As the New York Giants prepare for Sunday's first-round playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons I thought I would take a really quick look at the regular season. Here, briefly, are the five most surprising things about the Giants 2011 regular season.
- Victor Cruz -- How much more can we say about Cruz? The guy has been incredible. He has salsa-danced his way into the hearts of Giants' fans, and into the history books. You know you have made it when guys start imitating your touchdown dance, which has happened with Cruz on multiple occasions this season.
- The Giants finished last in the league in rushing -- How does that happen with Tom Coughlin as head coach? Even more amazingly, how in the world did the Giants finish last in the league in rushing AND make the playoffs?
- Jacquian Williams was their best rookie -- Anybody who said they saw that coming is lying. Eyebrows were raised by draft analysts everywhere when the Giants selected Williams in the sixth round -- most people thought Williams was UDFA material. There is a long way to go before he gets there, but Williams might -- just might, not will -- end up being the best linebacker the Giants have drafted since Jesse Armstead.
- The Giants lost to Seattle once, Washington twice and still made the playoffs -- If you are like me you spent a good chunk of the season thinking that, ultimately, that early-season loss to the Seahawks was the one that would doom the Giants to a third straight playoff-less season. As for the two losses to the Redskins? Just think how good that Washington team has a chance to be if Mike Shanahan can ever find a real quarterback. Watch out for the Redskins if Shanahan is able to use Washington's stockpile of draft picks to trade for Sam Bradford of St. Louis.
- Perry Fewell took more heat from fans and the media this season than Kevin Gilbride -- Rip the coordinator is one of the favorite pastimes of Giants' fans -- only that is usually reserved for Gilbride on the offensive side of the ball. This season, though, Fewell has gone from a guy many saw as a potential Coughlin successor to a guy many fans would like run out of town. Gilbride has pretty much gotten a pass as his offense carried Fewell's defense most of the season.