If I really wanted to keep this short and simple, I would just say this. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a very bad football team. The New York Giants are a very good one. Except for Lawrence Tynes misadventures, it is pretty hard to find anything to complain about today as a Giants fan.
Anyway, there must always be 'Kudos & Wet Willies' following Giants football. So, I'll give it my best shot.
Kudos to ...
The Giants defense: No Kenny Phillips? No Aaron Ross, Kevin Dockery or Chris Canty? Justin Tuck on the field for just a few plays? Who cares? Stung by criticism after a poor performance a week ago, the Giants defense pitched a shutout and held the Bucs to 86 total yards, an effort Antonio Pierce called "One of the best (defensive performances) I’ve been a part of." Yes, it was against a woeful Tampa Bay team. Yes, the Giants did not record a sack. But, dominance is dominance. The Bucs ran just 36 plays and had the ball for a microscopic 16:22. I'm not even going to bother singling anyone out. The defense wasn't on the field long enough for any one player to actually have a huge day.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: Brandon Jacobs might be a nightmare for defenders to tackle, but in his own way Bradshaw is as tough -- if not tougher -- to bring down. Bradshaw compiled 104 yards on 14 carries (7.8 yards per carry) Sunday, including a 38-yard run. Through three games he has been better than Jacobs.
- Steve Smith: I think it's time we stop calling this guy "the other Steve Smith." He's pretty darn special in his own way. The guy is impossible to cover on short to mid-range routes, makes difficult catches along the sideline and always seems to show up when Eli Manning needs to make a key throw. Sunday was just another 7-catch, 63-yard, one touchdown day for Smith. Nothing big, just whatever Eli needed.
- Tom Coughlin: For recognizing how much of a blowout the game was and getting Manning, Jacobs and some other guys out of the game midway through the fourth quarter. How many times have you stubbornly seen coaches leave stars in blowout games too long, only to watch someone needlessly get hurt.
- Green Zone offense: Yippee! The Giants went 3-for-5 inside the Green Zone, their first three scores of the season in that area. They got touchdowns both times they had first-and-goal-to-go situations. They also converted 10-of-16 third downs, including some short ones. There were some power runs, but I liked some of the other things I saw. There were some spread formations. There were draw plays. There were some passes. Nothing came his way, but I saw Ramses Barden check in during at least one Green Zone series. Yes, it was against the Bumbling Bucs, but Sunday's performance was a positive.
- Gartrell Johnson: Six carries for 23 yards in his debut, and had what I believe was a 19-yard run wiped out by a penalty. We just got a fourth-quarter glimpse, but you could see why the Giants like this guy.
Wet Willies to ...
- Lawrence Tynes: I have tried to defend Tynes in the past. I cut him some slack last week even though he missed a 29-yarder -- figuring he did make 4-of-5 and nail a game-winner. I can't defend him now, though. No professional kicker should EVER miss from 21 yards. No excuse, even if holder Jeff Feagles didn't get the laces all the way around. It's 21 yards, for crying out loud! It's sad, but I'm pretty sure I can make that kick. "I wish I had an answer," Tynes said. "I didn’t kick good all week. I didn’t kick good in pregame and I didn’t kick good in the game. It was pretty much just a bad week all around for me." Coughlin won't put up with this forever.
- The Tampa Bay offense: That is an NFL offense? Sorry, but I don't think so. The Giants defense played hard and did a good job against the run, but that was one of the most inept offensive performances I can remember watching. I wonder if Derrick Ward (5 carries, 2 yards) wishes he had kept his mouth shut last week.
Tony Siragusa: Did anybody else get tired of listening to Siragusa criticize Jacobs repeatedly throughout the game? If my TV wasn't so expensive I might have thrown something at it. Jacobs did not have his best game, but he was effective enough to lug the ball 26 times.