…the word of the night after this one was fight and the Giants certainly did that in this one. It would have come as a surprise to no one, if the 0-6 Giants packed it in. Or if the freshly "almost-eliminated "4-6 Giants did not rise to the occasion in last night's matchup. This was not the case as the Giants rallied from a 14-0 first quarter deficit in this one to earn their fifth victory of the season. No matter what side of the "draft-pick debate" (with playoff hopes all but gone, some feel it is ultimately best for a team to play it's young players down the stretch, see what they got and in turn improve the team's draft standing come April) the Giants effort over the last six games must be commended.
…the offensive line continues to stay consistent in 2013 as they once again failed to show any signs of improvement in pass protection. It is unrealistic to expect any type of sustained success or flow through the air with the protection this porous. Sure Eli was 22-for-28 with 235 yards (standing alone–strong numbers) but he labored for every completion, as he was unable to step into really any throw throughout the night. It has to be doing a number on his timing with his receivers, particularly on the big hitting plays we have become so accustomed to seeing with the "Eli Giants." It is frustrating to see countless off target and mistimed passes for an offense that passed the ball with ease for several seasons. It is alarming when, and not to exaggerate in the least, your only competent pass blocker is also your least seasoned NFL player. While Pugh's steadied development is certainly one of the positive's from a near-lost 2013 season, the regression of Beatty is a big concern. This is something that the Giants must address in the offseason or they will be forced to again feature a limited offense in 2014 and in turn a limited team. With all signs pointing to the end of Snee and Diehl's time in NY (and ideally Baas) we will see major changes up front for the Giants next season. The earlier the better, as the more time the 2014 unit has to grow accustomed to one another, the better for their chances, especially in pass protection.
…the Giants got plenty of pressure on Griffin in the second half led by Justin Tuck's career best four sacks. The impressive total highlighted a second half (and three quarter for that matter) shutout for the Giants defense. Good for Tuck, for now having a sack total a bit more reflective of his strong season as a pass rusher. It was a vintage performance for the veteran. Several of those sacks were classic Tuck stops, as he delayed his rush/fought across the face of several OL to find his way to the mobile Griffin. As we have been saying on here all season long (supported by PFF data) a healthy Tuck is an asset for this team. He is one of the league's best run defenders and has proven this season that he is, at worst, a serviceable pass rusher. While he may lack the get off and burst at this point in his career, he is most definitely an asset for the Giants in 2014—at the right price.
…a Brandon Myers sighting! AGAIN! That's back-to-back TDs for the disappointing tight end who has begun to show some signs of life in the passing attack late in the season. Like nearly every other team in the NFL is able to do (or at least against us they do!), the Giants were able to find a WIDE OPEN Myers on a seam route from 22 yards out to tie the game at 14. While Myers certainly struggled to acclimate himself to the offense for most of the season, I find it hard to believe that the Giants were not in a position to attempt this standard route at least once throughout the season (and to my knowledge, this is the first time we have attempted the seam route near the red zone) as it is something many teams find success with. Myers' biggest play of the game came on the Giants' final scoring drive, as he made a difficult catch (and extension to ensure the first down) on a 3rd and 2 near midfield. The first down allowed the Giants to burn more clock on the way to Brown's FG to extend the score to 24-17. While many of us would like to see the Giants hit the undo button on the Myers experiment, he will most likely return in 2014 so his continued development is certainly a positive for the offense.
…with the game clinching forced fumble, Will Hill once again showed why the Giants were wise to not part ways with him after his four-game suspension earlier this season. Last night's game was proof that Hill is the Giants' strongest tackler (you rarely see Hill miss a tackle) and most physical finisher. Hill provides Giants with the rarest of players, a hybrid safety type who is quick and athletic enough to play deep but also a strong enough tackler to make plays near the line of scrimmage. Players like Hill are especially useful against the zone-read stuff that Washington features. At just age 23 the Giants have found a POTENTIAL defensive SUPERSTAR in Hill going forward.