|New York Giants safety James Butler makes the play of the game, taking a potential touchdown pass away from Detroit's Shaun McDonald late in the fourth quarter Sunday. (AP Photo)|
The New York Giants' 16-10 victory over Detroit Sunday was a nerve-wracking one. It was filled with missed offensive opportunities and big defensive plays.
As we always do, let's review, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Kudos to ...
• Michael Strahan: Just three days short of his 36th birthday he played his best game in two or three seasons. Strahan had three sacks and six tackles to lead the Giants defense.
• James Butler: The much-maligned safety made the play of the game, leaping and outwrestling Shaun McDonald of the Lions to intercept a pass that -- if completed -- would have given the Lions the lead late in the fourth quarter. This was the play that ultimately decided the outcome of the game.
• Eli Manning: So much for all that nonsense we heard about Eli's confidence being shaken after the loss to Dallas a week ago. Manning was outstanding, completing 28-of-39 for 283 yards and a touchdown. He managed the game well, and his numbers would have been even better if not for a couple of drops by Plaxico Burress.
• Lawrence Tynes: Maybe if Tynes could kick indoors all the time he would be going to the Pro Bowl. He went 3-for-3 on field goals, including an absolutely crushed 46-yarder. For good measure, he put a couple of kickoffs in the end zone, including one for a touchback. Easily his best day as a Giant.
• Ahmad Bradshaw: The rookie has firmly entrenched himself as the primary kickoff returner. Sunday, he had a 68-yard return. He has become a dangerous weapon. Bradshaw even got in the game on offense, though he dropped a pass on a play designed for him.
• Sinorice Moss: Yes, Moss fumbled to kill a potential scoring drive. He did, however, run some really nice routes and catch four balls for 46 yards. It's the first time I felt while watching him that he truly looked like a weapon, and that was good to see. Maybe there is hope for him yet.
• RW McQuarters: As a punt returner McQuarters had his best game of the season, ripping off a couple of nifty returns. It was nice to see the Giants special teams make some plays.
Wet Willies to ...
• Chris Snee: Two penalties on Snee, a hold and a false start, helped kill two separate scoring opportunities. I don't have the numbers, but it seems to me Snee is racking up the penalties faster than any other Giants lineman. Don't tell me we've gone from Luke Penalty-Gout to Chris Penal-Snee.
• Osi Umenyiora: While Michael Strahan was having a monster day on the other side, Umenyiora was invisible. He registered just one assisted tackle all day. Osi had the monster six-sack game against the Eagles, but how good of a year is he really having? He has 8 sacks -- just two in the other 9 games he has played -- and 29.5 tackles for the season. With Mathias Kiwanuka down with a broken leg, Chief Osi is going to have to step it up.
• Steve Spagnuolo: The Giants defensive coordinator has done a marvelous job this season. He made a mistake Sunday, however. Ahead 16-3 he went soft with his defense, going away from the attacking, pressure style that has been so successful. It cost the Giants one touchdown, and might have cost them the game if not for Butler's play and a lucky bounce on the interception by Sam Madison.
• Jon Kitna: The Lions QB gets a special entrance into the 'Wet Willie' category this week due to his post-game whining. "That is not a better football team than us," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "We gave them the football game." Fact is, the Giants beat the snot out of the Lions and the only reason Detroit was in the game at the end was because of the Giants own mistakes.
With Washington's loss to Dallas the Giants are now clearly in control of one wild-card spot with a 7-3 record. ... The most distressing thing about Sunday had to be Kiwanuka's broken fibula. He might be done for the season, and that would be a huge loss as the Giants simply can't replace his pass-rushing and athleticism. ... No idea yet how serious Brandon Jacobs' hamstring injury is, but I suspect we'll see a lot of Reuben Droughns next week against Minnesota. ... One other distressing thing Sunday was that the game should not have been close. Because of penalties and turnovers New York missed several scoring opportunities. That has become a worrisome trend.