Game 1 Observations: Giants Beat 'Skins 23-17
Today was for real. Week 1 is in the books Giant fans, and in the words of Antonio Pierce, it's all about the W. The game was not perfect, but some new observations began to unfold, the return on Osi was evident and some old wounds began to resurface.
Among the biggest concerns that come out of this effort was the lack of production inside the red zone. This seems to be a familiar refrain that has come back to haunt the Giant offense. The offense moved the ball efficiently in its first two drives of the game. Eli Manning began to show trust in some of his new receivers, including Mario Manningham.
However, the lack of creativity in the red zone is troubling. In their three efforts in the red zone, the Giants had short yardage situations, three yards or less, and they had a total of six plays. The calls were all running plays, which gained a total of 3 yards. Where was the creativity? What about Kevin Boss or Steve Smith, off of play action? Clearly the Redskins were expecting run, and the Giant offense obliged.
The offensive production from the wide receivers were a pleasant surprise. Eli did a good job of mixing it up with his receivers. In all, the wide receivers had 12 catches for 166 yards and one Touchdown, to Mario Manningham. The group were led by Steve Smith with 6 catches for 80 yards, including an outstanding over the shoulder catch from Eli Manning.
There was only one obvious drop, and that was by Hakeem Nicks on a ball that was thrown slightly behind him. Clearly the game plan was to loosen up the Redskins defense by attacking them early with the pass, and it did free up some running lanes, particularly for Ahmad Bradshaw.
All in all, Eli does have a group of solid, if not spectacular receivers from whom to choose. Add Kevin Boss and Ahmad Bradshaw into the mix and there are opportunities to open up the offense.
That was the chant from the Giants home crowd after watching Osi strip the ball and pick it up and run for a touchdown. That provided the Giants with a 17-0 advantage, and a clear edge in this game just prior to halftime. The sight of Osi running into the end zone was sorely missed last year, especially in the playoff game against the Eagles. The defense showed some definite signs of becoming a dominating defense. If Osi continues to make plays such as the strip and run, the rest of the NFC East has reason for concern.
The Eagles dominant win today not withstanding, this Giants team has the potential to grow into a team that can win the division. The next step towards doing that will be down in Jerry Jones Stadium next Sunday night.
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