Thoughts on the Giants improbable victory: Maybe Eli is… um… you know…

After struggling for most of the season, the Giants secondary has come to play in January.

– 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?

Bill Levy's crew was also responsible for one of the worst displays of officiating of all time, the Seahawks-Steelers Super Bowl.

– 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…

(Writes final letter to my loved ones)... (Says goodbye to the dog an cat)... (Makes sure underwear is clean)... (sigh)... ELIte.
Jimmy Kempski


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  19. ct17 says:

    Elite is when you make your stats. On an average day Brees and Rodgers put up great numbers. But where were they this weekend? Rodgers had a wide-open TD early in the game, missed the throw. Yes, there were drops. But he only made about two good throws in the game.

  20. LEFT OVER TUNA says:

    Now it’s an argument of subjective “tiers”?? One of the biggest Eli skeptics anywhere, Jimmy, just said he was top 4 in the league. That means there’s only a little more than 10% of teams in the league with better QBs. That means he is best in the bEast, about to be the best in the NFC, and it definitely means he is elite.

    1. giants fan says:

      I don’t even care anymore. Eli is whatever you want him to be and he’s starting under center for the G-Men in the NFC Championship.

  21. JenFromNoVa says:

    I am so tired of hearing how the Packers lost the game rather than the Giants winning it. Since the Packers lost, they were rusty from the bye. If they had won, they would have been rested. The Giants played the most complete game yesterday. They were the most prepared and better coached and that is why they won the game. The Packers didn’t bring their A game (as they had 15 regular season games this year) and the Giants took advantage and won decisively despite the Packers having the 12th man in the form of officiating on their side.

    If Eli Manning goes on to play in and win the Super Bowl, he will have ONE more Super Bowl win than both Rodgers and Brees, yet I’m sure many will still deny Eli the status he deserves. If you look at the QB stats this season, he kept pace with the likes of Rodgers, Brees and Brady, and carried the entire Giants team on his shoulders for many of the games. Put him in whatever tier you want, but Eli Manning will go down in history as a truly great quarterback. You might as well get used to the idea now.

    1. bdawk4ever says:

      You may be tired of hearing it but its true. If the Packers offense was on their game- that would have been no contest.

      1. giants fan says:

        Yes, because this defense hasn’t shown us that it has the ability to completely shut down a high powered offense over the past 3 weeks…

  22. Anders says:

    Also is Eli elite for playing against a terrible defense? Nicks first TD should never happen, just tackle him instead of trying to knock him out. Second Nicks TD, how can 2 CBs be so out of position on an Hail Mary?
    Regarding the Packers pass rush, it have been terrible this year and so have there CBs.
    If Eli goes out vs the Niners against a very good defense and perform, we can begin to talk about it.

    1. Elite Jr. is probably the best way to put it. I don’t think he’s Brees-Brady-Rodgers. Those guys are the true “elite.” But Eli’s right there, just a little notch below.

      And I’m talking about him as a player in general here. Not just a one game performance, which was actually fairly “ho hum” in comparison to a bunch of others he had this year..

      1. Anders says:

        Agree that he is the tier under the 3 you named. I got the feeling that you was saying Eli was Elite now that he beat the Packers.

  23. Immynimmy says:

    Dammit Jimmy. Eli is ELIte??

    Elite QBs are consistent. Does everyone already forget his week 15 and week 16 outings against the Skins and Jets? Eli is top 10, but he is not Elite. I just….I just can’t, I’m sorry.

    1. Excluding his brother from the equation, I’d have him firmly at #4 right now.

      Tier 1: Rodgers-Brees-Brady
      Tier 2: Eli
      Tier 3: Roethlisberger
      Tier 4: Stafford-Rivers-Vick-Romo-Schaub-Cutler
      Tier 5: Ryan-Smith-Flacco
      Eye on: Newton-Dalton

      1. deg0ey says:

        So then the discussion becomes whether you call that elite. In my view, elite means Tier 1 and therefore Eli isn’t it.

      2. Smitty2K3 says:

        Why would you exclude Peyton from the list? He’s still an active starting QB in the league.

        My list would go

        Tier 1: Rodgers-Brees-Brady-Peyton
        Tier 2: Eli-Roethlisberger-Stafford
        Tier 3: Rivers-Vick-Romo-Schaub-Cutler
        Tier 4: Flacco-Smith-Ryan-Newton-Dalton

        Borderline #5 or #6 QB in the league is nothing to scoff at. But I would still put Peyton ahead of Eli. Peyton has never had a defense remotely close to the defenses Eli has had. Even if Eli goes on to win the SB this year, I still can’t give him the nod over Peyton. Especially considering his defense won that SB for him in 2007.

        1. Anders says:

          and it was the defense holding the Packers to 20 points there won em the game last night aswell.

        2. sv1031 says:

          I know this isn’t the main issue, but I wouldn’t put Stafford on the same level as those two. He’s only done it for one year, and even though he’ll probably get there, there’s the argument that he’s just throwing it up to Calvin Johnson. Plus, the other two have done it in the playoffs.

          I’d probably agree with Jimmy’s list, but with adding Peyton Manning to tier 1 and moving Cutler and Schaub to tier 5.

  24. deg0ey says:

    Hmmm. I don’t think you can take this game and draw that conclusion about Eli. Sure, he got it done, but he was playing against the worst pass D in the league in terms of yards/game (in fact, he was only 30 yards above average against the Packers).

    Don’t get me wrong, Eli did his part, but it’s not like he had to go out there in the clutch and win the game; the D and the O-line put him in a very favourable position.

    1. sv1031 says:

      So you’re saying that it’d be more telling if he’d kept it close against the Packers and won it at the end rather than blowing them out?

      1. giants fan says:

        So in your opinion, has Eli shown enough over the course of this season to be considered elite?

        1. sv1031 says:

          Absolutely. I’m not saying I’d take him over Rodgers, Brees, or Brady but he’s next and ahead of the likes on Rivers, Roethlisberger, Stafford, etc.

          6th most passing yards in a season in NFL history, done with a lousy defense (for most of the year) and hampered running game. And is there anyone else you’d want in the fourth in a close game?

      2. deg0ey says:

        No, not at all. I’m saying that you can’t just take one game and make a declaration like that. If you’ve been arguing all season (as Jimmy has) that he’s not elite, then I don’t get what you could see in this game that could change your mind.

  25. giants fan says:


  26. rage114 says:

    I don’t really blame Sam Sheilds too much. He had to watch out for the sideline out pattern.

    But Bush? That was ridiculous. What was he guarding? The quick in?

  27. Tracer Bullet says:

    I really, REALLY, need the 49ers to come through. I can’t live in a world where Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin are two-time Super Bowl champions. I just . . . can’t.

  28. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

    The AFC Championship was predicted all over the place. Pats and Ravens. Almost a no brainer.
    But this NFC Championship game is just crazy. The Giants hit their stride at the right time, and the 49ers proved to be one of the most well balanced teams in the NFL. Who knew…

    Whats going to be really interesting is to see the very different dynamic of the AFC and NFC in the Super Bowl.
    From the NFC, as you noted, you’ll see a rather well balanced team in either the Giants or the 9ers…
    But in the AFC you have the inconsistent offense of the Ravens, with a still steller D.
    Or the oft horrible Patriots Defense, but a high flying, quick scoring offense.

    It’ll be fun to watch which philosophy wins it this year, and if that alters other teams plans in the future.

  29. BBI says:

    my life is complete.

  30. brisulph says:

    I still don’t know if Eli will ever be on the Brady/older bro level, but dude had impressed his belonging on that very, very good second tier of QBs in the NFL (and no shame in that).

    From Eli, with love:

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