No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts







    Excerpt: "
    Justin Tuck doesn’t care that the early line for the Giants’ NFC Wild Card game on Sunday has
    his team as three-point favorites against the visiting Atlanta Falcons (10-6).
    To him, the Giants are still the underdogs, Las Vegas oddsmakers be damned.

    “Don’t tell me that,” the defensive end said when a reporter told him the
    betting line. “We’re still the underdogs. I’m embracing that role.”

    It was the role Tuck and the rest of the 2007 team welcomed as they made an
    improbable playoff run, winning three straight games on the road before
    upsetting the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

    That Giants team caught lightning in a bottle, mounting momentum from a close
    loss in Week 17 against the New England Patriots and carrying it through the
    postseason as they won at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay to reach the Super

    This year’s team has drawn comparisons to the 2007 squad from outsiders and
    players alike. If anything, the Giants are carrying more momentum as they enter
    their first playoff game since 2008.

    The Giants have played their best football the last two weeks, defeating
    playoff-contending teams in must-win situations. The defense — led by the front
    four — is flying around, getting after the quarterback as it continues to get
    healthier. The offense seems to be back on track after a two-week interlude,
    based on Sunday night’s performance in a
    31-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

    “The last couple weeks has really put the smile on their faces,” coach Tom
    Coughlin said. “There is confidence in the three units and all three units need
    to play together and I think we are starting to see that take place.”

    Yet, Coughlin and several of the 17 players remaining from the 2007 team have
    said they are reluctant to compare the two teams. They know plenty has changed
    in four seasons."


    Excerpt: "
    The Giants' Justin Tuck has heard the
    criticism this and agrees with what has become a negative league-wide perception
    of the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line as he prepares to face them on

    "We know they have that quote-unquote reputation," Tuck
    told reporters Monday according to
    . "But in a way it kind of
    is exciting. Most people, you would call them dirt bags. But it is what it is.
    We got to make sure we do our job and if we are doing our job well, then they
    will be upset and they will be trying to do things to get us off our game and we
    got to take that as a compliment. But in the same sense you got to protect
    yourself and hopefully the referees have 20-20 vision this week."

    To say the Atlanta Falcons offensive line doesn't have have the best
    reputation around the league would be an understatement.

    Earlier this season, several Green Bay Packers players including nose tackle
    B.J. Raji and linebacker A.J. Hawk were unhappy with what Raji called "cheap
    stuff, " such as hitting players after the whistle, according to the
    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

    "Great teams don't indulge in the kind of cheap stuff the Falcons do," Raji
    told the paper. "We're the champions and we play that way. We walk away from the
    stuff they pull. These guys are coached to play after the whistle.

    "I don't know what the deal is. I think it's a lack of talent on their part.
    We didn't worry about any of that. We came out and played our game."

    Two weeks later, members of the Detroit Lions' defense were singing the same
    tune, according
    "


    "There was a guy who would send tweets to me, Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily
    News, Tom Rock of Newsday, Paul Schwartz of the Post and Pat Hanlon of the
    Giants on pretty much a daily basis. His handle is “@COWHER_IN_2012” and he
    would give us a countdown until the end of the Coughlin era, which he assumed
    would be today.

    He was wrong and he changed
    his tune this morning

    However, I’m still fending off people calling for defensive coordinator Perry
    Fewell's head, which amazes me. This team is headed to the postseason and the
    defense has given up only four touchdowns the past two weeks (two of which came
    on short field). I would think that would be enough. And the funny part is if
    they continue to play well over the coming weeks, these same folks will want him
    to stay even though he’ll go back to being a hot head-coaching candidate.

    What a business.

    * * * *


    Coughlin and Fewell. See above.

    WR Victor Cruz. I don’t have a rooting interest. Seriously,
    I don’t. But when it comes to night games, we have to write as the game is going
    on and file by the final gun. So naturally, I had a running story about the
    Giants’ winning the NFC East that was about to go up in smoke because the
    Cowboys were making a run. So I said aloud, “Where’s Victor Cruz to save my
    running gamer?” There he was, down the field singled-up on CB Orlando Scandrick.
    That was an absolute prayer of a heave by QB Eli Manning and it’s at least the
    third deep jump ball Cruz has won this season. (Off the top of my head I’m
    recalling the one against Philly and the one against Seattle.) To be coming up
    with those plays at only 6 feet tall shows you what kind of athleticism he has.
    It’s the kind of athleticism that leads me to wonder once again, “How in the
    world did this guy go undrafted?!”

    Manning. Among many things, I’d say the most impressive
    aspect of his season has been his ability to throw strikes on the move. He did
    it on a pass to Devin Thomas in the first half and again on a couple of balls to
    Cruz in the second half.

    DE Osi Umenyiora. Like Cruz, you wonder what his stats
    would’ve looked like if he had played a full season.

    DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Justin Tuck had just left the game
    with a shoulder issue (see below for more), so the Giants moved Pierre-Paul from
    right end to left end. I tweeted
    it’s because left end is where you want your best run stopper
    , even though
    Umenyiora was there on passing downs up to that point. No sooner did that tweet
    get out than Pierre-Paul showed us all why. He spun off a block by Cowboys TE
    Jason Witten, used that huge right wing of his as leverage on Witten’s back,
    located RB Felix Jones and brought him down. The skills and technique to make
    that happen are amazing, as does the hustle he displayed on the first play of
    the fourth quarter when he pivoted and whacked Jones after catching a

    DT Chris Canty. Two sacks in two games for a guy that had
    only four total as a Giant coming into Week 16. Also, he played a bigger role on
    the quarterback sneak than I realized. (See the bottom section.)

    RB Ahmad Bradshaw. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a guy
    spike the ball in mid-air as he’s reaching across the goal line. I wouldn’t
    advise him to try that again, but he was over the line when he did it so I guess
    it’s okay. Great game for Bradshaw, who’s running like he never had any foot
    problems in the first place.

    LB Mathias Kiwanuka. He was one of the first players on the
    field for pregame and was practicing his downhill breaks and run fits, going
    through imaginary angles to get to the ball carrier. One snap into the game, he
    flew downhill to stop Jones for a 1-yard loss. Later, he got downhill fast to
    five FB Tony Fiammetta fits on a tackle for a loss. It’s really cool in this gig
    of ours to sometimes get a peek at the preparation and then see it play out on
    the field just like they draw it up and work on it. More on Kiwanuka in the
    coming days.

    LB Michael Boley. In addition to going over the top on the
    sneak, he made a very nice stop short of the stick on Witten one play prior. And
    like he said after the game, he was able to recognize from the splits and from
    Cowboys QB Tony Romo going under center the sneak was coming.

    TE Bear Pascoe. He got things going by leaping CB Terence
    Newman to kick-start the Giants’ first drive.

    FB Henry Hynoski. He leaped Newman, too. Wonder what that
    exacta would’ve paid. And yet Bradshaw’s attempt failed. Hynoski said the
    players were chiding Bradshaw about that one today. Asked when the last time he
    hurdled a player was, he replied, "High school. Junior year, I guess." I had a
    frequent tweeter tell me today it was likely these guys saw something on film.
    I’d agree. I’m guessing they saw how Newman tries to dive at ankles to make

    WR Hakeem Nicks. The late catches are one thing and are the
    obvious part of his night. Here, let’s talk about the blocks he made on CB Mike
    Jenkins on Cruz’s touchdown and the way he hooked and pinned Newman on
    Bradshaw’s touchdown.

    S Antrel Rolle. I’m going to re-run his quote about
    committing to the nickel spot because it’s very telling and honorable,
    as are all of these quotes
    : “I’m not playing the safety position, which at
    times has been a little frustrating. But when I say ‘all in,’ that means
    everyone’s all in. I’ve accepted my role as the nickel (cornerback) and I’m
    going to try to be the best nickel I can be week in and week out.” He was last
    night with his interception in the third quarter when he undercut a route by

    Tuck. Something’s up with his shoulder. Just a hunch. And I
    don’t mean the neck burner he had earlier in the season. That left shoulder is
    the same one that’s given him issues since college and was trouble a few years
    ago after then-Cowboy Flozell Adams tripped him. Still, he only left the game
    briefly and returned to continue creating havoc and record a sack.

    LG Kevin Boothe, LT David Diehl and
    C David Baas. Boothe was as physical as I’ve ever seen him,
    Diehl continues to play well at the key spot on the line and Baas wasn’t exactly
    the mismatch for NT Jay Ratliff the Cowboys thought he would be (per NBC’s
    in-game report). These three combined to give Bradshaw a hole that looked to be
    about 7 feet wide on his 29-yard run late in the second quarter. The Cowboys
    were in a terrible alignment for that play and the Giants made them pay. Great
    job by Boothe there to seal LB Sean Lee.

    RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem McKenzie. Them,
    too. I just grouped the guys above because of their role on the Bradshaw run.
    One note about Snee: his pass protection has been stellar the past couple of
    weeks. He’s been stoning guys at or near the line.

    Romo. This wasn’t a choke situation. He played well even
    though he was clearly hurting. That hand was blown up big time and might’ve
    caused him to misfire on a deep ball early in the game. He also had the mental
    lapse that led to Rolle’s interception but was otherwise solid.

    Dallas LB Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus
    . They committed a few neutral-zone infractions but came to play
    and created constant pressure. Both were impressive.

    ‘Boys WR Laurent Robinson. Very good emerging player.

    NBC sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya. Here I was tweeting
    in the pregame she had somebody
    holding an umbrella for her
    (I was wondering how I can get such treatment)
    and then she shuts me up by booking
    down the field to catch Romo
    when he jogged off before the Cowboys’ pregame
    warmups were over. Tafoya ran from one side of the field to the other to catch
    up to him, ducking in and out of players and personnel to get an update on
    Romo’s hand. I’m estimating it was about 75 yards. Halfway through her sprint,
    she chucked her umbrella to the side because it was slowing her down. Impressive
    hustle right there for a 47-year-old veteran who obviously doesn’t want to just
    glide through this gig of hers.

    * * * *


    Newman. That’s about as bad as it gets in a big spot. If you
    watch the Cruz touchdown, you’ll see S Gerald Sensabaugh coming down to help
    bracket Cruz. It was a modified,
    less “draconian” version of the inside-outside coverage
    I wrote about for
    Sunday’s paper. It’s clear from the way Sensabaugh tracked Cruz that was his guy
    and he wasn’t just providing general help over the top. That means Newman has
    help to the inside, which also means he has to maintain outside leverage. He
    didn’t come close to doing that and gave Cruz the edge. Now, because Sensabaugh
    is coming down to bracket Cruz, that means there’s no deep help, so you can’t
    get beat like that. You just can’t. Brutal night for Newman.

    CB Alan Ball. Only slightly better than Newman.

    * * * *


    Wondering why the Giants called a timeout with 14 seconds left in the first
    half as the Cowboys were driving for a potential score? Coughlin says you have
    every right to do so. “It was a dumb play by me and I outsmarted myself,” he
    said. “I was trying to create another play but as it stood, it was a dumb play
    and thank God they didn’t get any points out of it.”

    You know, I thought I saw this the correct way live but when it comes to
    night games and writing on deadline I’m never positive because so much is
    happening so quickly. But re-watching it confirms the spot on Pascoe’s 2-yard
    catch on a third-and-1 the opening drive was atrocious. Line judge Byron Boston
    marked the ball between the 19- and 20-yard lines — a yard and a half further
    than the furthest Pascoe’s forward progress took him. I’m not even positive he
    had the first down there. It didn’t matter because the Giants punted but Boston
    was right there and I can’t believe he botched that spot so badly.

    I said earlier this season (in one of the game reviews but can't find it now)
    I didn’t have a problem with Nicks holding the ball out wide when he does it
    because he’s near the sideline. However, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
    should not be doing it in the middle of the field the way he did on a punt
    return early in the fourth quarter. If he played for Coughlin, the “old
    (those are D.J. Ware’s words, not mine) might have a
    coronary seeing that.

    Speaking of Coughlin, NBC gave us a nice, slow, drawn-out replay of him after
    that punt return telling Thomas, “You can’t do that!” after Thomas was called
    for a personal-foul penalty. I tweeted
    he added a noun
    at the tail end of it because he did. I didn’t realize until
    today it never made the air. We had the feed from the truck in the press box.
    Nobody questioned me on Twitter, I don’t think, but wanted to clarify in case
    somebody thought I misread his lips.

    * * * *


    I mentioned the Giants
    got a lot of big “breaks”
    in this game. Don’t take that the wrong way. I
    don’t mean they were lucky. Not even close. (Though the loose balls squirting
    out of the Cowboys’ hands were fortunate happenings for them.) Note the word
    “lucky” doesn’t even make an appearance in that story. Nor should it because
    what I’m saying is they often kept their poise while the Cowboys made dumb
    mistakes. In addition to the ones I mentioned already, note the two players (RB
    Sammy Morris and WR Jesse Holley) colliding on
    punt coverage as they tried to crack back on Kiwanuka, who nearly blocked the
    punt. That’s two times in two games the Giants nearly blocked a punt.

    Cris Collinsworth knows what I’m talking about. After
    Sensabaugh didn’t pick up the ball when it was at his feet (the fumble that then
    squirted out of TE Travis Beckum’s hands and Manning
    recovered), he said, “Oh boy, it’s been that kind of night.” What he meant is it
    was that kind of night for the Cowboys. For weeks, we’d been saying that about
    the Giants. Last night, those momentum changers tilted in their favor. And you
    know what, I’d say they deserved it after some of the games in which things
    didn’t break their way.

    And there’s Al Michaels, after the montage of missed fumbles
    for the Cowboys, saying Dallas “finally did get a break” on K Lawrence
    missed field goal.

    One more I didn’t see until today: Ratliff knocked the ball out of Manning’s
    right hand at the end of a 5-yard scramble on the opening drive of the second
    half. Instead of squirting free, it stayed under Manning as he fell on top of
    it. Dallas got the ball back at its own 6 after a punt instead of at the 42.

    And another: Romo actually stepped on LG Derrick Dockery’s
    foot on the quarterback sneak as he tried to dig in and push forward. This one
    is less of a “break” and more of Canty getting off the ball quickly to help
    stall Dockery. Canty was the real reason Dockery’s foot was in Romo’s way.

    I know, I'm spending a lot of time defending my story. It's because a few
    people were punchy (including Coughlin when I asked in his postgame presser) at
    the suggestion they needed the breaks and/or were lucky. That's not what I'm
    saying. What I'm saying is, in a league where a salary cap maintains competitive
    balance, there are going to be a few key plays per game that could swing either
    way. For whatever reason, it felt like the Giants hadn't been getting those
    plays recently. Sunday night, they did.

    For clarity's sake, since they've been playing the clip of Coughlin's stern
    reply to the "breaks" question, he realized today what I was driving at: "We had
    two outstanding plays to get the ball back when the ball was on the ground.
    Where's Mike? I acknowledge you Mike. You did a heckuva job at the end of the
    game. You were right." When I tried to move my recorder closer to get that one
    for posterity, Coughlin quipped, "I'm not repeating that. And that's not for
    publication, either."

    Anyway, moving on...

    Did NBC really overlay some salsa music on Cruz’s dance? Really? Is that what
    that was? Or was it sound from the stadium that accidentally was broadcast? For
    the sake of all that is objective, I’m hoping for the latter.

    And while I’m on the dancing thing, what’s up with the Cowboys’ receivers
    stealing Cruz’s dance? First, it was Bryant
    in Week 14
    and now it’s Robinson. I don’t understand why they feel the need
    to take it as their own. Niners CB Carlos Rogers doing it is one thing. I get
    it, he’s trying to mock the guy he was covering. Opposing receivers doing it
    doesn’t make sense at all. Also, Robinson’s version was horrendous.

    Collinsworth, who called another good game, broke down Romo’s illegal forward
    pass well when he noted how Romo must’ve lost track of where he was on the field
    after escaping to his left, avoiding a couple of defenders and scrambling back
    to his right. Quarterbacks usually have a sense for where the line of scrimmage
    is, but after all that moving around, it gets lost.

    One breakdown by Collinsworth I didn’t like was when he questioned S
    Kenny Phillips on Robinson’s 34-yard touchdown in the third
    quarter. It was against a Cover-2 look and Phillips had two receivers coming at
    him. One was WR Miles Austin in the slot, who wasn’t rerouted
    by Rolle. Phillips had to honor Austin, which is why he was late to get to
    Robinson. I wouldn’t blame him there. If I had to point to where the coverage
    could improve, I’d say Rolle could’ve influenced Austin a bit more and CB
    Webster could’ve sunk deeper and more quickly because there was no threat in the
    flat. However, it’s also a great throw and catch as well.

    Ball wanted a push-off call on Nicks on the final play of the first quarter.
    I’d say he has a point. That could’ve forced a first-and-20 to change things had
    it been called. It wasn’t, and the Giants scored their second touchdown four
    plays into the second quarter.

    I didn’t get a chance to talk to Tynes after the game, so I’m not sure what
    happened on his missed 40-yard field goal. I wonder if he even knows. That thing
    took a right turn for no apparent reason. Tynes’ kicks don’t seem to have a lot
    of english (English?) on them. That one did. Something quirky might’ve happened.
    It could’ve been the wind. Speaking of the wind, it appeared Cowboys K
    Dan Bailey expected it to help his field goal at the end of the
    first half. It didn’t. Not enough, anyway.

    Looked like the Cowboys talked the Giants into running left on the failed
    fourth-and-1 late in the third quarter with some of their pre-snap movement.
    Manning appeared to change the play at the line because he saw the Cowboys’
    front favoring the right side of the Giants’ line. But at the snap, they slanted
    the other way right into where the Giants were trying to run. That helped leave
    Lee unblocked for the stop. During the Cowboys’ mini-run, I had visions of that
    being a play we’d be talking about for days. The Giants’ winning the fourth
    quarter made sure it was all but forgotten by game’s end.

    And finally, come clean: who already has the pic of Jerry Jones with his head
    in his hands as their wallpaper? I know you do."


    "In the middle of Super Bowl XLII Media Day, as hundreds of reporters asking
    about how much Tom Coughlin had changed his ways, Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope made
    perhaps the best point of the week when he said it
    was more about the adjustments the players made to Coughlin

    “Probably they have changed more than he has,” Pope said.

    This year’s version of the converted is a player who spoke louder than most
    last year, who was seen as a dividing force, who was proudly
    representing his frisky family’s style
    of working for change and who tried
    to light the passion of this team the only way he knew how.

    Today, one day after recording an interception in the Giants’ victory over
    the Cowboys that won them the NFC East, Antrel Rolle spoke about Coughlin in a
    way few could have imagined only months ago.

    “He’s his own person. I’m my own person. You’re not expected to agree on
    everything,” said the Giants’ safety, who signed a five-year deal as a free
    agent before the 2010 season. “But through it all we’ve got one common goal in
    mind, which is to go out there and win a championship. He understands me better
    as a player this year and I respect him as a coach.

    “When you have speculations your coach’s job is up for grabs or any kind of
    threatening situation, I take that very personally. No coach that Antrel Rolle
    is playing for should (have) his job up for grabs. That’s just the way I look at
    it and I go out there and put all my heart and soul into it week in and week

    Coughlin realizes it was simply a matter of Rolle getting through an
    adjustment period after five seasons with the Cardinals.

    “I would think it takes a while for someone coming into a program just to
    figure out what it’s all about, who’s who,” Coughlin said. “Last year, we had 10
    wins and didn’t get in (the playoffs) and so there was some frustration. There’s
    been some frustration, which has been dealt with pretty well quite frankly this
    year as well and now we’re seeing the result of having some patience and
    continuing to work, which these guys have done. This team has done that, they’ve
    worked through many issues throughout the course of the year and come back
    stronger yet.”

    Rolle said he has gone out there the past few weeks with the intention of
    fighting for Coughlin’s job and that he knows he’s “not the only one who feels
    this way.” It’s funny because that was the same line he threw out there with
    negative connotation when he questioned
    Coughlin’s scheduling and ways
    following a blowout loss to the Colts in Week

    But this offseason, Rolle began to see the value in Coughlin’s ways. He did
    some self-evaluating and had conversations with his mother and other friends.
    It’s continued into recent weeks when teammates Deon Grant and Chris Canty have
    told him they appreciate his passion and what he’s trying to accomplish but
    wanted him to start worrying mostly about himself and his own

    Last season, Rolle admits that wasn’t the case. He was trying to do too much
    to fix the chemistry and the coverage issues. He was speaking out of turn in
    front of the media and on the field, where he got burned against the Packers on
    an 80-yard touchdown after attempting to fake a blitz before the snap.

    This season, especially lately, he’s simplified things and bought more into
    Coughlin’s philosophy.

    “My mom, she gave me the best advice,” Rolle said. “She was like, ‘Antrel,
    you’re in a golden opportunity. You’re in the best situation, the best place you
    can possibly be to play and even establish something in your life after
    football, so just make sure you go out there and don’t let anyone take you out
    of your game. Just be yourself, don’t try to do too much and just play

    “And another guy is Deon Grant. He sat me down and we had a long conversation
    and he was like, ‘Bro, I understand what you’re trying to do and I appreciate
    what you’re trying to do but be you. Let your play do the talking for you.
    That’s what you do, that’s who you are, that’s who we know you as.’ Honestly,
    that’s the best advice I could’ve gotten from any player.”

    Rolle told Grant he felt like himself against Dallas and in the victory over
    the Jets. That’s the benefit of reducing the friction between him and Coughlin
    as well as accepting his role as a nickel cornerback or “bison” linebacker who
    plays down low. Previously, he had griped he wanted to be a “ball hawk” as a

    But after Sunday’s game, he said he’d
    come to accept his role
    because of what it means for the team as a

    “I really like the way he put himself in position for the interception
    because the quarterback, quite frankly, didn’t see him,” Coughlin said of
    Rolle’s play on Sunday. “He was in one area of coverage and the more time went
    on he saw the eyes of the quarterback and moved into the area where Witten was
    and made an outstanding play. He tackled well, had some physical tackles.

    “He’s an emotional guy and he wears it on his sleeve. He gives you everything
    he’s got and watching him develop and play under wherever we want him to play,
    whether it be down and back or back down like it is right now, he’s playing very

    In Florham Park, there’s chaos instead of chemistry. In East Rutherford, two
    guys who seemingly mix like oil and water are singing Kumbaya.

    Amazing what winning and a little self-evaluation can do.

    “I’ve always loved him as a guy. He’s probably one of the better men I’ve
    ever been around,” Rolle said of Coughlin. “His coaching style is different than
    anything I’ve been a part of, which is fine. We’re all different people, we all
    have different things in mind. But eventually, you’re going to get with his
    program. He’s the boss man; we’re his soldiers. Eventually, it works.

    “I was a little stubborn, I was a little whatever it was. But we’re all on
    deck. That’s coaches and players included.”



    Excerpt: "Osi Umenyiora chuckled this week when he tried to recall the last time he
    lined up on the left side at defensive end.

    He paused for a moment, thinking back through his career, and estimated it
    was 2004.

    But he knew it was a possibility tonight given how well Jason Pierre-Paul had
    played on the right side in his four-game absence and Umenyiora said he would be
    up for the task if asked. And tonight he didn’t look like it had been seven
    seasons as an already-potent pass rush got a late-season boost.

    The Giants sacked Tony Romo six times
    and could’ve had more had it not been for Romo’s ability to slip past defenders
    to extend plays. Romo played well despite dealing with a bruised right hand — he
    went 29-of-37 for 289 yards two touchdowns, and an interception — but it came
    under consistent pressure in the
    Giants’ 31-14 win.

    Umenyiora, playing in his first game since sustaining a high-ankle sprain
    against the Saints on Nov. 28, brought his trademark speed from both sides,
    sacking Romo from the left in the second quarter and the right in the third.
    They were Nos. 8 and 9 of the season for Umenyiora — the second-most on the
    Giants despite missing half of the season due to injury.

    “It was a little uncomfortable, but it was all right,” he said of playing
    left end.

    It was a dilemma any defensive coordinator would love to encounter: how to
    find enough snaps for three Pro Bowl defensive ends.

    Perry Fewell came up with a few solutions — on some plays he would line
    Umenyiora up at left end, Pierre-Paul on the right, and Justin Tuck inside at
    tackle with Chris Canty. Other times, when one of the three needed a breather —
    Umenyiora said he battled through some pain in his ankle — the Giants used the
    other two as the bookends.

    “I’m not worried about snaps,” said Pierre-Paul, who had a sack. “I don’t
    know how many snaps I played but we gotta come in next week and hopefully I get
    more snaps because we’re in the playoffs.”

    Ultimately, it didn’t matter who lined up where — the Giants wreaked havoc on
    Romo from all angles."


    "You came to MetLife Stadium, if you’re a Giants fan, just hoping see the home team
    eke out a spot in the playoffs. You left soggy but not the least bit dampened,
    thinking something else entirely.

    Hey, why not?

    That was the impact of this 31-14
    victory over the Dallas Cowboys
    tonight. It wasn’t perfect, and it certainly
    wasn’t without its share of reminders of why this Giants team had to wait until
    11:30 p.m. of the regular season’s final day to wrap up the division title.

    Still, this looked nothing like a team sneaking into the postseason. The
    Giants are barreling through the door with a familiar formula, one that could
    keep them at the party for a while if things break their way.

    Or, as the never-shy Brandon Jacobs declared, “I would not want to face the
    New York Giants in the playoffs right now.”

    They came at Tony Romo from all directions, frustrating a quarterback who
    torched them for 321 yards and four scores the last time they played. They
    gained yards in big chunks and small, with running back Ahmad Bradshaw looking
    dangerous and Victor Cruz (six catches for 178 yards), once again, making you
    wonder how 32 NFL general managers let him go undrafted for seven rounds.

    The playoffs will begin with 10-6 Atlanta on Sunday, and everyone knows what
    comes next should they win that game. It could be 15-1 Green Bay, which rolled
    up 45 points with a backup quarterback today. Or it could be 13-3 San Francisco,
    with the top defense in the NFC.

    But the Giants played both those teams during the regular season and were in
    the game until the final minutes. Now, they could get another crack at them,
    healthy as they’ve been all season.

    Hey, why not?

    “We’re capable of winning the Super Bowl,” defensive tackle Justin Tuck said.
    “But just sitting here and talking about it doesn’t mean nothing. We have to go
    play the game.”

    Look, no one should book rooms in Indianapolis just yet. This is the first
    time an NFC East champion has ever had fewer than 10 wins, and the third quarter
    should stand as a reminder that the Giants are 9-7 for a reason.

    Romo, with his broken finger, started picking off chunks of yardage against
    the Giants secondary that remains their biggest weakness to turn a comfortable
    21-0 lead into a 21-14 stomach-churner. That’s still how you beat this team:
    Block that dominant defensive line, and any decent quarterback (Mark Sanchez not
    included) will pick the Giants apart.

    But with Osi Umenyiora (two sacks) finally back from injury, with Justin Tuck
    (a sack and a forced fumble) looking healthy again and with Jason Pierre-Paul
    still drawing double teams, it’s increasingly hard to do that. As good as those
    three were tonight, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka might have been the most active
    defensive player of them all when the Giants opened that big lead.

    No matter what happens, this has to be as satisfying a two-week stretch as
    the Giants have had since their title run after the 2007 season. First they
    smoked their loudmouth neighbors, the Jets, who completed the immolation in
    Miami yesterday afternoon. Then they beat their rivals for the second time in
    four weeks, taking the division when they were left for dead.

    You want a Cliff Notes version of our local NFL season, look no further than
    these two images yesterday: 1.) Santonio Holmes, the supposed team captain the
    Jets signed for $45 million, pouting on
    the bench as the season ticked away. 2.) Victor Cruz, the congenial rookie
    getting $450,000 this season, salsa dancing his way down the sideline to turn a
    five-yard catch into a 74-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead.

    For Cruz, it was a remarkable fifth touchdown play of 65 yards or more — the
    Jets, in contrast, had three plays longer than 40 all season. The
    Giants are here, surviving their injuries, because they made good personnel
    decisions to fill out their roster while the Jets failed.

    The credit there goes to general manager Jerry Reese. He was the one, in the
    face of the criticism during what sure looked like a lost offseason, who
    declared, “We’ll make the plays this time and we’ll get into the playoffs and
    we’ll make a run.”

    He swore tonight that he wasn’t making a guarantee, even if it was spun that
    way. But standing near a locker room exit as the clock approached midnight, he
    wasn’t backing off, either.

    “Of course. Of course,” he said when asked if that run was still possible.
    “We have good players in here and good coaches. We’re battle tested. We had a
    tough schedule. We’re getting healthy. But you have to focus and do the things
    that it takes to win.”

    Maybe they’re still be exposed as a flawed team. Maybe the NFC competition is
    just too good. But against a good opponent in prime time, with a must-win
    mandate hanging over everyone on the field, they made you wonder.

    Hey, why not?"


    "By the time Victor Cruz turned the corner on Dallas’ Terence Newman in the
    first quarter tonight, the Giants'
    sideline became a bouncing mass of blue and white waving their slot receiver
    toward the end zone.

    They had seen this before: The way Cruz can catch a sliver of open space and
    turn the remaining field into a track meet.

    They had seen it a week ago
    when Cruz rendered a flat-footed Jets secondary dumbfounded with a 99-yard
    catch-and-run that awoke a sleepy Giants offense.

    Tonight, Dallas was the victim with a little more than five minutes to play
    in the first quarter, on a third-and-1.The Cowboys' secondary tried to chase
    Cruz 74 yards down field but Newman dove around the 30-yard line and Gerald
    Sensabaugh gave up around the 10.

    “I was just watching myself on the JumboTron just making sure they weren’t
    too close,” said Cruz, who’s goal this season was just to get one catch in a
    meaningful regular-season game.

    For the second time in as many weeks, Cruz brought the Giants to life with an
    electric catch-and-run, then delivered a series of decisive blows throughout the
    game. In the
    31-14 win over Dallas
    in front of 81,077, a victory that gave the Giants the
    NFC East division title and a berth in the playoffs, he finished with six
    catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. Over the past two games, he’s had 342
    receiving yards.

    “I guess it’s just God-given ability,” Cruz said. “When I get the ball in my
    hands I try and make the most of every play, you know, I try and make the
    maximum yardage I can get every time I touch the ball.”

    Said Giants coach Tom Coughlin: "He just keeps doing it, and thank God he
    does. I am cheering for him, doing cartwheels on the sidelines as he is running

    Unfortunately for Dallas, their Cruz-induced headaches were not limited to
    that 74-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

    On a third-and-7 from the Giants’ 28-yard line in the fourth quarter, Eli
    Manning spun off pressure in the pocket and hurled one to Cruz 44 yards
    downfield. The safety went in the opposite direction on Cruz’s seam route,
    giving Manning the go-ahead to make the throw.

    Two plays later, Manning hit Cruz again over the middle for a gain of 20,
    setting up a 28-yard field goal.

    “He’s come up big,” Manning said. “Last year when we lost Steve Smith to an
    injury we really struggled not having anyone to work the middle of the field. We
    put a lot on Cruz, he’s done a great job doing that all season.”

    The Dallas defense placed a safety over top for some much-needed help. But it
    didn’t help. The Cowboys tried, and failed, to get inside the receiver’s head.
    After Laurent Robinson scored on a 6-yard quick-slant touchdown, he broke out in
    Cruz’s signature touchdown salsa dance.

    “I told him if he wants to do my dance, he needs to be a little more fluid,
    man,” Cruz said."


    Excerpt: "Whether it was questionable replay reviews, missed calls, deflected passes or
    sun in the eyes of their receivers, there have been some breaks and close plays
    that didn’t go in the Giants’ favor for
    the past few months.

    Tonight, in their 31-14
    victory over the Dallas Cowboys
    , everything seemed to swing their way,
    thanks in part to some questionable decisions and plays by Dallas as well as a
    few loose balls that slipped out of the Cowboys’ hands.

    The biggest of those plays in the Giants’ favor was a fourth-and-1
    quarterback sneak by Tony Romo early in the fourth quarter that fell about a
    half-foot short of the stick at the 9-yard line. Linebacker Michael Boley leaped
    over the pile to get a piece of Romo and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul came
    from the side to finish the play.

    The Cowboys trailed 21-7 at the time and could’ve opted for a field goal.
    They instead chose to try a hurry-up play that didn’t catch the Giants

    “I wasn’t expecting him to get under center. He hadn’t really taken many
    snaps under center in the game,” Boley said of Romo, who was playing with a
    bruised right hand. “He started out in the ’gun. To see him walk down and get up
    under center was kind of sneaky. And the offensive linemen, their splits were
    tight so it kind of gave it away.”

    The failed sneak came after a bunch of miscues by the Cowboys that could’ve
    been momentum changers.

    Late in the first quarter, Alan Ball tried to jump on a loose ball after the
    Giants’ Will Blackmon muffed a punt but it squirted out, perhaps thanks in part
    to the slick turf from showers that began in pregame and continued into the
    first half. Giants rookie linebacker Greg Jones, who was trailing the play
    because he missed his initial block, eventually recovered at the Giants’ 32-yard

    “It was good to see it go our way,” Jones said. “More often than not, we had
    some calls go our way tonight.”


    "The theme of this season for Tom Coughlin was simple: “Finish.” If he said it
    once in training camp, he said it a million times since then.

    Finish. Finish. Finish.

    The Giants did tonight — barely. And
    now, the Dallas Cowboys are finished.

    The seeming pattern of Coughlin meltdowns, which led to the “finish” theme,
    was broken by a 31-14 victory at MetLife Stadium tonight that wasn’t as easy as
    the final score indicates.

    The Giants (9-7) are NFC East champions and will host the Falcons at 1 p.m.
    Sunday in their first playoff game following a two-year absence from the

    “We straightened it around and finished the game the way we wanted to finish
    it, finished the regular season the way we wanted to finish it,” Coughlin said,
    adding four more “finishes” to his season tally, “and created an opportunity for
    ourselves to be in the playoffs.”

    After a 6-2 start nearly spiraled downward, the Giants closed with a pair of
    victories over the rival Jets and Cowboys (8-8) that have them believing they
    can make a run in the coming weeks.

    “I know I’ve said many times I don’t like (the Cowboys) and they don’t like
    me,” said Justin Tuck, who had one of the Giants’ six sacks. “But you have to
    respect a team like that.”

    Especially after they didn’t fold following a rare fast start by the Giants.
    Tuck initially said he was surprised the Giants didn’t “finish” (his word, we
    promise) the Cowboys, but when told this team never seems to make things easy he
    realized he misspoke.

    No, the Giants needed another outstanding late performance by Eli Manning
    (24-for-33 for 346 yards and three touchdowns), a big stop by Michael Boley and
    Jason Pierre-Paul on a quarterback sneak early in the fourth quarter and a
    couple of clutch third-down grabs by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to fend off a
    comeback attempt by the Cowboys behind the bruised right hand of quarterback
    Tony Romo, who hit Laurent Robinson for two touchdowns in the second half to
    make this a game.

    “There was speculation about Romo’s hand,” Coughlin said, “which obviously
    wasn’t very accurate.”

    big catch was a 44-yard leaping grab
    over cornerback Orlando Scandrick on a
    third-and-7 with 9:22 left in the game and the Giants holding on to a
    one-touchdown lead. It was the first time the Giants had gained a first down
    since Manning hit Cruz for 27 yards less than a minute into the second half.

    “The defender’s in position there,” Coughlin said. “But Eli does a great job
    of avoiding the rush and throws the ball up and Cruz comes down with the

    Cruz opened the scoring tonight with a 74-yard touchdown on a quick
    out-and-run, giving him five touchdowns of 68 or more yards this season. The
    former undrafted free agent became the first NFL player with five or more
    touchdowns of 65 yards or longer since the Rams’ Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch had
    six in 1951.

    However, his fourth-quarter catch might’ve been more vital because it set up
    a 28-yard field goal that made it a 10-point game with 5:46 to go.

    “Just a heck of a game,” Coughlin said, “a heck of a season for the kid.”

    And for Manning, who once again delivered in the clutch by going 6-for-8 for
    113 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    “We’ve been through a lot, definitely some ups and downs,” he said. “But to
    keep our poise, to keep confident, for guys to stick together and not to turn on
    each other … we came together and knew what we had to do to win the NFC East and
    we got it accomplished.”

    Thanks in part to Nicks’ 36-yard reception from Manning on a crossing route
    to convert a third-and-5 with 4:04 to play and move the ball to the Cowboys’
    4-yard line. His touchdown catch on the next play, uh, finished the drive and
    provide the final margin.

    Again, it wasn’t quite as easy as it looked, though it probably should’ve
    been after Cruz’s touchdown, which was keyed by a nice block from Nicks on Mike
    Jenkins, and two nifty touchdowns by Ahmad Bradshaw gave the Giants a 21-0 lead
    at the half — their biggest advantage of the season and their largest halftime
    lead since going up 24-3 on the Eagles in Week 15 last season.

    That one didn’t end so well. Nor did that season.

    Thus, the theme this time around — finish — plus a special one for this game
    to help make it happen.

    “Everyone threw in all of their poker chips,” said Antrel Rolle, who had an
    interception in the second half to help slow the Cowboys’ comeback. “We’re all



    "The Giants will face the Atlanta
    Falcons in the NFL playoffs next Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium. Here's a
    look at their opponent:


    Record: 10-6, second in the NFC South
    Giants defeated Falcons, 34-31, in overtime on Nov. 22, 2009,
    in East Rutherford.

    Lawrence Tynes kicked a field goal to win the game, but that wouldn’t have
    been possible without Eli Manning finding Mario Manningham down the right
    sideline early in the extra session. Manning threw for three touchdowns and what
    was then a career-best 384 yards. It’s worth noting the Falcons played without
    Michael Turner.


    • Tom Coughlin will say good things about Falcons QB Matt Ryan, in part
    because he’s one of the most efficient in the NFL (at least 61 percent
    completions in three of his four seasons) and because Ryan is a Boston College

    • When the Giants scout the Falcons’ 20th-ranked pass defense (236.6 yards
    per game), they might see some familiar wrinkles in the secondary. Former Giants
    defensive coordinator Tim Lewis coaches the Atlanta defensive backs.

    • The Giants and Falcons have four common opponents this season (Philadelphia
    Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks). Atlanta is
    2-3 in those games (they lost twice to the Saints), and the Giants are 1-4
    (split games against the Eagles)."



    Excerpt: "Justin Tuck may not
    hate the Atlanta Falcons the way he hates the Dallas Cowboys, but he already has
    a strong dislike for their offensive line.

    Tuck fired the first shot of wild-card week on Monday when he called the
    Falcons’ line “dirtbags” and acknowledged their well-earned reputation for dirty
    play. Twice this season opponents have ripped into the Atlanta line for “cheap”
    and dangerous tactics.


    And Tuck said the Giants’ defensive lineman will be watching out for that
    during their playoff game at the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon.

    “Yeah we’ve seen it. We know they have that quote-unquote ‘reputation,’” Tuck
    told reporters, one day after the Giants’ clinched the NFC East championship
    with a 31-14 win over the Cowboys. “Most people, you would call them dirt

    “But it is what it is. We got to make sure we do our job and if we are doing
    our job well. Then they will be upset and they will be trying to do things to
    get us off our game, and we’ve got to take that as a compliment.”

    Not many others have taken the Falcons’ allegedly unnecessary cut-blocking
    tactics and after-the-whistle cheap shots as a compliment this season. Green Bay
    Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji was furious
    with them after the Packers beat the Falcons 25-14 in Atlanta on Oct. 9. He
    reportedly told a Green Bay TV station that the Falcons do that because “that’s
    how they’re coached” and because of “lack of ability.”

    “They just want to get you fired up and get you to retaliate and draw a cheap
    penalty,” he said. “But it’s tough to ignore it, but you have a chance to get
    them back and have to take advantage of it.”

    Two weeks later, after the Detroit Lions lost to the Falcons 23-16, several
    Lions defenders accused the Falcons’ line of the same thing.

    “You watch film of Atlanta’s O-line and they’re 20, 30 yards down the field
    cutting guys,” said Lions defensive end Cliff Avril. “You’re
    running toward the pile and they’re trying to clean you up.” Read more...



    Excerpt: "Justin Tuck was seated
    in front of his locker grinning as his teammates paraded nearby wearing their
    black NFC East champions hat.

    Now that the Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 —
    and after Tuck and Chris Snee dumped the
    Gatorade bucket on Snee’s father-in-law Tom Coughlin — they
    believe they are ready to go on a run.


    “We’re capable of winning the Super Bowl,” Tuck said after the relatively
    easy 31-14 victory over the Cowboys in a winner-take-all that kept the Giants’
    season alive and ended Dallas’ year.

    The Super Bowl seems unlikely considering the Giants are the first NFC East
    champion to win fewer than 10 games. But four years ago, the Super Bowl seemed
    like a ridiculous goal, too.

    The Giants open the playoffs at MetLife Stadium against the Falcons on Sunday
    at 1 p.m. Atlanta has as many weapons as any team in the NFL with quarterback Matt
    , running back
    Michael Turner
    , wide receivers Roddy White and Julio
    and tight end Tony
    . The Falcons are going to be a huge challenge for the Giants
    defense, which is finally getting healthy up front and sacked Tony
    six times after getting Mark Sanchez five
    times last week.

    Assuming the Saints beat the Lions at the Superdome on Saturday, if the
    Giants get past the Falcons, they will go to Lambeau Field to play the Super
    Bowl champion Packers.

    “I think we’re in the perfect position,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka
    said. “We didn’t get here the way that we wanted to, but regardless of what has
    happened during the season, we’re in the playoffs, we won our division, we have
    a chance at the Super Bowl.”

    Incredibly, the Cowboys didn’t show up in the first half and the Giants
    dominated by taking a 21-0 lead with Victor Cruz, who
    changed the momentum last week with a 99-yard touchdown against the Jets, doing
    it again with a 74-yard score to give the Giants a 7-0 lead.

    After Dallas finally decided to play and closed its deficit to 21-14 early in
    the fourth quarter, it was Cruz again who saved them, catching an extremely
    important 44-yard pass from Eli Manning on a third
    down when he boxed out Orlando
    . Then later on the drive, he caught a 20-yarder to set up Lawrence Tynes
    28-yard field goal to get the lead up to 10. Hakeem Nicks 4-yard TD
    catch with 3:41 remaining clinched the division for the Giants.

    After the game, Tuck and Snee waited for Coughlin, now pretty much guaranteed
    to return as Giants coach, to shake hands with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and
    then dumped the Gatorade on him.

    They dropped the bucket and “bolted out of there,” Snee said. “I don’t know
    if he knows who it was. It had to be done. We got him good.”

    Dumping a bucket of Gatorade on your father-in-law is not something that
    happens every day, but Coughlin was so thrilled after the game, he surely won’t
    hold it against Snee.

    “NFC East champions. That’s a great thing to hear,” Coughlin said. “I won’t
    get tired of hearing that over and over and over again.”

    Order has been restored in New York. After loaning the city to the Jets for
    the last two years — it was more like a hostile takeover — it’s a Big Blue town
    again. At least for now. And Coughlin gets a lot of the credit." Read more...



    This time there was
    no collapse. This time the Giants finished what they started.

    Even in the
    frightening moments on Sunday night when they seemed to be on the brink of
    blowing a three-touchdown lead, the Giants found a way to once again save their
    season. They rode the big plays of Eli Manning and Victor
    and the revived play of their defense to beat the Cowboys, 31-14, in a
    winner-take-all showdown at the Meadowlands.


    they all breathed a huge sigh of relief and celebrated their NFC East
    championship and their first trip to the playoffs since 2008.

    “There were
    some times tonight when it was a little nerve-wracking,” said Tom
    . “But we straightened it around and finished the game the way we
    wanted to finish it — finished the regular season the way we wanted to finish it
    — and created an opportunity for ourselves to be in the playoffs

    The opportunity begins on Sunday at 1 p.m. when the Giants (9-7)
    play host to the Atlanta Falcons (10-6) in the wild-card round, and true to the
    motto they’ve adopted, the Giants are “all in” for the postseason run. Their
    rousing victory over the Jets and Cowboys the last two weeks have them riding a
    wave of confidence they think can carry them deep into the winter.

    wouldn’t want to face the New York Giants right now,” said running back Brandon
    . “It’s going to be tough to beat us in the playoffs.”

    defensive end Justin Tuck: “We’re
    capable of winning the Super Bowl.”

    After the way they played on Sunday
    night, who could argue? Eli Manning again torched the Cowboys, this time for 346
    yards and three touchdowns, including a jolting, 74-yarder to Victor Cruz that
    got the party started in the first quarter. Cruz, a second alternate on the NFC
    Pro Bowl team, ended up with six catches for 178 yards and was a big part in the
    Giants taking a 21-0 halftime lead.

    That was their largest lead since
    last Dec. 19 when they famously blew a 21-point lead at home against the Eagles
    — a fact that surely had to be on everyone’s mind when the Cowboys got going in
    the second half. Despite his injured right hand, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo
    (29-for-37, 289 yards) struck quickly in t
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2


    great sound to this board!


    thanks for the news Roanoke! one of the greatest sports days of my life.

    i love this team!!!!!!!


    Go Giants!



    • #3

      [quote user="BigBlue1971"]


      great sound to this board!



      thanks for the news Roanoke!* one of the greatest sports days of my life.

      i love this team!!!!!!!



      Go Giants!


      +1. Thanks RF! Great reading today!


      • #4

        Great Sharing last night's win with you RF! NYG is in the post season. Congrats fan's!

        Go Blue


        • #5

          [quote user="NY_Eli"][quote user="BigBlue1971"]


          great sound to this board!


          thanks for the news Roanoke! one of the greatest sports days of my life.

          i love this team!!!!!!!


          Go Giants!


          +1. Thanks RF! Great reading today![/quote]

          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


          • #6

            [quote user="lttaylor56"]Great Sharing last night's win with you RF! NYG is in the post season. Congrats fan's!

            Go Blue

            [B] beers on me n ext week []
            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


            • #7


              Cant wait for next week. It's going to be a very happy week for Giants' fans...

              Thanks for all the reads too.....

              "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
              You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


              • #8

                thanks rf spent a hour reading alot of this


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2012 - 11:05 A.M.

                  Happy new year !!!!
                  Its money week, bring it on !!!
                  Thanks RF .
                  " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


                  • #10

                    THANKS ROANOKE


                    • #11

                      Stupendous!! Bringing dad to our wild card debut in OUR giants, not jets stadium.


                      • #12

                        [quote user="lttaylor56"]Stupendous!! Bringing dad to our wild card debut in OUR giants, not jets stadium.[/quote]

                        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                        • #13

                          [quote user="fourth&forever"]THANKS ROANOKE[/quote]

                          Great day for news
                          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                          • #14

                            [quote user="derekunion28"]thanks rf spent a hour reading alot of this[/quote]

                            Great news day []
                            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1