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Giants vs. Eagles Observations

David GellerAnalyst IDecember 15, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 13:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 13, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Doesn’t anyone play defense anymore?

 

Casual fans that just wanted to watch a game before hitting the hay got what they expected and more. But those involved in the 83-point affair between the Giants and Eagles were hitting their heads against the wall with as much force as the Andy Reid-DeSean Jackson connection.

 

Games like the ones on Sunday night are the most disturbing to watch if you are associated with either team. As the score gets higher, the significance of every play gets lower. Sure, many are looking back at certain plays and thinking “Man, if the Giants did so and so than things could have been different.”

 

The truth is, that isn’t true.

 

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Manning’s fumble immediately following Jonathon Goff’s interception is looked at as a turning point. But ultimately, the only affect on the outcome of the game it had was that it cost the Giants a time out.

 

Because right after his fumble, the Eagles went three and out. Then, Manning connected with Domenik Hixon to take a lead that would be relinquished before you could even blink. Which is more than enough time for the he-who-must-not-be named to get to the end zone.

 

So let’s not harp on “what ifs.” In shootouts, the team that makes more big plays wins. The Eagles did, and now they are in prime position to take their first division title since 2006.

 

Here are some other notes.

 

DeSean Jackson

 

What else needs to be said? He’s incredible. Before he was even drafted, Jerry Rice understood the type of skills that Jackson possessed.

 

"He has all the talent in the world. There's no reason he can't be everything he wants to be at the next level."

 

Apparently 31 NFL teams never got the memo. Because he slid past every team in the first round, and several teams in the second. The Eagles ultimately took him with the 50th overall pick.

 

Now, concerns about his build were valid. He didn’t even touch 170 on the scale and he had some character issues.

 

But it still bothers me that he fell to the 50th slot. It may look easy to second guess after the performances he’s put up on a weekly basis, but I first guessed this one too. That much natural ability has to fit somewhere. And if he finds any semblance of a comfort level in a system, that speed can’t be stopped.

 

The Giants simply have no one in their secondary to match up with him. And the current zone scheme that is employed can’t contain number ten.

 

There may be only one way to stop him. Put five defensive backs on him… then call it the Jackson 5.

 

Who’s more to blame, secondary or defensive line?

 

Many are split about what was more disturbing on Sunday night. How open these receivers were, or how much room McNabb had to step up and launch a pass.

 

Some plays the initial coverage was good, but McNabb was able to survey the entire field multiple times and find a receiver that managed to break away from coverage. The defensive line simply wasn’t making an impact.

 

With the likes of Celek and Jackson running through the secondary, it is only a matter of time before they got open. Any secondary will look bad with the amount of time McNabb had.

 

Osi Umenyiora is a major concern right now. He’s not average. He’s bad. He is a bad defensive lineman. He’s a liability in the running game, as evidenced by the benching. And he’s an ineffective pass rusher. I know he had that one play on McNabb, but when I watch him he either tries to run around the tackle or tries something else that doesn’t even get him across the line of scrimmage.

 

Did you know that sack of McNabb was the first sack by a Giants lineman when he was being blocked in a month? That’s pathetic.

 

Tuck is hurt and he is because of a freak play. So I grant an exception to him. But I can’t recall the last time he was healthy. It was probably the last time the pass rush was truly effective.

 

It’s similar to the chicken or the egg argument. There’s no concrete answer, but I think the defensive line was the bigger no show than the secondary.

 

My take on the Eli Manning fumble

 

Yes, I am biased. At the game I was scrambling for reasons in my head for them to overturn the play. And then I came up with one.

 

The initial contact had nothing to do with Manning going down; I understand that. And yes, it technically wasn’t a legal slide. But I think the call was hypocritical by the league for everything they do to protect the quarterback.

 

Think of it. Let’s say right after Manning fell Jeremiah Trotter jumped on him (while he still had the ball). It would undoubtedly be a penalty right? It would be considered a dead ball penalty and the Giants would get fifteen yards.

 

So with this call, the officials set a precedent that if a quarterback does not slide properly, the play is ongoing because he technically did not slide on his own. Therefore, the defenders have a right to hit him while he’s on the ground. Uh-oh.

 

It may be a stretch, but there were many quirky calls throughout the game.

 

Why does Ahmad Bradshaw get so much playing time?

 

This city has been begging for him to have an increased role for a good two years. Now that he’s got it, he has two bum ankles and two months worth of inconsistent play to show for it.

 

He’s nothing more then a change of pace back. While Jacobs was running well early, aside from the fumble, Bradshaw was stymied. His cutback ability when he’s 100% works well against the likes of Oakland and Tampa Bay, but against a fast defense such as Philly there is no chance.

 

He did break some runs, but his running style is driving me crazy. There was only one play where I saw him actually hit a hole between the tackles, and he went for six yards. He dances way too much and against top-notch defenses that won’t fly.

 

What the Giants need to do is develop another running back that could supplant Bradshaw as the primary backup, and turn him into a very dangerous third running back.

 

Reason for hope

 

There really isn’t much reason to believe right now. But Eli Manning’s play on Sunday night has to inspire hope. Winning this conference will take a high-octane passing game that may have to keep up with Arizona, New Orleans, and Minnesota.

 

It may be a stretch to be talking about a potential Super Bowl run but success over the past five years has done that. There are always high expectations for the New York team that dons blue, regardless of the situation.

 

Of course, a loss to the Redskins changes all of that.

 

 

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