Eli threw some great balls against the Saints, but his two INTs were inexcusable. On his first INT he threw the ball 3 yards behind Jernigan. I wonder if he expected Jernigan to pull up and sit down in that spot in the zone instead of continuing his cut to the outside, because there was a DB out on the sideline also. If so, we should charge that INT to Gilbride because he has an offense that requires the QB and WR to have ESP to know what the other is thinking before the throw, or at least to Jernigan for making the wrong read. However, the second INT, where Eli telegraphed where he was going, locked onto the receiver all the way, then hesitated and double clutched, giving the S lots of time to get over and make the play was the kind of play that Mark Sanchez would make. I am not worried about the QB, but that was a bad play. Eli also made a few throws that could have been intercepted but were dropped by Saints defenders. One throw to Cruz in the 2nd half on the goal line was underthrown and should have been a TD. Instead it could have been picked, though it would have requried a great play by the DB. The one that really bothered me was the ball to Hixon in the first half, where it looked like Hixon was behind his man on a seam route and a good throw might have been a TD. Ball was underthrown badly and was dropped by the Saints DB. I am not saying that Eli is not a great QB - he is. Maybe this is nitpicking, because he did throw for 4 TDs and >250 yards. Maybe it's just that we have come to expect excellence from him and when we don't see it, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Maybe it's the lack of burst from Nicks, who made the passing offense go last year and who everyone acknowledges, even tight-lipped Coughlin, is below full strength. Giants passing offense always had a very low margin for error, requiring perfect reads and throws by the QB. When it's a little off, it can look pedestrian. Whatever it is now, that's what the Giants are going to have to ride into the playoffs, because it's the passing offense and the DL that are the best units on the team and have the potential to reach the greatest heights and propel the team.
Jacquian Williams got back onto the field and looked pretty mobile. The LBs did a decent job against the pass, but the run defense overall was not very good. Saints got a good push against the DL and the LBs were not filling the holes. Surprisingly, the DTs have been pushed around lately. I thought that with Canty back in the lineup the run defense would improve, but they have been vulnerable last two weeks especially. I thought that the Redskins game was an aberration because of the unusual style of their attack, but the run defense was poor against Saints also. Giants defense rises and falls on the ability of their DL to stop the run and generate pass rush in passing situations. They have to step it up.
Don't know if you noticed but the Giants in the second half seemed to use Tuck in coverage on a few occasions. There have been many plays in the last few games where Tuck is standing up at the line before the snap, but that was more for confusing the OL and not letting them get a read on where he was coming from and who needed to block him. This week, there were several times when the Giants rushed only 3 and Tuck dropped back into (short) coverage. Giants did not get burned by this, made a few stops and in fact, this was the formation where they got their only sack of the day, so I can't kill its use. But if you want to play a 3-4, my instinct says you should use 4 real LBs.