The New York Giants are limping out of yesterday's 41-34 victory over the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers and only one word comes to mind: relief. In a game the Giants sure looked like they were determined to lose through three quarters, Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks took over in the fourth to drop Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson and save Big Blue from starting in a big 0-2 hole.
We're not going to lie: for much of the second and third quarters we did not think Big Blue was going to win. Most of you are lying if you say different. It really was a tale of two cities as Manning took over late after throwing for three picks in the first half; he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns…in the fourth quarter alone. So, here we are at 1-1 with only a few injuries and a few more blown coverages to worry about and the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night to worry about.
Things we think we saw yesterday….
Eli Manning can still win games by himself.
He did it all last year and showed yesterday it was no fluke: this guy's got the ability to put the team on his back and march up and down the field for points when we need them. Sure, he threw three picks in the first half. But we're not going to sit here and complain about his performance. And neither should you.
The Giants cornerbacks are in trouble
When injury after injury piled up in the Giants secondary, we thought the one guy we could count on is Corey Webster. Unfortunately, Webster has gotten eaten alive the first two weeks and the rest of the guys who have been on the field haven't faired much better. There's room to hope, as Jayron Hosely works his way into the rotation, Prince Amukamara
regains his health and Michael Coe gets over the nagging hamstring injury…but they've got to get better if the Giants want to compete this year.
And the defensive line sure isn't helping
Compounding the bad play in the secondary is the complete lack of pass rush. Tony Romo and Josh Freeman both routinely had way too much time in the pocket and it showed in both of their teams' passing success. This writer is going to leave it to the analysts to figure out why the Giants aren't getting much pass rush…but will go ahead and say we wouldn't mind seeing a fifth and/or sixth body heading toward the QB more often than we have.
The injury bug strikes
We'll surely have more on this as we get MRI results back, but the Giants appear to have lost Ahmad Bradshaw and David Diehl for at least a while. Bradshaw is getting an MRI this morning after a scary neck (are there any other kind?) injury. No update on him, but who plays three days after a neck MRI? The early report on Diehl is that it is not a torn ACL, but again with the Giants playing Thursday, he's likely out at least this week.
Fortunately for Big Blue, the offensive line was much better in the second half when Diehl wasn't in the game and Andre Brown sparked some life in what has been a nonexistent running game. We may have a pair of BID's here, fellas.
Not a lot of time to savor this victory (although it's the kind of ugly win I'm not sure we're all so interested in savoring) with us heading to Carolina to see Cam Newton and Steve Smith on Thursday night. The Panthers looked good dismantling the New Orleans Saints yesterday and mobile quarterbacks like Newton can give the Giants a problem. The Giants front four will have their hands full containing Newtown, the secondary will have their hands full with a speedy receiver corps and the front seven will also face a scary three-pronged running attack.
If the Giants defense plays the way it has the first two weeks, they might need another 500-yard day from Eli to pull out a victory.
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