Welcome to the second consecutive 'Wet Willies Free' edition of 'Kudos & Wet Willies.' No way I can hand out 'WWs' after the New York Giants advanced to the NFC Championship Game Sunday with a stunningly one-sided 37-20 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. So, let's get right down to business.
'Kudos' To ...
Hakeem Nicks: After the game Giants running back Brandon Jacobs talked about how the Giants "have the mentality to want to win and make plays." That is what Nicks did Sunday. Seven catches, 165 yards, two touchdowns. Bouncing off a tackle and out-running Green Bay defenders for a 66-yard score in the first quarter, then simply working harder than the Packers secondary to haul in the Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
Eli Manning: Just another ho-him brilliant performance from the Giants quarterback. He went 21-of-33 for 330 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Oh, and he even got out and threw a block on a fourth-quarter run by Ahmad Bradshaw.
Tom Coughlin: If you were one of the people advocating the firing of Coughlin just a few weeks ago I would have to think you feel fairly foolish right about now. In the hierarchy of Giants coaches through franchise history, there is a Big Three. That is Steve Owen, Bill Parcells and Coughlin. If he wants to remain on as Giants coach, the organization needs to give him an extension for pretty much as long as Coughlin desires.
Perry Fewell: Another guy who will be sticking around, if he hasn't put himself at the top of the list of head-coaching candidates in Tampa Bay. The turnaround in the defensive play of the Giants in recent weeks has been remarkable. As much criticism as Fewell got for the poor play much of the year, he has to get credit for the terrific play of late. The Giants got a little help Sunday from Packers drops and some uncharacteristic errant throws by Aaron Rodgers, but made enough big plays on their own.
Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham: I have to put these guys together, because they pretty much played 'supporting actor' roles to Nicks' 'best man' on Sunday. Cruz made several big first-down catches and finished with five grabs for 74 yards. Manningham had three catches for 31 yards, including a touchdown grab on the first play after a Green Bay turnover in the fourth quarter. Cruz also gets 'Kudos' for his onside kick recovery.
Ahmad Bradshaw: A brilliant run at the end of the first half to set up the Hail Mary and a 24-yard run to set up the Giants final touchdown.
Michael Boley: Nine tackles, two very important sacks. This season Boley has finally become the play-making impact linebacker the Giants hoped for when they signed him from Atlanta as a free agent a couple of seasons ago.
Osi Umenyiora: Umenyiora made what might actually be the biggest defensive play of the game. His strip/sack of Rodgers at the Giants 37-yard line saved a touchdown with Greg Jennings running free down the left sideline. It stopped a Green Bay drive on their first possession of the third quarter that appeared destined to cut the Giants lead to 20-17 and change the momentum of the game.
Deon Grant: Probably the best game of the season for the veteran safety. Six tackles, a fumble recovery on the Umenyiora strip/sack and a diving interception of a deflected Rodgers' pass.
Antrel Rolle: Eight tackles and a fumble recovery. Rolle has backed up some of his talk with terrific play in recent weeks, so he deserves credit for that.
Derrick Martin: For recovering the surprise onside kick the Packers tried with the score 10-10 in the second quarter. The Giants have been burned by this play twice in the last two seasons, so Martin staying home and making the play was a huge momentum changer, even if the Giants did fail to score.
Kenny Phillips and Chase Blackburn: For combining to create and recover the fourth-quarter Ryan Grant fumble that led to Manningham's touchdown and an insurmountable 30-13 lead for the Giants.
Giants Fans In Green Bay: So many Giants jerseys in the stands. And so much jubilation. Great to see.
There are probably a lot of other guys deserving of 'Kudos' as well. This is enough for now, though. Feel free to add anyone you want.