Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York Giants - Rd6 Buffalo Bills - REVIEW

Getting a win before a bye is always important. It's like you're girlfriend is going away for 2 weeks. You want to send her on your way satisfied or you'll spend the fortnight with visions of a latino stud servicing the needs you were unable to.

The good news is we got the win. It was as sloppy as a high school prom night but we can rest easy that the week off can be used to regroup and hopefully bring the Miami Dolphins into our house on the 30th of October and slap a pair of fingercuffs on her. No latinos for her!

So how was it won?

Eli's O Face

Eli Manning is currently sitting 5th for yards, 3rd with a rating of 101.1, 9th on comp%, 3rd for avg and 6th with 11 touchdowns. Apart from the touchdowns the rest are Career highs.

In the last 3 weeks Eli has thrown for 321, 420 and 292 yards and is averaging 296 per game over the season.

Usual suspect Hakeem Nicks caught 4 for 96 yards including an impressive 60 yard catch and run. TE Jake Ballard continued on from last weeks impressive 3 receptions for 72 yards and a score to pull in 5 for 81 yards. He is averaging 18.2 yards per catch this year and looks to be a handy option for Eli Manning.

Not so Carrie Bradshaw

In the absence of RB Brandon Jacobs Ahmad Bradshaw has had a lean trot struggling to establish the run early leaving the team to rely on the Arm of Manning. Well finally Bradshaw Bradshaw CARRIEd the running game and recorded his 1st 100 yard game of the season. Is average of 4.0  yards per carry was average but he was able to punch the ball into the end zone 3 times from the 1 yard line for scores.

Fast Freddie

Again the Giants defence was run over by a running back for 100+ yards including the typical big run this time of 80 yards. Fred Jackson is a fast back but he was allowed to waltz through too many open wholes in the line for a 1st down. Hopefully Justin Tuck's return will help sure this up in 2 weeks. CB Corey Webster did come up with 2 interceptions and Jason Pierre-Paul added another sack to his tally leaving him at 2nd in the NFL.

Flamin Fitzy

On the whole the secondary did a good job of stopping the air attack considering Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing well and full of confidence. However another breakdown saw a inside slant route go for 60 yards and a score.

Special Teams

The only 2 notable ST plays were a 17 yard punt return by Aaron Ross and the Bill blocking a field goal that could have seen the game go into Over Time.

I'm selfishly not a fan of byes but I will be avidly watching the Notre Dame vs USC game. An Irish win could see them slip into the rankings with a 5-2 record.

Until then hail to the Gamma!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New York Giants - Rd5 Seattle Seahawks - REVIEW

Well I let it stew for a day but losses like these have a lingering burn much like a dodgy curry.

Online there is much finger pointing including injured players who some think should be out there. (Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck most notably) I think it will be easier to just stick to facts and stats.

Seattle Won 36 - 25

New York turned the ball over 5 times!!!!!!

Up up and give it away!

Okay so Eli Manning threw for a career best 420 yards including 3 touchdowns but has also ended up 3 crucial interceptions and a lost fumble. So did he lose the game or do his best to win it? Well let's look at his picks, the most notorious one in the dying stages tipped by Victor Cruz and returned for a 95 yard touchdown and in essence ending the game.

For the Giants offense to work it needs a balance of run and pass and in the absence of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw having a quiet game Manning was forces to try to win the game off his own game. Ironically Eli Manning's largest passing days (420 last week, 391 in 2009 and 386 in 2010) were all home losses. Eli is best as a 200-300 yard passer complimented by a strong running game.

Despite a fumble and a tipped pass for a pick Victor Cruz continued his strong recent form with careers bests 8 catches for 161 yards and a score. Back to back 100+ yard games have seen the exposure of Cruz as a legitimate threat heightened. He'll be looking to have another strong game next week against the Bills.

TE Jack Ballard again proved we still have a threat in that position hauling in 3 passes for 72 yards and a score.

Hakeem Nicks had a quiet day by his standard but caught 4 for 65 and a lay out score. Mario Manningham improves weekly recording 5 for 56 yards and will add a triple threat for Eli to aim at.

Go the runs?

Brandon Jacobs didn't play and Ahmad Bradshaw may as well not have. He had 2 nine yarders towards the end that fluffed his numbers up to 58 yards off 17 attempts. To compound matters DJ Ware took a hand off and was tackled in his own end zone resulting in a very important 2 point safety.

Thrown to the wolves

Sure the Giants recorded 6 sacks, knocked out a quarterback and even came up with an interception to Aaron Ross but they also gave up 300+ yards, a touchdown and way too many 3rd down conversions. They also let back up QB Whitehurst waltz down the field to score a crushing TD in the last quarter. Jason Pierre-Paul recorded 2 sacks taking his total to 7 in 5 games and 2nd in the NFL and Osi Umenyoira had a sack giving him 3 in the two games since his return from injury. A return to the field by Justin Tuck will see a very formidable pass rushing attack take on the Bills next week.

Run All Over Me

Again the G-Men gave up 100+ yards including RB Lynch ripping off 98 yards and a score from only 12 attempts.

Special Teams

Seattle kicker Hauschka hit 2 field goals including a 51 yarder and 4 from 4 PAT's. Seattle punter J. Ryan landed 4 of his 7 punts inside 20. Not much to be said about the Giants special teams.

Yet another disappointing loss for the Giants in a game they were favourites. Let's hope for a smarter ball game from the Big Blue Wrecking Crew next week against the Bills.

Until then hail to the CD!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Notre Dame attacks Air Force for 4th straight win!

So stats that matter. Yes I'm a big stats man but now is bigger than a W and the Fighting Irish had this in the bag before half time. The final score was 59 - 33.

Yeah Air Force had more Time of Possession and total yards but that is deceiving as the Falcons turned the ball over twice and had many long drives that resulted in no points or a field goal. The Falcons offense was always going to be tricky to stop with Tim Jefferson and his multi faceted attack. Although they piled on the yards on the ground (363 yards) they were unable to open up the defense in the air passing for 202 yards. The Falcons tried a lots of different things with a fake punt, onside kick, and an effective no-huddle offense. They also converted 4-4 on 4th down. The Falcons scored a respectacle 33 points but 17 (more than half) were in the last quarter after the game was wrapped up in a gold guiled bow.

The Fighting Irish knew they would need to get the pigskin in the End zone early and often to be a chance and they came out all guns blazing. 3 touchdowns in the 1st quarter was matched by another 3 in the 2nd giving ND a 42 to 16 lead. Notre Dame scored a touchdown on the first 6 offensive possessions. The running game held up their end of the bargain and ran well but Quarterback Tommy Rees had a stellar first half throwing for 208 yards and 4 touchdowns. And most importantly ZERO turnovers. The offence ran the ball a little more in the second half but Rees still finished with strong numbers: 23 off 32 and 261 yards and 4 touchdowns. Most impressive for Rees was his ability to spread the ball around hitting 3 different receivers for 6+ 70 yard+ games. Theo Riddick caught 8 for 83 yards and a score. Tyler Eifert also caught 8 for 81 yards and a score and school record setter Michael Floyd continued a strong season with 6 for 78 yards and also a score. The runners had 3 strong contributors, Cierre Wood backed up from a 195 yard game last week to total 66 yards and a score. Jonas Gray was strong early running for 69 yards off 7 attempts at a 9.9 yard average and a score. Andrew Hendrix came in for the last quarter for Rees to chew up the clock and instead had bird stew on a 78 yard run to the 2 yard line and had the only 100 yard game for the Irish amassing 111 at an 18.5 average. He also completed 4 for 4 passing.

Notre Dame go into next weeks game on a 4 game tear and will look to advance to 5-2 with a win over major rival USC.

NOTES: This marked the most combined points scored in a game at Notre Dame Stadium. 92 points

Until then hail to the Pieces!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New York Giants - v Arizona Cardinals - RD4- REVIEW

With the NFC race being so tight with the exception of the Green Bay Packers this was a gettable and important win against the Arizona Cardinals.

And got it they did.

So where does that leave us at the quarter pole of the season? Well we currently sit 3-1 and equal top of our division with the Washington Redskins who are in my opinion still the weakest team in the division. Dallas are only a game behind at 2-2 and the unpredictable dream team (for the Giants anyway!) Eagles are languishing at the bottom with a 1-2 record.

I love me some stats so I going to look at where are leaders are at and even extrapolate (x4) to see where they may be heading to finish the season.

Although the Giants gave the Cards plenty of chances to put the game away they never seemed able to hammer that last nail. With the way QB Eli Manning is finishing games of late that turned out to be a big mistake. Well lets look at how the qu(w)est was won.

Air Supply

Coming into the season the focus was the defections of TE Kevin Boss to the Raiders and WR Steve Smith to the Eagles among a smattering of injuries. Eli Manning then made a call about being in the same class as Tom Brady (Elite) which didn't help not to mention a slow start to the season and a slow start in every game so far. Lucky he's throwing the lights out in the second half. 
Said Mannings 2nd half was 16 for 20 for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns this week and over the last 3 weeks his 2nd half stats read like this 32 for 40 for 415 yards 4 TDs and zero interceptions. If that doesn't burn your peepers then how about he is 3rd in the NFL with a rating of 105.6. He's behind red hot Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. He also boasts a healthy 64% completion percentage and a 8-2 TD to INT ratio. If he were to keep up his per game averages he would finish the year with these gaudy numbers.
320 Comp - 500 Att - 4264 Yards - 32 TD - 8 INT  Career records in yards and touchdowns and a low in interceptions. If he were to keep up these numbers he'd have to be a lock for the Pro-Bowl and more importantly give the Giants the best possible chance to go deep into the Play-Offs. )On a side note Manning has been sacked 11 times already this season and 44 for the season would definitely be a career high he doesn't need)

Hakeem Nicks was back to his beastly best with 10 receptions for 162 yards and the winning score. Considering he totaled 7 receptions for 63 total for the last 2 games combined showed what he could do to a defence if other receivers are holding their end of the bargain. I'm not going to get into the Victor Cruz 'fumble', but he did total 98 yards in a game where he was over looked several times despite being wide open.and could have turned up field after a reception for more yards however opted to step out of bounds. If Nicks and Cruz were to keep up their per game averages they would finish the season like this.
Nicks 92 Receptions - 1388 Yards - 8 TD's
Cruz 44 Receptions - 900 Yards - 8 TD's 205 AVG (All the more impressive as he has only really been a regular option for the last 2 games.

Run Forrest Run

This aspect of the offence was probably the one let down for me and would have been a even bigger issue had the passing game not clicked so well. Ahmad Bradshaw again was given the bulk of the attempts but failed to have an impact with an insipid 39 yards from 12 carries and a long 13 on his sole touchdown run. Brandon Jacobs had an even rougher day with 18 yards from 9 attempts and a touchdown. He would be forgiven for his 2 yard average as he was called on to run several 3rd and short runs when the defence knew he was getting the ball. The running game won't be able to rely on the passing game and expect a win too many times in the NFL so hopefully they use the week to take stock and come out Sunday against the Seahawks and pound 'em like they are initiating a new cell mate.


It has been well documented the injuries to corners and benching of Aaron Ross so I won't rehash. I will mention however that after round 2 the secondary have given up 300+ yards to 4 straight quarterbacks. In the last 2 weeks they gave up 237 yards to the Eagles and 237 to the Cardinals and more impressively zero touchdowns and 3 interceptions. This is against offenses with weapons like Michael Vick and Larry Fitzgerald. Safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle have stepped up in particular 13 tackles each over the last 2 games and a pick each. The secondary was also helped by the pass rush where Dave Tollefson backed up a good game with another recording 2 sacks. Osi Umenyiora played his first game and although he made a couple of rusty mistakes he was often in the QB Kolb's face recording a sack and a forced fumble.

Stuff it!

The run stop has been the polar opposite to the pass. It was particularly stingy in the first 2 games but has given up some serious yardage and points in the last 2. Against the Eagles, RB McCoy opened up the their offence with 128 yards from 24 attempts and a score. And this week Beanie Wells tore threw the defensive line for 138 yards from 27 attempts and a massive 3 touchdowns. For the Giants to gain immediate ascendancy against the Seahawks on Sunday, the D-Line and Co need to crunch Marshawn Lynch and the other backs in submission.

Kicks, Returns and Tackles

I personally prefer a game when the Special Teams isn't needed and this was one of them. Although Aaron Ross' 18 punt return was a fantastic start to a drive in the last quarter.

This week will be the 3rd game in a row we play a bird related team (Eagles, Cardinals & Seahawks) so let's hope that is a sign for how the result will be.

Until then hail to the Sin!