Sorry to those of you Tale of Two Cities fanatics out there. There is no “Worst of times” for the 2008 calendar year Giants. This group is 14-1 and is by far the league’s best team. Every possible area it can be assessed in is a strength when compared to the average unit of its kind in the league. For example, even the secondary, which most experts consider the Giant’s weakest unit, is still better than at least half of the secondaries in the league. You know things are going good when Madison Hedgecock catches a pass! I wonder if Kurt Warner thanked G-d after the game for giving him the strength and courage to commit two turnovers and lose to his former team? To be clear, I have no problem with someone being a deeply religious person, but when someone asks you to assess your on field performance, this interviewer is not asking you about your religious beliefs, rather this person is asking you to discuss how your football skills helped you succeed during a given game. With this little Kurt Warner rant aside, I now will grade the Giant’s performance on a unit by unit basis.
Offense= A: This was as flawless and as dominant a performance by an offense as can possibly be had. New York put up 37 points and did so without the services of its two best offensive players. Eli played one of his finest games ever achieving an impressive 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions while amassing 240 yards through the air. The running game, although not its usual 190 yard plus attack, was effective when it had to be on clock killing drives at the end of the game. Gilbride even joined the solid coaching party with a great call on third and 1 having Eli roll out off a play action fake and hitting Boss over the middle for a big gain.
Defense= B: This was not the most impressive defensive performance this season. Spagnuolo’s boys gave up over 300 yards through the air and 29 points overall. However, it did force “Jesus Statue” into turning the ball over twice including a beautiful pass to a wide open Tyrell Thomas. The defense did just enough to win.
Special Teams= B: The Special teams played a big role in this game. Dominick Hixon had two returns into field goal range and the Cardinals seemed to start half of its possessions inside the Giant’s 50. The difference, The Giants took advantage of these opportunities and the Cardinals did not.
Coaching= A: Coughlin and Gilbride both had phenomenal days. Coughlin showed his savvy by having Arizona re-kick just prior to Hixon’s kick return to the 13 of Arizona. Gilbride intelligently relied more on his passing game with Jacobs not in. Spagnuolo succeeded in his goal of limiting the Cardinals to a minimal YAC and in his ultimate goal of doing enough to win. The Giant’s bend but don’t break philosophy proved effective against the greatest show on grass.