Monday, November 8, 2010

Giants: Seattle game review

I expected the Giants to win and said as much in last blog post. The only thing that could hurt them was a rash of turnovers and allowing some big plays on ST. Instead, Giants took the ball away more than they turned it over and, while they gave away one long KO return to Leon Washington, also got a takeaway on ST setting the Giants up for one of their first half TDs.

I understand that Seattle is not very good and had some key injuries, but they are still an NFL team, were 4-3 coming into the game, undefeated at home and in fact have beaten some decent teams this year, including Chicago and San Diego. Giants yesterday made them look like a high school team.

I am not going to go through the obvious things that everyone could see: Eli was sharp, Nicks is a star, the OL is playing better and better each week, the defense absolutely crushed the running game of the Seahawks and Pete Carrol is a great coach. College coach, that is. On some of the strategy elements of the game, it's obvious that Fewell and Gilbride read my blog last week and came in with a game plan based on my posts. Specifically, on defense, Fewell blitzed very little, the Giants defensive game plan was about as vanilla as it could be. It almost looked like a preseason game. Seattle did a lot of max protection in deference to the Giants pass rush. Instead of the Giants trying to blitz, they sat back in coverage and had 7 guys defending 3. Giants switched well between man-to-man to different zone defenses.

On offense, Giants piled up a lot of rushing attempts and yards in the fourth quarter, but came out aggressive and passing in the first half. After they put the game away with a 35-0 first half lead they got a little more conservative.

There were several significant things to take away from this game that have me really pumped up. For one thing, the emergence of Shaun Andrews in the starting lineup at LT replacing David Diehl is a real plus. The way the Giants shuffled the line, sliding Diehl to G and Seubert to C and still getting a dominant performance was very positive. It shows that the Giants have both incredible talent and well as great depth almost everywhere on this team. Andrews played better at LT than Diehl has been playing, even though Diehl's play has improved a bit in recent weeks, and the Giants have to find some way to make this move permanent. They have to be delicate about it because they don't want to upset the apple cart of great team chemistry and locker room togetherness, which would be a risk if they replace the very popular long time starter Diehl. It's why the way they did it this week was so thoughtful. They got the player in there under the veneer of injury to the C and worry about handling the noise in Seattle without "dissing" Diehl. Diehl came out of the game with a hip injury, so maybe he misses a few weeks and if so, Andrews could establish himself as a player and can keep the spot. Maybe going to a rotation, like they do on the DL is the solution. Either way, I am very enthused about this move. When you look at the Giants offense, they have the QB, the RBs, the WRs and a very good OL with a weakness at LT. This move could catapult them into being a practically unstoppable offense. I went over the film and Andrews played exceptional football. He handled Seattle's best pass rusher with ease, completely shutting him down. He was punishing in the running game, staying with his blocks 7 and 8 yards downfield. He was perfect in blitz pickups, handling quicker LBs when he had to switch and also handling a CB on one blitz, keeping him in front of him despite his disadvantage in quickness and speed. He is an excellent football player and the Giants have to keep him on the field.

I want to concentrate on this team, this year, but the future looks bright for this offense. They have the foundation of a great OL for years into the future, with Andrews, Beatty and Mitch Petrus, who the coaches are very high on. I hope you noticed that when Petrus got into the game yesterday, on his first play, he pulled and absolutely flattened a Seattle LB in the open field on a running play.

I was really happy to see DJ Ware get some reps, even if it was only garbage time in the 4th qtr. Nevertheless, he got some live game action and, in the event of something untoward happening to the starting RBs (like an injury), Giants at least have someone that can step in and hold down the fort. BTW - DJ Ware is a very good RB and might be the most polished and smoothest of the 3 RBS on the team. I love Bradshaw and Jacobs, but Ware is very good also. In terms of straight line speed, he might be the fastest of the 3 RBs.

Eli and his WR corps were great as usual. I loved the throw to Nicks for the 46 yard TD on the post. It was not a perfect throw by Eli, but it was smart by Eli to lead him to the inside and make him make a play on the ball. If he had thrown the ball straight over the top, there's a risk that he could have overthrown the ball. Instead, the decided to throw the ball to the inside, where Nicks could make a play on the ball and the defender would be unable to make a play. It was a good throw, but more importantly a very intelligent throw and a great adjustment on the ball by Nicks.

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