On Sunday my mom woke up at 615 am for a 730 am breast cancer walk at Jones Beach and my dad went canvassing for Obama in Philly. So I may be a little biased, along with approximately 57% of likely voters, but I couldn't help but notice that (a) "Obama" comes up as an incorrectly spelled word and (b) the first suggestion that spell check provides is "Osama." Cue the ad not endorsed but certainly supported by McCain/Palin & Co. Good to know who Microsoft Word endorses for President.
Anyway, I did my part for humanity by going to a sports bar with the B.I.G to take in the Giants and Bills games simultaneously. Before you cast me off as some bum with no social conscience, let the record show that I was wearing an Obama hat. Nevertheless, the day did not get off to a rousing start. I woke up 10 minutes before kickoff and missed the first drive of the game for the 49ers while en route to the sports bar. Upon my arrival, I found out the Bills Chargers game, my entire reason for going to the bar to begin with (as opposed to watching The Giants game only at home), was unable to be shown on TV due to some odd electrical failure. This still is much preferable to the absolute debacle of a television broadcast by TBS on Saturday night of game 6 of the ALCS. Unlike the solid job CBS did to keep viewers informed of the stadium issues at the Ralph, TBS not only did not ever explain to you why the Steve Harvey show was being shown instead of game 6 but then Chip “my father and grandfather were awesome but I suck ass” Carey told you that you "had not missed much" when in reality you had missed a monster moon shot of a home run by B.J. “don’t call me Justin” Upton. Despite some moments of despair which I will detail later, week 7 of the National Football League season was ultimately a success for the champs.
Defense A-: The Giants played very Un-Giants like defensive game Sunday. Unlike the ball hawking style of other premiere defenses in the league such as the Steelers and Ravens, the G-men usually play a more “dominate from the point of attack” defensive style. It generally does not create turnovers, but gets a lot of sacks and plays staunch defense between the 30’s. On Sunday, the Giants deviated significantly from this style of play. Despite a very impressive performance from 49ers QB J.T. O’Sullivan for much of the game, the Giants D forced him into three atrocious plays. 2 of these plays were interceptions and another was a fumble/sack turned into a safety late in the game to put the contest away. These 3 turnovers plus a Frank Gore fumble resulted in 19 net points by the Giants (16 Giants points and -3 points on an interception late in the first half when the 49ers were in clear field goal range). The optimistic White Boy says these turnovers were a product of great Giants defense and a welcome departure from the largely turnover free defense played so far this season. The pessimistic White Boy tells the optimistic White Boy to shove it because the 49ers handed the Giants 19 net points. The truth likely lays somewhere in between.
Offense B-: This was not a pretty offensive performance by any means. Eli continued his trend of poor play in windy conditions and Jacobs, despite scoring 2 touchdowns, only amassed 69 yards total on the ground. To be fair, he was only handed the ball 17 times so his 4.1 yards per rush is fairly solid. The other alarming trend which carried over from the Cleveland disaster was Eli forcing the ball to Plax. I don’t think it was a fluke that Eli’s best game this season came in a game in which Plax did not play. I am not foolish enough to think that New York is a better club without its best skill player, but Eli has seemed more interested in appeasing his sophomoric star than he has been in finding the most open man. Plax, by cursing out the coach Sunday after a terrible offensive pass interference call against him on a third and 9 great catch, is starting to show why no team other than New York was willing to give him a shot during his '04/05 free agency.
Special Teams C: This grade would be a D or an F if not for a hyuuuuge 48 yard field goal by Carney in the 4th to give his club a 27-17 win with about 8 minutes to go. Otherwise this was a horrid effort by the special teams. How the middle was not clogged up by a blocker on Carney’s would be 35 yard field goal is beyond me. This failure to block the middle created an instant 10 point swing in the game as a sure 3 for New York was turned into 7 for Nate Clements and the 49ers. Instead of it being 27-10 Giants late in the third and the game being put all but out of reach; the 49ers made us sweat unnecessarily until Carney’s clutch boot. Finally, the kickoffs have simply got to be longer. Kickoffs routinely reaching the 15 yard line will not suffice against talented offensive teams like Pittsburgh, Dallas (if Romo ever comes back) and Arizona.
Coaching B: As usual Steve Spagnuolo, despite having his first truly horrid game on the job last Monday against the Browns rebounded nicely against San Fran. He realized that if you bend but don’t break against this 49ers club, you will allow it to shoot itself in the foot. As usual, I have major issues with the offensive game plan and play calling. The Giants offense is incredibly predictable. Gilbride calls a pass every 1st down and then a run on 2nd and long. Sometimes, because it has a great offensive line, this running play will net 8-12 yards. However, because teams are now wise to this trend, they will simply stack the box and have 3 guys drag down Brandon in the backfield created a 3rd and very long situation. Here is a novel idea Gilbride, how about running on 1st and 10 thereby creating a 2nd and short. This would open up the play-book significantly and put opposing defenses back on their heels.