These are the kinds of games that your team has to win. The Giants took care of business and won. But we were all there at the very beginning when the Gmen were down 14-0. Not fun. When the Giants clawed their way back and took the lead for good, THAT was fun. Meat and potatoes.
Here are some takeaways:
1) When a list of those who did not suit up include players like Nicks, Phillips, Barden, Diehl, Rivers, Hosley and Bernard, that is a bleeping ton of lost talent that would kill most teams. Boley and Snee played hurt as well. That's ~half a football team. The Giants managed these losses and took care of business. Despite what the oddsmakers said about the Giants chances, it was stupid to lay that kind of wood, and the fact that the Gmen won this game is great. Yes, the Browns s*ck and they are 0-5, but the Giants were fortunate to play them when they did and we should all be grateful. Next.
2) Blackburn was not assigned to cover the WR on the TD that made the score 14-0. It was the reserve Safety Stevie Brown who blew the assignment. Yes, the same Brown who got two Giants turnovers. But despite this fact re Blackburn, he is nonetheless a liability out there who gets exposed routinely, be it in run or pass. If I am an offensive coordinator, I pray that Boley remains hurt and Rivers is hamstrung all year. What I do next is I use RB flares, TE midscreens, RB dumpoffs, and RB screens all day long to expose this LBer unit. And if the Giants try to go small w an extra Safety and one (or two ) less LBer in nickel or dime, then you run the ball against them too. The Browns were smart to target the Giants LBers and the Giants would be smart to adapt to this feature.
3) We keep saying that this is not your father's NFL. The way the NFL works in 2012 is that the entire league gets ripped apart each year and you have to rebuild. So the way to win a title is to constantly work at getting better throughout the season while the roster is not changing (beyond injuries) and put yourself in a position to win in December and January. Improving from week to week is more important than just winning. (On defense, this means better tackling, one of the sore spots from the CLE game which can easily improve.)
4) To say that Eli is the franchise is simply inadequate. He enables this franchise to win any game and any title. With the exception of an (in)ability to run with the ball, he can do just about everything else. When the team is down 14-0, is anyone shutting off their TVs? With Eli Manning as your QB, you are in any game at almost any score at any time in the game.
5) The Giants as a team are "resilient," says Cruz. Another understatement. You cannot put a price tag on how much that that confidence is worth in competitive sports, or in any pursuit, for that matter.
6) The Browns are 0-5 for a reason. (How about 4 first downs from penalties alone?! Beyond the pink cleats, that was the second form of NFL charity yesterday.) For those of you not old enough to know or remember, the Giants of the 1970s were like this… unable to finish games, unable to win games they could have or should have won. The Giants have to know that they cannot make a habit of giving opponents head starts routinely. Because it is early in the season, and because this is the slopfest of the NFL in 2012, fortunately it does not matter. Against the better teams, it matters. Like we saw vs Philly last week, you cannot keep doing this over and over again without it costing you eventually. In four out of the five games thus far, the Giants have dug themselves a hole. Versus DAL 14-3 in Q3. Versus TB 27-13 in Q3. Versus PHL 10-3 in Q3. Versus CLE 14-0 in Q1. Stop digging holes. I know that the Giants won a title with "finish." But you also have to start.
7) One of the benefits of playing (and winning) with your backups is that your team gets better and deeper earlier in the year. Of course it is not the way the Giants coaches or its fans want it, but when these reserves see significant snaps, it helps them and the rest of the team later on.
8) The Giants OL looked good today. We'll wait for Rich to break down film, but it is great to see solid protection and a lot of holes generated for the RBs.
9) It does not get said enough. Small Ball. The Giants offense gels when it gets those nickels and dimes in the passing game. The unsexy catch and run by a TE like Pascoe for 7 yds or Bennett for a 1st down on a midscreen is never going to make headlines, but it is the grease that moves the chains and sets up longer stuff thereafter. Especially without your star X WR, Hakeem Nicks, it is vital to have this in your offense.
10) When the Giants get healthier, they should be a very tough team. Let's toast to an Eagles and Skins loss, and getting healthy.