced that moment, the primal of the primal, and twice they stopped the Atlanta Falcons. (The Giants also blew up the Falcons on a third-and-short situation.) And twice you saw the Atlanta offensive line suddenly find itself moving up and not forward, as though they were a wave and the New York offensive line were a seawall. Twice, the Giants hurled them back, and if you want to know why New York is going back to Green Bay next week to face the Packers in yet another playoff game, and if you want to know how an NFL playoff game ends up with a baroque score like 24-2, then look to those two moments. As a defensive end, Osi Umenyiora plays outside the main contact area where fourth-and-short explodes, but he knows what he hears."
"To be honest. Yes, I was a little insulted. I felt a little disrespected."
From friend of the Breeze Peter King:
"Excellent coverage by Corey Webster on Falcon wideout Roddy White, who had but two catches for eight yards in the first 37 minutes of the Atlanta loss."
Happy New year Giants fans, the team is clicking at the exact right time. Let's go!