|The Ultimate World Cup of Hockey Preview||LeBron James: A Performance for the Ages||RIP Muhammad Ali: The GOAT||Steph and the Warriors came out to play|
After the Giants won an offensive dogfight 27-24 against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife stadium, they attained sole position of first place in the NFC East. The Giants early season success has been typical the last several years – they’ve been known to assume the throne early in autumn, only to be forcefully removed from it by the time winter arrives. On paper, then, 4-2 is the same old song: nice start, see you at 8-8 and out of the playoffs come December.
This year, though, the Giants’ 4-2 record is a lot more meaningful. Very few pundits expected the Giants to even be contend early in the season. A rash of injuries to key Giants’ players had some thinking they would be in the NFC East cellar by now. A 4-2 record is indicative of comradre and grit, particularly from 7th year quarterback Eli Manning, who’s putting up Pro Bowl numbers thus far. Moroever, unlike past seasons in which the Giants had easy schedules during September and October, they haven’t had this luxury this year. On Sunday, they played the 4-1 Bills, with one of the best playmaking secondaries in the league, and a dynamic offense.
Both teams took full advantage of exploiting each other’s below-average run defenses. Giants’ Ahmad Bradhsaw ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns, while Fred Jackson was even more versatile in his dominance, running for 121 yards and receiving for 47. However, the reason for Jackson’s strong receiving numbers is also the central one behind the Giants victory: the Giants pass rush put constant pressure on Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, sacking him three times for a cumultiave loss of 25 yards. The Giants assertive pass rush forced Fitzpatrick to resort to short drop passes to running back Jackson rather than longer ones to his favorite target Stevie Johnson (5 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD).
The Giants offensive line, on the other hand, was impeccable. They muffled the Bills’ pass rush all day, allowing zero sacks. Eli Manning, who had all sorts of time to generously distribute the ball to his young receiver squad, completed five passes a piece to Scott Ballard and Mario Manningham, and four to Hakeem Nicks; all in all, Manning hit seven receivers for the day. What bodes even better for the Giants is that Manning – who is reputed for being interception prone -threw for zero interceptions against one of the hottest secondaries in the NFL. Going into Sunday, the Buffalo Bills led the NFL with 12 interceptions, four of which came against Tom Brady.
A Giants victory over the once hapless Bills could be a landmark win for the G-Men to build on in 2011, especially considering the Bills played strongly at MetLife Stadium. Ryan Fitzpatrick finished the day 21/30 for 244 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. Buffalo wasn’t flawless, but the team certainly did a decent job in controlling mistakes: they only had one fumble and 7 penalties for the day.
However, in addition to giving up zero interceptions or sacks for the afternoon, the Giants also didn’t fumble the ball. They also looked like a team on the verge of a winning season by playing a cleaner game than a solid Bills team.