'Kudos & Wet Willies:' Return of the Giants edition

Lots of praise to dole out on the morning after our New York Giants rescued their season Sunday with a 31-24 victory over the arch-rival Dallas Cowboys.

This was an inspiring victory that begged only one real question. Where has this kind of passionate, determined effort been for the past six weeks?

Anyway, I will never figure that one out. So, on with the 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'

'Kudos' to ...
  • Bill Sheridan: He has been getting killed around these parts for weeks as the defense under-performed. Today, the beleaguered defensive coordinator deserves some praise. We knew going into the game Sheridan was going to make lots of lineup changes. Well, he did and for the most part they worked beautifully. The Giants rotated a lot of people, and guys like Jonathan Goff, Clint Sintim and Mathias Kiwanuka all played well with increased time. Sheridan stacked the line of scrimmage and the Giants allowed Dallas just 45 rushing yards. Only two sacks of Romo on the day, but he was harassed and hit often as the Giants seemed to do a better job than they have all season of dialing up well-designed blitzes at good times. Maybe there is hope for Sheridan yet.
  • Kevin Gilbride: The other beleaguered coordinator also deserves some praise. Still only 13 carries for Jacobs, but Gilbride stuck with the run enough early on to open up some play-action stuff later on. On, and there were a few minor changes I a couple of run formations and personnel packages that helped the Giants pound out some tough yards when they needed them.
  • Brandon Jacobs: The longest play of his career -- a 74-yard touchdown -- came Sunday on a simple pass into the flat. Jacobs, incidentally gave a lot of credit to Darcy Johnson for his downfield blocking on the touchdown. Only 39 yards rushing on 13 carries for Jacobs, but he did run hard, dish out some punishment and barrel his way into the end zone in a goal-line situation.
  • Steve Smith: A typical six catches for Smith. A very un-typical 110 yards (18.3 yards per catch). Smith is a master at getting open and catching the ball, but those catches are usually followed by Smith immediately crumpling to the ground. Not Sunday. He had a 36-yard catch and run, mostly run, and a handful of other plays where he got big chunks or yardage after a catch. Since the Giants won, and we are giving Smith 'Kudos,' we won't talk about that ball he dropped in the end zone.
  • Aaron Rouse: Twelve tackles and a sack for the Green Bay reject. Rouse is looking more and more like another one of those brilliant in-season pickups by General Manager Jerry Reese. I don't know for sure what went wrong for Rouse in Green Bay, but he seems to be getting better and better as the weeks go by with the Giants. He was tremendous Sunday.
  • Domenik Hixon: We have been begging for a big special teams play for weeks, and Hixon finally delivered with a game-changing 79-yard punt return for a touchdown.
  • Terrell Thomas and C.C. Brown: I am putting these two guys together, and I am even amazing myself that I am including Brown. Even though Romo passed for 392 yards, I thought these two guys were fabulous, especially in run support. Thomas had 10 tackles, Brown had nine and there weren't any blown assignments.
  • Barry Cofield: We have been begging for a push from the middle of the defensive line, and Cofield provided it Sunday. Only three tackles, but a couple of those were for losses and Cofield was a disruptive presence in the middle for the entire game.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: There are several other guys who could be on this list. They include Mathias Kiwanuka (six tackles and a forced fumble), Ahmad Bradshaw (a couple of big runs after his first-half fumble), Goff (who held up just fine in the middle of the defense) and Michael Boley (11 tackles). Give Osi Umenyiora credit, too, for playing hard, coming up with a fumble recovery and not complaining to the press because he didn't start.

Wet Willies to ...
  • Corey Webster: Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes, and Webster was the defender on all three of them. Two of those were to Roy Williams, the type of tall, physical receivers who seems to give Webster trouble.
  • Chris Canty: Got a start at defensive tackle against his old team, and had no impact. In fact, the $42 million free agent did nothing. He didn't even get his name in the stat sheet.
  • Eli Manning: I really hate to give this one out, but I feel like I have to. Eli was just 11-for-25 for 241 yards. He threw two touchdown passes, but one was mostly due to Brandon Jacobs' tremendous individual effort and the other was a terrific catch by Hakeem Nicks on a ball Eli threw late. Manning threw a bad pick in the second half when he just tossed a ball up for grabs in the end zone, and badly missed a wide open Steve Smith on a deep ball in the fourth quarter. Not his worst game, especially since he was under duress much of the time, but he can play better.
  • Flozell Adams: Do I even have to talk about it? This guy is a moron who deserves a suspension. Enough said.



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