Tag:Eagles
Posted on: August 6, 2009 7:48 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2009 2:57 pm
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"10" Reasons for $97 Million

                               "Manning Up" for the QB   
   

For all those opposed, don't worry; your guy will get his.
And his contract will be bigger than Eli's (having Eli to thank for it). 
            

Let's get one thing straight right now... Eli Manning is by no stretch of the imagination as talented, battle tested or proven as his older brother (even though he'll be paying the dinner checks from now on) or Tom Brady. He lacks the raw tools and athleticism of Drew Brees. Many will argue he's not as gutsy, talented or tough as Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb or Tony Romo either.

Here's my take on six years and $97 million: He's worth every penny. Why?

1. Because he's managed to avoid flipping over his motorcycle handlebars and crashing head-first into a windshield. He's also avoided getting wrapped up in a rape accusation. Perhaps luck plays a big part in that. I'll take someone who makes their own good luck.

2. Because his face appears in 'Oreo League' Ads, Toyota & Reebok commercials, as well as fundraising campaigns for The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Phoenix House, The Red Cross and his own cause - The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics. And because he doesn't appear on the covers of Star Magazine, People, OK, US and The National Enquirer - or as a weekly stunt on TMZ.com - about how he's dumping 'this' pop-star girlfriend for 'that' actress girlfriend or 'the other' who's-that-girl girlfriend.

3. Because he has yet to openly display contempt for teammates or his coaching staff - regardless of whether he's agreed with them or not. He's never once complained about the lack of having a legitimate "number one" reciever (since the only one he's ever had has either been less than 100% healthy, serving a suspension or in bed recovering from self-inflicted gunshot wounds).

4. Because he has arguably put up with more scrutiny and criticism than any other QB in the NFL today without being able to use age, racial discrimination or injuries as a "crutch" - and as much by his own fan base than that of the rest of the league, despite popular belief. On the contrary; the last name 'Manning' has been nothing more than a mountain this guy has had to climb since the day he was drafted.

And Every one of the other Quarterbacks mentioned above - talented and deserving, one and all - will eventually sign bigger and better contracts than the one Eli just signed. Sans McNabb perhaps; unfortunately for Donovan, father time might have something to say about that.  

And when that comes to pass - for most in the NFL universe - the stars will once again be aligned as they should be. "Shoot - if he's making that much? You just know I gotta be worth THIS much..."

For now, the Giants Organization will simply enjoy the eclipse. And try not to look directly into the balance sheets.


By the way - here's the other 6 reasons he's worth every penny: 


5. January 2nd, 2004 - Giants 28, Dallas 24.
With Big Blue down 24-21 with just 11 seconds left in the game, Rookie QB Eli Manning comes to the line and looks at the Dallas defensive alignment. He pulls up from under center and audibles. In subsequent press conferences, coach Tom Coughlin will admit that a pass play had been called for - which Dallas must have anticipated. Instead, Eli hands off to Tiki Barber, who scampers three yards up the middle for a touchdown.

6. October 23rd, 2005 - Giants 24, Broncos 23.
Manning's first monsterous regular-season comeback victory. For the second week in a row - and the third time in the 13 starts in his career - Manning engineers a victory out of the jaws of defeat on the final drive of the game. With the Giants losing by 13 with 12 minutes left in the game, Eli spearheads - not one - but two touchdown drives, and Big Blue pulls out the improbably victory at the Meadowlands on an Amani Toomer game-winning score with 5 ticks left in the 4th quarter.

7. September 17th, 2006 – Giants 30, Eagles 24.
This was a huge 4th quarter performance for #10. Down 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Manning engineers his biggest rally - and has the best statistical game of his career (31 for 45, 371 yards, three TDs) - to tie the game with a field goal drive in the final seconds. A 31-yard pass to Plaxico Burress late in overtime sealed the victory - with two Eagles defenders bearing down on him and knocking him flat on his back just as he released the ball.

8. December 2nd, 2007 – Giants 21, Bears 16.
With their season slipping away, the Giants trailed 16-7 before scoring twice in the final 6:54. Manning shakes off three awful quarters of football by throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer
to cap a 75-yard drive and close the gap to 16-14. After a Bears punt, Manning executed a 77-yard drive - including a 24-yard pass to David Tyree and a 15-yarder to Plaxico Burress that put the ball on the 2 - which culminated in a Droughns TD run with 1:33 remaining.

9. January 13th, 2008 – Giants 21, Cowboys 17.
This technically was a fourth-quarter comeback, but not really. No matter, as Manning connected on two TD passes to Amani Toomer, and steered an early 4th quarter scoring drive that proved to be the game winner (trailing 17-14, Brandon Jacobs’ stumbled into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run just over 2 minutes into the fourth quarter). Manning’s best moment was the touchdown drive in the final seconds of the first half. All of a sudden, Tony Romo went from being the next great QB of the NFL to a great big question mark; Vacations with girlfriends and sobbing wide receivers aside, Eli Manning played well enough to leave his cleat marks on the backside of the Dallas Organization - which would have been the most any Giants fan could have hoped for coming into the 2007 season. That is, until... 

10. February 3rd, 2008 – Giants 17, Patriots 14.

Down 14-10 with 2:39 to go against the 18-0 New England Patriots - with NFL immortality on the line and all the decks stacked against him - Eli Manning took over on his own 17-yard line… 


 "OK Eli... tell me right now. What did you do with your brother's contract?"






Posted on: January 11, 2009 7:06 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2009 1:51 am
 

EAGLES/GIANTS RECAP: Its All Over Now, Baby Blue.

Eagles 23, Giants 11

Giants leave their stepping stones behind, and have the rug pulled out from under them.

 

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you.
Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you.
The vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
Strike another match, go start anew
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.
   -
From Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"

As the game moved along, quarter by quarter and minute by minute the inevitability of what was taking place was clear. It was like getting a shot at the doctor; you're sitting on the examination table, watching him tie the rubber hose around your arm. He rolls the little bottle around in his palms, then removes the syringe from the wrapping. Plunger pushed in, a dip in the bottle, plunger pulled back. The a couple of flicks of the finger. Then the obligatory comment, "Now... this won't hurt a bit." and in it goes. It stings for a bit, but eventually the pain goes away and you realize there was really nothing to it.

There was a purpose to that long-winded "ode to a needle": There's a wide dynamic of emotions a fan can experience following a game like this. Perhaps it's age, or familiartiy, or the understanding that repeating as champion in today's NFL is not easily accomplished. However, I think that it's the simple fact that Tom Coughlin's team did not seem right from the get-go. It will sting for a bit, but eventually the pain will go away and we'll realize that - at least from the Giants - there was really nothing to them.

The Eagles were the vagabond wrapping at the door today, and have recently been likened to last year's Giants; the wild card team with the big heart, hitting on all cyliders at just the right time. They're now wearing the "clothes" that the Giants' were donning last year at this time -and they're dressed for success.

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles - for their perseverance and will to win this game at all costs. Healthy players, smart game planning and a little luck all play a part in earning a victory. The "luck" part for the Eagles today was catching Eli Manning on a bad day. But that wasn't the deciding factor in game; Philadelphia earned the victory and were clearly the better team today. Now they pack their bags for a date with the Arizona Cardinals and an NFC Championship game, visiting the very site where less than a year ago, Big Blue made magic, and NFL history.

For Tom Coughlin, General Manager Jerry Reese and the Giants organization - an offseason of "what might have been". Maybe Reese can snag a free agent wideout the likes of T.J. Houshmandzadeh to replace Eli's missing deep threat, and if the first two years of his tenure are any indication, he's more than likely have another solid draft come April. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo might be a head coach somewhere in 2009; though the doors of opportunity are starting to close fast. Derrick Ward will likely want to prove he can be a starter and will want starter money - if there's a team willing to give him the shot.

Below are two reasons why the New York Giants lost their Divisional round playoff game to the Eagles this afternoon - and despite what the FOX NFL team of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck would have you believe, Plaxico Burress isn't one of the two reaons. If he were, then we may as well throw in the loss of Osi Umenyiora in the preseason and the retirement of Michael Strahan. 

These two things - and not the personnel on the field - will haunt the Giants in the weeks and months to come...

1. The "eyes" have it; and Eli just didn't have it today.

Trying to guage Eli Manning's emotion is like trying to tell the difference between regular or decaffeinated, but there are those rare times that it's written all over his face; and today, his face was a novel. His passes wobbled, he was off target a number of times, and threw into tight coverage way too often. But the true measuring stick for Eli is his eyes. If written it many times throughout the season; When he's on his game, his eyes are scanning the field, looking for his options and knowing where to go. Today, his eyes locked on his primary target - from the moment the ball was snapped until the point of release. Asante Samuel and Brian Dawkins didn't have much guess work to know where the ball was going. Something wasn't right with Manning, and when that's the case he tends to lose focus and downfield awareness of the defense. Even though the teams were within 2 points of each other for a majority of the game, Eli's interception to Samuel (which led to the first Philadelphia touchdown) was a back-breaking tone setter.

2. In-game decisions that were offensive, rather than offensive minded in-game decisions.

  • There was one bright spot for the Giants today, and it was Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs had 19 carries for 92 yards and appeared to be the only player in a blue jersey that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was unable to handle. Yet every time New York found itself driving the ball successfully, they took the ball out of Brandon's hands. I don't want to ramble with examples here, but here's one that sticks out: Following DT Fred Roobbins' interception and return to the Philadelphia 33 yard line in the 3rd Quarter, two consecutive handoffs to Jacobs went for 11 and 5 yards. The momentum was shifting. Number 27 was then called off to the sidelines in favor of Ward; two unsuccessful pass plays later, the Giants had to settle for a field Goal. This brings us to...                                                                                                                                           
  • Field goals... or punt? The turning point of the game for me - and I felt it the moment it took place - was when Coughlin decided to go for a 47-yard field goal with 4:29 remaining in the 3rd quarter instead of punting. Philly was leading 13-11 at that point, and Carney had already missed a 46-yard attempt earlier in the game (and badly, I might add). The Giants had recorded a safety the last time the Eagles were pinned back on their goal line, which might have been in their heads should they have found themeselves in that same spot. Your punter is Jeff Feagles - one of the best to ever play the game - and with the wind to his back, had already placed one perfectly inside the 5-yard line today. They should have pinned them back and not taken the risk on allowing Donovan McNabb to have 1st and 10 at midfield. Carney missed the kick, and McNabb marched them down the field and found TE Brent Celek in the end zone to put the Eagles up by a score of 20-11 on the first play of the 4th quarter. Which brings us to...                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • The fourth Quarter... following the Brent Celek touchdown. On their next two possessions, the Giants ran 11 plays - 10 of which were running plays. It's understandable to a point, considering the inconsistency of their quarterback throughout the afternoon. But that said, he is still your quarterback, and unless the Giants coaches new something we didn't you have to continue plugging away and keeping the Eagles defense off-balance as best you can. On both possessions, the Giants were faced with a 4th down and a decision to make. And on both occasions, they went for it. The first time (on 4th and inches), they lined up Jacobs in the backfield and tried a quarterback sneak up the gut with Eli. That's like using a toothbrush to drive a nail into a wall when you've got a hammer right there in your tool belt. For the next drive (on 4th and 2) Kevin Gilbride decided to go with what they should have gone with the first time and ran Jacobs straight up the middle. Neither conversion was successful. The Giants miscue on the initial 4th down attempt perfectly prepared Jim Johnson's defense for the second 4th down attempt.

And it's all over now, Big Blue.

Thanks to the Giants for an enjoyable season, despite the letdown today. They handled themselves well through all the distractions and controversy, and overcame a lot of obstacles to put themselves back in contention. In a week or so, I will post my Giants 2008 Season Team Awards in recognition of the highlights - and lowlights - of the season.

Now it's off to the Eagles boards to offer my congratulations.

 

Statistical Sources: nfl.com, cbssports.com

 

Posted on: January 10, 2009 10:42 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2009 12:36 am
 

Big Blue Gearing Up at the Meadowlands

Is "overconfidence" a requirement to be a fan?

   Coach preps his men for battle, Friday 1/9.

If there was one game on the NFL playoff schedule for this weekend that most of us would have put in the books, it was the Cardinals and Panthers. The Panthers are the more balanced offensive team. They have the secondary to keep up with the Arizona receivers that Altlanta didn't. Arizona's defense is small and weak against the run. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower won't be able to run... blah blah, blah bla blah.

I'm sitting here watching the closing seconds tick away in Charlotte. It's 33-13. Soon the players & coaches will be shaking hands, giving interviews or heading toward the locker rooms. Except for Jake Delhomme, who'll be heading directly for the parking lot, car keys in hand. He'll probably drive home with his helmet still on. I don't think of the Ravens beating the Titans earlier as an upset. It's an upset as far as seedings go, but in reality you could see that one coming; you might have almost expected it.

But Arizona? Wow...

I can honestly say - with a straight face - that I've never, ever had a feeling of overconfidence about the Giants prior to a playoff game. I've been confident in their ability, readiness and determination. It's a confidence that is born from trust, and if you're a Giants fan right now you're lucky enough to be able to trust these coaches and players when looking at ability, readiness and determination. But I'm never confident they'll win the game - in my way of thinking, that's overconfidence. There's enough evidence in the trash talking you'll find in threads, sports bars, at work, or just about anywhere opposing team jerseys meet up that support the notion - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that the sentiments expressed by many fans are simply an expectation of complete and utter dominance of the enemy.

Overconfidence and expectation. If you're a fan of an NFL team you can live without it, and will be better off for doing so. If you have it, you must have both - you can't have one without the other. And as a fan of an NFL team myself,  I'll never understand how another fan of any NFL team can have it.

I'm certainly not a paranoid or pessimistic fan. You know those folks, don't you? The one's that always prepare for the worst possible scenario. In fact, I'm pretty laid back about the whole thing... until I hear the pregame scene set from the announcing team. That's when the butterflies wake up and I lose my hearing when the wife and kids come in and ask me if I want to join them for a board game. I say "GIANTS!" and they get the hint. Once the game begins though, I'm fine. The kickoff is a shot of sedative. I strap in and enjoy the ride. By the way, the announcers for tomorrow are Joe Buck and Troy Aikman - the booth will just be glowing with personality, insight and entertainment...

I wonder what was going through Tom Coughlin's mind as he walked on the grass in an empty stadium as his players stretched, warmed up and ran light drills yesterday afternoon? I wonder about what's going on in his head as he gears his team up for this event? Whatever he's thinking, I'm sure he - and his players - are ready. When I give in and resign myself to the fact that the team is confident, it makes it easier for me to sleep tonight. Not because I "know" they'll win (because I don't), but because they'll give it everything they've got. And what they've got is a real team - in the truest sense of the word.

I expect defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to go with a lot of nickel and dime packages, so that a safety or corner can shadow RB Brian Westbrook instead of Antonio Pierce. Pierce is not quick enough, and the secondary will provide the necessary speed and open field tackling ability you need to contain Westbrook. I expect Brandon Jacobs will be healthier than we've seen him over the last month, and running with more determination and power. I expect Eli Manning to manage the game well and make a few big plays when necessary. That's all I expect.

But I'll never expect to win the game. And I'm confident that it will be a good one, because they always are between these two teams.  

 

Posted on: January 9, 2009 4:23 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2009 8:35 pm
 

UPDATED: MADDEN '09 Divisional Round Sim RESULTS!

BigBluGeekazoid: The Results are in!

 "Great football is - is - is about great football *players* playin..' ya see... you need good football players in - in a big game and then ya -ya get great football, and - and - and that's what *that's* all about."

Semi-sim #1: BALTIMORE @ TENNESSEE - Saturday 4:30pm ET

*Prediction: Section_725: "It doesn't appear so cut and dry. (Titans) on a coin flip - How is that for a scientific method?"

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "Kerry Collins has to win this one for Tennessee, which doesn't bode well for them."

                                                                             31                   34 

1st QUARTER:

2nd QUARTER:

  • TEN: McCareins 437yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (BAL 14 - TEN 10)
  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 17 - BAL 14)
  • BAL: Matt Stover 40-yard Field Goal (TEN 17 - BAL 17)
  • TEN: Rob Bironas 52-yard Field Goal (TEN 20 - BAL 17)

3rd QUARTER:

  • BAL: Willis McGahee 64-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 24 - TEN 20)
  • TEN: Bo Scaife 3-yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (TEN 27 - BAL 24)

4th QUARTER:

  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 34 - BAL 24)
  • BAL: Willis McGahee 2-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 34 - TEN 31)

TEAM STATS:

  • SACKS ALLOWED:     BAL - 1           TEN - 4
  • TURNOVERS:              BAL - 2           TEN - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   BAL - 27:06   TEN - 32:54

PLAYER STATS:

  • PASSING:      BAL - Flacco 11 of 20, 180 yds, 0TD, 1 INT... 
  • PASSING:     TEN - Collins 16 of 24, 231 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • RUSHING:     BAL - McGahee 19 for 128 (2 TD)... McClain 10 for 36 (TD)... Flacco 3 for 19... Neal 2 for 5 
  • RUSHING:    TEN - C. Johnson 17 for 106 yards (2 TD)... L. White 8 for 53... Collins 2 for (minus) 2
  • RECEIVING:  BAL - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: TEN - M. Clayton 5 for 141... D. Mason 3 for 22... Heap 3 for 17

  


 

Semi - sim #2: ARIZONA @ CAROLINA - Saturday 8:15pm ET 

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "My head tells me to take the Panthers, but I think the Cardinals will eek this one out..."

*Prediction: Section_725: "...ultimately, the more balanced Carolina offense will win the game for them."

                                                                             15               24

1st QUARTER:

  • NOTE: Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin removed from starting linups due to his Hamstring injury.
  • CAR: John Kasay 51-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 0)

2nd QUARTER:

  • ARI: Neil Rackers 42-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 3)
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 27-yard Field Goal (ARI 6 - CAR 3)

3rd QUARTER:

  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 77-yard Run TD; Kasay PAT (CAR 10 - ARI 6)  
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 37-yard Field Goal (CAR 10 - ARI 9)

4th QUARTER:

  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 29-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 17 - ARI 9)
  •  ARI: Steve Breaston 43-yard TD Pass from Kurt Warner; 2-point conversion failed (CAR 17 - ARI 15)
  • CAR: DeAngelo Williams 3-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 24 - ARI 15)

TEAM STATS:

  • SACKS ALLOWED:     ARI - 4            CAR - 1
  • TURNOVERS:              ARI - 3            CAR - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   ARI - 27:57    CAR - 32:03

PLAYER STATS:

  • PASSING:       ARI - Warner 19 of 27, 198 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT... 
  • PASSING:     CAR - Delhomme 8 of 20, 65 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      ARI - E. James 13 for 33... Hightower 8 for 9
  • RUSHING:    CAR - J. Stewart 12 for 110 yards (2 TD)... D. Williams 19 for 114 yards (TD)... Hoover 3 for 1
  • RECEIVING:   ARI - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: CAR - S. Smith 2 for 24... D. Hackett 2 for 13... Muhammad 2 for 11... D. Williams 2 for 14 

 


 

Semi - sim #3: PHILADELPHIA @ NEW YORK - Sunday 1:00pm ET

 

*PredictionThe Muffin Man: "I have to go with the Giants, as I am angry at the Eagles for beating the Vikings."

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "I don't predict Giants games."

*Prediction: Section_725: "Ah, the matchup everybody is looking forward to, well... except for fans of those other teams."

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Not sure home field helps much in this one, but that extra week off (for NY) sure will."

                                                                            37             3

1st QUARTER:

  • None

2nd QUARTER:

  • PHI: David Akers 22-yard Field Goal (PHI 3 - NYG 0)
  • PHI: L.J. Smith 18-yard TD Pass from McNabb; Akers PAT (PHI 10 - NYG 0)
  • Note: Giants OL Shaun O'Hara left the game with a knee injury
  • PHI: David Akers 35-yard Field Goal (PHI 13 - NYG 0)

3rd QUARTER:

4th QUARTER:

  • PHI: Brian Westbrook 4-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 27 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: Correll Buckhalter 3-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 34 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: David Akers 44-yard Field Goal (PHI 37 - NYG 3)

TEAM STATS:

  • SACKS ALLOWED:    PHI - 5           NYG - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             PHI - 1           NYG - 4
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  PHI - 40:54   NYG - 19:06

PLAYER STATS:

  • PASSING:      PHI - McNabb 20 of 30, 294 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT... 
  • PASSING:    NYG - Manning 15 of 26, 128 yds, 0 TD, 4 INT
  • RUSHING:    PHI - Westbrook 22 for 97 (TD)... Buckhalter 4 for 19 (TD)... McNabb  3 for 16
  • RUSHING:   NYG - B. Jacobs 9 for 38... D. Ward 4 for 14... Bradshaw 6 for 26
  • RECEIVING:  PHI - D. Jackson 6 for 96 (TD)... Baskett 4 for 83... Curtis 3 for 21... R. Brown 2 for 26...
  •                                    L.J. Smith 2 for 29 (TD)  Avant 2 for 21... Westbrook 1 for 18
  • RECEIVING: NYG - Boss 2 for 42.. Hixon 2 for 38.. Jacobs 1 for 19.. Manningham 1 for 18.. Smith 1 for 11 

 


 

Semi - sim #4: SAN DIEGO @ PITTSBURGH - Sunday 4:45pm ET

 

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Big Ben in for a Big Game here, probably a pass heavy 'O' for the Steelers."

*Prediction: NFL_Solomon: "Eli Manning sucks."

                                                                            14                19                                                                     

1st QUARTER

  • NOTE: Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson removed from starting lineups due to groin injury.
  • PIT: Willie Parker 13-yard TD Run; Reed PAT (PIT 7 - SD 0) 
  • Note: Steelers WR Nate Washington missed the remainder of the half with a head injury

2nd QUARTER:

  • PIT: Santonio Homes 62-yard TD Pass from Roethlisberger; Reed PAT (PIT 14 - SD 0)
  • PIT: Jeff Reed 37-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 0)
  •  SD: Nate Kaeding 45-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 3)

3rd QUARTER:

  • SD: Nate Kaeding 55-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 6)

4th QUARTER:

  •  SD: Chris Chambers 19-yard TD Pass from Philip Rivers; Darren Sproles 2-pt conversion (PIT 17 - SD 14)
  • PIT: Safety - Philip Rivers sacked in SD end zone (PIT 19 - SD 14)

TEAM STATS:

  • SACKS ALLOWED:    SD - 3          PIT - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             SD - 2          PIT - 1
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  SD - 33:12   PIT - 26:48

PLAYER STATS:

  • PASSING:       SD - Rivers 18 of 29, 209 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT... 
  • PASSING:       PIT - Roethlisberger 16 of 19, 248 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      SD - Sproleses 18 for 119... Hester 6 for 21... Rivers  2 for 9
  • RUSHING:      PIT - Parker 19 for 76 (TD)... M. Moore 4 for 8... C. Davis 1 for 3
  • RECEIVING:   SD - A. Gates 8 for 100.. V. Jackson 5 for 46.. Chambers 2 for 23 (TD).. Sproles 2 for 15..
  •                                    Manumaleuna 1 for 25
  • RECEIVING:   PIT - H. Ward 9 for 107.. Holmes 3 for 85 (TD).. Washington 2 for 34.. H. Miller 2 for 22 

 

Thanks for the input, everyone! I'm looking forward to next week's Conference Championship matchups! Enjoy the games this weekend.

 

 

 

Posted on: January 7, 2009 5:32 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2009 5:33 pm
 

REMINDER: MADDEN Div Round Sim picks due tonight

BigBluGeekazoid's MADDEN '09 Divisional Round "Semi-SIm"

Reminder - please have your posts - with picks and commentary - in by tonight (Thursday 1/7). Results will be posted on Friday. If you're new to this, please read below. C'mon... join me, ImjustLazy03 and Section_725. If you don't participate, it'sour hands and our hands alone steering the ship on this one. Thanks!

 "Ya see...there's no place on CBS... not the sports site, not the - the - the news site, not the regular old CBS site, ya know where - where yah can find ah - ah - a picture of playoff teams... you know, teams *in the palyoffs* and *in the Madden game* yah see... and if yah can't find a picture of the '09 game with - with teams that are *actually* in the playoffs... well, then, that's - that's gonna - that's gonna usually result in - in - in a picture that's not really gonna be relevant to the - to the post, yah see. And Brett Favre knows that."

OK Folks, You know the Drill: Pick your winners and provide some game planning thoughts or predictions. Whichever team gets the most votes in each matchup will be the one I control; I'll also set up defensive or offensive schemes based on your suggestions. Not a true simulation but an offshoot of one that gets your input and suggestions as involved in the gaming precess as possible. Winners will be posted Friday night - complete with team and individual player stats.

 VS.            VS.            VS.            VS.

              

Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:23 am
Edited on: January 6, 2009 10:12 am
 

BigBluGeekazoid: MADDEN '09 Divisional Round Sim

 "There's no place on CBS... not the sports site, not the news site, not the regular old CBS site, yah know where - where yah can find ah - ah - a picture of playoff teams... you know, teams *in the palyoffs* and *in the Madden game* yah see... and if yah can't find a picture of the '09 game with - with teams that are *actually* in the playoffs... well, then, that's - that's gonna - that's gonna usually result in - in - in a picture that's not really gonna be relevant to the - to the post, yah see. And Brett Favre knows that."

OK Folks, You know the Drill: Pick your winners and provide some game planning thoughts or predictions. Whichever team gets the most votes in each matchup will be the one I control; I'll also set up defensive or offensive schemes based on your suggestions. Not a true simulation but an offshoot of one that gets your input and suggestions as involved as possible. Winners will be posted Friday night - complete with team and individual player stats.

 VS.            VS.            VS.            VS.

              

                  

               

Posted on: December 16, 2008 11:31 am
Edited on: December 16, 2008 2:24 pm
 

NY Giants: What Are We Witnessing Here?

Mediocrity Exposed, or just missing Lynchpins? 

           

For the road to Super Bowl 43 to pass through East Rutherford, Big Blue needs two healthy bodies and one clear-minded leader to face Carolina this Sunday.

It was evident from the first snap Eli Manning took; DeMarcus Ware bolted from the left side untouched and plowed into Eli, knocking the ball loose (recovered by the Giants) and creating a 2nd down & 19 situation. That is not how this Giants team starts games. Or at least, it wasn't.

The Giants had an opportunity on Sunday night to all but seal the deal for themselves - a first round bye and home field throughout the playoffs were not guaranteed, but were more realistic than irrational reach when John Carney booted the opening kickoff in Irving, Texas. Defeating the Cowboys in their final visit to Texas Stadium would have been the cherry on top of what has been a season more successful than even the most ardent fan could have imagined. Alas, victory wasn't in the cards - and Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg may become a fitting symbol for the defending Champions who are now displaying a less egregious, but more demoralizing form of self-injurious behavior... One lands you on the DL with a suspension; the other gets you a plane ticket and hotel accomodations should you be fortunate enough to make it to the NFC Championship.

Give credit where credit is due. The Cowboys took care of business at home against a division rival, and they need the victory to stay alive for the postseason. They're defense continues to get healthy and improve, getting more aggressive as the season rolls along. Though receivers Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith showed a lot of toughness and fight, losing tackle Kareem McKenzie to an injury and guard Rich Seubert to an undisclosed illness for the second half did the Giants in as they couldn't get the running game established. In the end it was the eight sacks on Manning and the overall inability to sustain drives that made the difference in the game.

In last year's season opener in Dallas, Manning suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder. Luckily he didn't miss any time, as the injury wasn't serious enough that he couldn't play through it. As a Giants fan, hoping that Manning would emerge unscathed from the piles of white jerseys was the hardest part of getting through the entire game on Sunday. Hats off to Dallas - no one should question their talent or legitimacy regarding the playoffs; Tony Romo was back behind center and was not going to give up - regardless of the amount of pain the Giants' pass rush inflicted on him. 

While the past two games against the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles were dissapointing, there's as many reasonable excuses to point towards as there are unreasonable ones. Mediocre teams don't pull off an 11-3 record in the NFL by sheer luck; meaning, the Giants are not mediocre. They are what their record says they are, and despite the past two weeks and the Burress situation had a very impressive string of victories against solid opponents heading into week 14. Some of what we're seeing with the Giants is obvious. No matter the circumstances, Philadelphia was hell-bent on leaving the Meadowlands with a victory two weeks ago, and Brian Westbrook was the project manager. 

Was it the distractions of week-long headlines about the Latin Quarter, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Antonio Pierce that derailed the Giants against the Eagles? It certainly had an affect on them. But then what about their performance in Dallas? Did Tony Romo's presence make that much of a difference? Even in the two regular season games the Giants lost to them last year, they played with more intensity and managed to stay in the game until the end. On Sunday, the difference was alarming; the 7-3 lead the Cowboys held for most of the game felt like 27-3. So what has happened the past few weeks to keep the Giants from being competitive against these teams?

Three answers: Fred Robbins, Brandon Jacobs, Antonio Pierce.

Every team in the NFL will suffer their share of losses, injuries and off-the-field turmoil. The Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals have proven that some will suffer more than others (check out the Bengals blog by fellow member IGetNoRespect for a well written, heartfelt look at the rash of injuries his team has experienced).  As the 2008 NFL season got underway, the Giants had their own issues to cope with. Michael Strahan retired, Kawika Mitchell and Gibril Wilson - two main cogs in the defensive gears - were lost to free agency, K Lawrence Tynes suffered and leg injury, and Super Bowl hero David Tyree ( their best special teams player ) was put on the PUP list. Then the most devistating of all: losing Osi Umenyiora for the season to a torn lateral meniscus in a preaseason game with the Jets. This was a lot to overcome for the Giants, and to Tom Coughlin's credit they've managed to do just that. The underlying concern has been how they would do if hit with a few more injuries to key positions. In the Giants case, it could take a potentially elite team and render them quite ordinary, All the depth in the world couldn't change that. 

Now we come to the crux of the Giants current state, which is that the wheels are beginning to wobble a bit. Check the lynchpins. 

I'll begin with Antonio Pierce. Pierce is the captain and emotional leader of the new "Crunch Bunch" (a little nostalgia for inspriration - I used to have a poster with Lawrence taylor, Harry Carson, Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelly wearing hard hats sitting on top of a bulldozer). But Pierce has found himself on the outside looking in; standing around the pile-ups as opposed to being buried in them, and watching backs and tight ends run past him instead of being taken down by him. Here is what I wrote following the loss to the Eagles back on December 7; it's eerily applicable to his performance in Dallas, and I see no reason to alter my commentary of Pierce's performance two weeks ago, while offering it up as somewhat of a bullet point (no pun intended) for future consideration: Antonio Pierce is playing this (Plaxico Buress situation & overall distraction) up as if everything is fine, and that there's nothing taking his focus way from football. After watching him and the rest of the defense today, I wouldn't necessarily agree. It may be unfair to lay everything on Antonio, but he was not on his game today... He was caught out of position quite often, and over-pursued on many of the plays out of the backfield... I'm curios to know if anyone else thinks that Chase Blackburn should have taken over for him at some point... He just seems out of it.

Now let's take a look at Brandon Jacobs. The loss of Jacobs is something the Giants offense can deal with when playing less physically overbearing opponents. However, the Eagles and Cowboys are anything but pushovers; both teams have stout, quick defensive lines that pride themselves on physical domination at scrimmage. What has made the Giants running game so efficient is the 1-2-3 combination of Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. Community member Jimmy the Greek might appreciate the culinary references I like to attribute to Earth, Wind and Fire:  I call them TenderizeMarinade and Cook. Jacobs is the Tenderizer - he pounds you, pulverizes you until your soft and malleable. Ward comes in at this point and gives the offense a little flavor; a little spice to liven things up and provide some zest. Once Bradshaw enters the game, it's time to cook the meat - and the Giants like it "well done". That's the game. Have you ever tried marinating a steak fresh out of the freezer? It doesn't work, does it... well, without Jacobs there to punish a few defenders, the running game doesn't work either. Not against the like of Dallas and Philadelphia anyway.

Finally, the underrated defensive tackle Fred Robbins - the unknown soldier. Robbins has been nursing an injured shoulder for a month. Over the past three weeks, Robbins sat out the Redskins and Cowboys games, and played sparingly against the Eagles. Jay Alford has been filling in for Robbins and while he's done a fine job, does not have the strength, size or experience that Robbins has. In tandem with fellow defensive tackle Barry Cofield, Robbins wreaks havoc in the middle of the line, bottles up runners and forces them to the outside where Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka can either run them them down or allow the linebackers to track them as Tuck & Kiwanuka rush the QB. Clinton Portis was pretty much shut down in large part because of nagging knee injuries; and with Cowboys guard Montrea Holland out, much of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's success in pressuring Tony Romo was a result of mismatch opportunities against Cory Proctor. But don't think it's gone unnoticed that Tashard Choice & Brian Westbrook gained the majority of their rushing yards straight up the middle of the field. In fact , 22 of Westbrook's 33 carries against the Giants were right up the gut, and with the exception of his 30-yard TD run, his 10 carries to the outside only garnered 11 yards. Tashard Choice's blast right through the heart of the line for his 38-yard score further emphasizes the point that Robbins' presence on the field is sorely missed. 

We'll know a lot more as information is released about the Giants infirmary as the week progresses, but it's not overstating it to say that a healthy Brandon Jacobs and a healthy Fred Robbins are a must for the upcoming matchup against Carolina.

And Antonio Pierce having his head in the game wouldn't be the worst thing either. 

Lynchpins. They don't look like much, but they keep the wheels from falling off.

Posted on: December 7, 2008 8:09 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 12:17 am
 

RECAP: Eagles 20, Giants 14

Twisting in the Wind

Powerless defense. Indefensible drops. Westbrook. 

Big Blue wins the NFC East title.

"The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

William Arthur Ward

Was it the wind, that at times reached 40mph gusts? Perhaps it was the distractions and interruptions of the past week, and maybe Tom Coughlin just didn't have the ability (or strength) to get his troops focused enough for a football game this afternoon. Or maybe the Eagles just played extremely well today; perhaps Andy Reid's crew was better prepared than Coughlin's. In reality, it was a little bit of everything - the Giants had an opportunity to wrap up the NFC east and secure a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Eagles this afternoon, but the Giants and their fans were left twisting in the wind as the Eagles monopolized the clock by almost 10 minutes and piled on the yardage much more than the 20-14 final score can possibly convey. The Giants were 3-11 on 3rd down conversions, and 0-3 on 4th down conversions. They went for it on 4th down in the first quarter, and they went for it on 4th down in the last quarter. There's one word to characterize the Giants today... "uncharacteristic".

There is a lot more than the final score that the Giants will be concerned about following today's game, the least of which is whether or not this group of receivers will be able to carry on without #17. Brandon Jacobs left the game midway through the 3rd quarter after appearing to twist his ankle as he was tackled by DT Brodrick Bunkley, and the normally stout defensive line - while able to pressure Donovan McNabb early in the game - was manhandled by Jon Runyan and the rest of the Eagles' offensive line on almost every play in the second half.

The most telling part of this game is the fact that the Giants - who've made a living by controlling the game clock and overall tempo - did not have a drive more than 5:34 the entire game. And that drive ended in a blocked field goal on a brilliant play by DE Trent Cole, who literally placed his hands on the backs of two Giants lineman and leapfrogged over them - had enough time to get his footing and leaped straight up in front of John Carney's 47-yard attempt.

The most (and only) positive moment of the game came with 4 seconds left in the first half. Philadelphia was lining up for a 31-yard field goal in hopes of going up 13-0, but Justin Tuck knocked it out of the air and CB Kevin Dockery scooped it up and ran it back 71 yards for the Giants first score of the game. It seemed that all the momentum had shifted from one sideline to the other at that point. It seemed that way. It wasn't.  

Eli Manning had a rough day to say the least; to say the most, Manning did everything he was supposed to do and got nothing for his efforts. Manning's numbers look putrid - 13 of 27 for 123 yards and a touchdown. It should be mentioned that Eli was 6 for 6 with his only TD on the Giants last drive of the game; prior to that, Manning was 7 of 21 for 66 yards. The tone was set early in the game, as Manning was not at all in sync with primary target Domenik Hixon. A crushing blow that the team never recovered from occurred at the start of the 2nd quarter. On 1st and 10, Manning dropped back and heaved a beautiful spiral from his own 8-yard line that sailed 55 yards right into the arms of Hixon. Unfortunately, Hixon - who had about 5 yards of separation on the cornerback - misjudged it and the ball shot right through his arms and onto the turf. A sure touchdown opportunity was gone with the... nope, not gonna say it... and the Giants were back to their own 15-yard line, 2nd and 10. That's when the 'dropsies' virus began spreading like wildfire to the rest of the receivers; Fullback Madison Hedgecock's stone hands were back on display just  four plays later as he let a high but catchable ball slip through his grasp on a screen play that left nothing but open field ahead of him. Later on, Steve Smith dropped a bullet right on the numbers that would have resulted in a much needed 3rd down conversion. 

Eli isn't absolved of any wrongdoing. As both time and opportunities were slipping away in the second half, Manning made an ill-advised pass deep down the middle of the field as he was being rushed that would have been picked off by Brian Dawkins were it not for his collision with a fellow teammate. At the 9:35 mark in the fourth quarter - when the Giants were down 17-7 - they went for it with a passing play on 4th and 1 at the Philadelphia 38. Manning stepped up in the pocket to avoid the blitz and had an opening to run straight ahead. Had he done just that, he would have picked up the first down and then some. Eli got a little case of "happy feet" and pulled up before hitting the line of scrimmage and threw a short pass to Sinorice Moss that fell incomplete.

The Giants' offense seemed to be a tale of two game plans; in the early going they were very confident and loose - almost too lose. Kevin Gilbride called for a double reverse to Mario Manningham on the fifth play of their first drive that not only seemed out of place, but resulted in a 12-yard loss. The deep pass incompletion to Hixon seemed to mark the end of that game plan, and the start of the more conservative approach Giants fans have been accustomed to. The problem was that Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson had an answer for everything the Giants tried to do. Linebackers Stewart Bradley and Akeem Jordan combined for 13 tackles on the day, and swarmed the middle in taking away both the outside run and the short passing game. D-backs Asante Samuel, Dawkins and Quintin Mikell were all over the Giants receivers. There were a few instances where Manning had no choice but to muscle the ball into Hixon's gut, despite being draped, because there were no other options open. It was impossible to tell if Kevin Gilbride had actually made adjustments at the half, because they never really had an opportunity to show us - the opportunities they did have, they squandered.

The story of  the game was the Eagles' #36. The Giants defense came out strong in the first quarter, and appeared to be getting plenty of pressure on Donovan McNabb. As was the case in their first meeting in week 10, Brian Westbrook found very little room to run. But by the 2nd quarter, Westbrook's 2-yard runs were becoming 5-yard runs; and once Westbrook got his legs moving there was no stopping him. Westbrook finished the day with 131 yards on the ground, 72 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To give you an idea on how much the Eagles offense dominated the Giants, Westbrook gained 203 total yards; the Giants gained 211. Westbrook has always been a Giants killer, and he looked nothing like the guy they held to under 30 yards in Philly; today he looked 100% healthy. To get back to halftime adjustments, whatever it was Steve Spagnuolo tried to put in place to keep "22 eyes on #36" (as he was quoted saying) in the second half , it was even less effective than what he did in the first half. The fact that the Giants defense was on the field for all but 3 minutes of the third quarter had everything to do with the outcome of this game. Philadelphia started the 3rd quarter with a seven-minute drive that ended with Akers' second blocked field goal of the game, but when the Giants gave it back to them a little over three minutes later, McNabb knocked another six minutes of the clock and rammed a 40-yard Brian Westbrook TD pass down their throats. It didn't matter that the 4th quarter has just gotten underway... the game was over.

It was their own fault; as I stated earlier, Philadelphia converted on just about every third down situation in the second half, and the Giants were inneffective in wrapping up players and preventing yards after first contact. With his outstanding performance today, Westbrook surpassed the great Harold Carmichael to become the Eagles' all-time leader in yardage from scrimmage.

Donovan McNabb must also be creditied for a solid game, as he held his ground in the pocket as long as he could and still managed to complete his passes - or bolt to the outside when no one was open and hurt the Giants with his legs, five times scrambling for decent yardage (three times on 3rd down to move the chains and keep the clock ticking).

As I type up this recap, the Cowboys are in a battle with the Steelers, just over my right shoulder. All I hear is "ball comes loose..."  and either "Steelers recover" or "Cowboys ball" - lots of turnovers. And... Tony Romo has just turned it over for the fourth time...  Deshea Townsend runs it in for the score...the Giants win the NFC East, which I'm happy about.  At least something positive to end this day.

All this and three blocked field goals.

That damn wind!

 


 

Notes and Commentary: CONFIDENCE - where it is, and were it isn't... 

CONFIDENT: Despite their terrible performance today, I'm confident that these Giants receivers are capable of producing; there's been too many positives this year out of Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon to think that today was anything more than a bump in the road. There's been a lot of distractions in the past week, and it obviously played a part in the outcome. You never want to see easy passes dropped, but this is nothng new for Eli Manning. Neither is playing without #17, and the loss in Cleveland showed that this offense can bounce back from poor outings. Under the leadership of veteran Amani Toomer, these receivers are going to be OK.

CONFIDENT: The defense was not prepared for the Eagles today. It's very unlike them to be caught off guard, but Steve Spagnuolo has been able to regroup before, so there's no reason to think he won't have them ready for Dallas next week. having said that, there's got to be concern over the Antonio Pierce situation...

NOT CONFIDENT: Antonio Pierce is playing this up as if everything is fine, and that there's nothing taking his focus way from football. After watching him and the rest of the defense today, I wouldn't necessarily agree. It may be unfair to lay everything on Antonio, but he was not on his game today and was surprised to see that he led the team with 12 tackles. Pierce seemed to commit himself way too often one way or another while shadowing Brian Westbrook, especially on the touchdown pass; Westbrook broke out of a cluster of bodies behind the line of scrimmage and turned to face McNabb. Pierce started to break toward him, but Westbrook slipped a little to the outside and caught Pierce out of position. Westbrook caught the ball and ran right past pierce for the TD. I'm curios to know if anyone else thought that Chase Blackburn should have taken over for him at some point in the second half? He just seemed out of it.

NOT CONFIDENT: The latest word is that Brandon Jacobs' knee injury isn't that serious. While that's great news, my first thought was - "Really? He limped off the field and stood on the sidelines for the rest of the game, but it's not serious... If wasn't serious, why didn't he get back out there ? And if it was even a little serious, why wasn't he in with the trainers getting it worked on, or resting it?" 

Jacobs left the Ravens game after one quarter with a knee injury; He sat out the Cardinals game, then returned for the Redskins game last week. He left today's game... the running game relies on two things - the offensive line and the consistency of its three moving parts. The last thing the Giants need to worry about is Brandon Jacobs' durability.

 

stats source: sportsline.com

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com