Put me somewhere in the middle.
The Giants have to learn to close. The comparisons to 2007 and the near-upset
of the Pats are nice, but that team was already in the playoffs. They held back
a bit on their game plan and had little to lose. This team had everything to
gain. So to say this is going to be a turning point in a Super Bowl season is to
miss the fact they have a long way to go to even make the playoffs. And like
Dave Tollefson said, they have to be better than to allow a team to go 68 yards
in four plays after allowing the Saints to go the length of the field in a blink
But this team needed to be reminded of what it’s capable of doing in a lot of
trouble areas, like the run game and the pass rush of late. Those things are now
on film for them to see and believe. So yes, it can be a springboard of
I discounted the loss to the Pats in ’07 as just that -- a loss. The Eagles
and Ravens (two teams going nowhere that year) had just given the Pats, who were
sucking wind by that point, a scare in previous weeks. What good was almost for
the Giants in that spot?
Well, it was plenty good because it got them thinking they were better than
they initially believed. This game has the chance to do that, provided they
continue to play with the enthusiasm they brought Sunday.
* * * *
DE Jason Pierre-Paul. I
counted eight -- eight -- pressures for him. Plus, two balls batted
down at the line and a half-sack that was negated by a penalty. Huge, huge, huge
game for him.
QB Eli Manning. Let’s face it, he’s gone toe-to-toe with
Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron
Rodgers this year. Has he been the best quarterback in the last two of
those games? No. But how slim is the difference? Very, very slight.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Take it from Giants rookie LB
Jacquian Williams, who has faced Brady and Brees. Williams
thought he had a chance to make a play on the ball for Pack TE Jermichael
Finley on the first play of Green Bay’s game-winning drive. “He put it
exactly where he wanted to put it,” a somewhat bewildered Williams said. “I
haven't ever seen nothing like that before. As a rookie.” Personally, other than
the throws on that final drive, I’d have to say Rodgers’ most impressive pass
was a 33-yarder to WR Jordy Nelson in the first quarter while
he was rolling right. Rodgers has this little skip he does to get more juice on
the ball while on the run. He did it there and that ball had some zip.
Green Bay LB Clay Matthews. Great read and break on the ball
on his interception of Manning. The Giants ran a two-man route on that play and
there was just nothing there for Manning, who tried to find RB Ahmad
Bradshaw on the out route. A rare bad decision by Manning this season.
Matthews also had a forced fumble, giving him three turnovers created in two
games against the Giants. I also didn’t realize until today how quickly he shot
into the backfield and pressured Manning on the quick throw to WR Hakeem
Nicks for the touchdown with 58 seconds to go. Just incredible
quickness, as he’d shown on a near-sack in the end zone earlier in the game.
Packers WR Donald Driver. Two touchdowns but the play that
wowed me was the 7-yard catch on third-and-3 early in the third quarter (the one
the Giants challenged). That ball didn’t move a centimeter from the time it hit
Driver’s hands. If it had, that would’ve been ruled incomplete because his butt
hit the sideline. That’s precisely what the Giants were challenging, so there
was a very, very small window in which Driver had to secure the ball. He did.
Packers WRs Greg Jennings and Nelson. Somebody tell me where
this corps ranks all-time. Are they up there among the great ones? They should
be. Maybe another Super Bowl ring will get that conversation going even further
than it already has.
Finley. Don’t forget about him. I had him down for three of the Packers’ six
drops, but he was effective and made a big play to spark the final drive.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin. I tried telling people last week
this team has been left for dead only to bounce back too many times to be
counted out again. As Coughlin said, they’ll fight.
LB Chase Blackburn. You know those signs on trucks that
read, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you?” That’s kind of what
happened on Blackburn’s
interception Sunday. He said he couldn’t see Rodgers, which meant Rodgers
couldn’t see him. Had Rodgers saw No. 93 (Blackburn is really having some fun
with his new number, which is cool), he would’ve waited another tick and hit WR
Randall Cobb on the inside slant, not Jennings trying to clear
LB Mathias Kiwanuka. Great job by Blackburn not just on that
play but all day Sunday getting underneath those routes, which had been a
problem for Giants linebackers this year.
WR Victor Cruz. I didn’t get a chance to fire this last
week. It’s a quote from Packers CBs coach Joe Whitt (courtesy
of a legend in this business and a Hall of Fame writer, Bob McGinn of the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) on Cruz being the Giants’ No. 1 receiver in his
mind: "There's no question. He's one of the most impressive guys I've broken
down this year. Pro Bowl player. I mean, he's the real deal. If I had to pick
Pro Bowl guys he would be on there." At this point, though, he’s not on the
ballot, you’d have to figure Cruz is headed to Hawaii soon. He’ll get lots of
votes from players and coaches.
Nicks. It’s to the point now where, if it’s a 1-on-1 jump ball, I fully
expect him to make the catch and am stunned when he doesn’t.
Bradshaw. On the first play of the game from scrimmage, he broke a tackle for
an extra 2 yards. That’s all. Just 2 yards. But I’d imagine it reminded this
team of what he brings and got their confidence going right off the bat. That
first drive was enormous. One other note: four years after RB Brandon
Jacobs made Packers CB Charles Woodson road kill to
open the NFC Championship game, Bradshaw did just that on a swing pass early in
the fourth quarter.
Jacobs. Something I didn’t see until rewatching the game: he got just enough
of Packers DL B.J. Raji to slow him down on the 42-yard pass to
Cruz in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, he had a huge stick on
LB D.J. Smith on a blitz pickup.
RG Chris Snee. He’s had a concussion and a stomach bug that
have bothered him in a few games, so he hasn’t been himself at times. He was
himself Sunday and really got after it in a big game when the Giants needed
stability on a shuffled line.
LG Mitch Petrus and C Kevin Boothe. As much
as Boothe said after game it’s “no big deal” when he finds out two hours before
a game he’s playing center instead of guard, it’s a big deal. As for Petrus, he
had a few yips and drew himself a tough, tough assignment in Raji for much of
the day. Petrus allowed a pressure to Raji in the first half, was shed on
another block, had a false start and whiffed on Raji on a run in the third
quarter. But there were times he handled him as well, including a real nice
block on a 5-yard run for a first down that was negated by an illegal-formation
penalty, and a few snaps later when he got up inside Raji to move that big body
backward on the fade TD from Manning to Nicks. Even on a draw play to start the
fourth quarter, when Raji made a quick spin move, Petrus let him do all the work
and nudged him to the inside to give Jacobs room. Had Boothe locked onto Smith
better there, that would’ve been a big run instead of a 3-yard gain. One play
later, good blocks by Petrus, LT David Diehl and TE
Jake Ballard opened the hole for 8 yards. Had Boothe not
slipped at the snap there, that might have been another huge run. And finally,
great job by Petrus to turn Raji on the 2-point conversion. (More on that down
Diehl. Let’s not forget about him. He’s been solid since moving back to left
tackle. You just can’t take that kind of stuff for granted.
DT Linval Joseph. He’s been under the radar this year but
he’s been solid. Sunday was his best game of his career. He was around the ball
all day long.
TE Travis Beckum. Think his teammates were excited for him?
Just look at the reaction by guys like Cruz, Nicks, Ballard and Bradshaw coming
up to a player who has struggled to find a role in this offense after a play
like he made. I forgot to mention this in my note on Beckum but that play began
with Manning nearly dropping the snap. He kept his composure and looked S
Morgan Burnett toward Nicks’ side. That left plenty of room for
Beckum, who picked up the last 35 yards after the catch by taking advantage of
Burnett’s overrunning the tackle attempt twice.
K Lawrence Tynes. That 50-yard field goal was huge because
it ensured the Giants would remain within one score if Green Bay added a
touchdown, which they did. Plus, four touchbacks for Tynes.
FB Henry Hynoski. Aside from the fair catch that could have
been (he vowed not to do that again), he played an excellent game and was a
physical presence on a few lead runs.
DE Justin Tuck. That looked like
“Old Tuck” to me. “I’m getting better,” he continued to say afterward about
* * * *
Williams. I was a tad reluctant to give him one here because he played well
for a good portion of the game and the illegal-contact penalty on him in the
fourth quarter was a bit ticky-tack. That being said, he admitted he can’t be
putting his hands on the receiver like that. He also admitted he has to play
smarter than when he tried making a play on the ball to start the Packers’
game-winning drive, a decision that cost the Giants an extra 14 yards. Williams
thought he could get to that ball. Perhaps it was in part because he made a play
on a similar ball from Rodgers to Finley on a quick out early in the second
CB Will Blackmon. Tough spot for him to be put in, playing
corner in only his second game back. Rodgers seemed to know that and he went
after his former teammate in key spots, including on Nelson’s 27-yarder on the
Woodson. The Giants made it obvious they were going to take advantage of his
aggressiveness. They started with a double move by Cruz that resulted in an
illegal-contact penalty. Later, there was a nice pump fake by Manning on a
“bounce” or “pivot” route when the Giants clearly had an inkling Woodson would
be sniffing for a pick six. That play was big because it was a third-and-6 from
their own 5 on a drive that resulted in a field goal early in the fourth
quarter. Woodson also had a roughing-the-passer call when he went high on
Manning after making a nice move to create pressure. Originally, I thought it
was merely a glancing blow but after rewatching it, I felt it was blatant enough
to be called.
The rest of the Packers’ secondary. There’s been a lot of talk about how the
yardage they’ve given up is because of garbage time. Eh, I’m not so sure about
that. For an undefeated team, the back end of their defense is a concern. The
Giants took 10 shots of 20 or more yards down the field (they connected on three
of them and drew a penalty on another), so they knew they could attack this
Referre Jeff Triplette and his crew. The people spoke (in
the comments section) and I listened.
* * * *
I know a lot of people were wondering why the Giants left 58 seconds for
Rodgers and the Packers, but I’m with Coughlin. Worry about the score before the
clock. The only decision in that sequence I would question was running a play
from the 17-yard line before the 2-minute warning. They should have let that one
run down and then start first-and-10 after the commercial break. That way, after
Bradshaw runs for 3 yards, the clock continues to run. But again, it’s
nitpicking, I believe.
* * * *
Let’s go over the penalties with which the Giants took issue. The first was a
pass-interference call on CB Prince Amukamara early in the
third quarter. That was a good call. As I
noted in my game preview while talking about a play last year, you can’t
grab a guy’s arm. It didn’t look like much live because there wasn’t a lot of
body contact, but that’s pass interference, as was Woodson’s being all over
Nicks on his touchdown. There was also the ruling on Jennings’ touchdown. (I’ve
broken that out on its own one item down.) Then, we had the illegal contact on
Williams. I didn’t love it called in a spot like that but, by rule, it’s a
penalty. A few minutes later, there was a no call on CB Sam
Shields when he had a fistful of Nicks’ jersey. That was absolutely
holding or pass interference there. Finally, there was Driver’s second TD, where
he might have stepped out of bounds. I can’t believe Fox didn’t have a replay
from the back of the end zone to give a better look there. Plus, field judge
Barry Anderson looks away as Driver is in the back of the end
zone, so he wasn’t even looking for that. There’s just nothing we had to
determine if he indeed stepped out.
Now, as for the Jennings touchdown, Coughlin
was looking for clarity on the “Calvin Johnson rule” a few weeks back when
it was ruled WR Mario Manningham didn’t hold the ball while
completing the act of falling. That same week, it was ruled Lions WR
Nate Burleson had completed the act of the catch before losing
the ball while stumbling through the netting behind the end zone. I doubt, after
watching this one, Coughlin will be any less confused about the rule. I’ll say
this: when a player falls, the rule is much easier to apply. The contact with
the ground and that moment of whether he holds the ball or not is the end of the
act. But when a player stays on his feet, that’s when the gray area creeps in.
When is the act complete? When does he have possession of the ball? I see what
the officials must have seen and to what Mike Pereira
referenced when he said there was control with the left hand after a few
mini-bobbles. But once Jennings controls it, his left foot appears to be off the
ground, which would mean he had only one foot down with complete control before
Amukamara knocks it away. It’s very, very close as to whether that left foot was
still on the ground.
Because I know you love to hate the three-man rush, allow me to point out
Perry Fewell used it on back-to-back plays on the Packers’
first drive. Both resulted in incomplete passes, with the second one a ball
Rodgers threw away deep after 6.5 seconds in the pocket -- an eternity in the
NFL. Where I didn’t like the three-man rush call was on Driver’s second
The screen pass to RB D.J. Ware when he motions out to the
left is so obvious it’s not fooling anybody anymore. I understand the Giants
have fakes built in there to get the defense to crash down so they can hit a
play downfield but they just don’t use them enough to make it worth the time to
have a 4-yard loss that kills the momentum of a good drive that could’ve been a
touchdown instead of a field goal. The one on third-and-8 midway through the
fourth quarter was an absolute disaster. It looked like Ware believed he was
running the decoy there because of the way he threw his hands up and was
surprised when the ball came his way. In that spot, the decoy is the much better
I mentioned Coughlin had plenty of in-house replays to see before he
challenged Ballard’s near-TD in the first quarter but I didn’t see the one Fox
showed where Ballard’s knee does appear to hit the blue paint before the white
until rewatching the game. That angle does make it look like he was in, though
every other angle seemed to indicate he touched white first. And by the way, if
you’re confused on that one and wondering why challenge if his left foot never
came close to coming down in bounds, you should know (as John
Madden and Dave Anderson wrote years ago) one knee equals two feet. In other
words, the one knee in bounds would have negated the need for the left foot to
hit at all. So in summation, after seeing the replay from behind Ballard, that
challenge from Coughlin wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was while watching
live. And frankly, Coughlin believes he should've won it. (More on that coming
The second challenge, though, should’ve never happened. It was right in front
of the Giants’ sideline. It was close, but Coughlin had a perfect look at that
one. Some people thought it wasn’t worth the gamble because, despite being a
third down, it was only a 7-yard gain and that was the Giants’ last challenge. I
don’t have a problem with that part because the Packers were driving to make it
a two-score game and that’s not the position in which you want to be against the
Packers. I just had an issue with the challenge itself.
Yeah, the officiating seemed to favor the Packers Sunday but Fox did a nice
job of showing you the one play where S Deon Grant mugged
Finley and got away with one. And I agree with Troy Aikman when
he said the illegal contact that wasn’t called on Williams was worse
than the one that was. Rodgers and Finley both were calling for a flag there. So
it goes both ways sometimes.
I was sitting next to Gary Myers of the Daily News and he noted after the
pass by the Packers' Cobb how do you take the ball out of Rodgers’ hand to throw
it? Can’t agree more. Leave those plays for the Broncos to run.
Aikman put Driver’s first touchdown on S Antrel Rolle by
saying he “blew that one.” He was wrong. Many of my Twitter followers said CB
Aaron Ross was to blame. Eventually, after referencing CB
Corey Webster, Aikman said it might’ve been Ross. Nope. (I was
wondering why a bunch of my Twitter followers were saying everyone was in man
coverage when it was only Webster who was in man. I just heard now during the
replay that’s what Aikman said, so they were influenced by him.) Rolle’s
immediate reaction told me he believed Webster should’ve sunk deep on that one
because he went right toward him, and Webster acted like he knew he was in the
wrong once Rolle relayed the info to him. Sure enough, after the game, Coughlin
said, “They ran a switch route and we didn’t fall off outside.” Webster was the
outside corner on the play.
As many of you astutely pointed out right away when this happened, the
officials should’ve taken about 6 seconds off the clock when Matthews forced a
fumble on Manning and everybody stood around. The officials got the fumble part
correct but missed the clock issue. The Packers should’ve had 20 seconds, not
26, when they took over at the 50-yard line. They missed a field goal, so no
harm done, but still the officials have to be on top of that one.
* * * *
ODDS AND (TIGHT) ENDS
Though I didn’t give Fewell a game ball, I came close. I’m stunned by the
number of people who think the defense didn’t play well Sunday because they gave
up 31 points. They came up small in a big spot, but they defended the Pack as
well as anybody has this year. People were pointing to the drops by Green Bay
receivers as reason for why Rodgers posted season lows in completion percentage
and passer rating. Okay, but the Giants’ defense had a lot to do with that as
When Jacobs ran for 11 and 14 yards on the final two plays of the first
quarter, it marked the first time since the fourth quarter of the victory over
the Bills on Oct. 16 the Giants had consecutive double-digit runs. Not just
back-to-back plays or even from series to series. Consecutive runs, period. And
if my calculations are correct, and I believe they are, it’s only the second
time they’ve done that this season.
Nice job by Nicks to save an interception off a deflection in the second
quarter. Packers CB Tramon Williams had that one lined up after
it bounced off Cruz and Morgan, but Nicks got a hand in there to make sure it
fell incomplete. The teams traded punts on three possessions there until
Blackburn’s interception helped the Giants to a lead. An interception by
Williams near midfield might have changed that whole sequence and perhaps the
Nicks had said a few weeks ago he thought the Giants might start doing some
things to help him get away from double coverage. If you looked closely Sunday,
you saw he was lined up in the slot, moving in motion and switching with Cruz
often at the line. All of these things are done to help Nicks get more room to
If I were a coach, I’d think one of the things that would drive me bonkers
would be when a returner fair catches a ball inside the 10 like Cobb did midway
through the second quarter. I mean, you stand on the 10 and if you have to take
one step backward, you let the ball bounce. If not, you catch it. Cobb caught it
at the 6 instead of letting it hit when the closest guy on the coverage unit was
still 6 yards away. Would it have checked up? Maybe. But that’s the chance you
take. Instead, the Packers were backed up, Rodgers threw the interception to
Blackburn and the Giants retook the lead. Would the Packers’ offensive sequence
have gone differently if they had started from the 20? Yeah, maybe.
That wasn’t one of the better games called by Aikman. He was off in plenty of
areas, including when he said the Giants had played more man than Fewell had
told them he would. Now, I don’t know what Fewell told them. For all we know, he
might’ve said he’d play man half the time. But by my rough (and I cannot stress
the word “rough” enough on this one because it’s impossible to tell with
certainty what a coverage call is on a TV broadcast), I had the Giants about
2-to-1 zone-to-man at that point. Fewell went with lots of zone looks after
calling a man-heavy scheme against the Saints. I think that was a smart
adjustment after his DBs came up small in New Orleans.
Somebody on email asked me about the illegal-formation penalty on Diehl in
the third quarter. It’s not really on Diehl; it’s on Cruz because he didn’t
“cover” Diehl, meaning he didn’t line up on the line of scrimmage. The last guy
on the line can’t be a lineman with an ineligible number (No. 50-79) unless he
reports eligible. If you noticed, there was an unbalanced line earlier in the
game that left OL Jim Cordle as the last man on the left side
of the line. But because he reported eligible on that play, there was no
My brother-in-law, a neutral observer in this one, didn’t like the fist bump
by Woodson to Nicks after Nicks’ TD. Eh, didn’t bother me. He’s established
enough to get away with that. It’s not something you want to see a rookie do,
but Woodson has shown he’s dedicated enough. He just respected Nicks’ ability
right there, as well he should.
One of the keys in my game preview (linked above) was not letting Rodgers
escape. The Giants did a decent job of that for the most part. The only errors
were when DE Dave Tollefson got too far upfield to give him a
lane to his right and when Williams lost his footing on a 6-yard run for a first
down in the third quarter.
The blocking on Jacobs’ 12-yard run on the next-to-last play of the third
quarter was the old Giants style of blocking. The combo by Boothe and Petrus on
Raji to move him away from the hole and the lead blocks by Snee and FB
Bear Pascoe allowed Jacobs to get up the field untouched. Maybe
these guys are turning a corner here. We’ll see.
If you watch the 2-point conversion again, you’ll see Petrus look back at
Manning after he makes the check at the line. “I didn’t hear it at first,”
Petrus said. “I turned around and he’s like, ‘Alert! Alert! We’re checking.’ All
right, here we go. It gets kind of loud.” How the Packers, who had little
support up the middle, didn’t realize what the check meant is beyond me. Anyway,
here’s more Petrus on his first career start: “I was really excited when I got
the news. Unfortunately we didn’t win but we played hard, went out there and
fought. I don’t have any regrets. I played as hard as I could. We’re going to
get it down, we’re going to keep fighting. … (The start) felt awesome to go out
there. It felt awesome, it really did. Even though we came up a little bit
short, we were out there competing. It was good to be a part of that. I felt
privileged and honored.”
And finally somebody tweeted to Cordle he took a late shot at Matthews. “I
really don’t like him,” Cordle
tweeted in reply. That is all."
HERE NOW THE NEWS
THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.
NEWARK STAR LEDGER
GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN PLEASED WITH GUARD MITCH PETRUS' ATTITUDE IN HIS FIRST CAREER START
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin will pull life lessons from anywhere, even from the pages of
history, as shining examples for his players.
This week, the Giants' coach needed to
look no further than the front of the auditorium, where Mitch Petrus was
sitting. The second-year lineman played a very good game against the Packers on
Sunday after finding out only two hours before kickoff he’d be making his first
“When he came to the stadium, I don’t think Mitch Petrus even knew he was
going to dress,” Coughlin said today. “And not only is he going to dress, he’s
now starting at left guard and plays the entire football game.
“And really, it wasn’t perfect. But you see his power, you see his ability,
you see him up against some very good defensive people that are big, sizable
defensive linemen and plays well against them.”
As I noted in my
game review, Petrus saw a lot of B.J. Raji, the Westwood Regional grad who
has been a disruptive force for many experienced linemen over the past two
years. Raji gave Petrus some trouble here and there, but Petrus got the better
of the former first-round pick for much of the day.
“I liked his attitude and the way he went about it,” Coughlin said of Petrus.
“There was no big eyes, there was no anything. He just went to work, trusted
himself, trusted his preparation. When given the opportunity, he did well.”
So did Kevin Boothe, who slid from left guard to center because David Baas
was out of action with headaches.
“How do you not recognize what this guy has done?” Coughlin said of Boothe,
who has validated
Jerry Reese’s saying he was a “priority” for the team to re-sign. “Whatever
he has to do, he does it, with 5 minutes’ notice, with no notice. He just goes
“There was one time where you saw Eli was kind of bobbling the snap when he
was up under the center and then threw a 67-yard touchdown pass (to Travis
Beckum). I would take the bobble if the result was going to be that every
Asked after the game about playing center after preparing to play guard all
week long, Boothe said, “It’s not a big deal. I knew I was playing today.”
Coughlin indicated it can be a big deal for others.
“The way he thinks and the way he plays and the way he reacts, it probably
wasn’t,” Coughlin said. “I know, when I talked to him, it was like, ‘Here we go
Boothie, you’re now the center.’ ‘Okay great,’ and with a big smile, away he
Coughlin said there were also examples of players making adjustments on
defense after Kenny Phillips was lost with a knee injury.
“It happens all the time at our level,” he said. “But for once it’s probably
a good idea to recognize the way guys go about their business under pressure
when changes have to be made.” Read more...
GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN BELIEVES BALLARD'S CATCH AGAINST PACKERS WAS A TOUCHDOWN
Excerpt: "A day later, Tom Coughlin was nauseous.
Not about his team’s effort in the Giants’ loss
to the Packers. Rather, about a replay challenge he believes he should’ve
won when tight end Jake Ballard was ruled out of bounds on a pass in the end
zone. The officials upheld the call on the field and the Giants settled for a
field goal. It was 10-7 instead of 14-7.
“I just saw a picture that made me sick to my stomach, which Fox produced and
showed he’s in,” Coughlin said today. “Don’t ask me about that because I really
don’t know why, but I did see the picture.”
I don’t know if this
is the picture he’s talking about, but it certainly makes matters
As I mentioned in my
game review, there was one angle Fox showed from behind Ballard in which it
appears the bottom of his knee pad hits in the blue paint of the end zone before
sliding into the white of the sideline. Fox didn’t show that replay until the
Giants had already challenged the play, so it’s unclear if someone on the
coaching staff had that information.
“I challenged the Ballard thing. No question about that one,” Coughlin said.
“I wasn’t going to not challenge that and have somebody tell me, ‘You know he
was in?’ As I said, the one on the sideline I was upset, I really was, because
it was third-and-3 and I thought we had them stopped.”
That was a 7-yard catch by Donald Driver, who got both feet down before his
“The second one, I really shouldn’t have challenged. It was right on our
sideline,” Coughlin said. “But it was a third-and-3, and I was very much aware
of where the ball was going, where it was headed and if there was any way it
could be turned around. And they were hurrying up to the ball to snap it, so I
really didn’t get a great call from upstairs. But I’ve been overly aggressive
with those calls, not waiting for any kind of advice from upstairs.”
By those calls, Coughlin means potential game-changers. He’s had some close
ones and has lost his last five challenges.
“It seems like we’ve had a series of things that have not been clear, and
even when the pictures are there, have not been really clear,” he said. “But
I’ve gone ahead and challenged anyway. I’ve done so for a number of
One more gripe Coughlin had with the officiating was the interpretation of
the Calvin Johnson rule on Greg Jennings’ touchdown. Jennings takes a while to
control the ball and when he finally does, it seems he might have gotten only
one foot down.
Coughlin said a few weeks ago he was looking
for “consistency” in the rule. Today, he said he’s still searching.
“I would go so far as to say most of us know exactly what the rule reads
like, but I’ve seen it interpreted a lot of different ways,” he said. “It’s
confusing to me.” Read more...
GIANTS-PACKERS GAME REVIEW: MUCH TO LIKE FOR GIANTS, BUT "MORAL VICTORY" STILL A LOSS
"There are those who saw the value
in Sunday’s “moral victory.” And there are those who say moral victories
“are for losers.”
CHASE BLACKBURN MAKES IMPACT IN RETURN TO GIANTS
Excerpt: "This time last week, Chase Blackburn was unsure if he was going to get the
call; his chances of landing on a team decreased with each passing week.
The Giants brought him in for a tryout earlier in the season, but decided to
stick with what they had at linebacker. So Blackburn continued working out on
his own, waiting for that call. He said he watched the Giants’ blowout loss
against the Saints last Monday on television. The next day he was a Giant again.
Five days later, he was front and center at MetLife Stadium in the Giants’ 38-35
loss against the Packers to cap off a whirlwind of a week.
With Michael Boley limited in his first game back since straining his
hamstring and rookie Mark Herzlich out with an ankle injury, Blackburn saw
plenty of playing time at linebacker just five days after signing. And he made
the most of the opportunity, finishing with five tackles and an
“No. Like I said, that’s why I feel like they brought me in,” Blackburn said
when asked if he was surprised by how much he played. “Because I’ve been able to
do that in the past and I know the defense and the system and kind of what they
expect from me. I was able to step into that role.”
Still, for a player who has spent most of his five-year career on special
teams — he was the Giants’ special teams captain last season — his play was a
pleasant surprise for a Giants defense riddled by injuries all season. There
were times when Blackburn struggled in coverage, but his interception in the
second quarter was a game-changing play at the time.
On the second play of the Packers’ drive from the Green Bay 10-yard line,
Aaron Rodgers stepped back and faced some pressure from the Giants front, which
underthrown pass intended for Greg Jennings. Instead, it found
Blackburn, who previously had just two career interceptions.
“I couldn’t even see Aaron,” Blackburn admitted after the game. “I just knew
I was cheating towards that route on the seam. So I didn’t see Aaron; I just saw
the ball coming out over top. That’s all I could see, was the release point, so
I’m sure he didn’t see me either. He probably thought I was sitting on the hash.
I was able to cheat on the route and go with it.” Read more...
GIANTS LOSE TO GREEN BAY, 38-35; SOME SEE LOSS AS MORAL VICTORY
Excerpt: "There was lots of optimism in the Giants’ locker room, plenty of back slaps,
atta boys, references to the ’07 close loss to the Patriots and talk of all the
good things to take from this game.
And then, there was Dave Tollefson, sitting in the farthest corner of the
room, elbows on knees and speaking in a tone that suggested he had not just
participated in a moral victory.
What Tollefson saw was a defense that allowed Green Bay to go 68 yards in 55
seconds to set up Mason Crosby’s 31-yard winning field goal as time expired in
the Packers’ 38-35 victory that preserved their perfect season (12-0) and
extended the tail-spinning Giants’ losing streak to four games.
“Eli (Manning) and the offense do a great job, go down there and score to tie
us up and we just — pffft,” Tollefson said, opting for a r***ing commentary
rather than a breakdown of what happened. “Come on now, we’re better than
We’ve got an interesting debate on our hands today because, well, are the
Giants (6-6) better than what they showed Sunday?Is it enough for them to fight back from an 11-point deficit in the third
quarter, tie the game on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Hakeem Nicks,
get the 2-point conversion on an audible by Manning to a run up the middle and
then lose because Aaron Rodgers and his targets are better than a banged-up
We’ll save the why and focus on the how, beginning with rookie Jacquian
Williams’ trying for an interception instead of making a tackle on what wound up
being a 24-yard catch-and-run for Jermichael Finley. Jordy Nelson then caught a
27-yard pass to the Giants’ 29 on a double move past former Packer Will Blackmon
and Jennings caught a quick out for 18 to set up Crosby’s field goal.
The Giants’ 69-yard drive to tie the score, which came after Rodgers hit
Donald Driver on a 7-yard touchdown to make it 35-27 with 3:34 to play, became a
footnote. And with the Cowboys’ (7-5) loss to the Cardinals, there was nothing
lost or gained on the day.
Except maybe some confidence from the Giants, who are a game behind Dallas
heading into Sunday’s matchup in Texas — the first of two between the teams in
the season’s final four weeks.
“There’s no solace in playing well and losing,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’re way
past that.” Read more...
YOU GRADE 'EM: GIANTS VS. PACKERS
D'ALESSANDRO: POSITIVE SIGN ASIDE, THE GIANTS ARE SIMPLY MEDIOCRE
Excerpt: "Somewhere in the fourth quarter, just before Aaron Rodgers took the ball and
breezed through 68 yards in 55 seconds like he was Spiderman caught in a jet
stream, the Giants learned about something called the Law of Diminishing
Astonishment. One of those job-performance experts came up with that one.
Basically, it goes like this: “What initially amazes people quickly becomes the
So maybe they (okay, you) were all a little surprised that they were so
stubborn in the face of the Green Bay juggernaut for 59 minutes and 57 seconds
By the time they watched Mason Crosby’s chip-shot field goal sail through and
crush the spirit of 80,000 believers, the Giants somehow concluded that this was
a positive development, and an irrefutable sign of future success.
You know, the stuff fans are usually guilty of believing around Week 13,
before their hearts are ripped out around Christmas.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin conceded that there is “no solace in playing well
and losing,” but then reeled off a dozen reasons why he had witnessed “the kind
of emotional things that bind you together” and how this performance “brings us
together even tighter.”
Right on cue, they all interpreted this 38-35 kick in the teeth as a clear
sign that they are merely 3 seconds away from being the equal to the reigning
Super Bowl champions.
Nobody had the heart to remind them they haven’t won a game in 28 days.
Nobody wanted to damage their egos further by scribbling “6-6” on their
notepads and wagging it in their faces.
Nobody chose to mention that they are now batting exactly .400 in the second
half of the season during the Coughlin Era (24-36), which is fairly solid
mathematical proof that there’s something to this December Swoon stuff.
So 38-35 merely inspired platitudes like this:
“It hurts to lose,” said Brandon Jacobs, who may have gotten his mojo back,
“but seeing the way we can come out and play against an undefeated team like we
did today, I think that gives us some momentum going forward.”
Nothing like the momentum of a four-game losing streak, we always say.
Or this: “It felt good. I think we all needed that battle,” puffed Antrel
Rolle. “We fought to the finish and I am extremely proud of this team.” Read more...
GIANTS' NOTEBOOK: AHMAD BRADSHAW MADE A STRONG RETURN FROM FRACTURED FOOT
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw felt pretty good after Sunday’s 38-35 loss to the Packers.
Well, he didn’t feel great about the result. But his fractured foot, which
had kept him out of the past four games, was going much better than he believed
“I thought I’d be sore, not even able to walk,” he said, “but I feel great
and can move on.”
Bradshaw brought his tough running style back to a running game that badly
needed him to do a lot with little holes. He had only 38 yards on 11 carries,
but he broke a handful of tackles and ran with the same physical style he had
displayed before he got injured.
Bradshaw’s presence contributed to the Giants’ running game reaching 100
yards for the first time since the victory over New England four weeks ago.
“It was definitely good to get ‘Bulldog’ back out with us and I think he
played a wonderful game,” Brandon Jacobs said. “He got a couple key first downs
for us and made a couple plays and that’s what we needed.”
Bradshaw pushed the pile on a few plays and set up a 4-yard touchdown pass
from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks in the third quarter with a tough 5-yard run on
first-and-goal from the 9.
“We know this is a good team. We were ready to come out and play, it just
didn’t go our way,” Bradshaw said. “We know we’re better than how we played
today and we can do a lot better but we played great.”
•?During the bye week in late October, GM Jerry Reese said
the Giants wouldn’t be giving up on TE Travis Beckum and
expected him to contribute at some point this season.
Beckum did just that Sunday. He entered the game with only 2 yards receiving
this year; he had 67 on a touchdown on the third play of the game.
“I know how good I am,” said Beckum, the team’s third-round pick in 2009, who
had only 21 catches in his first two seasons, combined. “It’s just a matter of
showing my teammates and my coaches I’m capable of doing it.”
Beckum got past former Giants S Charlie Peprah after Green Bay rolled its
defense toward Nicks. He then made a couple of cuts to avoid S Morgan Burnett a
“They kept trying to overrun it,” Beckum said. “I just felt like the best
thing was to just cut back.” Read more...
GIANTS' ROOKIE JACQUIAN WILLIAMS PUNISHED FOR AGGRESSIVENESS ON FINAL DRIVE
Excerpt: "When D.J. Ware capped the Giants’ nine-play, 69-yard drive with his 2-point
conversion run to tie the game at 35 with 58 seconds remaining, all signs
pointed to overtime. The Giants admitted as much after the game. The Packers
were even planning on it.
Aaron Rodgers went onto the field for the final series thinking the Packers
were going to run the clock out and take their chances in an extra session. But
that all changed when on the first play of the series rookie linebacker Jacquian
Williams gambled on a Rodgers pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. Williams
aggressively tried to make a play on the ball, but he wasn’t quick enough,
allowing a 24-yard play that sparked the Packers’ winning drive.
“I felt like I was fast enough to get back and cover him,” Williams said. “I
thought I should be aggressive. You can play aggressive, but you’ve got to play
it the right way.”
After the game, coach Tom Coughlin said Williams’ aggressiveness is what he
looks for despite the result, though he admitted he would have to take a look at
the film to evaluate it.
“You better be aggressive,” he said. “Every time you walk onto that field,
you better be aggressive. That is a young guy trying to make a play.”
From there, it all continued to spiral out of control for the Giants. On the
next play, Rodgers found Jordy Nelson in single coverage with cornerback Will
Blackmon and hit him with a precise back-shoulder throw for 27 yards.
Two plays for 51 yards. Just like that the Packers were in field goal range
and two plays later — after Rodgers completed an 18-yard pass to wide receiver
Greg Jennings — Mason Crosby kicked the winning 31-yard field goal to keep the
Packers undefeated and extend the Giants’ losing streak to four.
The two plays were a microcosm of the type of season it’s been for the
Giants. The Giants have been forced to rely on inexperienced players because of
injuries, especially on the defensive side, and Rodgers exploited favorable
matchups on consecutive snaps.
In Williams’ case, the Giants’ linebacker corps was without Mark Herzlich and
only had a limited Michael Boley. In Blackmon’s case, rookie Prince Amukamara
was fatigued and safety Kenny Phillips was sidelined due to a sprained knee.
“I can’t remember the last time I played corner,” admitted Blackmon, who
signed with the Giants two weeks ago and has mostly played special teams in his
seven-year career, which included five seasons with the Packers." Read more...NY DAILY NEWS
GIANTS' COUGHLIN "SICK" OVER PHOTO OF BALLARD NON-TOUCHDOWN
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin said Monday afternoon that he “just saw a picture that made me
sick to my stomach’’ and the fact that the Giants coach believes what’s in the
picture validates his case didn’t help ease his queasiness. **
GAME OF THE YEAR A DISAPPOINTMENT FOR TOM COUGHLIN AND NY GIANTS IN LOSS TO PACKERS
Excerpt: "It had turned into what we thought it would be a few weeks ago, when the
Giants were 6-2, still seeing themselves as a real contender in the NFC, as a
team that could give Aaron Rodgers and the
unbeaten Packers, the 17-in-a-row world champion Packers, a game at MetLife
Stadium. We thought it might turn into the game of the year in pro football, and
now that is exactly what it had become, 35-35, just under one minute left.GIANTS CAN'T TAKE DOWN AARON RODGERS,NDEFEATED PACKERS, LOSE ON LAST MINUTE FIELD GOAL
know from their own history what a loss such as this one can do. They know that
a wave of momentum can be created by pushing an unbeaten team to the
GIANTS' BEST EFFORT NOT GOOD ENOUGH AGAINST DEFENDING CHAMPS
Excerpt: "It was only moments after the Giants’ most excruciating loss of the season -
when the defense finally crumbled under the pressure of trying to stop Aaron Rodgers - and
Antrel Rolle was
already predicting a rematch in the playoffs.BRADSHAW ABLE TO PUT BEST FOOT FORWARD, REVITALIZES RUNNING GAME IN RETURN FROM INJURY
"Before it all began, Ahmad Bradshaw was
just a bit nervous. The Giants’ tailback was determined to play on Sunday
against the undefeated Green Bay Packers, but even he wasn’t sure if his broken
foot would be able to handle the strain.