A sloppy win over depleted Dallas. The 35-14 thumping of a Cowboys team missing several key players was only to be expected but it was sloppier than one would have liked. However, it did drop the Cowboys into the NFC East cellar and the Giants showed commendable focus in disposing of their division rivals. The defense was dominating and the offense played pretty well except for the miscue between Manning and Burress which resulted in an interception return for a TD.
As for Dallas,I was shocked to see how old Brad Johnson looked and played and at his QB rating for the game ( 27.3). The Dallas defense, which is less injury plagued than the offense, did not play upto expectations, though they did sack Eli Manning four times. Tony Romo returns at QB after the bye week and that, plus a healthy Jason Witten, should at least make the Cowboys competitive in the tough NFC East. However, it is not going to solve all their problems.
In Dallas, disgruntled Cowboy fans are lashing out at both players and management. The players are being called ” soft, overpaid and undermotivated”, the coach is being criticised for coddling the players, and the owner Jerry Jones is being raked over the coals for his interfering , hands-on style. I think that Jerry Jones has to bear the brunt of the blame. The Cowboys had a great coach in Jimmy Johnson but he left because of Jerry Jones’ giant sized ego. ( Much like Bill Bratton resigned as N.Y Police Commissioner because of then Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s jealousy .) Barry Switzer won the Super Bowl the following year because of the foundation laid by Jimmy Johnson.That victory only fueled Jones delusions of grandeur and now Cowboy players regularly bypass their coach and take their grievances to owner. How can Wade Phillips succeed when he doesn’t have the authority? The Cowboys are going to get worse before they get better.
On the other hand,the Giants( except for Burress) seem to be able to keep things in perspective.If their interviews are to be believed, they know full well that they haven’t won anything yet and that they will have to play at a high level just to make the playoffs. Next week, they are 3-point underdogs against the Eagles in Philadelphia and I shudder when I think of what the Eagles defense did to Pittsburgh. I hope the Giants OL is up to the task. With Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook both healthy , the Eagles have a potent offense. It should be a great game.Funny how the NFC East picture keeps changing. At the beginning of the season Dallas was on top ; now, with Washington falling to the Steelers last night, Philly appears to be the main challenger to the G-men.
Justin Tuck is a real find. Last year,playing behind Strahan and Umeniyora, he didn’t get much ink. Until the Super Bowl, that is. Then , he turned in a super performance and was duly rewarded with a big contract. This year, with Strahan retired and Umeniyora out for the season, he’s anchored the Giant defense and done it very quietly. No big talk from this man. At the post game interview, Brandon Jacobs was talking about how he hates Dallas when Tuck chimed in to say ” I don’t like to throw the word hatred around. There’s a dislike that comes from mutual respect”. Wow! A terrific pass rusher who is articulate and diplomatic too ! The Giants seem to be developing a wholesome, down-to-earth team culture and I think credit should go to Coach Coughlin and , even more, to GM Jerry Reese for drafting the right kind of athletes. Jerry Jones take note!
Steelers shut down the Redskins. I don’t usually like defensive battles but last night’s MNF showdown between the Steelers and Redskins was riveting. I had expected a Steeler win but who would have thought that back-up QB Byron Leftwich would be the catalyst . Once the Steelers scored their first TD I just knew they were going to win and they didn’t disappoint. The Steel Curtain was its usual dominant self and it was amazing to hear about Dick Lebeau completing 50 years in pro football as a player and coach. 50 years!! The man certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame.
BTW, is there a more irritating sports announcer than Tony Kornheiser ? I refuse to believe that there is.The man just cannot stop talking, usually about something other than what’s happening on the field. Yesterday, he made multiple references to the gold colored shoes worn by one of the Redskin cornerbacks. I wish there was a device that would enable me to tune Kornheiser out- just him, Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski are fine.
Jets – Bills. The way the Bills started out , I thought they were going to cream the Jets. The interception changed the whole complexion of the game and, after that, it was the Bills , not the Jets, who were blown out. All of a sudden the Jets are in a three way tie with New England and the Bills for first place in the AFC East and it is going to be a dogfifght the rest of the way. Miami continues to win and they are only a game behind. As a Giant fan, I have no rooting interest in this race , and my unbiased opinion is that the Jets will not be on top when the regular season ends.
Brady Quinn takes center stage in Cleveland, replacing Derek Anderson as Browns QB. Anderson, who had a Pro Bowl year in 2007, was handicapped by injuries to his starting WR’s , Kellen Winslow’s absence due to a staph infection and 13 dropped passes by Braylon Edwards. He seems to have been victimised for things that are not his fault and because Brady Quinn is a fan darling even before he has started a game. Speculation in NFL circles is that the Browns are giving Quinn a chance to prove himself over the second half of the season so that they can chose between Anderson and him as their quarterback of the future; the loser in this race probably will not be in Cleveland this time next year . I’m rooting for Anderson.
Obama and McCain were interviewed by Chris Berman at halftime last night . I can’t say that any one was definitely better than the other but their replies were instructive.To the question ” If there was one issue in sports that you could have an effect on, whatwould it be ?” , McCain’s response was Steroids and Obama’s was College Football playoffs to decide the National Champion. Both good responses. McCain was more articulate but Obama sounded more like a genuine sports fan . Incidentally, the MNF team trotted out the startling statistic that in the last 17 elections, if the Redskins lost the election eve game, it resulted in a Democratic candidate winning the Presidency wheras , if the Redskins won it presaged a Republican victory. The Redskins lost last night so let’s see what happens today…. May the best man win.