Last night's game reminded me of the children's movie "The Little Giants", where the team is just abysmal, and at one point the Little Giants got a yard on one play and one parent stood up and yelled "we gained a yard!" and the crowd went crazy with joy. That's the 2013 New York Giants. We fans our rooting for our team and are relieved that they won a game, but that was one of the most boring, poorly executed football games I've seen in a long time. At one point in the game a graphic popped up with "yards per play" for both teams and both teams were under four yards per play for the game, just pitiful football. Fortunately the Giants won this game -- unfortunately they don't get to play the Minnesota Vikings any more this season.
Here are your five key plays.
Eli Manning scrambles for six yards on third and five
This was the third offensive play of the game. The Giants looked like they were about to start the game in usual fashion, a three-and-out, but Manning put the jets on to gain 6 yards on third down and get the first down, which helped the Giants get into some sort of rhythm and eventually kick a field goal to score points on their first possession.
Peyton Hillis fumbles the football but then promptly recovers it.
At this point in the game the Giants had kicked a field goal, but then punted (which was returned to the house), three-and-out and punted, and looked like they were about to hand the ball back to the VIkings on a fumble when Hillis alertly recovered his own fumble. It's not a huge play that shows up in the box score, but these are the kind of plays that can send bad teams into a downward spiral for the rest of the game. The Giants would have been down 7-3 with the Vikings starting the drive in Giants' territory. Maybe the defense would have stopped them, but maybe the Vikings score a touchdown here to go up 14-3 a seemingly nearly insurmountable lead for these Giants. On this drive the Giants capitalized on the recovered fumble by completing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle.
Antrel Rolle picks off Josh Freeman after the Vikings recover a Rueben Randle fumble.
Antrel Rolle might be overpaid, but he was and is a terrific signing by the front office. You have to factor in that almost all free agents are overpaid by the market, but Rolle has been a guy who has done whatever the team asks of him since he got here (though he resisted quite a bit at first) and made big plays at times. The Giants likely don't win the Super Bowl without him. Anyway, Rolle made a huge play here when the momentum of the game could have shifted by making a terrific one-handed catch on an interception (huge assist by the big man, Shaun Rogers) when the Vikings had the ball on the fringe of the Giants red-zone. The game was still 10-7 at this point.
Zak DeOssie recovers a fumble to put the Giants in position for a Peyton Hillis rushing touchdown.
This was a huge play that subsequently gave the Giants breathing room when Hillis plunged into the end-zone to put the Giants up 10 points.
Damontre Moore forces a fumble on Sharrif Floyd's kickoff return attempt which is recovered by the Giants.
In what was quickly turning into a comedy of errors Vikings first-round pick Sharrif Floyd, a defensive tackle, tried to return a kickoff, but popped the ball into the air and into Jacquian Williams 'hands. This led to more points for the Giants and effectively ended the game (especially with the way Josh Freeman was playing).
It wasn't pretty, but it counts.