– Looking back at my “key matchups” post, I thought the Giants’ DL not only had to beat the Packers OL up front, but they had to dominate if they were to have a chance to win. While I thought the Giants won that battle, by no means did I think they “dominated.” In fact, Aaron Rodgers had plenty of time to throw, especially in the first half. What I did not expect, however, was how well the Giants secondary played. They were aided in large part by an absurd number of drops by Packers receivers, but when the Packers were actually able to hang onto the ball, the Giants made tackles on a group of players that have made big plays after the catch the entire season.
– What in the hell was Dom Capers doing yesterday? In key 3rd and long situations, Capers repeatedly rushed 3 at Eli Manning. The Giants easily blocked the 3-man rush, Eli simply took his time, waited patiently for one of his targets to come free, and picked up first downs. Capers never adjusted, and the Giants were more than happy to take what Green Bay was giving them. And in 3rd and short situations, he was giving 10 yard cushions on the outsides. Too easy.
While we’re on Packers’ coaches, what is Mike McCarthy thinking by trying an onsides kick? You’re 15-1. You’re the defending champs. You’re 9-point home favorites. You’re the better team, or at least you should be. Just beat them. Don’t go messing around with that junk. That onsides kick will largely be forgotten because the Packers blocked a FG on the subsequent drive, but I haven’t forgotten it.
Anyway, back to Capers. Gregg Williams, Dick LeBeau, and Dom Capers are all considered “defensive coordinator royalty.” They’ve all been schooled this postseason.
– Kudos to that Giants OL, by the way. They still can’t open anything up in the run game, but they handled the Packers pass rush with relative ease all day.
– With no timeouts and the ball on their own 40, the Giants were more than content to run out the clock at the end of the first half, up 3. They called a simple run play to Ahmad Bradshaw, and all the Packers had to do was tackle him. They didn’t. Instead, they watched as he ran left, then came all the way across the field to the right side and got out of bounds for a 26 yard gain. In case you’re new to watching football, the defense has 11 players. There’s no way in hell Bradshaw’s run should ever happen on any level, much less the NFL. I actually thought the Giants would try a long FG attempt (it would have been about a 55 yarder), but the Giants opted instead to try for a Hail Mary attempt. I thought that was dumb. But what do I know?
– Speaking of that Hail Mary, the next time you watch the replay, take a look at Sam Shields and Jarrett Bush. Their backs are turned. Guys… You know what’s coming! If you’re a DB, how on Earth do you have your back turned on a freaking Hail Mary?
– Atrocious NFL officiating continues. Bill Levy is lucky the Giants won, or he would forever be hated in the NYC metro area. Greg Jennings clearly fumbled, Levy failed to make an obvious overturn, and didn’t back up his call with any sort of explanation whatsoever. The Packers would score a TD on that drive. Then later, he made a ridiculous roughing the passer call on Osi Umenyiora, explaining that it was a “blow to the head.” In fairness to Levy, I may have missed the alien head emerging from Aaron Rodgers’ stomach, in which case a “blow to the head” would have been a good call, but otherwise, that was as bad as it gets. And somehow, that’s roughing the passer, but the Packers defender that mercked Eli Manning after he had already thrown, and gotten spun around wasn’t?
– It seems like in these NFL Playoffs, you either have a great offense and a terrible defense (Packers, Saints, Patriots, Lions), a great defense with a banged up and/or bad offense (Steelers, Texans, Ravens), or just a crap team that shouldn’t have been playing in January in the first place (Falcons, Bengals, Broncos). The only 2 teams that seem to have any kind of offensive/defensive balance right now are the 49ers and Giants.
– Going into this game, if you were to ask me if I thought the Giants could win, I’d have said yes, but only maybe 2 or 3 times out of 10. What’s shocking to me is that they thumped the Packers.
– Way back in Week 10, here was a very brief summary of how I thought the Giants-Niners game would go:
Matchup of the day. I think the Giants match up favorably on offense. The Niners are the #1 run D in the NFL, which doesn’t really matter all that much, since, well… the Giants can’t run the ball anyway. However, the Niners do give it up in the air. Dallas racked up 427 passing yards against the Niners this season. The Eagles racked up 405. You can pass on them, and I think the Giants will. On the other side of the ball, the Giants can’t stop the run, and the Niners run the ball exceptionally well. Look for the Niners to look to control the clock, and for the Giants to air it out. I think the Giants make just enough plays to win a close one.
And what happened? The Niners, very surprisingly, came out throwing the ball all over the field. They ran the ball just 14 times with their running backs. I have a pretty good idea how the Giants will attack the Niners offensively, but I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how the Niners will plan their attack the Giants D.
– NFC Championship Game: The New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers. If you said you called this matchup Week 1, you’re a liar.
– And finally…