Excerpt: "The Giants entered Sunday’s game having never beatenDrew Brees. Moreover, the teams’ last two meetings had been lopsided Giants losses down in New Orleans.
“Personally, I was going for the gusto,” safety Antrel Rolleadmitted in his weekly WFAN Radio spot yesterday. “That was definitely a game where I was playing for get-back. I don’t care; I will be honest to say that. I didn’t like the way we went down there and embarrassed ourselves, and the way we let them embarrass us last year.”
The Giants took care of that with a decisive 52-27 win on their home turf Sunday evening.
Avenging past losses to the Saints wasn’t the most important thing the Giants did, though -- that was maintaining their lead atop the NFC East, as every other team in the division had won their 1 p.m. games by the time the Giants took the field.
The key now for the Giants is building on the positives from the performance and correcting the negatives, for the final three games of the season.
“My focus is going to the next one,” defensive end Justin Tuck said after the win. “I think (earlier in the season) we got kind of caught up in some of our big wins and came out and not played our best the next week. So for me personally, I’m already thinking about next week.”
THE STRONG SIDE
RB David Wilson. We have to start here, with what FB Henry Hynoski dubbed a “coming-out party” for the first-round draft pick. Wilson’s 227 kick return yards were the most by a 100-yard rusher in a game, per the NFL, and the three previous record holders are all in the Hall of Fame: Steve Van Buren, Gale Sayersand Walter Payton. Wilson showed off his speed, but perhaps more impressive? How he plowed Saints LB Jonathan Vilma in the hole, and got close enough to extend the ball across the goal line for his first rushing touchdown of the day. Later, he also lowered his shoulder on LB Curtis Lofton, forcing him off the field for a play or two. And QB Eli Manning told Wilson his best play was picking up a three-safety blitz on a play-action pass when he stayed in on pass protection.
Give credit to the kickoff return unit, too. The creases that Wilson had were excellent. On Wilson’s return touchdown, Hynoski was running upfield with Wilson, looking for someone to block, but couldn’t even find anyone. There was maybe one missed tackle by the Saints on that return, but truly, an official in the middle of the field was the person who had the best chance to stop him. When the Saints tried pop-up kicks to avoid Wilson, the Giants set up a nice return with Jerrel Jernigan. The wedge of Hynoski and Jim Cordle, who redeemed himself after a tough pair of holding calls last week, cleared out an opening for Jernigan, and S Will Hill had an excellent block on Elbert Mack that helped extend the play. The kickoff coverage units were also good, with nice stops by LBs Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich.
Four takeaways. Per the FOX broadcast, the Saints had been the only team that had no lost fumbles on the road, but the Giants got two in the first quarter. Antrel “more dog” Rolle had a hand (literally) in three of the turnovers: He pounced on the first lost fumble, knocked the ball out of FB Jed Collins’ clutch on the second and appeared to get a hand up on the pass while covering TE Jimmy Graham to lead to Brees’ first interception. S Stevie Brown picked off that ball and also Brees’ second interception, an excellent play to break on a ball in the middle of the field to Graham from the Giants’ cover-2 shell.
WR Victor Cruz, the former undrafted free agent, topped 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He did it on a day when he caught eight of the nine passes Manning threw his way. He ran an excellent route on his 10-yard touchdown catch, planting inside then juking outside to separate from CB Patrick Robinson.
The offensive line -- with another lineup change this week, David Diehl back at right tackle -- kept Manning from getting sacked for the fifth time this season.
Pressure on Brees. I know some might disagree with this, and the Giants only had one sack to show for it, but I thought the Giants’ front was able to affect Brees in the pocket for most of the day. This is what Tuck was talking about when he referred to “keeping the quarterback’s feet hot.” By my count, the Giants pressured Brees -- chased him, got in his face or forced him to step up -- on about half of his 44 dropbacks Sunday, an impressive ratio." Read more...