Giants vs. Saints: Winners and Losers from Big Blue's 52-27 Domination over N.O.
During the week, I liked the chances of the New York Giants winning in Week 14.
Not only did they win, but they simply dominated the New Orleans Saints as the Giants pulverized New Orleans 52-27 on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
It was important for the Giants to get the win because both Dallas and Washington were able to win their respective games, and if the Giants had lost, there would have been a three-way tie for first. Now the Giants will wait to play the 11-2 Atlanta Falcons next Sunday in another game with NFC playoff implications.
Let's break down the winners and losers from the Giants demolition of the Saints on Sunday afternoon.
Winner: David Wilson
David Wilson was the ultimate winner in this game.
After the injury to Andre Brown, the Giants desperately needed their rookie running back to step up. And on Sunday, he did just that.
As a running back, Wilson carried the ball 13 times for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns. Wilson had a six-yard touchdown in the third quarter and then a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter.
However, it was as a kick returner that he sparked the Giants' fans at MetLife Stadium.
After the Saints made it 7-0 in the first quarter, Wilson took the kickoff 97 yards to the house and seven seconds later, it was 7-7.
Wilson had 227 total kickoff yards along with the touchdown, finishing with 327 total all-purpose yards, which is a Giants record.
If Wilson can perform like this on a more consistent basis, then the offense and special teams have found themselves an extremely dangerous weapon.
Winner: Stevie Brown
Kenny Phillips was ruled out before the game with a knee injury, so Stevie Brown stepped in his place as a starter.
And once again, Brown made every bit of his opportunity on the team count.
On the very first play of the second half, Brown picked off Drew Brees and got the ball to the 21-yard line of New Orleans. The interception set up David Wilson's first rushing touchdown and made it 28-13 Giants.
Late in the fourth quarter, Brees threw the ball deep towards Jimmy Graham, but Brown read the play the entire way and stepped in front of the pass and had his second pick of the game.
Brown brought that return 70 yards all the way to the 22-yard line of the Saints.
Lawrence Tynes made a 39-yard field goal and made the game 45-27 Giants.
Brown's two picks resulted into 10 points for the Giants, which were crucial during the game.
He now has seven interceptions on the season and continues his fine play in the secondary.
Winner: Victor Cruz
People were wondering when Victor Cruz would break out of his little slump.
On Sunday, Cruz broke out of it and tore up the Saints secondary.
He had eight catches for 121 yards with a touchdown, which was a 10-yard catch early on in the fourth quarter.
And with that touchdown, Cruz now has nine touchdowns in 2012, which is exactly how many he had in all of the 2011 season.
Also, with the 121 yards in the game, Cruz also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, hitting 1,004 yards with his fine performance on Sunday.
When Cruz is on his game, it's very hard to stop him and New Orleans had no chance against him at MetLife Stadium.
Winner: Eli Manning
OK, sure, he threw two interceptions.
And one of them was for a pick-six early in the first quarter.
Despite those two turnovers, Eli Manning had a very good game picking apart the Saints defense.
Manning went 22-of-35 for 265 yards and had four touchdown passes with the two picks.
It was the fourth time this season where Manning threw three or more touchdowns in a game, and the very first time all season that he threw four.
Manning had a lot of options to work with down the field and threw touchdown passes to Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Martellus Bennett.
David Wilson did catch a ball, but a penalty wiped the play off the board.
Manning also didn't get sacked once in the game, which allowed him to stay upright and look to other options down the field.
New Orleans defensive coordinator (and former Giants defensive coordinator) Steve Spagnuolo probably wished he was on the other sideline while watching Manning rip apart his defense.
Winner: Antrel Rolle
The Giants were brilliant with the takeaways against the Saints.
Antrel Rolle was a big part in two of those takeaways.
In the first quarter, Drew Brees threw a deep pass to Marques Colston, who was trying to advance, but Stevie Brown knocked the ball loose, which was picked up by Rolle at the Saints 45-yard line.
The Giants didn't score on the takeaway the first time, but they made the most out of the second one.
Brees threw a pass to his fullback, Jed Collins, who was tackled by Rolle, and the Giants safety knocked the ball loose and was picked up by defensive tackle Linval Joseph.
Joseph ran 16 yards to the 35-yard line and set up a scoring drive which ended with Eli Manning throwing a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett.
Rolle gets paid big money to be a play-making safety, and on Sunday, he earned every bit of his paycheck making nice plays and creating turnovers himself.
Loser: Ahmad Bradshaw
Ahmad Bradshaw wasn't much of a factor in the game on Sunday.
Part of that was due to a knee injury he suffered early on in the first quarter. He did end up returning later on in the game, but he wasn't really needed.
Bradshaw had 11 carries for just 33 yards and no touchdowns.
I'm not saying Bradshaw is a loser for having a bad game, but he is the primary back who does make the offense go.
However, it was David Wilson who made the Giants offense go with his speed and dynamic play-making ability, rushing for 100 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
I'm sure Bradshaw will be just fine going forward in the season, but like I said earlier, he wasn't much of a factor in this contest.
Loser: Kenny Phillips
Kenny Phillips makes the secondary that much better.
We all saw just how bad it was during the 2009 season when he was placed on season-ending IR.
However, when Phillips has been out, they haven't suffered that much because Stevie Brown has played well when Phillips can't go.
And on Sunday, we saw just as Brown made two interceptions along with seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Now, I don't think Phillips is playing bad enough to get benched. but Brown is doing everything he can to earn himself a starter's job.
I think the three-set safety look that the Giants have rolled out with Phillips, Brown and Antrel Rolle will be the way to go for Perry Fewell.
And for the Giants to use that combination on defense, Phillips needs to get his knee healthy and back onto the field.