Greetings everyone. It's that time of the week again, and I love doing this post after another stunning performance by the Giants. There were so many incredible individual achievements, but mostly the upset over the Packers on Sunday was a total team effort by the coaches and players. So here are your choices for Game Ball of the Week:
Tom Coughlin--I'm sure John Mara and Jerry Reese never came close to having Bill Cowher or Jeff Fisher on speed dial, but many of us wanted them to a month ago after that awful home loss to the Redskins. Then somehow, some way, Coughlin yanked every last ounce of pride and performance out of his players, and they haven't lost a game since. Even better, though, is how they are winning games--by playing hard nosed defense, forcing turnovers, executing on offense and converting on huge third downs and big plays. For all of that and especially for knocking off the nearly undefeated Packers, Coughlin should be first on this list.
Eli Manning--I remember at one point watching Eli drop back in the pocket, and stand there like he was waiting for a bus before delivering a laser 15 or 20 yards down field. We believe in Eli, and he believes in himself and his teammates.
Hakeem NIcks--It was either Tom Jackson or Trent Dilfer on NFL Primetime that talked about Nicks and how physical he plays, and how physical and dominant he was on Sunday afternoon. Those drops late in the season seem like they were three years ago. And yes, Nicks put on a clinic Sunday, fighting for the ball, for position, and for yards. And for as amazing as the Hail Mary was, the first touchdown was even more impressive.
Michael Boley--Boley had maybe two of the biggest sacks in Giants history on Sunday--seriously. Boley also had nine tackles and played QB of the defense remarkably once again. And he gets extra credit for doing the Discount Double Check move after sacking Aaron Rodgers both times.
Perry Fewell--As much as we were calling for Coughlin's job, we were even more so doing that for PF. But once he decided to let his players play more simply and do a better job on stopping the run, defending big plays, getting to the QB, and forcing turnovers--the defense suddenly looked like the Big Blue Wrecking Crew again. And let's face it--they held the Packers to 20 points, but without a few gifts from Bill Leavy, it could have been much lower than that.
Okay, have at it.
But first, let's give a few honorable mentions:
Karma--Let's face it--we got hosed by Bill Leavy and his crew at least three times on Sunday, but no call was as blatant as the fumble that he ruled not a fumble by Greg Jennings--AFTER he went under the hood. It's hard to have respect for NFL referees and the league in general when that happens, and for whatever reason it's happened in three of the last four games (or maybe four straight--I can't remember any bad calls in the Dallas game off the top of my head). But hey, we won and got the last laugh. That's called karma, Mr. Leavy.
Ed Valentine--For posting that superstitions piece on Sunday morning. I think the combination of all the quirky things we did on Sunday added up and affected the outcome of the game. I even told two buddies who texted me congrats in the fourth quarter--"don't put the whammy on this!" right before Leavy called Osi for roughing the QB, another horrible call. I mean, the freaking Eagles taught us never to celebrate until the clock runs out.
The Chiefs--For giving the Giants a bit of a blueprint for how to beat the Packers. Thank you, Romeo
Aaron Rodgers and his receivers--For being horribly off in many instances with their timing--resulting in misfires and drops like crazy.
Finally, I'd also like to give a special honorable mention--a serious one--to Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who called the game from the booth a couple of days after burying his 21-year old son. Many of us in the BBV community are dads, and that's just an unfathomable thing to have happen to any family. Our thoughts remain with you, coach.