WOOO_EEE!! What a day !! Never have I enjoyed football as much as I did yesterday afternoon . First , my Giants stifled Atlanta and then Tim Tebow pulled off another miracle and led the underdog Broncos to a win over the favored Steelers.
I was busy until 2 PM and missed the start of the Giants-Falcons game . When I finally switched it on , the Giants had just gone ahead 7-2 and the rest of the game was pretty much one sided. That was a nice change from previous games when the Giants have lost when they were favored , as happened against the Redskins twice. This time ,the heroics from Eli came early and there was no need for a nail-biting finish. I couldn’t get over how different this Giant team looked as compared to the way it played in mid-season. In particular, the defense was awesome ,with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umeniyura constantly pressuring the QB while also shutting down the Atlanta ground game . The dominance of the Giants D-line meant that the Giant corner backs had an easy time yesterday.The other big difference was the re-emergence of the Giants rushing attack which piled up 172 yards on the ground. I’ll admit I had given up on Brandon Jacobs ( who’s been ineffective ,to say the least) but yesterday , he was back to his punishing best . If he and Ahmad Bradshaw can play like this against the Packers , the Giants have a good chance of winning in Green Bay. Eli Manning was masterful . Watching him at work yesterday , I was struck by how much he has improved as a signal caller. He has gained a maturity and confidence which wasn’t there earlier and bids fair one day to be as good as his older brother. After his heroics this season , nobody is going to question whether he is among the elite QB’s in the league. Yesterday , I was struck by the pinpoint accuracy of his passing and his elusiveness in the pocket. He’s never going to be a twinkle-toes but he’s shown an increasing ability to avoid sacks by sidestepping pass rushers.
I can never really enjoy a Giants game because I’m too big a Giant fan . Unless it’s a blowout , as yesterday’s game was, I’m on tenterhooks waiting for disaster to strike as it so often has in the past. When the game doesn’t involve the Giants, I’m more relaxed and can truly enjoy football. Such was the case with the second game yesterday,In the Denver-Pittsburgh game , I was not rooting for anyone in particular. I am not a Tim Tebow fan ( at least I wasn’t one until yesterday ) and he really stunk in his last outing against the Chiefs . I’d written him as a scrambling QB without much in the way of passing skills. Yesterday he proved me ( and many others) wrong. Granted he was playing against a depleted Steeler defense but I was still impressed with his elusiveness and toughness. And when he needed to , he came through with his passing . Some of those long passes were notable for their precision as they threaded the needle between leaping defenders. A tip of the hat to the Steelers , and particularly Ben Roethlisberger , for fighting back to a 23-23 tie after being down 20-6.Big Ben displayed a lot of heart , playing on a bum ankle , and bringing his team back into the game . That final TD pass to Jericho Cotchery was a thing of beauty. By that time , I was rooting for Denver but I wasn’t very hopeful that they’d pull it out in OT. The suddenness of the strike to Demarius Thomas was absolutely breathtaking. Kudos to Tebow and the rest of the Broncos.
Next up for the Giants are the Packers and , while the Packer offense is formidable, the defense is suspect. I think the Giants have a chance against the Packers whereas I don’t think they’d be able to beat the Saints , the other class team in the NFC. (Though the San Francisco 49ers are the second seeds , somehow they don’t feel so invulnerable and could fall to the Saints even though the game is being played in SF). With Eli in such good form , if the Giants running game is able to play like it did yesterday , the Giants can put a lot of points on the board. The question is : will it be enough to beat Aaron Rodgers? With his quick release and his pinpoint passing, Rodgers is really going to pose a problem for the Giant CB’s. I hope the Giant pass rush will be able to rattle Rodgers just enough while the Giant offense plays ball control and keeps the ball out of his hands. It should be a great game .
As for Tebow and the Broncos , I’m sure Bill Belichick is going to come up with some defensive schemes to confuse them . If Tebow is able to overcome them , then it is going to be a surprise and it will definitely add to his legend. I don’t see it happening but I hope he keeps the game close.