Wow! Lots to discuss after Sunday's much closer than we would have liked it to be 28-20 victory over the Detroit Lions. The 'Kudos & Wet Willies' are pretty full this week, so enjoy. And, as always, feel free to offer up your own opinions.
Kudos to ...
- Ahmad Bradshaw: A huge game for Bradshaw, 133 yards on 19 carries, including a 45-yarder that set up a much-needed score late in the game.
- Brandon Jacobs: Two touchdowns, and some hard running. Just nine carries for 35 yards, but this 'Kudos' is as much for Jacobs' attitude adjustment as it is anything else.
- Eli Manning: A very nice day for Eli, 20-for-30 for 177 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no fumbles. There was one ball batted down at the line of scrimmage, but I can't recall one pass that Detroit came close to intercepting. This was the first time the Giants did not commit an offensive turnover since the 45-12 victory over Washington Dec. 21 of last season, and Eli gets a lot of credit for that.
Steve Smith: Six catches for 70 yards, and a bunch of those went for first downs. Whether he is the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, Smith is extremely important to Manning.
- Kareem McKenzie: The Giants had a terrific day running the football, probably their best in a long time. I am singling out McKenzie because the Giants had most of their success running right, and it seemed like every time there was a big play McKenzie was throwing a key block.
- Bear Pascoe: I can see it. I know you can see it. There really is no need for fullback Madison Hedgecock to be on this team any longer. Aside from McKenzie, it seemed quite often when there was a hole to run through it was Pascoe, lined up at the unfamiliar fullback slot, who was paving the way for Bradshaw or Jacobs. He also had two catches, dragging defenders with him to earn a first down on one. Maybe not Bear for President. But, Bear for full-time fullback? Yes, please.
- Mario Manningham: Four catches for 51 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown. An embarrassment of riches when a guy this talented is your No. 3 receiver.
- Darius Reynaud: Hey, a couple of real punt returns. Wow! Reynaud actually had a good day returning punts, with returns of 16 and 20 yards. I thought there was at least one kickoff return where he could have gotten more, but he was not terrible. Slowly, the Giants seem to be making progress in the return game.
- Osi Umenyiora: Two "strip sacks," forcing fumbles, one of which Justin Tuck recovered to kill a Detroit drive. Nobody makes that play, swatting the ball out of the quarterback's grasp on the way past, any better than Umenyiora.
- Deon Grant: Ten tackles, and a huge forced fumble and recovery with the Giants trying to protect a 21-17 lead and the Lions driving.
- Jonathan Goff: Five tackles for the now firmly-entrenched middle linebacker. I am almost giving him 'Kudos' today just so I can ask this question. How is it that Goff keeps showing up in the opposition's backfield on run plays? The guy is showing better instincts against the run than any of us believed he had.
- Michael Boley: Nine tackles for Boley, and he laid some serious lumber on a couple of those.
Kenny Phillips: Seven tackles and an absolutely huge pass breakup on a long ball thrown to Calvin Johnson. He arrived at exactly the right time and delivered a monstrous, and perfectly legal, hit that jarred the ball loose.
- Zak DeOssie: Have to give him 'Kudos' for the absolutely fabulous play he made to down a Matt Dodge punt inside the 5-yard line. Tell me this -- how does the long snapper, a big, slow guy, beat everyone else down the field as often as DeOssie does? And how does he make a play like that? Great stuff.
Wet Willies to ...
- Shayne Graham: Bye, bye Shayne. After watching Graham "try" to kick off I don't ever want to see complaints about Lawrence Tynes' kickoffs again. Graham's kickoffs were pathetic, failing to even reach the end zone once on the fly when kicking off from the 45. He never got to try a field goal, and most likely he never will as a New York Giant.
- Aaron Ross: NFL coaches are not stupid, and the Lions' staff obviously figured out from watching film that Ross is the weak link in the secondary when he is on the field. They kept targeting him, and getting big chunks of yardage. Ross also drew Tom Coughlin's ire when he missed a tackle that gave Detroit a first down. Giants are better with three safeties and two corners than they are with Ross on the field.
- David Diehl: It took one series for Diehl to almost get Manning killed. And when even geriatric and utterly clueless Dick Stockton can figure out that the Giants have all of their success running right -- away from Diehl -- that's not a good sign.
- Chase Blackburn: The guy is the Giants' special teams captain, and that 58-yard kickoff return late in the game is all on him. He had a chance to make that tackle at about the 20-yard line, but chose to launch himself and throw a shoulder instead of reaching out and making a proper tackle. That only cost the Giants about 30 yards. Hey, Chase, God gave you arms for a reason. Use 'em next time!
C.C. Brown: He bashed Eli last week, and was still bashing the Giants' QB after Sunday's loss. I am not so sure I have ever come across a more clueless professional athlete.
Kwillies to ...
'Kwillies,' of course, are half 'Kudos' and half 'Wet Willies.' Perfect for players who do their best to simultaneously help both teams.
- Matt Dodge: Now, here is the quintessential 'Kwillies' kind of NFL player. I thought Dodge might not live long enough to get another chance to punt after embarrassingly dropping a snap -- for the second time this season -- and ultimately costing the Giants seven points. But then Dodge, at the insistence of Lawrence Tynes, went all Michael Jackson with a glove on his left hand -- and starting booming punts all over New Meadowlands Stadium. Classic 'help both teams' kinda guy.
- Terrell Thomas: He is here because both Lions' touchdown passes were thrown in his direction, even though I can't really fault him on either one. The first one was a great throw and catch by Shaun Hill and Nate Burleson. The second one, 87 yards to Calvin Johnson, was Antrel Rolle's fault. And Rolle admitted as much. In reality, I thought Thomas played pretty well.
- Antrel Rolle: Made the game-saving interception off a deflection, and had six tackles. He has to take a bit of a hit, though, for the Johnson touchdown. Rolle said he changed his angle because he thought Thomas was going to intercept the ball. When that didn't happen, Johnson was able to practically walk to the end zone.
Finally, a special thanks to the Lions for the 11 penalties. We graciously acknowledge your gifts, which took scoring opportunities away from you on several occasions and handed them to the Giants on others. Thank you soooo much.