It is time for our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' review of Sunday's game, a thrilling 27-23 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Kudos to ...
Victor Cruz: As Jason Pierre-Paul said after the game "thank God for Victor Cruz." He had seven catches for 131 yards overall. Cruz could have had two other touchdowns, but a somewhat erratic Eli Manning missed him both times.
Stevie Brown: This guy is turning into one of those brilliant under-the-radar acquisitions by Jerry Reese. A pivotal interception Sunday on a ball that was not easy to catch, six tackles and a pass defensed.
Linval Joseph: The big man can certainly play, and he is a whole lot more than just a run-stuffer, which is what he was expected to be coming out of college. Three tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on Sunday.
Jason Pierre-Paul: An active day for JPP with four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and another hit on RGIII.
Justin Tuck: His best statistical day of the season. He had a sack, two hits on RGIII and six tackles (one for loss).
Chase Blackburn: Ended the game with 10 tackles and two forced fumbles. Truth is Blackburn wasn't very good in the first half when the Redskins ran the ball at will. He was much better in the second half, and he has to get props for the forced fumbles.
Michael Boley: All over the field. He had six tackles, many of them excellent. Also deserves some credit for the Stevie Brown interception as it was his perfect drop into coverage that seemed to cause Robert Griffin III to double-clutch.
Ahmad Bradshaw: The overall numbers are not impressive (12 rushes, 43 yards and four receptions for 22 yards). How hard he worked to get every one of those yards, and the fire he showed throughout the game, was.
Martellus Bennett: Five catches for the massive tight end, including a 31-yarder.
Wet Willies to ..
Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster: I really didn't think either corner played well. Amukamara broke up one potential touchdown pass, which was maybe the only real play either corner seemed to make the entire day. Pro Football Focus has Amukamara graded as the Giants' best defender Sunday at +1.7 and I am going to have to go back and though I already reviewed the game once perhaps I will need to go back and look again because I didn't see the second-year corner as having a "plus" type of game. Webster's grade was -2.9. More on the PFF grades in a later post.
Kevin Gilbride: Anyone who has been reading Big Blue View for a long time knows how ardently I have supported Gilbride over the years, and two Super Bowl titles with him calling the plays certainly gives him lots of equity. That said, I did not like the way the Giants approached their last couple of drives prior to the game-winner at all.
After the Giants recovered an RGIII fumble and took possession with 7:10 to play protecting a 20-13 lead I was stunned to see Manning try to pass on first down. The ball was, as we know, intercepted.
Facing third-and-one on their next possession with 3:15 to go Manning thew an incomplete pass to Nicks. This one flabbergasted me, as well. Yes, you trust Manning. But, Washington was down to its final timeout. If you run the ball there and fail you take some time off the clock and force Washington to use its final timeout.
All's well that ends well, but I didn't understand the thought process in those sequences.
Offensive line: No real push in the run game, Manning was under more duress than he has been for a while with a sack and being hit six times (three by ex-Giant Barry Cofield), and there were penalties on both Will Beatty and Sean Locklear in key situations.
Kwillies to ...
Eli Manning: Not Eli's best day. Yes, he had the game-winning throw to Cruz. Yes, he passes for 337 yards. Manning threw two horrid interceptions, though. He also left a lot of plays -- and points -- on the table with errant throws that looked more like the beginning of his career Manning. His play made this game harder on the Giants than it had to be.
Jayron Hosley Got burned by Santana Moss for the 30-yard touchdown that nearly won the game for Washington, but made an excellent hustle play on the next Washington possession to come up with a game-clinching fumble recovery.
Defensively, the Giants had no answers for the multi-faceted attack of the Reskins. I said at halftime Sunday that the Giants needed turnovers to stop Washington, and they got four of them in the second half. Washington punted only once.
Offensively, the Giants did not run well -- or probably often enough -- and Manning had an inconsistent day.
Still, the Giants came out of the game at 5-2 with a 1.5-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, who are both 3-3. The Giants travel to Dallas Sunday for a game they really need to win after the Cowboys beat the Giants in the season-opener.