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'Kudos & Wet Willies,' return of the defense edition


After Monday's loss to Cleveland New York Giants' fans hoped to see an angry active defense against San Francisco Sunday. That's exactly what we got as the Giants overwhelmed the 49ers, 29-17.

A week after not even laying a hand on Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson, they sacked the flustered J.T. O'Sullivan six times, intercepted him twice and caused him to fumble four times.

Two plays, a long touchdown pass in the first half and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown made the score reasonably close. The Giants weren't terrific on offense and also committed 11 penalties -- which can't make Tom Coughlin happy.

Overall, though, it was a good day. The Giants (5-1) even got a bonus as the St. Louis Rams routed the Dallas Cowboys, 34-14. The Giants lead the 4-2 Washington Redskins by a game and the 4-3 Cowboys by 1.5 games.

Now, as we always do, let's review the action 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.


Kudos to ...

  • Michael Johnson: Two interceptions for the second-year safety -- the first two of his career, in fact. The first one set up a field goal and the second one negated a potential San Francisco touchdown. That makes Johnson responsible for a 10-point swing in the game all by himself. Yes, he gets 'kudos.'
  • Chase Blackburn: Yep, he is too slow, too inexperienced and he darn near cost the Giants by committing a stupid penalty in the Super Bowl last season. Oh, and some idiot blogger (I wonder who?) didn't even think he deserved to make the team this season. Yet, there was Blackburn Sunday with 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Not a bad job. Maybe we should keep this guy around, after all.
  • Justin Tuck: Only one tackle, but two sacks and -- just as important for a defense that has not created many turnovers -- two forced fumbles.
  • Dave Tollefson: Five tackles and a sack for a guy who isn't even active when all the Giants defensive lineman are healthy. The fact that this guy was wallowing on the Oakland practice squad last season tells you a lot about why the Raiders are, well, the Raiders.
  • John Carney: Had a kick blocked, but that was not his fault. Nailed two more field goals -- including a 48-yarder -- and all of his kickoffs were hit to the 10-yard line or deeper with some good height. Those of you complaining that Carney, 44, does not have enough leg to be relied upon can just stop. You have absolutely no case. Sorry, but releasing Carney and activating Lawrence Tynes at this point seems like a stupid thing to do.
  • Derrick Ward: Everyone keeps screaming for Ahmad Bradshaw to play more, and he did Sunday. Yet, Ward just keeps doing the job. Three catches for a team-high 50 yards Sunday, including a 35-yarder on a screen, and four rushes for 19 yards. I don't see him fumbling the ball, either.
  • Domenik Hixon: Only one catch, but two beautiful solo tackles on special teams.
  • Jeff Feagles: Six punts for a 48.8-yard average, zero return yards and a couple more punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line. What a weapon this guy is! Can we get him to punt until he's 50?

Wet Willies to ...

  • Aaron Ross: Second rough week in a row for last season's No. 1 pick. Josh Morgan victimized him for a 30-yard touchdown reception in the first half. I still trust Ross, but he has to find a way to stop giving up big plays.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw: I know the guy can make big plays, and I love him, but I am officially off the Bradshaw Bandwagon until he starts securing the ball. He fumbled once Sunday and was lucky to have a second fumble overturned by replay. That on the heels of struggling to handle a couple of kickoffs Monday against Cleveland. The way Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward are producing -- and not fumbling -- there is no real good reason to be handing the guy the ball. He's becoming as dangerous to the Giants as he is to opposing defenses.
  • Jay Alford: I don't think I have ever seen a snapper for a field goal or extra point completely whiff a block. Alford ended up flat on his face after missing his attempted block on the blocked field goal. Fortunately for the Giants they were playing the 49ers, and not a truly good team.
  • Plaxico Burress: Only three catches for 24 yards, a stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a shouting match with Coughlin on the sideline following the penalty. A pretty listless effort from Burress.