Very nice all around performance. Video Link. Manning and Webster, the two most volatile players out there for the team, played very well and the game fell our way as a result. TB played to pick on these two players- (1) They picked on Manning by putting 8 and sometimes 9 men in the box to force Manning to throw the ball. (2) They picked on Webster by throwing to Galloway (despite reports of him reinjuring his shoulder… Gruden said in postgame press conference that “you need two arms to catch the ball”). Both players not only held their own but were the stars of the game.
Moments of note:
1) Early on, Gilbride is very conservative. To make matters worse, he calls for a run outside (twice in 1st half) that works horribly for losses. If you watched the video by Carl Banks and Bob Papa you would see that Banks specifically warned against this for reasons I will not elaborate for now.
2) TB gives Manning the underneath stuff and we went underneath. Breakthrough. Steve Smith and Amani Toomer made some big catches today. Boss and Burress did as well. Jacobs’ catch for a TD was thrown low by Manning (Manning seems to have a habit of throwing too low or into the ground on these dump offs to his RB, the only negative in an otherwise great outing for Manning). Kudos to Manning, using the pump fake to negate the TB secondary from jumping the telegraphed routes. On the last TD to Toomer, Manning looked left and then went right to Toomer, keeping the route fresh.
3) Strahan had a key set of two plays where he singlehandedly got us off the field. On 2nd down he sacks Garcia (only time of the game). On 3rd down he is not deked by the screen, and tackles the RB from behind after simultaneously pressuring Garcia!
4) 3 turnovers for the Giants vs TB none. Huge. TB was supposed to have the edge statistically here, so go figure.
5) Pierce is playing hobbled. He looked mediocre at best, a step too slow. Watch out for this next weekend.
6) Our offensive line settled down after getting blitzkrieged early. Using the short pass to slow these guys up really helped keep them off balance.
7) Some penalties crept into the game for us but none of them cost us too much in this game. 15 yarder by Cofield a questionable call but as unnecessary anyway, so it is on him.
8) Beware the prevent offense and prevent defense. The 7 pt score to go up 24-7 with ~9 mins left in game was a dagger, but the playcalling from that point did get stale. One more first down by Eli and the game is over without requiring a late INT by McQuarters.
9) The Giants did not come into this game stoked emotionally. They took the Bucs’ best shot early, withstood that onslaught, and then kept playing at a pretty high level thereafter. This is a good sign. I do not think that the Giants are fat and happy. When they play on the road they seem to dig themselves into the trenches and despite giving up these early scores (see earlier blog posts, ie to Bears, Bills, Eagles, Bucs, Boys etc…) they keep battling.
10) Bradshaw off the bench gives this running game some jukes, some cuts, some speed and plenty of grit too. He simply makes the first guy miss, and that means a loss of 2 becomes a gain of 4. Huge help in H2. No offense to Brandon Jacobs, but by the time Jacobs would be hitting the hole on the same type of play, Bradshaw would already be in the Bucs’ secondary. As long as this RB can pick up the blitz and hold onto the ball, he needs to see more time.