“That’s when (Eli’s) the best,” said Pierce. “When we go no-huddle or up-tempo, you don’t want it in the hands of nobody else but No. 10. He finds a way.”
I thought I’d start this article with that quote, because it summarizes last night’s game pretty well. Eli, once again, found a way, and clinched the 19th fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
He was the leader all Giants fans expect him to be, hung in there down the stretch, and came back home with a win. His numbers also prove his mettle, 25-of-38 for 330 yards. Two TDs and, something very important, no INTs.
Other players to be given due credit are WRs Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, who both looked like studs yesterday, picking their coverage apart, and combining for 20 catches and 284 receiving yards.
Strong safety Kenny Philips also deserves an honorable mention, as he, playing near his best, flew all over the field to make two crucial interceptions, adding to his five tackles on the game.
Now, all that being said, we move on what really matters, and this means dissecting what went wrong.
On a first note, it is obvious that the problems scoring in the red zone are still present in the Giants offense. Eli was able to carry his team all across the field, but whenever he reached the red zone, the offense got stuck.
This is a major problem, and if the Giants are to continue winning games, it has to be solved at once. This problem actually brings us to another one, and this is an oldie.
The play calling was shaky. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments when I wanted to kiss Kevin Gilbride, and tell him he is a genius, but others I wanted to kill him.
Gilbride deserves a lot of credit for this suddenly successful passing game, as he designed a new system around his young receivers, but there are some plays where I just can’t understand him.
Like a sideline pass on a third-and-goal from the 12-yard line. Why not try and put it in the end zone?
Moving on, there is something that, albeit unexpected, might be turning into a bad pattern. For the second game in a row, the Giants were unable to establish a running game. The Dallas defense was all over Jacobs and Bradshaw, and Eli had to win the game with his arm once again.
While this problem seems to be temporary, because the Giants faced two consecutive division rivals, and both have good defenses who stacked the line, this cannot turn in to a current. Against Tampa, the Giants need to be able to run.
A problem that went unnoticed last night was Lawrence Tynes’ missed field goal. He did redeem himself when it mattered the most, but it is simply unacceptable to miss a 29-yard field goal in a domed stadium.
For the last issue, I highlight the lack of a pass rush. The defensive line penciled as the best in the league was unable to sack Tony Romo, and, adding to that, Marion Barber and Felix Jones were able to run down their throats.
With the absence of Chris Canty up the middle, one can understand this a little, but to allow 251 rushing yards in one game is, to say the least, somewhat worrisome.
This front seven needs to bounce right back against the Buccaneers, or Cadillac Williams and former Giant Derrick Ward, who we all know so well, might have a rush feast next Sunday.
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