Thursday, November 10, 2011

Patriots game - odds and ends

Similarities to the Super Bowl

Aside from the fact that the Giants were playing the Patriots, there were several other interesting (dare I say striking) similarities between the game against the Patriots this past week and the one in the desert after the 2007 season. Consider:
  • Eli had to lead two scoring drives in 4th quarter, each giving the Giants the lead from behind.
  • Eli passed for two TDs and accumulated 150 yards through the air in the 4th quarter of both games (you have to add in the two PI penalties Sunday to get to 150, but morally, they should be Eli's passing yards)
  • Both games had a 30 yard (or so) pass in the middle of the field to an improbable target wearing number 85 to set up the winning score
  • Both winning TD passes were scored in the left corner of the end zone.
  • In both games, the resident genius coach of the Patriots, Bellichick, acquitted himself poorly and with absolutely no class. In the Super Bowl he sneaked off the field before the game was officially over. This past Sunday, in the post game news conference, he was whining about the two PI calls that went against the Patriots, instead of showing some class and giving some credit to the opposing victorious team. 
  • Giants defense smacked around old Tom Brady pretty good in both games.
  • Oh, wait - one more thing - Giants won both games.
Refs calls

Speaking of PI penalties, the Patriots got away with two egregious offensive PI penalties that were not called on their receivers. One was on Ochocinco, where he blatantly shoved the DB (Webster, I think) with both hands, and pushed him so hard that the DB fell down. That missed call didn't hurt much, because Ochocinco was the intended target and he never catches any balls these days anyway. But the other offensive PI was on the TD with 1:36 left caught by Gronkowski. It probably wasn't called because it was a little more subtle than the other one by Ochocinco and LB Boley didn't actually fall down on the play. The other reason it wasn't called is because the game was played in Gillette Stadium, Bellichick works the refs hard and gets the favor of lots of home town calls. Did you see the holding call they made on MacKenzie in the first half? It was not a hold, there was no call, no flag thrown by the ref but then Bellichick went crazy, animatedly starts yelling at the refs to call a hold, the fans in the stadium saw him gesturing and starting yelling for a call too. Then and only then, several seconds after the play was over, one of the refs was intimidated into throwing a flag. Ridiculous. Back to the PI non-call on Gronkowski - Boley was right on him and by pushing off, Gronkowski gained an enormous advantage and got open to catch the ball.


Michael Coe made some nice plays in the DB-field, particularly on 3rd down against Ochocinco near the goal line, forcing a Patriots FG. Giants have very good position coaches, especially in the DB-field - Merritt and Giunta.

DJ Ware played well and made some nice moves. I am not saying he is as good as Bradshaw, but the Giants can survive with him back there. I still want to see Da'rel Scott get into the game. I understand why the Giants coaches may be hesitant - a big part of the RB's responsibility nowadays is not just knowing where to run, but includes blitz pickup on passing plays. The Giants RBs, Jacobs and Bradshaw are both superior blockers and great at picking up the blitz. Did you see some of the chip blocks Jacobs threw before running out of the backfield on pass routes? On one play he absolutely flattened the Patriots DE Carter, with barely any effort, just a bump from his shoulder and then breezily ran down field. So, the coaches have to make sure Scott has his blitz pickup assignments down, because we don't want to get out QB killed. Other than that, I'd like to see him get some plays.

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