Giants Win Wild One Over Redskins – Grades: Diary of a Giants Fan
Well...They won the damn game.
In the immortal words of Murphy MacManus in the late 90's classic, The Boondock Saints, "I can't believe that just [expletive] happened!"
But sometimes, that's what you get with the New York Giants - because you never know what to expect. At any given time they could be world-beaters, or soundly beaten. Last week, we found our boys clearly represented the former. This week, however, the G-Men yo-yoed between the two for what was an exhilarating sixty minutes of NFC-East football.
The first half was a battle of stubborn offensive production, with each team trading sustained scoring drives that ultimately left them deadlocked at the half.
...And then stuff got crazy.
The second half devolved into an enigmatic mix of juxtapositions - brilliant drives with impossibly bad play calling; scores with turnovers; the best of each team with their respective worst. After trading punts to open the half, six straight possessions ended thus: Fumble, Int, Int, Giant touchdown, Fumble, Int.
Though the Bradshaw touchdown run in the middle of that whole pile of awful gave the Giants a 20-13 lead, what Giant fans may well remember is the final installment of the above mess - an inexplicable interception thrown by Manning following an RGIII turnover, breathing life into the Skins.
The Redskins capitalized with a field goal and, after Kevin Gilbride lost his damn mind on the ensuing possession, took control of the ball with three minutes to play and a chance to take the lead. A 4th and 10 video game scramble and completion kept the drive alive and - though the best of the Giant defense had pressured RGIII and forced turnovers for much of the second half - eventually, the worst of the Giant D showed itself. Griffin III found Santana Moss for a thirty yard touchdown grab and the lead.
...But we believe in Eli Manning, and the Redskins had left time on the clock.
And unlike the methodical game-winning drives we Giant fans had become used to, this one came quickly. On the second play, Manning found Cruz for 77 yards and the touchdown. The defense shut the door and the Giants escaped with a great win. It wasn't pretty. It certainly wasn't perfect. It may very well have not been good. But it was a win. Take it and move on to Dallas.
Grades - Offensive Line - B: It was another solid performance by the Giant offensive line who kept Manning upright and opened up some holes for the backs to run through. Each could have been better, but neither was, by any stretch of the imagination, bad. Well done.
Running Backs - B: The stats weren't there, but I'd point to a lack of consistent touches rather than any real deficiency as to why. Brown and Bradshaw each scored, and provided some solid runs when needed.
Wide Receivers - A-: Cruz's monster TD might be enough to earn the grade here, but Nicks and Bennett each had solid games with the only drop coming in the form of Domenik Hixon. It was another solid day for the crew who combined for over 370 yards receiving.
Eli Manning - C: Something about Manning just looked off for much of the game. Balls were consistently high, and nothing was quite what we're used to. The two interceptions were brutal, moral killing ones that you simply can't have. But with that said, dude came back and when the game was there to be had, the throw was perfect. He did it again. I believe in Eli Manning.
Special Teams - B: While nothing was great, nothing was bad. So we've got that going for us...
Defensive Line - B+: The first half was not kind to this defensive line, who were doing a poor job keeping contain and recognizing the play-fake. Still, when they were needed in the second half, Tuck and company came alive and collected three sacks and two forced fumbles. Solid effort, overall.
Linebackers - D: After a few solid efforts, the linebackers were flat out bad for me in this game. They made poor decisions or were wholly absent in defense against the run, and their pass defense left an awful lot to be desired. Ultimately, the Redskins ended up running for 248 yards on the day, much of which I contribute to the LB corps' inability to recognize the fake, shoot through the gap, or fight through second level blockers.
Defensive Backs - B: For the second time in three weeks, Antrel Rolle failed to give his brethern the help they needed and it led to a touchdown. Beyond that, however, the Giant secondary was solid - often failing only after having covered for more time than they should need to with the defensive line that lines up in front of them.
Next week the Giants travel into Dallas to take their shot at sweet revenge. Check back for a preview of that game and, as always, Go Giants!
P.S. RGIII is legit.