I was very concerned about the OL going into the game, as everyone was, particularly the left side of the OL. Boothe played much better than he did in his first game back starting last week against the Eagles. The pleasant surprise was how well Beatty played at LT. Jaguars do not have a dominating defense, so we have to put it in context, but they do have a decent DL and Beatty allowed no sacks or even pressures off his side and he was a big part of the success in the Giants running game. Boothe made some very good blocks when he pulled and was crisp in his other blocks. Overall, even though the OL has not been dominant in manufacturing a running game the last few weeks, the pass blocking has been solid. Look at it this way: Giants have lost their starting C and his backup, they have their LG playing C, a player who was not active the first 6 weeks of the season starting at LG, the starting LT and his substitute out replaced by a 2nd year player and they still have not allowed a sack in the last 4 games.
This was clearly Jacobs best game of the year. He was more balanced, was running down hill and even juked a few players in the DB field. My friend Ray has noticed that Jacobs has looked a little off this year and he ran well this week. He pressed the holes quickly, did not try to imitate Bradshaw's style of constantly looking for a cut back lane and instead stayed true to his own style. As well as Bradshaw has done running the ball this year (except for the fumbles) I think I like the offense better with Jacobs starting and Bradshaw coming off the bench as the change of pace runner.
I guess we can't complain about the offensive play calling and performance. Putting up 24 points with half of your offensive starters out is pretty good. But I still hated the call of the draw to Bradshaw on 3rd and 2 from the 3 yard line on the Giants first drive of the game. It was 2nd and 10 after the fumble reversal and Jacobs ran for 8 down to the 3 yard line. Third and 2. After the 8 yard run, you had to figure that the defense was looking to stop another bruising run by Jacobs. I would not have minded giving the ball to Jacobs again, since the OL was getting a good push and have him drive towards the goal line, or perhaps just get a first down. It also might have been the perfect time to run a play action fake to Jacobs and throw a middle pass to Boss or a corner fade to a WR. Instead, Gilbride waited several seconds then made a personnel change sending in Bradshaw as RB. When Eli lined up in shotgun with Bradshaw next to him, it was such a transparent attempt at deception that there was no deception at all. I turned to my son sitting next to me at the game and we both said to each other in unison: draw play to Bradshaw. If we read it, I assume the Jaguars could do so also. Jaguars stopped Bradshaw for a loss of 2, one of only two running plays for negative yardage that the Giants had all game long. Think about it - 3rd and 2 from the 3. That's not an obvious passing down, so if you were going to pass, you would probably have the QB get under center and use a play action fake to keep the defense guessing. Lining up in shotgun there shows pass, so the defense would sense that there is a draw coming. It was not a good call.
JPP had his best game of the year with two sacks and an active game on the DL. Giants need him to come on and play well down the stretch. He has enormous physical talents but little experience. My hope was that he would gain some coaching and game experience in the first half of the season and come on in the second half. It's time.
Eli had a good game but missed Mannignham deep on a post early in the game. Manningham was behind the defense by a few yards and Eli badly underthrew him. It was an easy throw, because Manningham was on a post, running diagonally across the field and did not requrie the pinpoint depth that an over the shoulder throw requires. Eli could have put lots of air under it and let Manningham run under the ball.
This past Sunday's game against the Jaguars was a must win. Had they lost, I think their season would have been over. Next post will do some playoff arithmetic.