There was little to complain about in this game, but we certainly have to consider the opponents before we start making reservations for Dallas in February. The Redskins looked really awful. Their defense is the worst statistically in football and they lost two of their best defenders in S Landry and CB Rogers. Shanahan helped the Giants cause out further by sitting Haynesworth. In a December game in the Meadowlands, when it's cold and windy, you have to play northeast football, which means run the ball. They had their best two secondary guys out with injury and their best run stuffer sat down by coach's decision. I have to think that the rest of the Redskins locker room was not thrilled, regardless of what they may think of Fat Albert.
Giants ran the ball convincingly and passed enough to keep the offense moving. The Redskins LBs are really poor, IMO. Fletcher and McIntosh are both slow and not that big. Orakpo on the outside has been shifted to OLB from his natural DE position and hasn't quite figured it out yet, IMO. The defensive play calling by Haslett was weak - there were several plays where the Redskins blitzed or overloaded one side to stop a running play that they thought was going there and the Giants ran right through the vacated side to make big yardage. It takes a lot to get outcoached by Gilbride, but Haslett managed to do so.
This was Brandon Jacobs best game of the year. As I mentioned in one of last week's post leading up to this Redskins game, I have to give credit to my friend Ray for noticing last game that he looked more balanced and I think it showed even more this game. He lowered his pads and plowed through the pile when he had to and when he burst through a hole, he straightened himself up, ready to run for big yards. The two most notable plays were his first big run on the second play of the game when he ran for 30 yards around the Giants left side; and the second was his long TD run to make the score 28-0.
On the first run, there was not much of a hole at all, but he kept his balance and slid to the outside. He raised up when he got past the first weak attempted arm tackle and when he saw LB McIntosh, disposed of him easily with a stiff arm. When he made some space for himself, he burst to the outside and ran for 30. On the second run for his TD, he burst through the hole with his pads low, and when he got to the next level saw a DB facing him in the hole. He stopped, stutter stepped, let the DB lunge towards him and then cut to the outside accelerating again so no Redskin could catch him. Both of these plays required instinct, but most of all great balance, something we don't normally associate with a 265 pound man. I don't know why he has suddenly rediscovered it. I don't know if he's made peace with his role and the depth chart, if he's returning to his own style and not trying to emulate Bradshaw's or if the game is just "slowing down for him", but he has looked great these last few weeks and is definitely staying on his feet longer. I would stick with the RB rotation of Jacobs first and Bradshaw second.
The aspect of the game that has me most excited is the apparent emergence of JPP. He had two sacks, a batted pass, a fumble recovery and a few plays in the running game as well. We all knew he had special physical skills, but I think we are starting to see the emergence of a football player from under those long arms and legs, and from that strength and that incredible speed. The coaching he has received and the game experience he has gained in the first half looks like it's starting to sink in. Let me explain why I make this assertion. The two sacks he racked up yesterday were not "just" based on his pure physical skills, they were based on technique and coaching. His second sack was most exciting, so I'll start there. He was playing RDE and to start his rush, he dipped his left shoulder, took a step to the inside and showed an inside rush, getting the LT sliding and leaning to the inside. Then, he stood up, whacked the LT with his right arm to get him to continue to move to the inside and made a blurry quick next step to the outside with his right leg. He had the LT beat now, but the LT could still save the play by reaching out with his long arms and getting the rushing DE off balance. So JPP used another piece of football technique by making himself small and lowering his shoulders so the LT couldn't reach him. Now he had the LT beaten and was a step or two past him. When the QB sees an outside rush, he is taught to step forward in the pocket and let the route of the DE take him past the QB. JPP foiled this technique by reaching back with his super long and very strong left (inside) arm and tripped McNabb as he was stepping up in the pocket. I was positively giddy about this play. It showed his uncommon physical skills, but it required great technique.
His first sack also required more than just physical skills. He was lined up at LDE this time, with Tuck as DT to his inside shoulder. Tuck took an outside route, slanting towards the RT that was supposed to block JPP and occupying him for a second. JPP then looped around behind Tuck and took an inside route in the lane that Tuck was lined up in originally. The G who was supposed to block Tuck is supposed to slide off him, switch and pick up the looping DE, but JPP was too fast for him and blew right through the gap before the G could adjust, which gave JPP his other sack. This play required timing, coaching, awareness of the offensive blocking patterns and great speed to shoot the gap that was open. I am so excited about his development that I can't wait to see how he does next game.
Before we get too pumped up, we should realize that the Redskins OL is not very good and they were missing their starting LT. But - this is the first time JPP has shown something other than pure physical skill and I hope it keeps on coming..
The only thing to complain about was another INT by Eli in the red zone. I don't get it. he's a heady QB and has a great arm, I don't know why he's throwing the picks this year. On defense, there were some missed tackles and some blown assignments in the secondary, but these happened only after the score was 28-0, so I can't complain too much.