A pretty nice start Thursday night for your defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. An emotional entrance, a dominant first quarter, a new contract for Plaxico Burress, outstanding defense and a well-deserved 16-7 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Personally, I didn't think the game should have been that close. The Giants frittered away some opportunities to score more points, and the touchdown Washington got was set up by some bad kickoff coverage.
But, it's a victory. The first in what we hope will be many en route to proving wrong those skeptics who still doubt the ability of this team.
Let's review, in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Plaxico Burress: How does he do it? Plax didn't play in any exhibition games, and had little practice before Thursday night. Yet, he came away with 10 catches for 133 yards, and a brand new contract. a pretty good night's work.
Brandon Jacobs: The Beast had 21 carries for 116 yards and one fantastic pancake of Washington defensive back Laron Landry. It sure is fun to watch Jacobs run people over. More impressively Thursday, though, was that he was making defenders miss.
- Jeff Feagles: A couple more punts pinning the opponent well inside the 20. No punter has ever done that better.
- Michael Strahan: That was one tremendous entrance, with the Lombardi Trophy in tow. Plus, an inspiring introduction of the Giants.
- The defense: Strahan? Osi Umenyiora? Who needs them? The defense was impressive, pressuring Washington quarterback Jason Campbell, covering well and making some nice open field tackles. Special mentions to:
- Justin Tuck -- Five tackles, a sack and a constant presence on the field. He is taking over as the leader on the defensive line.
- Aaron Ross -- Eight tackles, and a brilliant pass defensed when he went stride-for-stride with Santana Moss on a deep ball.
- Bryan Kehl -- The rookie linebacker snuck onto the field and quietly made five tackles.
- Kenny Phillips -- Four tackles in somewhat limited action, including a couple of nice open field stops.
Mathias Kiwanuka -- Acquitted himself well at defensive end with six tackles and some pressure on Campbell -- even if he did get absolutely flattened on one play in the second half.
In reality, the list of defenders deserving of praise goes on and on. These guys are simply the ones who stood out in my mind.
Finally, a big 'kudos' to all the members of Big Blue View Nation who followed along during Thursday night's live blog. At last count, there were 254 comments on the open thread, easily the most ever for any post in Big Blue View history. Nice going, gang!
Wet Willies to ...
Eli Manning: I hate to give Eli a 'Wet Willie,' but it was an inconsistent game for him. A nice touchdown run on the first drive, and some great throws. Later in the game, though, a bad interception and an overthrow of a wide open Burress on a play that cost the Giants possession of the ball. He finished 19-of-35 for 216 yards. Not bad, but it could have been better.
- Chris Samuels: What the hell was Samuels, a Redskins offensive lineman, doing grabbing Mathias Kiwanuka by the leg (I believe the same one that he broke last year) and hauling him down from behind on the final play of the game? He should get a fine from the league for that. I hope to God Kiwanuka is OK.
- The kickoff coverage unit: Allowed a 50-yard return right before halftime, which allowed Washington to show its only spark of life all night. This coverage unit was also spotty in pre-season, and has to get better. As much as he means to this defense, I will admit I am not a big Pierce fan.
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