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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw Has Sprained Knee But Not Rules Out For Falcons' Game
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw has a sprained left knee, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin won't yet rule out the notoriously tough running back for Sunday's game at Atlanta.
"I'm not going to rule him out of anything," Coughlin said today. "I'm not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You could speculate on that, knowing full well what the injury is."
For comparison's sake, right tackle David Diehl missed three games with a sprained knee, and safety Kenny Phillips has missed seven games and counting with the injury, though the nature and severity of the sprain can differ. Bradshaw also returned to the game Sunday after suffering the injury.
The only thing Coughlin did rule Bradshaw out of is practice today. Bradshaw, who has also been playing through a bruised bone in his foot, appeared to injure his knee in pass protection during the first quarter of the win against the Saints.
Bradshaw went back to the locker room during the game and got his knee taped up and returned, though he did not carry his usual rushing load. Coughlin pointed to Bradshaw carrying the ball three straight times at the end of the third quarter, including a conversion on a third-and-1 run, as evidence of his well-documented toughness.
"No one really knew what was going on there," Coughlin said. "He told me he had no limitations and so and so forth. He's a tough son of a gun, that’s why I say that. I say that with admiration."
But that same admiration is exactly why Coughlin said the decision on whether or not Bradshaw plays this week will be put in the doctors' hands.
"It will be a decision in the best interest to the athlete," Coughlin said. "It will come from the medical people, and we’ll live by it." Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Nicks Puts Team Success Ahead Of Best Receiver-Tandem Debate
Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks spent part of his off-day visiting an after-school program in East Harlem, helping to connect schoolchildren in need with healthy take-home meals. Then, the Giants receiver was off to a fundraising dinner at Del Frisco’s for his “Helping Hands” program.
And then, it was back to New Jersey for a critical week of work. The Giants don’t need to beat just any opponent this Sunday, they need to beat the 11-2 Falcons. And they won’t face just any pair of receivers, they’ll face Roddy White and Julio Jones, who many consider the best tandem in the league.
Nicks would make a different argument, for himself and Victor Cruz.\
“We’re going to always feel like we’re the best. We strive to be the best,” Nicks said this evening.\\But the soft-spoken Nicks added: “We (aren’t) going to get into that battle, that argument of who’s the best, who’s better, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s going out there and playing team ball, and who’s going to win.”
Many others will get into that battle for them this week. And back in September, in a sit-down interview on NFL Network with Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, White matter-of-factly deemed he and Jones a “better group” than Nicks and Cruz.
White noted that Cruz is “a lot more of a slot receiver,” adding “the big boys play on the outside.” Of course, Nicks and Cruz each have what White and Jones do not: a Super Bowl ring.
“Numbers don’t lie, or Super Bowl rings don’t lie, neither,” said Nicks, who partnered with UnitedHealthcare to support the local food backpack programs. “So when you get (into) that battle about who’s the best, I think you just let your play on the field talk for you. You ain’t got to be talking with your mouth.” Read more...
Giants' Osi Umenyiora: "There's No Question We're The Best Team In Football"
Excerpt: "The Giants have proven that when they're at their best, they can beat the NFL's top teams. They have blowout wins over the 49ers, Packers and Saints – months after an improbable Super Bowl run -- to show for it. The problem has been maintaining that high level of play. One week, they're thrashing the 49ers on the west coast; the next they're barely beating the Redskins at home.
In a radio interview on ESPN 98.7 this afternoon, Osi Umenyiora was asked if the Patriots (10-3) are the NFL's best team after their 42-14 rout of the Texans (11-2) Monday night.
Umenyiora conceded New England is playing the best right now, but not that they are the league's top team. That distinction, he believes, belongs to the Giants.
"When the Giants are playing our best, there's no question we're the best team in football," Umenyiora said. "We've just been inconsistent. So if we can play the way we're capable of playing – the way we played against San Francisco, the way we played against Green Bay, the way we played against the Saints for the majority of the game – I don't think there's a team that's better than us at all."
The Giants, currently just a game ahead the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East at 8-5, have another opportunity to cement their place amongst the league's elite when they travel to Atlanta to play the 11-2 Falcons. Atlanta is coming off a 30-20 defeat to the Panthers and will be looking to avenge their 24-2 blowout loss against the Giants in the Wild Card round of the playoffs in January.
"We're going to expect a big effort," Cruz said in a radio interview on WFAN this afternoon. "Obviously, they still have a bad taste in their mouth from last year's playoff game where we kind of beat them up pretty good. I think they're definitely going to have that picture very vivid in their minds and we got to understand that." Read more...
Victor Cruz Expects a Big Effort From Falcons After Giants "Beat Them Up Pretty Good" In The Playoffs
Excerpt: "Sunday is an opportunity for the Falcons to avenge a 24-2 thrashing at the hands of the Giants in the Wild Card round back in January. Victor Cruz expects that to be on their minds." Read more...
Falcons Still Have Plenty Of Skeptics Despite 11 - 2 Record
Excerpt: "The Giants finish their NFC South schedule Sunday in Atlanta looking to go undefeated against the division on the season after having averaged 43 points in wins over the Buccaneers, Panthers and Saints. The Falcons (11-2) are coming off their second loss of the season, and still hold the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage in the NFC.
But skeptics are plentiful. Eight of the Falcons' wins are by seven points or less and their two losses have come against the Saints and Panthers, two teams with a combined record of 9-17. During the Matt Ryan Era, the Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs. The reluctant observers want to see them perform in the playoffs.
Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Falcons' poor showing against the Panthers, a 30-20 defeat, gives the naysayers fuel for their skepticism." Read more...
THE NY DAILY NEWS
SI Features News Back Pages In ELi "Inspiring" Spread
Excerpt: "You can't tell the story of Eli Manning's ups and downs in New York without the back page of the Daily News, which is why Sports Illustrated turned to New York's Hometown Newspaper for a little help with a profile on the Giants quarterback.
Featured in this week's magazine - which hits newsstands on Wednesday - Manning was picked as one of SI's Inspiring Performers of 2012." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Giants' Need Pass Rushers To Be Super Again
Excerpt: "This Golden Age of Giants football has been built most notably and impressively on two overwhelming ingredients: huge plays in the passing game from Eli Manning and his receivers and a ferocious, relentless pass rush.
Neither asset has been great this season. The passing game has been compromised by nagging injuries that Hakeem Nicks cannot shake, but four Manning touchdown passes in a 52-point eruption against the Saints is a promising sign of things to come.
It is the pass rush — or lack thereof — that will determine in the final three games if the Giants finish up in style, hold on to first place in the NFC East and surge into the playoffs as a forceful presence. That should cause the Giants and their fans to take a deep gulp, because what was ballyhooed as the best defensive line in the NFL has not lived up to the hype, making this the Last Roundup for the Big Three." Read more...
VIDEO: Hubbuch On Giants' Offensive Explosion
Excerpt: "Post NFL reporter Bart Hubbuch talks with CineSport’s Brian Clark about whether the 52 points the Giants put on the Saints should be dismissed because of how bad New Orleans’ defense has been this year.Hubbuch points to the resurgence of Eli Manning and the combination of Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson as reasons why the Giants offense could be tough to handle down the stretch." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants-Falcons Look Ahead
Excerpt: "Giants (8-5) at Falcons (11-2)
At Georgia Dome
Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN-AM 660, FM-101.9
Early line: Falcons by 1
This is a rematch of the Giants' 24-2 wild-card victory over the Falcons last season at MetLife Stadium. The Giants maintained this season's one-game lead in impressive fashion, following up dramatic victories for Washington and Dallas by dropping 52 points on New Orleans. It was the first 50-plus point output for Big Blue since the 1986 Super Bowl season.
They are underdogs for the first time since facing Dallas in October. Three NFC teams finished ahead of the Giants in the regular season last year and Tom Coughlin's team has beaten that trio of Green Bay, San Francisco and New Orleans by a combined score of 116-40. The Falcons can clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs, but are coming off a disappointing loss in Carolina." Read more...
In the spotlight
Giants LB Jacquian Williams: One of the most versatile defensive players on the roster made a successful return against the Saints after missing six games with a knee injury. His speed was instrumental in limiting Saints TE Jimmy Graham and will be necessary again this week in the coverage of future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
David Wilson Wins Special Teams Award
Excerpt: "David Wilson's electrifying performance Sunday earned him the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.
Wilson returned four kickoffs for 227 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown, and added 110 rushing yards and two scores to set a franchise record with 337 total yards.
He is the first Giants kickoff returner to win the conference Special Teams Player of the Week award since David Meggett in Week 1 of the 1994 season.
Wilson set several team and league records and achieved milestones that hadn’t been reached in decades.
He is first player in NFL history with at least 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game. Wilson became the fourth player in league history with two rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game. The others were Washington’s Andy Farkas in 1939, Philadelphia’s Steve Van Buren in 1945 and Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew in 2006.
Wilson averaged 56.8 yards per return, the highest total ever by a Giant with at least three returns in a game. The previous record of 51.8 yards was set by Joe Scott on four returns vs. the Rams on Nov. 14, 1948. In that game 64 years ago, Scott was the last Giants player before Wilson to score rushing and kickoff return touchdowns in the same game.
Wilson’s 327 all-purpose yards broke the former team mark of 303, set by Domenik Hixon at New Orleans on Oct. 18, 209. Wilson, the Giants’ first-round draft choice this year, has returned 48 kickoffs for 1,321 yards, a 27.5-yard average, this season. The yardage total is a team record, topping Hixon’s 1,291 yards in 2009. Wilson’s 27.5-yard average currently makes him the Giants’ career leader (minimum 40 returns). Rocky Thompson had held the record with a 27.2-yard average on 65 returns from 1971-73.
Wilson scored the Giants’ first touchdown on his 97-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. It was the Giants’ first kickoff return touchdown since Hixon’s 74-yard runback against New England on Dec. 29, 2007.
The 32nd overall selection of the 2012 draft, Wilson is the second Giants player to receive the Special Teams Player of the Week award this season; kicker Lawrence Tynes was honored after kicking five field goals at Carolina in Week 3.
The other Giants to win Player of the Week awards this season thus far have been wide receiver Hakeem Nicks on offense in Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay and safeties Antrel Rolle (Week 6 vs. San Francisco) and Stevie Brown (Week 8 vs. Dallas) on defense.
Wilson is the fifth rookie to win the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award this season. And he is one of two rookies honored this week; Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his career-high 16-tackle performance vs. Atlanta."
Anatomy Of A Play: Stevie Brown's Interception - Video
Excerpt: "Safety Stevie Brown breaks down his second interception of Saints QB Drew Brees."
The First Look: Giants vs. Falcons
11-2 (6-0 Home)Streak:
Lost 1Common opponents:
Carolina (W, 30-28), @ Washington (W, 24-17), @ Philadelphia (W, 30-17), @ New Orleans (L, 31-27), @ Tampa Bay (W, 24, 23), New Orleans (W, 23-13), @ Carolina (L, 30-20)Last meeting:
The Giants defeated the Falcons, 24-2, in a 2011 NFC Wildcard Game in MetLife Stadium. In their last regular season meeting, the Giants defeated the Falcons, 34-31 (OT), in Week 11 of the 2009 season.PTS/G:
25.9 (8th in NFL)Opp. PTS/G:
289.2 (4th)Opp. Passing:
86.9 (28th)Opp. Rushing:
127.0 (23rd)Giants-Saints Connections:
LB Michael Boley was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft by the Falcons, where he played four seasons before signing with the Giants in 2009; Atlanta Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan held the same position with the Giants for four seasons (1993-96); Atlanta Secondary Coach Tim Lewis spent three seasons as the Defensive Coordinator for the Giants (2004-06); K Matt Bryant began his NFL career as a free agent signed by the Giants in 2002, where he played until he was released prior to the 2004 season.Head Coach:
Mike Smith, 54-26 Overall (5th year)Back at headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga.:“The message is real simple,” Smith said Monday after the Falcons’ loss to Carolina. “We didn’t play our best. We didn’t play up to our capabilities and up to our standards. We’ve got to get back in here and to the office to get the corrections and come out here on Wednesday and prepare for the New York Giants. They’re playing very good football right now. The last two weeks they’ve played outstanding football and it’s going to be a big challenge. They’re right in the middle of the playoff hunt.
Inside RB David Wilson's Kick Return
“There is one spot that’s been basically determined in the NFC and there are five that are yet to be determined. I think over the next three weeks there are going to be a lot of things that are going to take place in terms of who’s going to be seeded where and who’s going to get in the tournament. That’s what makes the final quarter so interesting.”
David Wilson treated Giants fans to several rare and distinctive statistical milestones on Sunday. They included his team-record 327 total yards, becoming the first Giants player in 64 years to score via rushing and kickoff return touchdowns in the same game and joining three others as the only players in NFL history with two rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for a score in a game.
Almost lost amid the accomplishments was the kickoff return itself.
It was just the 20th regular-season kickoff return touchdown in the 88-season history of the Giants. They also have two postseason scores on kickoff returns. Wilson’s 97-yard runback – the Giants’ first touchdown in a 52-27 thrashing of the New Orleans Saints – broke the team’s streak of 76 consecutive regular-season games without a kickoff return touchdown. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the second-longest drought in the NFL, behind St. Louis (119 games) and Jacksonville (84). The Giants had not scored on a kickoff return since Domenik Hixon brought one back 74 yards vs. New England on Dec. 29, 2007.
Seventeen different players have scored on regular-season kickoff returns for the Giants, beginning with Jack Hagerty vs. the Buffalo Bisons on Nov. 5, 1929. Clarence Childs, Rocky Thompson and Willie Ponder all did it twice (plus Ron Dixon, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the 2000 postseason).
Wilson’s 97-yard return was the longest by a Giant in the regular season since Childs’ 100-yard runback on Dec. 6, 1964. Both of Dixon’s postseason kickoff returns touchdowns were 97 yards. Childs shares the Giants’ record for longest runback with Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell, who had a 100-return against the New York Yankees on Nov. 4, 1951.
The Giants’ shortest kickoff return touchdown was a 38-yarder by Jason Sehorn, who picked off an onside kick by Tom Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 23, 2000.
Sehorn’s score came in the regular-season finale. The Giants earned a first-round postseason bye and when they returned to action, Dixon scored against Philadelphia – the only time in their history the Giants returned kickoffs for touchdowns in consecutive games. Dixon also accounted for the Giants’ only points in Super Bowl XXXV against Baltimore, giving the team three kickoff return scores in four games.
Derrick Ward (92 yards at Washington on Dec. 5, 2004) and Ponder (91 yards vs. Pittsburgh on December 18) ran back kickoffs for touchdowns within a three-game span.
The Giants’ longest drought without a touchdown on a kickoff return stretched more than 20 years, from Sept. 17, 1972 (Thompson 92 yards at Detroit) to Nov. 22, 1992 (David Meggett 92 yards vs. Philadelphia).
Five of the 20 regular-season returns have been against the Redskins.
The Giants’ record when they score a touchdown on a kickoff return is 11-9 in the regular season and 1-1 in the postseason.
*On Nov. 14, 1948, Jack Scott scored on a nine-yard run and a 99-yard kickoff return. He was the last Giant with a rushing touchdown and kickoff return touchdown in the same game until Wilson did it on Sunday. But Scott went one better. He also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in a 52-37 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Scott is the only player in Giants history with rushing, receiving and kickoff return touchdowns in the same game.
*On Sunday, New Orleans’ Elbert Mack opened the scoring with a 73-yard interception return, followed 13 seconds later by Wilson’s 97-yard kickoff return. It was the first time two return touchdowns were scored no more than 13 seconds apart in a Giants game since Sept. 18, 1983, when Dallas’ Dexter Clinkscale intercepted a Scott Brunner pass and returned it 68 yards for a score and, on the ensuing kickoff, Bill Campfield fumbled and the ball was recovered by Michael Downs, who returned it 10 yards for a score.
*The Giants scored seven touchdowns against New Orleans, the first time they’ve done that since Dec. 20, 1986 in a 55-24 rout of Green Bay – the last time they had scored at least 50 points.
*They scored six offensive touchdowns for the first time since Dec. 22, 2002 in a 44-27 victory in Indianapolis.
*The Giants scored 14 points in the first and third quarters and 17 in the fourth against the Saints. It was the first time they scored at least 14 points in each of three quarters of a game since they clobbered the Packers in the 1986 regular-season finale.
*The Giants scored 31 points in the second half, their highest total in the last two quarters since Sept. 11, 2005, when they scored 35 vs. Arizona.
*Sunday’s game was the 10th in their history in which the Giants scored at least 50 points.
*Wilson rushed for 100 yards Sunday to become the sixth Giants back in Tom Coughlin’s nine years as head coach to hit the century mark, joining Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown. Under Coughlin, the Giants are 40-11 when at least one back rushes for at 100 yards.
*Wilson’s 52-yard touchdown was the Giants’ longest run from scrimmage since Jacobs’ 73-yarder against Minnesota in Detroit on Dec. 13, 2010.
*The Giants did not allow a sack Sunday and are 4-1 this season when li Manning is not sacked. The only loss was at Philadelphia on September 30. The Giants are 22-8 in regular-season games when Manning is not sacked.
*Hakeem Nicks had four receptions Sunday, increasing to 247 the number of Manning passes he has caught. That is the highest total of any of the 46 different receivers that have caught at least one Manning pass. Plaxico Burress had been the leader with 244 receptions of Manning passes.
Nicks will soon take over the receiving yardage leader on Manning passes; he trails Burress, 3,681-3,602.
Burress had 33 touchdown receptions on Manning passes. Nicks is second with 26.
*Nicks’ touchdown vs. New Orleans was the 27th of his career (including one from in 2009). That left him in a five-way tie for 11th place on the Giants’ career list, with Chris Calloway, Earnest Gray, Ike Hilliard and Jeremy Shockey.
* Stevie Brown had two interceptions on Sunday, his second two-pick game of the season. The last Giant with a pair of two-interception games in a season was Percy Ellsworth in 1998.
* Victor Cruz caught eight passes for 121 yards and a touchdown vs. New Orleans. It was his 12th career 100-yard game, tying him with Kyle Rote and Gray for fourth place on the Giants’ career list. Del Shofner is third with 13. Amani Toomer holds the team record with 22 100-yard games.
*The Giants are first in the NFC and second in the NFL with a plus-16 turnover differential. New England leads the league at plus-24.
*Lawrence Tynes continues to lead the league in points (137) and field goals (33).
*The Giants today exchanged guards on their practice squad, signing Levy Ad**** of Oklahoma State and terminating the contract of Paul Fenaroli, who was signed last week. Ad****, 6-5 and 326 pounds, was signed as a rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys on May 4. He played in two preseason games and was waived on August 27.
Giants Looking Both Ahead And Behind In NFC Playoff Race: Eyeing The NFL Standings
Excerpt: "It's no secret around here that we've been paying closer attention to the fortunes of Tony Romo and theDallas Cowboys and Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins as the season bears towards the home stretch, and the NFC East division crown and wild card spots come into focus.
But with two division rivals nipping at Big Blue's heels, the Giants can look not only behind them at the 'Skins and the 'Boys, but in front of them at the possibility of of securing not only the division, but a bye week in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs.
First, a look at the long but possible shot at the #1 or #2 spot\\
Currently, all three leaders of the NFC West (9-3-1 San Francisco 49ers), NFC North (9-4 Green Bay Packers), and NFC South (11-2 Atlanta Falcons) have better records than the Giants.
If the Giants win out, and most presume they need to in order to make the postseason anyway, they'd finish at 11-5 and, having defeated each of these division winners, would own the tiebreakers. The Giants would need at least two of the following scenarios to clinch a bye week:
The Giants may not be as close to a bye week as the Redskins and Cowboys are to them, but they still have a fair shot at some much-needed rest forHakeem Nicks and his knee, Eli Manning and his arm, and Ahmad Bradshawand his whole body, if they can start the playoffs now and win down the stretch." Read more...
- San Francisco would need to lose two of three, finishing 10-5-1 (remaining schedule: at New England Patriots, at Seattle Seahawks, vs. Arizona Cardinals). Seattle's hot and will be playing for a wild card.
- Green Bay would need to lose one of three, finishing 11-5 (remaining schedule: at Chicago Bears, vs. Tennessee Titans, at Minnesota Vikings). Yet another reason to hope Brandon Marshall goes off for our fantasy team this week!
- Falcons would need to lose three straight, finishing 11-5 (remaining schedule: vs. NYG, at Detroit Lions, vs. Tampa Bay). This might seem the longest shot, but hey, they looked really bad last week and Big Blue can start them on a slide this week.
BIG BLUE VIEW
Blue 22 Film Review: David Wilson In Pass Protection
Excerpt: "Today we're looking to take a look at how David Wilson did in pass protection Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. It's hard to know without knowing the play call Wilson's exact responsibility in protection, but you can usually have a pretty good idea. I just don't like to make definitive statements because I'm not in the huddle. With that being said, here's Wilson in pass protection on Sunday.
Wilson Pass 1Based on the pre-snap look, there are likely four or five pass rushers on this play with the most likely scenario being No. 50 on the Saints (circled in yellow) blitzing in between the center and guard, which is likely Wilson's responsibility if he comes through the line clean.
What is slightly different about this alignment is there are three down linemen and one standing up (right defensive end across from Diehl) like he is playing as a 3-4 rush linebacker.Curtis Lofton (No. 50 circled in yellow) does not blitz and instead drops into coverage. There are four rushers on this play against five Giants' offensive linemen. Wilson scans the field and sees that the Giants have the numbers in pass protection.The Saints run a stunt and Diehl gets beat. Wilson is going to release into the open field, he chooses not to chip against Diehl's man (was he suppose to?). Manning has pressure and is going to move out to his right." Read more...
Giants' Roster Power Rankings: Rating The Giants From 1 - 53
Excerpt: "Here are this week's New York Giants' roster power rankings. As you might expect running back David Wilson made a pretty big leap up the board.
1. Eli Manning -- Four more touchdown passes Sunday. LW: 1
2. Jason Pierre-Paul -- JPP did not have any sacks of Drew Brees, but he had eight hurries and one hit, plus six tackles, He was a force. LW: 5
3. Victor Cruz -- Back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. LW: 3
4. Hakeem Nicks -- You have to admire the toughness the guy is displaying. He isn't 100 percent, but he is still making huge plays for Manning. LW: 4
5. Ahmad Bradshaw -- Switches places with JPP after David Wilson's coming out party. LW: 2
6. Antrel Rolle -- The longer Rolle is a Giant the more I think I appreciate him. He had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a deflected pass that turned into an interception Sunday. On top of those things he is a guy who willingly plays where needed, and is as much of a leader on the defense as anyone the Giants have. LW: 6
7. Will Beatty -- continues to be solid as a rock on the left end of the Giants' offensive line. LW: 7
8. Chris Snee -- Quietly having an excellent year. LW: 11
9. Chase Blackburn -- Wasn't great against the Saints. LW: 8
10. Linval Joseph -- Only played 39 snaps against the Saints as the Giants went a lot more with extra defensive ends. LW: 9" Read more...
Giants 52 - Saints 27: Hits, Misses, and Musings
Excerpt: "I have a favorite saying that “What goes around comes around.”
Well this week, the Giants were able to dish out a nice serving of humble pie to the Saints, who in games played since 2006 (the year Sean Payton became their head coach), beat the Giants by a combined score of 127-58, the last two games scoring 48 points in 2009 and then 49 points in 2011.
And I’m sorry, but I don’t buy this on the fact that Payton is unavailable due to his season-long suspension. Drew Brees, who the week before was a turnover machine, added two more to his running total while the Giants pass defense was simply masterful in taking away the majority of his options with some very well-disguised looks.
The Giants win wasn’t flawless, mind you. But it was a huge step in the right direction, and if they can keep up that level of intensity, it should serve them well moving forward in what’s a critical three-game stretch.
Without question, young David Wilson belongs in the category this week and at the top of the heap at that. There’s his amazing touchdown return on a kickoff in which he was so fast that at times it looked as though his blockers weren’t able to keep up with him. Perhaps though one of his most impressive runs was his was his six-yard touchdown that went between the tackles and on which he followed his blockers and kept his legs moving. That was a great effort and it underscored the passion and energy this amazing young athlete brings to the table.
After the game, Eli Manning praised Wilson for nailing a blitzing defender. As best as I can tell, the play he was probably referring to came early in the third quarter on an incomplete pass toMartellus Bennett. On the play, Wilson started to run, stopped, waited for the defender to come at him, and then proceeded to upend him. It had no bearing on the outcome of the play, but it kept Manning on his feet to at least attempt the throw, and it’s little things like that a quarterback appreciates.
Anyway, Wilson was “rewarded” for his effort as on the next play, he ran in for a six-yard touchdown, doing a wonderful job of following his blockers.
For all the grief he’s gotten from Giants fans this year, right tackle David Diehl actually played a pretty good game this week, in case you didn’t notice. He allowed perhaps one pressure, that coming at left tackle when he moved over for a couple of snaps when Will Beatty didn’t start there at the second half. Otherwise, Diehl turned n as solid of a showing in both his pass block and run block games as ever, reminding one of when he was in his prime and was a Pro Bowler.
Last week I suggested that if the coaches weren’t going to use Wilson for other than the occasional handoff or as a decoy, then maybe they should consider using fullback Henry Hynoski.
Well, this week as Hynoski took 36 snaps on offense which saw one beautifully executed carry up the middle and two solid catches out of the backfield. And let’s not forget all the solid blocking this underrated performer did, not just as a lead blocker but also when asked on a small handful of occasions to pass block.
Week in and week out, Hynoski has been one of the offense’s most steady, if not underrated performers, and I still believe that as Wilson lays down his roots and with Bradshaw continuing to hurt – he injured his knee in this game – that Hynoski, whose presence on the field no longer signals that it will purely be a running play, is a very intriguing option that at some point this year the coaches will unwrap a little more of.
I’ve often wondered why Antrel Rolle doesn’t get voted at least co-captain of the defense. Not only is he not afraid to speak his mind – notice how his teammates responded to his challenge about playing with more nastiness this week? He also puts is money where his mouth is and delivers on the field.
Playing against the slot receiver isn’t probably his idea of paradise, but he shuts his mouth and takes one for the team.
I’ve always been in favor of Domenik Hixon returning punts, and this week, I got my wish, as he was put back there. He didn’t disappoint, returning two punts for 19 yards and showing sure handedness that had recently escaped Rueben Randle of late.
Speaking of Randle, Hixon moved back into the lineup as the third receiver, a move that I applaud as right now his route running is far more advanced than Randle’s. With a playoff berth on the line, you bring out the guys who can get it done and who have been there before, and I applaud the coaches for going back to this sure-handed receiver.
And just to go back to Hixon for a moment, what an outstanding effort by him to reach out to make the grab of the ball. Hixon always plays fearlessly and this play was a perfect example of how he fought for the score, which just so happened to be a big one which put his team up 21-13 at the half.
For all those who want to see Justin Tryon removed from the team, his seal block was the final one that helped spring Wilson on his kickoff return for a touchdown. Tryon has actually delivered some solid special teams play as a gunner on the punt team as well as on kickoff returns." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw Had Sprained Knee
Excerpt: "New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a sprained knee, which could keep him out of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin would not rule Bradshaw out for the game, citing the running back's toughness and ability to play through pain. But Coughlin said he would not put any odds on Bradshaw's status, knowing that he is considered perhaps the toughest player on the team.
"I am not going to speculate -- because of the toughness of this young man -- on how long it would be," Coughlin said. "He is very positive about it and definitely wants to get back as fast as he can.
"I am not going to rule him out of anything. I am not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You can speculate on that knowing full well what the injury is."
Because of the injury, Bradshaw carried the ball only 11 times for 33 yards during the Giants' 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday." Read more...
Stevie Brown Added To Pro Bowl Ballott
Excerpt: "Giants safety Stevie Brown has been added to the Pro Bowl ballot, a team official told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Brown has started the team's past nine games and is second in the NFL in interceptions, with seven. He had two interceptions and a forced fumble in the Giants' 52-27 win over the Saints on Sunday." Read more...
Osi: When NYG At Their Best, Nobody Better
Excerpt: "Osi Umenyiora knows how good the New England Patriots looked on Monday night after dismantling the Houston Texans.
The defensive end also knows the Giants will need to play some of their best football to beat the NFC's best team, the Falcons, in Atlanta this weekend. But if the Giants are playing at their best, Umenyiora feels nobody is better.
"They [the Patriots] are playing the best right now," Umenyiora said when asked if he thinks the Patriots are the best team on The Michael Kay show on ESPN New York 98.7. "But honestly, when the Giants are playing our best, there is no question we are the best team in football." Read more...
Inside The Numbers: Wilson's Historic Day
Excerpt: "Wilson posted a franchise-record 327 all-purpose yards. Giants.com's Mike Eisen took a closer look at Wilson's numbers from a historical perspective; here are some franchise nuggets he came up with:
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According to the team, Wilson is the first Giants player in 64 years to score rushing and kickoff return touchdowns in a game, and he joins just three others as the only players in NFL history with two rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown in a game.
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Wilson's 97-yard kickoff return is only the 20th regular-season kickoff return for a touchdown in the Giants' 88-season history. Wilson's return also snapped the Giants' streak of 76 consecutive regular-season games without a kickoff return touchdown. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that drought was only behind St. Louis (119 games) and Jacksonville (84). Domenik Hixon was the last Giant to return a kickoff all the way, going for 74 yards against New England on Dec. 29, 2007." Read more...
Giants Aim To Put Heat On Ryan, Falcons
Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle pleaded with the New York Giants to bring a "dog" mentality and nastier disposition to the field. The veteran safety got what he wished for in Sunday's blowout victory over the New Orleans Saints.
"Oh yeah, I saw a lot of dog," Rolle said with a smile. "No pit bulls. I didn't see any pit bulls today. We are saving that for the long haul."
Perhaps that will come out when the Giants' defense really starts playing the way it knows it can. On Sunday, when they face the Falcons in Atlanta, the Giants will be reminded of just how dominant they can be.
It was against the Falcons that the Giants started their playoff march to the Super Bowl by suffocating Atlanta 24-2 in a wild-card game at MetLife Stadium last January.
The Giants smothered Matt Ryan, sacking him twice and holding him to 199 yards passing and no touchdowns.Michael Turner rushed for just 41 yards as Atlanta managed only 64 yards total on the ground.
This season, the Giants' defense has had some shining moments, dominating Carolina and San Francisco on the road and holding Aaron Rodgersand the Packers to 10 points at home.
But the defense has also given up big passing plays with breakdowns. Sacks have been hard to come by at times and some teams have gained chunks of rushing yards against Perry Fewell's defense. In five of their last seven games, the Giants have allowed 116 yards rushing or more to their opponent.
While the defense forced four turnovers against the Saints and finally conquered Drew Brees, the Giants still allowed New Orleans to gain 487 yards of total offense.
"We did the things we had to do basically when we had to do them," Tom Coughlin said of his defense." Read more...
Week 14 Power Rankings
Excerpt: "1. Patriots (five first-place votes): Finally, the rest of the PFT power rankings poll agrees with the boss. Nice to see you guys finally come around.
2. Broncos: Before any of you scream that the Broncos shouldn’t be No. 2, tell me who else should be.
3. Texans: If they win the next three games, the Texans will secure the right to eventually lose in the postseason at home.
4. Falcons: “The worst 11-2 team in NFL history” is still 11-2.
5. 49ers: It’s good they’re playing a playoff team on the road this weekend. The Niners could end up playing a playoff team on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
6. Packers: They’re getting healthy and they’ve found a running game, just in time for the postseason.
7. Seahawks: Unlike the 2005 team that made it to the Super Bowl, this team can win big games away from Seattle.
8. Giants: Tom Coughlin should be in the doghouse for not letting David Wilsonout of the doghouse sooner.
9. Ravens: If Cam Cameron’s offense was better, maybe the Ravens defense wouldn’t have blown an eight-point lead to a rookie backup quarterback.
10. Redskins: George McFly thinks this could be a team of density." Read more...
ReFo: Saints @ Giants Week 14
Excerpt: "Entering this game, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees was a lifetime 4-0 against the Giants with a margin of victory of at least 20 points in each, including a 49-24 demolition in Week 12 a year ago. It was only fitting that in this nightmarish season in New Orleans the Giants handed them their worst defeat of the season, 52-27.
Special teams was the story of the game as the Giants dominated from the opening kickoff, taking advantage of the Saints’ porous coverage unit. With the help of four takeaways, they ran practically every offensive play in New Orleans territory.
The Saints displayed the same maddening inconsistency on offense and defense that has extinguished any remaining playoff hopes. Conversely, the Giants came away with a much-needed win as they go into the final weeks of the season in what has suddenly become a tight divisional race.
New York – Three Performances of Note
We can’t mention the Giants without highlighting the terrific play of David Wilson (+3.0offense, +3.5 returns), who was impactful from start to finish. His 58-yard return on the opening kickoff set an early tone, but he wasn’t done there, putting his devastating speed on display all game and shredding the Saints’ coverage unit for an average of 56.8 yards on four returns. None was better than his second return of the game when he answered a New Orleans pick-six by going 97 yards for the tying touchdown. And if not for a couple of timely tackles by kickoff man Thomas Morestead, Wilson and teammate Jerrel Jernigan might have put up more return scores.
Wilson’s play on special teams shouldn’t overshadow his performance rushing the ball, though, as he averaged 7.7 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns, including an electric 52-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Let’s hope he sees the field going forward, as he adds an explosive element to the Giants’ rushing attack that should blend well with the strength and consistency that Ahmad Bradshaw brings to the party.
JPPThe Giants were able to pressure Drew Brees on 18 of his 44 drop-backs, in large part due to the play of Jason Pierre-Paul (+6.0), who terrorized the New Orleans offensive line en route to a season-high nine QB disruptions. Regardless of who was in front of him, Pierre-Paul had no trouble getting into the New Orleans backfield, as he beat tackles Jermon Bushrod, Zach Strief, and William Robinson at least twice each for pressures. Dave Thomas didn’t fare much better, allowing a hurry and picking up a holding penalty on his attempts to contain the end.
Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora weren’t bad either — each produced four pressures, including the team’s only sack on the day, on 61 combined rushes. Tuck was particularly effective rushing from the interior of the defense where he collected a hit and a hurry from two of his seven pass rushes against Ben Grubbs at DRT. This is usually the time of year that we see the Giants’ pass rush light the blue touch paper. It’s too early to tell if this was the start of that, but this was at least a better performance by the Giants’ base pass rush than we’ve seen for most of the season.
Mixed Bag at QB
Another inconsistent day on what’s been an up-and-down season for Eli Manning. As usual, he showed why he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the game as he threw for 259 yards and four TDs — none of which was more impressive than his 5-yard TD to Hixon late in the first quarter, when he laid the ball out perfectly in the back of the end zone. However, for each great throw and great decision, there was seemingly one on the opposite end of the spectrum. The first quarter pick-six to Mack was as bad a throw as he’s made on the season, as Eli was both late and inaccurate on an intermediate out-route. And though he only ended up with two picks in the big win, he realistically could have ended with five, as he put three other passes right on the hands of Saint defenders. Ultimately, these poor decisions didn’t matter for the Giants, but it was not the most encouraging performance against one of the poorer defenses in the league.
Game Notes-- On throws outside of the numbers, Eli Manning was four of eight for 35 yards and two interceptions to the left side, but completed 10 of 11 passes for 116 yards and two TDs to theright.--
Michael Boley allowed all 12 passes thrown into his coverage to be completed.– Through Week 14, the Saints have passed on 86% of snaps when Darren Sproles is in the game.
PFF Game Ball
This one goes to David Wilson, who was dynamic as a rusher and returner for the Giants." Read more...
32 Observations: Week 14
Excerpt: "This week the
shift the focus to the tight end position. Last year both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham burst onto the scene making the tight end position interesting again. This year Jason Witten might be a game away from 100 catches on the season. As always, here are the stats you need to impress your friends, or make them think you’re a nerd… depending on what kind of friends you have.NFC EastDallas Cowboys: Jason Witten is by far the most targeted tight end on out routes with 35. It is probably because he is one of the most successful at them, with 30 catches and 266 yards.New York Giants: Martellus Bennett has 70 or more yards in four games this season. He is one of only four tight ends this year to have that many games of that many yards.Philadelphia Eagles: Brent Celek has been targeted 12 times behind the line of scrimmage, which leads the league. On those passes he has 10 catches for 57 yards.Washington Redskins: Logan Paulson has the lowest Pass Blocking Efficiency for all tight ends. He has allowed two sacks and seven hurries, which has led to a PBE of 86.8." Read more...
NFL Bounty Suspensions Of Four Players Overturned By Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
Jets - Chargers Bumped From Prime Time To 1:00 PM; Giants Up To 4:00 PM
Politi: Roger Goodell Right To Explore Safer Alternatives To Kickoffs, Despite Excitement Of Big Returns
Slumping Ravens Fire Offensive Coordinator Cameron