Tag:week 5
Posted on: October 5, 2008 5:16 pm

Manning, Giants shoot down Seahawks

Hixon, Jacobs shine as G-Men start season 4-0

Coughlin & company sent a clear message to the rest of the NFL - "We ARE the champs, and I got your '6th seed in the NFC' predictions RIGHT HERE!" - in trouncing the Seahawks 44-6 at the Meadowlands Sunday. It was their largest margin of victory since defeating the Eagles 62-10 back in 1972, and puts an exclamation point on their first-place status in the NFC East.

There was no question from the git-go who was in control. On their first posession, Brandon Jacobs 44-yard run was immediately followed by Manning's 32-yard TD strike to Domenik Hixon. The Giants landed the first punch and never stopped swinging, beating up on the Seahawks 44-6. New York scored on their first six posessions, and as I had pointed out in my "Giants to do list" posting for this game, exploited the Seattle secondary early and often. In his first 7 completions, Manning connected on passes of 32, 22 and 29 yards. David Carr replaced Manning to start the fourth quarter, and even threw TD pass of his own to Sinorice Moss (yes, I said Sinorice Moss). Moss had two TD's on the day.

Manning set a personal best with 215 yards passing in the first half, and Brandon Jacobs' (15 carries, 136 yards, 2 TD) 44-yarder was his longest career run from scrimmage.

Manning got everyone into the act, especially Domenick Hixon who started in place of the suspended Plaxico Buress. Hixon had 4 catches for 102 yards and a TD before the half. He also had a nice run on an end around for 16 yards. Hixon left the game with just under 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter after taking a shot from behind courtesy of Josh Wilson. Hixon was sitting on the ground after making a sliding catch; before he could get to his feet, Wilson came flying in and rammed Hixon in the back of his helmet. Hixon was diagnosed with a concussion, but was on the sidelines late in the game with a big smile on his face.

Giants tackle Kareem McKenzie also suffered a concussion, leaving early in the first quarter. 3rd year man Kevin Boothe filled in admirably in place of McKenzie, and held his own against Seattle lineman Patrick Kerney. In total the Giants racked up 523 yards of offense (compared to the Seahawks187), including 254 on the ground. Derrick Ward played his role as the change-of-pace back with 7 carries for 40 yards, and as become the SOP Ahmad Bradshaw took it home in the 4th quarter with 11 rushes for 65 yards. The line pushed the Seattle front four clean off the ball, clearing gaping holes all day and despite allowing a sack, Manning had nothing but time in the pocket.

Matt Hasselbeck (11 for 21, 105, 1 INT) found early success with his favorite WR's Deion Branch (3 for 31) and Bobby Engram (8 for 61), both of whom returned from injuries and played their first games of the season. Hasselbeck had really struggled in his first three outings without Branch (foot) and Engram (shoulder), but their return today had little impact on Seattle's offensive woes. Even Julius Jones (17 for 61) ran well for the most part. The Giants hit Seattle with too many haymakers early on, pinning them to the ground and stifling their offense at  just the right moments (Seattle was 1-11 on 3rd down conversions).

Thoughts and conclusions

*The Seattle defense, while problematic in the secondary, has a very strong front seven. The Giants had no trouble in the ground game today, and EWF (Earth, Wind and Fire) are obviously a force the rest of the NFL will have to worry about. Is it gauche to go out on a limb and proclaim this threesome the most dangerous running game in the league?

*Eli Manning has four games under his belt in '08 and so far we've seen no signs of those "WTF" moments. As each successful game goes by, it's getting easier to beleive that yes - in fact - his time has come.

*Plaxico Burress will not pull a Shockey: Unlike Jeremy, Plaxico will take what he witnessed on the field at the Meadowlands today and be driven to come back with a vengance and make his mark in the Giants offense. Let's just hope he finds his rolodex before his next sick day.

*It's nice to know that Lawrence Tynes will be available should anything happen to John Carney. Carney is 12-12 in FGA this season and will not be replaced unless absolutely necessary. I know the old saying - you don't lose your starting job due to injury. But this isn't exactly Phil Simms & Jeff Hostetler here.

Posted on: October 4, 2008 6:00 pm

Giants to do list: Sunday 10/5

1. Offense: Exploit the Secondary: Seatles Defensive line is formidable, allowing just 88 yards rushing per game. Granted, the last two games were against the 49ers and Rams, but both of those struggling teams have A-list talent running backs. Brandon Jacobs' strength happens to be running between the tackles, but it seems like Kevin Gilbride has been swinging him to the outside an awful lot in the first half. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 25th in the league against the pass - allowing 226 yards a game (again, against weak offensive teams - including Trent Edwards, who won't be confused for Dan Fouts). If Eli Manning were ever going to have a 350+ yard afternoon this should be it; the Seattle secondary is riddled with injury (Marcus Trufant continues to play with a broken bone in his hand, Kelly Jennings will be returning to action after breaking a rib) and doesn't have the speed to contend should Gilbride send out 3 or 4 receivers - even without Plaxico in the lineup. 

2. Defense: Stop Julius Jones: Steve Spagnola should expect a heavy dose of Orange Julius on Sunday (they're right... NOTHING rhymes with "orange"). He's broken out two straight 100 yard games and is really finding the holes his line creates for him. Despite the expected returns of Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, Aaron Pierce & Co. should be focusing on Jones and stopping the running game. I would expect with the extra week off that Spagnola will start working Kenny Phillips into the starting lineup, and Matt Hasselbeck's been struglging this season (60.1 passer rating) with finding open targets. Seattle will look to neutralize the Giants passing attack by trying to win time of possesion.

3. Special Teams: No "Mc"Quarters: R.W. McQuarters will play Sunday, but New York would be wise to rest him and allow Domenik Hixon to continue returning punts. Let's face it: He's younger and faster, more dynamic. He makes something out of nothing and is a legitimate threat everytime he touches the ball. And anyone can call for a fair catch when there's 20 yards of open field in front of him. Maybe he's the only one who can do it without fumbling?

Posted on: October 1, 2008 8:21 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2008 11:55 pm

Seahawks/Giants preview: No more needling NY

Let's acknowledge the elephant in the room, and then show him the door.

There was a blogger on a Seahawks fan page that posted some sick stuff about NY. There's plenty of places to access this info so I won't dignify it anymore. Enough said - Topsy, its time for you to leave now. Hmm... that wasn't a pleasant reference either (if interested, search "Topsy" / "Coney Island". I have to warn you, it's a sad story).

OK then, on to this week's game.

The Seahawks have not been kind to the G-Men recently. Their last two meetings took place at Qwest Field, and the results were - how do I put this - humiliating. In 2005, a matchup billed as the fight for NFC dominance, Jay Feely lost his New York priviledges with three botched field goals. In 2006, three Eli Manning INT's helped Seattle jump out to a 32-point halftime lead that Big blue would not recover from.

Things are different in 2008. Eli is now a Super Bowl MVP, which in the game of professional QB unlocks confidence and respect. Special features correspondent Tiki Barber is out - Earth, Wind and Fire are in. Matt Hasselbeck is a little older, a little slower; Shaun Alexander is selling pennants by the wading pool in Volunteer Park, and the Giants somehow find themselves in an unfamiliar place called "the upper echelon"

Plaxico Burress won't play Sunday's game at the Meadowlnads, since it will be day 13 of a 14-day suspension handed to him by Coach Coughlin. Burress' no-show act ticked off Coughlin enough to roll the dice and sit him out this week. Let's hope this isn't a sign of things to come for Plax - because the Giants will use him like "Plax": they'll swish him around in their jaws for a while then spit him out (see Jeremy Shockey).  He's a vital part of this offense, and half of the most prolific 1-2 TD punch in the NFL over last two years. The Giants can't afford to lose him, but certainly won't hesitate to pull the trigger. I'll officially be concerned if the NFL's probe into alleged domestic violence incidents over the summer involving Burress (that he apparently forgot to inform the league about) lead to another fine and suspension. The good news is that second year running back Danny Ware may have some time off pretty soon, and perhaps could keep him company. Hit a couple of college football games.

I know, I know. I'm a Giants blogger - why am I writing like an Eagles troll? Sorry, but I call it as I see it and it's what you get. The Giants are all about standards, baby. Shape up or ship out (again, see Jeremy Shockey). As a Giants fan I expect a little more from my guys. Any Giants fan should.

Reports indicate that Mathias Kiwanuka's ankle is still bothering him, and the bye week couldn't have come at a better time. I remember watching Chris Samules wrap his arms around MaKi's ankles like he was hugging his favorite teddy bear on the very last play of the season opener. MaKi got up limping, and of course I assume the worst. Apparently there's still some pain and swelling in the left ankle, but it hasn't kept him off the field. One observation; the Giants have 13 sacks in their first three games, but Kiwanuka has only one of them. And that's not because they're double-teaming him instead of Justin Tuck.

The Giants D will have it's hands full this week \with the Seattle running game. The Seahawks are 2nd in the league in rushing, averaging 160 yards per game. Julius Jones is the reason for the resurgance of the seattle ground attack - JJ has found new life in the north despite sharing the spotlight with former Falcons / Redskins / Lions bulldozer T.J. Duckett. At least it's something JJ is accustomed to, but Duckett is no Marion Barber. Jones has taken the leadership role in this tandem and has been, umm... DYNO-MITE! Sorry, I couldn't help myself.  

As for Elisabeth Hasselbeck's brother-in-law, He's sporting a whopping 60.1 passer rating (hey, they blast Eli for this useless stat all the time!) with a 48% completion rate. By the way, I should have mentioned that he hasn't had his two favorite wide receivers, Deion Branch ( anterior cruciate ligament surgery back in February) and Bobby Engram (broken shoulder). As luck would have it, we'll have the pleasure of watching these fine men make their 2008 debut this Sunday, since both have stated they'll be ready for the Giants game. I suspect their timing with Hasselbeck will be slightly off, but don't be surprised if Branch plays a big role in this game.

Since I've been a little tough on No. 8, I'll give him a little hit for his website: http://www.matthasselbeck.com/

See you after the game on Sunday - Go Giants!

DICK LYNCH (1936 - 2008) - Giants Cornerback from 1959 to 1966; announcer on Giants radio broadcasts from 1967 to 2008. Lynch passed away last week at his home in Douglaston, Queens. He was a beloved member of the NFL community and will forever be a New York Giant. Like fellow New York broadcasting legend Ralph Kiner, he spent his last few years in the booth struggling to find his words. Being cynical by nature with a twisted sense of humor, I had a good chuckle each time Mr. Lynch would stop talking in the middle of a story and never finish it. Or would correct himself if he said the wrong player's name an hour after the fact. In the case of Raloh Kiner, I didn't realize how much I'd miss his presence in the booth when he was gone. I know I'll feel the same about Dick Lynch. As usual, I won't realize how I should have appreciated the man before it was too late.


Statistical sources: sportsline.com, seahawks.com, giants.com, pro-football-reference.com, matthasselbeck.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