Hurricane Irene couldn't stop this game from happening—or me from attending. Though the game was twice rescheduled, I got to attend a game for the first time and the newly minted Metlife Stadium was truly awesome.
I went with my friend Jake who got free tickets behind the Giants end zone, section 104, from the naming event at Bryant Park. Preseason or not, being in the lower bowl at an NFL game gets you pumped up—at least once you get there.
With mass transit still getting going following the weekend shutdown, there was no NJ Transit service to the Meadowlands for the game. That meant if you weren't driving to the game, you were taking the bus from the Port Authority. That also meant many, many people.
My friend got off work and into the city by 6 p.m. and we headed over, greeted by a long line to buy tickets and an even more massive one—stretching a couple Manhattan blocks—to board a bus. The wait was an anxious one, as the clock ticked past 7 and the game had begun. We finally boarded a bus around 7:20 and got to the stadium around quarter to eight, just in time for the start of the second quarter.
All in all, it didn't turn out too bad as all the starters were still in the game and the first quarter was a sluggish one to say the least. With it being a Giants home game, the crowd was predominantly Big Blue, as was my friend. Lots of energy and emphatic fans filled the stands through the whole second quarter and a few minutes of the third. The atmosphere died down once the second and third stringers entered but that's to be expected.
Checked out the Giants Legacy Room, which is a must if you go to the stadium. Halas and Super Bowl trophies displayed, a wall of busts of famous Giants, famous jerseys displayed and a whole locker dedicated to Michael Strahan. My one question: Eli Manning gets a bust? Seriously?
Sloppy game, lots of penalties but a great experience and Jets win. Now for some postgame thoughts.
- David Harris was a beast. Worth every cent of that contract extension. Nose for the ball all night in the run game and with the interception of Manning in the second quarter. He and Bart Scott are a fearsome duo at inside linebacker. The depth was good too as Nick Belore showed a strong motor, getting in the backfield and then shooting through the line to sack David Carr.
- The offense had moments of discombobulation, what with Sanchez turning it over with the miscommunication on the snap and some off timing between he and Burress—thrown to four times with no catches. Sanchez articulated that this was a vanilla gameplan, as the Jets and Giants do play on Christmas eve in the regular season. That makes sense and I sure hope so because it was a very flavorless vanilla. If Brian Schottenheimer's playcalling is that unimaginative come September 11 against the Cowboys, the offense could be painful to watch.
- An offensive positive though, the TD drive at the end of the half. Strong running by Shonn Greene, nice 4th-and-1 play call with the short pass to Dustin Keller and one of the most effective plays in the playbook, playaction anything which seems to really open the field for Sanchez, as he found Santonio Holmes in the end zone.
- For the offensive backups, Greg McElroy again showed good decision-making. We got a fresh look at wildcat with Jeremy Kerley taking the snaps and both Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight ran well behind an offensive line that was much improved from the abomination that was the blocking in the first preseason game.
- The one thing about the defense that worries me is defending screens and tight ends. Ahmad Bradshaw had one of the bigger gains of the night in the passing game on a screen where Scott whiffed on a tackle. Brian Leonard took a screen up the sideline for a large gain last week.
- Darrelle Revis is still the best corner in the game. If you want evidence of that rewind to 7:40 left in the second quarter. Revis forces Mario Manningham inside on a route that was obviously intended to go out, as Manning threw to a spot that would've been an outside post, way off the mark. Revis just completely dictated the route the receiver took and Manning was unable to adjust.
- How to beat the Giants in the return game: muff a punt or kick, pick it up and go. Antonio Cromartie's kick return was eerily reminiscent of DeSean Jackson's backbreaking, game-winning punt return that helped derail the Giants' playoff hopes. In general, the Giants' special teams still looks bad.
- Loved the second team defense standing down at the goal line on 4th and inches. Also, on the 3rd and goal before Jamaal Westerman getting pressure on Manning and Marquise Cole and Kyle Wilson saving a touchdown. After three preseason games I still believe this defense is Super Bowl caliber. It's the offense's production that could make or break those Super Bowl dreams.
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