Ah, another happy Monday in the Land of the 4-0 New York Giants. Not much to complain about today, unless you are a really, really pessimistic never-going-to-be-happy kind of fan. That said, let's get on to the weekly 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
Kudos to ...
Steve Smith: This Smith is pretty darn good. How good? Historically good. He has 34 catches in four games which is the most receptions through four games in franchise history. I think we know who the Giants' No. 1 guy is now. Check out what Don Banks of SI.com wrote about Smith Sunday night. Maybe until further notice, Carolina's Steve Smith should be identified as the "other Steve Smith,'' because the Giants' Steve Smith certainly doesn't deserve an afterthought designation. New York's Smith caught 11 more passes for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Giants' 27-16 win at Kansas City, and now has a team-leading 34 receptions for 411 yards and four touchdowns this season. Carolina's Smith, he of the Pro Bowl pedigree, has yet to make much impact for the winless Panthers. Smith has caught just 15 passes for 190 yards, and is still waiting for his first score of the season. My take: Smith is an impossible cover on short to intermediate routes, and it's obvious Eli Manning loves throwing him the ball.
- Eli Manning: It is becoming routine, but this was another terrific game for Manning. He was 20-for-34 for 292 yards and three touchdowns. He fumbled once and was intercepted once, but the pick was clearly Mario Manningham's fault. The ball hit him right in the hands, and he was open. An NFL receiver needs to make that play. Eli has a career-best 63.2 percent completion rate and a 104 QB rating after four games. Now, we just have to cross our fingers that his heel injury isn't serious.
- Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw: The Giants' running backs pretty much did what they wanted against the Chiefs defense. The longest run of the day was a 17-yarder by Jacobs, but the Giants moved the chains pretty much at will with the running game Sunday. There should not be any complaints this week about Jacobs not running hard enough.
- Hakeem Nicks: Hey, if you are only going to make one catch you might as well snag a screen pass, make a bunch of guys miss and go 54 yards to the house. That's maximizing your opportunities.
- Bryan Kehl: The second-year linebacker made two game-changing plays on special teams. First, he recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff. Then, he alertly scrambled to grab the onside kick the Chiefs opened the second half with. You could make an argument that those were the two most important plays in the game.
- Michael Boley: I listened to most of the second half while sitting at my son's soccer game, and I kept hearing Boley's name again and again. Five tackles, a sack and the Carl Banks linebacking stamp of approval. That's good enough for me.
- Antonio Pierce: Seven tackles, a forced fumble, and a stellar job -- as usual -- getting his teammates into the proper positions to make plays.
- C.C. Brown: Six tackles and a forced fumble. At least for one week, Kenny Phillips could not have played any better.
- The defensive line: Hard to single out anyone here, and the entire group played well. The Giants had five sacks, and Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Rocky Bernard and Mathias Kiwanuka all got one. The Chiefs averaged just 3.1 yards per play, and that's largely a credit to the play of the front four.
- Kevin Gilbride: I have to give Gilbride some props. I loved the mix of short and long passes, the use of screens, a perfectly-timed direct snap to Ahmad Bradshaw (funny because KG got killed here at BBV the last time he called that play), five balls completed to tight ends, an effective running attack. Despite the Giants going just 1-for-4 in the red zone, I thought KG had a good day.
Wet Willies to ...
Yes, I have to give out a couple of these. You guys probably know who they are going to but I will list them anyway.
- Lawrence Tynes: You know that squirming you do before each Tynes field goal? It's not hemorrhoids. That itchy, uncomfortable feeling you get when he trots on the field? It's not a rash. It's Lawrence Tynes Anxiety Disorder. Just when I was thinking Tynes had found, at least temporarily, a cure he pushed a very makeable 38-yard field goal just right. So, our bouts with Lawrence Tynes Anxiety Disorder will continue.
- Mario Manningham: Whatever nickname you want to use for Manningham, he certainly was not Super on Sunday. Yes, he made a juggling 43-yard catch Sunday (I'm starting to wonder if those kind of 'watch Mario chase the bouncing ball' catches will become a Sunday routine. He dropped at least three balls, though, including one that became an interception. Toughest day of the season thus far for the talented second-year wide receiver.