For the second year in a row, the Giants opened with a victory at home against the division rival Washington Redskins. And for the second year in a row, the Giants absolutely dominated, despite the tight final score.
There were a couple of interesting battles in this game including:
- Brandon Jacobs vs. Albert Haynesworth
- Brandon Jacobs vs. Laron Landry
- Giants O-line vs. Albert Haynesworth
- Corey Webster vs. Santana Moss
- Jeff Feagles vs. Father Time
- Kevin Gilbride vs. Logical Playcalling
Let’s look at some key points:
Defensive game ball goes to defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, who combined for nine tackles, two passes defensed, and 2.5 sacks. Umenyiora had the biggest play of the game when he stripped the ball from Jason Campbell and ran it 37 yards "to the house" for a touchdown. Tuck had three tackles for a loss and two QB hits.
Umenyiora looked 100 percent and showed the same explosiveness he had before his injury, while Tuck just looked fabulous. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at the best DE duo in the league (provided that you are currently looking at a photograph of Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck).
Split the offensive game ball into three pieces for Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Kevin Boss. You know what, let’s give them each their own game ball—we can afford it.
The Giants’ receiving corps, the team's biggest question mark, passed its first test with an impressive display against the Redskins. Smith had six receptions for 80 yards, many of which came on third downs. Kevin Boss had three receptions for 62 yards, all of which came on third downs.
And Mario Manningham had the play of the day offensively, when he tight-roped the sideline and avoided the entire Redskins defense for a 30-yard touchdown reception.
It was really nice to see Corey Webster dominate Santana Moss, especially after the two got into a shoving match that incurred offsetting personal fouls. The two traded blows to the head, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they each woke up with sore knuckles.
Webster added interception to injury when he caught a Jason Campbell pass intended for Moss. He stepped in front of Moss and showed great control of his body along the sideline, much like former Giants great, Amani Toomer. Webster sure looks like he’s becoming one of the elite CBs in this league.
Domenik Hixon is technically still a starting wide receiver, but he was targeted only three times, and had only one reception for 10 yards. He should be featured more next week, especially with Nicks out. But I would not be surprised to see Hixon returning both punts and kicks sooner than later. When Nicks returns, Hixon’s time on offense will see a decline, allowing him to become the full-time returner.
Nicks' injury, likely to sideline him for the next two to three weeks, means my prediction that he would lead the team in receiving yards is null and void. The onus now falls on Mario Manningham, who announced his intention to be an impact NFL player with his electrifying 30-yard touchdown catch.
Manningham is only 5'11", but size isn't everything. He looked a lot like Steve Smith of the Panthers on his touchdown scamper along the sidelines, but his overall game reminds me more of Greg Jennings of the Packers, who is one of the game's best deep threats. He also happens to be 5'11".
Eli Manning looked great, save for one poor decision that resulted in a DeAngelo Hall interception. He had another turnover on a fumble, but this never should have been allowed to stand, as Andre Carter had grabbed and pulled on his facemask.
I’m fairly certain the “facemask” penalty was designed for just this sort of occasion, yet the referees decided not to toss any yellow laundry. Perhaps they could tell from the look in Andre Carter's sweet eyes that he was sorry, and decided to let him slide.
Albert “Big Money” Haynesworth is a great player, but he was constantly contained in the passing game. The Redskins did a good job bottling up Brandon Jacobs on short yardage situations, but the Giants’ offensive line had no trouble with Haynesworth and the Redskins on passing downs.
In fact, the only sack they allowed should have been disallowed by the refs, due to a facemask penalty (see above).
Dear Laron Landry: Get over it. It was a year ago. You’re better than that. Lots of dudes get crushed by Brandon Jacobs. They don’t all go committing late hits a year later (but that’s partially because most of them have filed for restraining orders against Jacobs)—Seriously Laron, give up the grudge.
Besides the injuries to Danny Ware and Hakeem Nicks, my one concern is Kevin Gilbride’s playcalling. From 20 to 20, he’s fine. But inside the “green zone,” he just seems lost.
The Giants absolutely have the weapons to dominate in the red zone. Gilbride just has to get creative and figure out ways to get Brandon Jacobs and Kevin Boss the ball (and eventually Hakeem Nicks, Travis Beckum, and Ramses Barden could be big red zone threats).
But until Gilbride can figure things out, expect to see a lot of predictable running plays on 3rd-and-short.
The bright side is that Jacobs is usually more successful in those situations than he was in Week 1. If the offensive line can just get a little push, Jacobs has enough power to do the rest himself. It takes more than just one man to take to Brandon Jacobs. Just ask Laron Landry (okay, I guess I’d still have a grudge too).
That's right, friends, football season is back, and boy am I excited! Don’t believe me? Check my underpants. That’s right, I’m wearing New York Giants-themed boxers, which I received as a gift last Hanukkah!