|Ahmad Bradshaw (left) runs for 77 yards in the fourth quarter Sunday. At right, Brandon Jacobs rumbles for 36 yards on his first carry of the game. The Giants gashed the top-ranked Ravens defense for 207 yards rushing.|
I am running out of superlatives in trying to describe the New York Giants. This football team simply amazes me.
Week after week the Giants stare at what look like difficult, possibly insurmountable, challenges. Yet, week after week, they come out on top.
What the 9-1 Giants did to the vaunted Baltimore defense Sunday, vanquishing it for an incredible 207 yards (6.3 yards per carry) en route to a 30-10 victory was nothing short of astonishing.
Defensively, the Giants were also outstanding. Ravens' rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked just once, but the Giants made the Ravens running backs non-existent and took advantage of Flacco's mistakes.
Considering all of our back and forth with Ravens fans last week, I have to give credit to 'Rexx' from Baltimore Beatdown. This was one of his final comments in his own game thread last night.
Lighten up on the Ravens. I mean, can you believe that we actually thought we could hang with them? They’re the best team in the league.
Let's get on with our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style review.
Kudos to ...
- Earth, Wind & Fire: All three Giants running backs get huge 'kudos' for what they did to the vaunted Ravens defense. The Giants got 207 yards rushing against a team that had been giving up 65.4 yards per game, and as good as the offensive line is the three backs did a lot of it on their own. There have been any number of great rushing tandems in NFL history, but has the league ever seen a three-headed monster this good? I can't think of one. In fact, the only comparable group I can think of is the Miami Dolphins of the early 1970s with Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris? Let's look at what each of the three backs did Sunday.
Brandon Jacobs -- 11 carries, 73 yards and two first-half touchdowns. His 36-yard run on his very first carry answered the question everyone had asked -- could the Giants run on the Ravens? "It showed them that they could run the ball," Ravens defensive tackle Trevor Pryce said. "When you do that against our defense, you have some confidence. It makes things easier. The way it happened was a fluke when had him, but he bounced and went all the way to the other side. You don’t think that a big back can run that fast, but he does." Jacobs tweaked a knee and watched Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw work most of the second half, or he likely would have been the first rusher to go over 100 yards against the Ravens in 28 games. Still, he did his job and didn't absorb any unnecessary punishment.
- Derrick Ward -- He will be overshadowed by both Jacobs and Bradshaw in discussions of this game, but he also had a nice game. Ward gained 41 yards on 11 carries and added four catches for a team-leading 54 yards. He had a 22-yard run and a 24-yard pass reception.
- Ahmad Bradshaw -- A 77-yard run in the fourth quarter (most of which he did on his own as he should have been stopped for a short gain) and 96 yards on just 9 carries. He might catch a little grief from teammates for getting run down from behind on the 77-yarder, though. I am still not sure he would be as effective carrying 15-20 times per game, since I believe his effectiveness is helped by the early pounding defenses get from Jacobs and Ward, but this guy is a tremendous weapon out of the backfield.
- The Offensive Line -- Can we get these guys a nickname, please? We could just keep calling them 'The Best Offensive Line in the NFL,' but I think we need to do better than that. I haven't come up with a good idea yet, but I'm sure you guys can help me. Anyway, if there was any doubt how good this group was there shouldn't be today. David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie simply pushed the Ravens front seven all over the field.
- Aaron Ross -- Two key interceptions, including a beautiful catch-and-run for a pick six off a tipped ball that snuffed out Baltimore's hopes for a second-half comeback.
- The entire defense -- The Ravens had scored 37 and 41 points in their last two games. The Giants only sacked quarterback Joe Flacco once, but they smothered the Ravens run game and only gave up 10 points. It was a terrific all-around effort.
- Joe Flacco -- I have to throw some love to the Ravens rookie. Forget the stats, this kid is going to be one helluva player. How does a guy come from Delaware, immediately get thrown in as an NFL starter and play this well. Scary how good he will be when he actually figures out what is going on.
- Darcy Johnson -- One catch, one yard, one touchdown. Gotta give the third-team tight end some props for his nifty touchdown catch, the only ball he has caught this season.
Wet Willies to ...
- Eli Manning: The best thing he did all day was draw back-to-back offside penalties using 'hard counts.' Other than that, there was way too much of the 'bad Eli' on display for my taste. One interception, and two other horrid throws that could have been interceptions. One was on an errant throw to Steve Smith that was originally ruled an interception, but was overturned. The other was an atrocious wounded duck that Plaxico Burress batted down before a Baltimore defender could grab it. Eli, I luv ya baby, but you have to play better that.
- Jay Alford: It was just one bad snap on what turned out to be a meaningless extra point, but it brought back too many painful memories. I don't want to see any more of those.
- Lawrence Tynes: In Tynes first full game back as Giants kicker, the Giants botch an extra point and Tynes knocks a kickoff out of bounds after it only went about 25 yards down the field. That might have been the ugliest kickoff in NFL history. This kind of stuff doesn't happen when John Carney is kicking.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh: This is what Harbaugh said after the Giants overwhelmed his defense. "Besides those (long) runs, we played good, tough, run defense," he said. "They blocked three plays really well, ran three plays really well." Umm, John, last time I checked every play counted.