Monday, January 12, 2009

Giant Defeat- TPC Reveals the Real Reasons the Champs are Out

We watched the game. We heard all the pundits and talking heads. It was Eli's fault. It was Coughlin's fault. Spagnola's fault. Well, The People's Champ is going to break it down reason by reason.

1- Eli played awful. From the opening play, a great play design to free Steve Smith on a route that left him wide open, nothing between him and the End Zone. Eli threw just an ugly looking ball that under threw Smith that portended things to come. Whatever you want to say about the play calling, whatever you want to say about the defense taking the "gas of the pedal", if Eli makes that throw, the Giants go up 7-0 against a very shaky Philly offense, as indicated in the first half.
Eli's numbers were: 15-29 169 yards 2 INT's and a 40.7 QB rating. Although he had a statistically worse game in 2005 against the Panthers in the NFC Wild Card game (10-18 113 yards 3 INT's 35 QB rating), I contend when you take everything into consideration- his stature, the team, situation, experience- this was his worst game in his NFL career. This was a game the Eagles game plan was simple- "Eli, go ahead and beat us". Besides a brilliant 3rd down throw late in the game to Dominic Hixon and some nice crossing patterns with Boss, Eli was off all day and it validated the Eagles game plan.
Some have indicated (especially the Ducks- my long time nemesis) that Eli's lack of arm strength kills him late in the season in the cold and blustery winds of Giants Stadium. To date, statistically these critics are 100% on the ball, as Eli has been brilliant in his road playoff games (evidenced by last years Super Bowl MVP run) and his total incompetence in his two career home playoff games. His home December numbers are much worse than his road numbers during the same time period (although this year he showed much improvement at home in December, except this week-when it really mattered). Ignoring the fact that TPC has no evidence or case to base this on, I believe Eli will rebound and show he can win and lead this team to home playoff wins.

2- "Prevent Defense" to end the first half that gave the Eagles a Field Goal, the lead and their first sustainable offense. The Giants dominated the first half on both sides of the ball, despite Eli's putrid performance. The Eagles only score was the result of Eli's interception, that set up a Donovan McNabb QB sneak. To this point, the Eagles had 10 yards in total offense, plus a Giant safety. So what did the great wizardry of Spagnola and Coughlin's genius do? They took the pressure and heat off McNabb (which to that point produced a safety an INT and 10 total offensive yards), allowed him to breath and work underneath and gave the Eagles some life. Again, to that point the Giants were moving the ball on offense (except the INT, they controlled the line of scrimmage) totally dominated with their defense and even their special teams played great. That offensive possession gave the Eagles a lot more than 3 points and a halftime lead. it gave them life and it got McNabb back in some sort of rhythm. He did nothing to that point. This was the classic case of "don't let these guys stay in the game because they will think they can win it" game. To that point, if you looked at the Eagles bench, they were done. Why the great Spagnola (and I mean that in all seriousness) decided to call off the horses on that last drive is beyond understanding. It is also probably why (good news for Giant fans) Spags will be back in NY next year while Ryan will become the next Jets coach.

3- The offensive game plan- Anyone who has watched the Giants the last two years KNOWS the offense starts with Brandon Jacobs and the beating he gives the opposing defenses. I'm as big a supporter as one can be for Eli Manning, even I admit the offense starts with Jacobs. The success of Bradshaw and Ward is directly attributed to the pounding that Jacobs delivers to the defense. Yes, the fact that you landed on Boardwalk with 4 houses knocked you out of the game, but landing on New York Avenue and Marvin Gardens 3 or 4 times prior, is what led to your bank account getting to the point where Boardwalk can bankrupt you. So what do the Giants do? They split carries with Ward and Jacobs when Jacobs was abusing the Philadelphia defense when Ward was struggling to gain 2 or 3 yards. Jacobs has abused Philly every time they play. They are a defensive line that is susceptible to a power running attack and the Giants decided to bounce Jacobs to the outside and have Ward pound it to the inside. Just doesn't make sense. With all the criticism on Coughlin for his 3rd and 4th down play calling (I believe at the time he had no confidence in Eli at that point and was gripping at straws) this was his biggest mistake on the offensive side of the ball. If your the Giants, you have to pound Jacobs inside all day, until Philly can prove they can stop him. This would have worn down the Philly defense and allowed a shaky Eli (who actually looked decent in the 2nd Quarter) to settle in and not have to do too much in very tough conditions (for all the McNabb raving I have heard today, the guy played awful except for two drives and his safety and two picks could have cost him as much as Eli cost the Giants. Only difference was Samuel's got closer to the goal line than Robbins on the INT).

With two minutes left in the first half, I texted my friend and told him the Giants will dominate in the second half and Jacobs and Co. will wear the defense down. After the Eagles drove the field to the end the half, I said "I think the Giants might have just given these guys a new lease on life". Unfortunately, for the Giants- I was right.
With that being said, I think the best team on the field yesterday was the Giants. I felt they dominated the first half, but some key coaching decisions and the total ineffectiveness of Eli, allowed the Eagles to hang around long enough for McNabb to make a few plays and sometimes that's all you need.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Eli and Coughlin, they suck.