Help ! I’m fast becoming a football addict !!
I never used to see much football on TV but now I find myself glued to the small screen on Sundays and on Monday nights. Part of the reason is large screen HDTV which gives me the feeling of being there in person. Even better, because I’m not freezing my butt off. The main reason, however , is the Giants who are as enjoyable to watch as they are good. This is something new. Let’s face it… in the past, they may have been good but they were not fun to watch. The Bill Parcells led teams featured rock solid defense but only a grind it out attack that was painful to watch. That trend continued under Parcells successors, even under ” offensive genius” Jim Fassel.
Now it’s different. The Giants still play rugged defense but the offense is more wide-open. The running game and the passing complement each other and the Giants look like a threat anytime they have the ball. The Giants are not the Indianapolis Colts, but they don’t need to be. But first things first…
An impressive win in Philly. In the past, I might have had an attack of the jitters if the Giants had had a pass intercepted and returned for a TD in the first minute of the game. This time I was strangely calm. Could it be that Eli’s confidence is somehow being communicated to me ? I did not doubt for a minute that the Giants would pull it out. Not when the Giants RBs got an attack of fumblitis, not when the Eagles pulled ahead briefly , not even at the end when the Eagles were knocking at the door. I know many Giants fans are critical of the Giants RBs for failing to protect the ball; of Eli Manning for not noticing Plaxico Burress free in the end zone and instead throwing incomplete to a well covered Kevin Boss; of the offensive coaches for their stodgy play calling in the red zone, of the defense for not putting pressure on Donovan McNabb etc., etc, etc. Why dwell on the negatives when there are so many positives? The defense may not have sacked or harassed McNabb but it completely shut down Brian Westbrook ( 26 yards on 13 carries) and the Philly running attack as a whole ( 106 yards on 21 carries, including 35 yards on McNabb scrambles). Besides they held firm when it counted. As for the offense,after that first interception , Manning was spraying the ball around to the different WRs even as the three headed running attack was running roughshod over the Eagles. For over 200 yards. And the bottom line, a win over a tough divisional opponent on their turf which sent them tumbling into the cellar , 3 full games behind. The mistakes only made the game entertaining and close until the final minute.
I’m still alittle amazed that Coach Coughlin won his challenge on the ‘illegal’ forward pass that Manning was charged with. It was awfully, awfully close.Gotta give the Giants coaches credit for throwing the red flag on that one.
The Giants are toxic to opposing coaches. After the Giants walloped the injury depleted Cowboys, the Dallas fans teed off on Wade Phillips, calling for him to be replaced with Bill Cowher. This week, Philly fans are calling for Andy Reid’s head, blaming him for his playcalling ( espescially calling for running plays late in the game when the running game had been non-existent all game long), for trading away first round choices,for being too loyal to QB McNabb, and a host of other mistakes, real and imagined. As one Philly fan puts it” We’ll never win as long as that fat—- is on the sidelines wearing a headset .” And of course, they’re all calling for- you guessed it- Bill Cowher to replace him. If Cowher is interested in getting back into coaching, this is the time. His market value has never been higher.
It seems like the challenges get tougher week after week. Pittsburgh away, then Philly away and now Baltimore @ home next Sunday. I’m surprised the Giants are 6 1/2 point favorites ; I’d have thought that even with home-field advantage it would be closer than that.Of all the remaining games , this game seems to me to be the toughest. Perhaps it’s because I remember all too well the crushing defeat at the hands of the Ravens in the Super Bowl some years ago. Their defense is as good and now for the first time they have a QB who can throw the ball. Joe Flacco has progressed by leaps and bounds since his first start and is now a legit threat to put points on the board. And to think that last year he was flinging the pigskin at that football powerhouse, the University of Delaware ! Should be a great game and it will be interesting to see Brandon Jacobs and Co. going head to head against the Ravens defensive line and LBs. Hope they can pull off a win.
The Colts at the Pittsburgh Steelers was the early game Sunday and it was a doozy. The Steelers dominated most of the game but a couple of Roethlisberger’s passes were intercepted and quickly converted to TD’s by an opportunistic Colt offense and that was the difference. I’ve got to feel sorry for Big Ben even though I was rooting for the Colts. Wonder how much his shoulder is bothering him and he’ll be replaced by Byron Leftwich . By the way, fans in Pittsburgh are joking that Troy Polamalu’s wife will not let him hold their newborn baby. Not after he dropped a surefire interception that would have effectively iced the game for Pittsburgh.
Miami and Atlanta have got to be the biggest surprises of the season so far. Dallas fans have got to be jealous about the way in which Parcells and his hand-picked coach Tony Sparano have transformed a 1-15 team into a team with a winning record that is only one game off the lead. In Atlanta, rookie QB Matt Ryan is showing poise and talent in equal measure and seems to be a shoo-in for rookie of the year.
Didn’t take long for Jeremy Shockey to screw it up in the Big Easy. Did you see Drew Brees chewing him out after a missed block ? And for making only a halfhearted effort in going after a catchable ball. At the risk of appearing mean, this Giant fan has got to say that I was mighty tickled. Shockey was a me-first player lately after a couple of stand-out seasons when he first started out with the Giants. The Giants have got to feel happy about being rid of him and getting a 2nd and 4th rounder from the Saints next year.
GO GIANTS !!