Tag Archives: Eli Manning

New York Giants Back on Track

The Super Bowl high in New York has worn off pretty quickly this season. The Giants followed a disappointing performance in the season opening loss to the Cowboys with a disgraceful showing in the first half against the Buccaneers in week 2. Eli Manning threw 3 interceptions in the second quarter and the Giants went into the locker room at halftime trailing 24-13 and looking on the verge of dropping to 0-2 on the season.

For the first time this season, the Giants looked like a team that could be a Super Bowl contender.

Then the fourth quarter rolled around. Rather than give up and move on to the next game, Manning led the team to a 25 point quarter, showing the world once again why this team won last year’s Super Bowl, and earning the win in the game’s final minute. But this incredible comeback was lost in the midst of a controversy as Manning attempted to take the final knee, but was instead knocked over by an unexpected Tampa Bay pass rush.

As tempers flared and arguments spewed forth regarding the sport’s ethics, news of the Giants re-emergent dominance in the fourth quarter was pushed aside. In front of a national audience on Thursday night, Manning & Co. made sure to remind everyone what they missed, trouncing the Carolina Panthers 36-7. While the offense looked strong behind an efficient Manning and an excellent performance by Andre Brown, filling in for an injured Ahmad Bradshaw, it was the defense that shined in this game. After opening the season with two less than stellar defensive performances, giving up a combined 58 points, the Giants defense held a dangerous Panthers offense to just 7 points, forcing 5 turnovers, including 3 interceptions thrown by Cam Newton. The stout defense was bolstered by the return to health of cornerback Prince Amukamara. After playing two games with a banged up secondary, getting Amukamara back helped shut down Newton’s passing attack and should bode well for the Giants for the rest of the season.

Eli Manning won the quarterback battle against Cam Newton, throwing for 288 yards and a touchdown.

As the defense got healthier, New York’s offense went a bit in the other direction, playing without Bradshaw, the starting running back, and star receiver Hakeem Nicks. Yet even without their offensive cornerstones, the Giants’ offense played their most efficient game of the season thus far. Two backups filled the void made by the injured starters. Brown ran for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns while wide receiver Ramses Barden pulled an Ogletree, matching his 2011 season totals in just one game. Barden caught 9 passes for 138 yards, besting the 9 catches for 94 yards he had all of last season.

With the defense returning to health, the offense finding a way to stay productive despite its injuries and Eli Manning playing in superstar form, the New York Giants finally looks like a team ready to defend its title.


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Cowboys-Giants Grades

Seven months to the day after their thrilling victory in Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants’ title defense began with a fizzle. After falling behind late in the game, the Giants were unable to muster up the same heroics that helped win them the Lombardi Trophy last season and fell to the Cowboys 24-17. Here’s a breakdown of some of the game’s key players and how they performed.

Tony Romo bested Eli Manning in Wednesday’s season opener between the heated rivals.

Tony Romo: A+   (22/29, 307 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int)

Commentators Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels remarked during the telecast that this may have been Romo’s best game of his career. Statistically, that one interception might prevent this game from being his best day, but from a game-management standpoint, Romo was near flawless. He controlled the game from start to finish, reading  New York’s defense, changing the play at the line of scrimmage and finding ways to exploit the Giants’ depleted secondary.

DeMarco Murray: A   (131 yards, 6.6 yards per carry)

Murray picked up where he left off before his injury last season with another excellent game running the ball. The most impressive part of his game was his consistency. It seemed like each attempt he was able to push forward for a significant gain, even when it seemed no holes were open. His 6.6 yard average forced New York to keep more defenders in the box, which in turn opened up passing lanes for Romo to hit his receivers.

Kevin Ogletree: A   (8 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs)

Kevin Ogletree ran – and somesaulted – past the Giants’ defense on his way to a career game.

In his previous 31 NFL games, Ogletree combined for 25 catches, 294 yards and 0 touchdowns. His breakout game last night came as a huge surprise, given his prior numbers in the league. In one game he compiled around a third of his career reception and yard statistics. His first two career TDs were just icing on the cake. For a Dallas team thatalready has two stud receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, if Ogletree can remain a consistant target, the Cowboys could be an incredibly tough team to defend.

Eli Manning: B-   (21/32, 213 yards, 1 TD)

While Eli didn’t struggle, his performance was far from dazzling. He took care of the ball, but didn’t work the ball down the field as effortlessly as Romo. It took until the third quarter for New York to really get some momentum going on offense. A lot of this was out of Manning’s hands, with some shoddy play by his receivers, excellent coverage by Dallas’ secondary, constant pressure from DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys D-Line, and an inconsistant ground game for the Giants. With all these factors, Eli wasn’t able to control the game as well as we’ve become accustomed to.

Ahmad Bradshaw: C+   (78 yards, 4.6 yards per carry, 1 TD)

Like Manning, Bradshaw didn’t have a bad game, yet it still wasn’t all that great. He really struggled to gain consistant yardage on the ground. Excluding his longest run of 33 yards, Bradshaw averaged less than 3 yards per carry. This produced the opposite effect that Murray had for the Cowboys. With Bradshaw unable to put pressure on the Dallas defense, the Cowboys didn’t have to worry too much about the run game and could focus on stopping Manning’s passing attack.

Victor Cruz: C-   (6 receptions, 58 yards)

Victor Cruz’s struggles catching the ball hurt the Giants in their 24-17 loss to the Cowboys.

The theme of the night for the Giants was inconsistency and Cruz was a big cause of that. After being among the leading receivers a year ago, Cruz did not look the part Wednesday night with three dropped passes. And they were pretty bad drops, with no defenders even near him. For an elite receiver that is inexcusable. Cruz still led the team in  catches and yards, but came down with just 6 receptions despite being thrown to 11 times. That’s not a great start to the season for him and it really hurt his team.


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Jets Steal New York Spotlight For the Wrong Reasons

It can’t get much worse for the New York Jets offense these days.

The Jets have gone 12 quarters, 35 drives, and 174 plays without a TD this preseason. IT’S THE PRESEASON, come on now.

For the Mark Sanchez – Rex Ryan era, this is rock bottom.

It goes past the old notion of “Preseason doesn’t matter.” Mentally, the touchdown-drought has to be lingering in the thoughts of these Jets players.

At least the team still has hope. A hope that relies on Tim Tebow and the “Tebow-package”, the only real part of the Jets’ offensive repertoire the team hasn’t shown yet.

The Jets offensive shortcomings so far have put even more pressure on that wildcat scheme to succeed. Whether it does or doesn’t, will in turn put more pressure on Mark Sanchez to succeed.

Going into this fourth year as quarterback of the Jets, Sanchez is taking steps backwards rather than forward.


Remember Mark Sanchez was “Sanchize” and leading the Jets past Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs?

He began his career with back-to-back AFC championship game trips, then missed the playoffs last year and now has been a focal point of the team’s offensive woes this preseason.

For Sanchez, the pressure is on. This isn’t Houston or Tampa Bay where he can play under the radar. This is New York, where every move he makes is monitored, and likely scrutinized.

He’s had three years to develop, and now this year it’s time for him to answer the all-important question – “Is Mark Sanchez the New York Jets’ franchise quarterback?”

Sanchez has to handle more than the expectations. He has to handle the comparisons as well.

The “Other” New York quarterback, Eli Manning just won his second Super Bowl after winning his first one during his fourth year. Through the first three years of their careers, both quarterback’s statistics look virtually identical.

If the Jets are going to make any noise this season they’re going to need Mark Sanchez to take that next step.

Sometimes though the Jets’ actions run seem to hinder Sanchez’s development.

How about by bringing Tebow in?

The Jets believed that Tebow  could run the wildcat offense and that he could push Mark Sanchez to elevate his game.

Instead, so far it’s brought the distraction of Tebow-mania to New York for the relentless New York media to pound on.

Instead it’s seemed to blur the confidence Jets management publicly had in Sanchez.

The Jets offensive line hasn’t done Sanchez any favors either. They allowed seven sacks against the Giants. Rex Ryan even went so far as to insert a new right tackle, Austin Howard, into the starting lineup earlier this week.

Aside from a few mistakes though, Sanchez has looked sharp in his last two preseason games. But it’s not good enough for Sanchez anymore.

Luckily for the Jets in a few weeks they can silence all their doubters. They can make everyone forget.

For a team that runs on uncanny self-confidence, they’re going to to need some of that to change the direction of this football team.

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