Now I can say it. Going into last night's game I fully expected our New York Giants to lose to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Yet, today the Giants are 8-1 after a heart-pounding 36-31 victory -- a game the Giants thoroughly dominated everywhere except the scoreboard.
The Giants held a 39:10-20:50 advantage in time of possession. They outgained the Eagles 401 yards to 300. They gained 219 yards rushing.
Without the two Giants turnovers this game would not have been close. Even with the turnovers the game is a rout if the Giants punch in a couple of touchdowns instead of settling for three short John Carney field goals.
This was a victory -- in Philadelphia against a good Eagles team in a very hostile environment. That's enough to put a smile on my face today, whether the Giants were perfect or not.
Can there be any doubt left that this team is better than last season's Super Bowl championship team? The maturity, the weapons, the stifling defense.
What a great time to be a Giants fan!
Let's get on with our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
Kudos to ...
- Brandon Jacobs: Totaled 126 yards on a season-high 22 carries, and scored two touchdowns. Just one thing, big fella. No more hurdling, please.
- Eli Manning: Not the best numbers (17-31, 191 with two TDs and an unlucky interception), but I thought he played very well. He was poised and in control throughout in a tough place to play, and answered his turnover by leading the Giants on a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.
- Tom Coughlin: Took a flier with a challenge when Eli had been flagged for a seemingly obvious illegal forward pass and ended up winning it. The reversal led to a touchdown and was probably the key play in the game.
- Chase Blackburn: Made the fourth down stop on Brian Westbrook that sealed the victory. If the Giants new starting outside linebacker had done nothing else, that would have gotten him 'kudos' by itself. But, he also recovered a fumble and totaled four tackles.
- Kevin Boss: A career-high six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. He is now a huge part of the Giants offense, particularly in the 'Green Zone.' Dropped one throw in the end zone, but his touchdown catch was a brilliant diving grab.
- Amani Toomer: Helped the Giants early with five catches for 53 yards.
- Offensive line: Pushed the Eagles off the ball all night as the Giants ran pretty much at will. Also only allowed one sack. This group has to be the best in the business.
- Madison Hedgecock: Say what you want about John Madden, but we profusely praised Hedgecock all night. And he was right. Hedgecock was an absolute battering ram leading the way for Giants rushers, as he has been all season. Just one thing -- let's not throw him the ball anymore, please.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: A 23-yard run and two brilliant tackles on kickoff coverage, including one where he forced a fumble.
Wet Willies to ...
- Kickoff coverage: Aside from Bradshaw the Giants were awful. The whole point of using Lawrence Tynes on kickoffs instead of Carney was for field position, yet the Giants surrounded two long returns.
- Andy Reid: I usually leave the other team out of 'Kudos & Wet Willies,' but, c'mon Andy. Two running plays in short yardage with the game on the line in the final seconds? Thank you very much. You used to be a great coach.
Kwillies to ...
Yes, a new category. Reserved for those Giants who have somehow managed to help both teams at the same time.
- Giants running backs: Fellas, let's try holding onto the football, please. Bradshaw is terrific, but he scares me to death every time he touches the ball. Thank God his fumble -- on his best run of the night -- went out of bounds. Ward's fumble could have cost the Giants the game if they hadn't recovered it. And Jacobs? Keep your feet on the ground big man.
- Sam Madison: An interception, but also a late hit penalty. Hey Sam, in your 9,000-year career perhaps no one explained to you that you can't hit a player out of bounds.
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is one helluva player. His gaffe earlier this season where he let go of the ball before crossing the goal line will be a footnote to a great career. ... Why can't the Giants return kickoffs this season? You'd think that was Reuben Droughns back there. ... Kill Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for the nine million draw plays last night (I would like to). But, did you notice some of the new wrinkles in the offense? Bradshaw getting some carries; lots of passes to Boss; Jacobs and Ward in the game at the same time; rolling the pocket a few times. He knows he has weapons, and he is creating more ways to use them.