Defensive Slugfest and Special Teams Stats

 The Giants just faced the toughest defense they will face this year. 

Banks stated, in his weekly spot on WFAN, “it was one of the best defensive games I’ve been around, especially late in the game when no one wanted to concede anything.”  Eli was battered around more times since probably his rookie season as he was sacked 6 times and hit 20 times out of his 58 drop backs.  What is remarkable with his performance was how he kept his composure throughout the 2nd half.  Banks “talked about teams that can impact the play of a quarterback.   If you can impact the decision making and the process of a quarterback you’ve got a pretty good chance in this league.”  We’ve seen numerous quarterbacks including Brady and Rodgers who become very average with pressure applied consistently.  We will not delve into play calling that could have defused the magnitude and quantity of those hits.

Glenn pointed out in his recap yesterday how the Giants beat the 49ers at their game by limiting mistakes, avoiding turnovers and special teams play (we will address the special team plays below).  Banks made a statement that many of us wondered- why the 49ers “didn’t commit to the run” in the late stages of the game.  Banks added, “the Giants went with a lot of different looks on them. They had what appeared to be single high safety but they also had a secondary guy that was also a top off guy who was an intermediate router type of guy.  I just don’t think they were in the right defense to run the football (against). Sometime you can run on certain defensive looks but the Giants were jerking them around a bit.  (Just wish NFL Game Rewind had coaches’ tape to get a better read on the secondary coverage deep and safety positioning to confirm this.)   A major kudos thrown to Perry Fewell for confusing Smith, but apparently also forcing the 49ers away from their run game, which the Giants had difficulty containing at certain points in the game.

Banks concludes with some insight into their Super Bowl matchup.  Banks states, “the one thing you have to worry about with the Patriots is that they’relike chameleons. They’re never the same team one week to the next.  They do what’s necessary to adapt from a game-by-game basis.  They’re not afforded the luxury of being good at one thing all the time.  That’s where Bill (Belichick) has always excelled- the ability to make adjustments.”  This is a quality that many on this blog envy and discuss almost religiously.  Either way, after two very difficult tests and playing arguably the best offense and best defense respectively, there is a lot to like about the Giants chances versus the chameleons.

Finally, last week we wrote about the challenge the 49ers special teams would pose for the Giants.  The 49ers relied on their league leading special teams unitto control field position.  In this past game the Gmen had an average starting field position at their own 34-yard line (take away the fumble recoveries and they had average field position of 23).   The 49ers allowed an average starting field position at their opponent’s 24-yard line over the course of the season.  Likewise, the 49ers average starting field position was their own 29 versus their season average at their own 33.

Very acute observation by Vblasi67 yesterday:

I noticed on the last two punts he fielded that Aaron Ross went down quickly and carefully at the first sign of defensive presence. Obviously he decided to, or was coached to, protect the ball at all costs.  Kyle Williams, on the other hand, appeared to be trying to make a play in overtime, which led to the game-winning strip. Can it be — greatest irony of all — that we are going to the Super Bowl because we outcoached the Niners ON SPECIAL TEAMS?

Ross came in as the punt returner with 4 minutes left in the 4thquarter.  Kudos to Quinn and Izzo for this adjustment in having Ross field punts in the late stages of a tie game as well as coaching him to avoid the turnover.  It was also evident on offense with Beckum and Cruz quickly giving themselves up instead gaining extra yardage to avoid the ball-stripping tacklers of the 49ers.

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