One of the reasons why the Giants offensive line is being lauded is obviously because the Giants are the #1 rushing team in the NFL. But the second reason is that Manning is getting protected week in, week out. In 2007 the Giants offensive line allowed 29 sacks in 16 games. This year, after 11 games, they have allowed 13 sacks, which is on pace for 19 sacks for the season. This is such an impressive stat. (Separately, if you want perspective on what they put David Carr through in his rookie season, click on his name. Talk about damaging a guy’s career.)
Some of it is being a veteran QB. We noted on Sunday evening’s recap how well Manning was stepping into the pocket, buying an extra precious second or two to find his receiver downfield. Veteran QBs like Marino, Elway, Brady and Peyton Manning have always been artful at sensing the rush and getting rid of the ball. There is NO DOUBT that Eli has gotten better this season at sensing the pass rush. So to ignore this and give all the credit to the OL is an error. But nonetheless, the OL is certainly getting the job done. When you consider that David Diehl had 13.5 sacks allowed by himself in 16 games last year, he has obviously made tremendous improvement. He deserves to be singled out, especially after this blog’s criticism of him last year. The Giants scheme to give Diehl help (especially against the faster edge rushers), but clearly he is getting it done.
Another perspective on the performance of the OL is penalties. Anecdotally (in the absence of granular OL statistics) the amount of holding penalties we have seen from the offensive line has been pretty low too. Certainly the number of Petitbrown false starts is way down last year and this year.
Summary: the OL is doing it in the run game (#1), sacks allowed (#6), penalties. The only thing we could do better is see them in more of the time at the end WINNING the game for the team. When the play calling (ie 4:02 left in Q4 of AZ game) is varied, they can do that ably.
ps please email or comment if you are able to supply us with a site that has individual (not team) penalty statistics and/or individual sacks allowed statistics.