There’s something inherently frustrating about the New York Giants (if you’re a fan of that particular team). You’ve still got the same core elements in place of what has recently been a championship team. And yet, they don’t really fit the model of what you think a team is supposed to go through. You start out young, you improve, you win a championship (or at least enjoy some sustained success), then you decline, then you blow it all up and start over. With the Giants, though, they seem to speed this process along every couple of years before getting right back to being amazing again.
This team shouldn’t be as bad as it is. Their defense is actually kind of solid! I never thought things were in doubt yesterday, but it wasn’t until the second half before I really felt comfortable. And that’s because their defense always found a way to step up and limit the damage. This should have been more along the lines of the Falcons or Saints games, with our offense just moving at will. But, credit half of the Giants: they came ready to play and didn’t TOTALLY embarrass themselves. I can’t say that about their offense.
Eli Manning has these types of games in him. And I’m not talking about Once In A Blue Moon the way most quarterbacks have these types of games in them; I’m talking about at least a couple times a year. That’s why it’s fucking retarded to put him in the same breath as Peyton Manning, just because he won ONE more Super Bowl. Eli is like a SLIGHTLY better version of Trent Dilfer. The problem is: Eli thinks he’s a WAY better version of Trent Dilfer. As a Game Manager (and I mean that in the most derogatory way you can tender the phrase), Eli Manning can get the job done. But, since Eli thinks he’s one of the elites, he tries to force balls into places they have no business being. Like anywhere NEAR Richard Sherman. I mean, come on! Either he’s riddled with stupidity, or he’s got the hubris of a much better quarterback who thinks he’s immune to the best cornerback in football. Eli, listen to me buddy: don’t throw on Richard Sherman.
To be fair, one of his FIVE interceptions yesterday was a total fluke. There was, like, three seconds left in the first half when the Seahawks scored. Hauschka tried to squib the kick, except it went out of bounds, giving the Giants the ball at the 40 (whereupon the Giants tried a Hail Mary that was picked off). If we just kick it down the middle and it goes a little further, they simply kneel the ball and go to half.
But, still, those other four picks were pure Eli. He’s a cautionary tale, to be sure. Put a guy like that on a good team and he’ll work magic; but put him on a bad team, and he turns into Jake Delhomme. Makes you wonder what Russell Wilson would look like if the rest of the team somehow turned to shit.
This is normally the part of the day-after post where I give out my game balls. Apologies to the offense, but this game was all about the D.
Excellent game by Richard Sherman. Of course, I could say that every week, but it’s not every week that the opposing quarterback actually challenges our All Pro! He’s got 6 interceptions on the year, which currently has him tied for the lead. That number feels low, right? Isn’t there usually a league-leader who has like 8 or 9 picks by now? We’re 14 games into the season!
At one spot behind, we’ve got Earl Thomas with 5 picks. The one he got yesterday was all thanks to Sherman, who from the back of the endzone tipped another ill-advised Eli pass to Thomas as he ran on-screen. Nice bounce-back game for Thomas, who was really shut down against the 49ers last week.
Byron Maxwell appears to be the whipping boy on this team, netting the lion’s share of the targets with Richard Sherman locking down the other side of the field. Honestly, I’m shocked that Maxwell hasn’t given up more big plays, but that’s probably because I’ve never really watched him all that closely. He’s amazing! This team never ceases to amaze me when it comes to our backups playing like starters. I know we spent most of the off-season preaching about depth on this team, and how the Seahawks have the best depth in football, but this is ridiculous! Can you imagine what teams like the Patriots or Broncos would look like if they had the depth we have? Probably a lot like us, because that’s how good we are.
Bobby Wagner had himself a helluva game, with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. With K.J. Wright out until MAYBE the Super Bowl, Wagner is certainly the guy who will have to step up and carry some extra burden.
Michael Bennett only has 7.5 sacks on the year, but doesn’t it feel like he has a lot more? I feel like he should be leading the team, but then I see that Cliff Avril has 8.0 sacks on the year. You know how a team will go into an offseason and make a couple of big splashes to compensate for an obvious disadvantage, thinking that these couple of guys will solve all of our problems? And you know how most of the time, those moves never work out the way you intended (usually for the worse)? Well, the Bennett & Avril signings have gone EXACTLY as well as I could have possibly hoped! Bennett – playing on a 1-year deal – is looking to earn himself a big, fat raise next season. Avril – playing on a 2-year deal that was weighted to REALLY make it a 1-year deal – has earned himself at least some long-term security. He’s due to make nearly $10 million next year, which probably won’t work for us cap-wise. But, I could easily see us restructuring, giving him a 3-year deal that’s a little more reasonable for all three years.
On a quick side note – as this won’t be a problem again until maybe the Super Bowl – but these ends have gotta do a better job of not biting on the hard count. The one thing Eli did exceedingly well yesterday was get our guys to jump offsides. AND, that was a bullshit call by the refs on that false start, where he said Eli shook his hands. If a defensive end is going to jump offsides because a quarterback moves his hands, then that means he’s not watching the ball and THAT is a problem! Again, though, with two more home games (followed by two playoff home games), this won’t be an issue until at least the Super Bowl.
I’m going back to the secondary well to give big ups to Jeremy Lane, who had 7 tackles and a really nice pass defended. See: pretty much everything I wrote about Byron Maxwell, plus Lane is awesome at tackling on special teams.
I’ll close with our run defense. Some dipshit at the USA Today wrote an article about how – if the Seahawks have any weakness – our wide receivers are our biggest weakness. I think that’s total horseshit. A. Because our wide receivers are awesome and probably the most underrated in the league; and B. Because our run defense is probably our biggest weakness. Again, IF we have a weakness.
Yet, for some reason, I had a ton of confidence in our abilities to stop the run yesterday. So much confidence, in fact, that I bet a buddy of mine (not a Seahawks fan) ten bucks that we would hold the Giants to less than 50 yards on the ground. Granted, this bet took place in a drunken stupor, but look at what happened! 25 yards rushing! And you could tell, this was a Giants team that REALLY wanted to run the ball. It was embarrassing how much they wanted to run the ball, until it got to the point where they were too far behind and had to throw the rest of the way.
To be fair, I also bet that buddy of mine $1 (at 10 to 1 odds) that the Seahawks would hold the Giants to exactly 49 yards. So, I’m only $9 richer. But, is it really about the money? Or about lording the fact that I was right over him for the next week?
Both. It’s both.