Giants Destroy Saints in New York: Five Things We Learned
I love football and I will watch almost any game no matter who is playing, regardless of the lack of meaning that a particular contest could have.
But when a game appears on the schedule that is make or break for teams, you really have my attention.
The 7-5 Giants desperately needed a win to stay ahead of the Cowboys and the surging Redskins, while the Saints last hope for the playoffs and, moreover, respectability was at stake.
Drew Brees has owned the Giants, winning the last three contests in a string of flawless performances. Eli has been a disaster at these contests, looking more confused than Sara Palin at a Mensa meeting.
It was not to be. History would not repeat itself as Big Blue beat the Saints like they owed the Mara family money. Eli, after his usual rough start, threw four TDs and found himself out shined by David Wilson, who ran by the Saints' D so fast that they went back in time.
The Saints had been hanging on (even after that debacle against Atlanta) to their playoff possibilities like Nosferatu holding his hand up to futilely shield himself from the sun. The Giants turned them to dust on Sunday. Here are a few takeaways from the game.
1. The Saints' defense is terrible. They do nothing well. They tackle like crap, don't pursue with any urgency and do things like dare Eli to throw to Nicks in press coverage. That's a game plan? Hope Eli throws pick 6's? Well he does that anyway, and he hung four TDs on you, looking relaxed due to the total lack of pressure.
Jumping routes is not a game plan. This though, pales in comparison to the special teams. Wilson had a great night, but Jernigan also returned one 60 yards. It was as if the Saints were in slow motion every time they kicked off. Which brings me to...
2. David Wilson is crazy fast. I watched the West Virginia-Clemson game last year and was stunned by his burst and suddenness through the line. I hoped that The G-Men would take Doug Martin, but was happy when Wilson was the consolation prize.
He has elite speed (this is what it looks like Cowboy fans, not Felix Jones) and runs hard between the tackles, has great hands and is clearly, along with the oft-injured Andre Brown, pushing Bradshaw. Nothing but upside for the future.
3. Drew Brees is amazing but not a substitute for Sean Payton. Drew is clearly attempting to put the team on his back, pressing and making ill-advised throws as evidenced by seven interceptions in two weeks. Smoking Joe Fraizer said, "Kill the head and the body will die."
When Goodell suspended Payton (for right or wrong, that's a different conversation) he killed the head. What the Giants put the boots to was a shadow of last years team, a group of guys with no clear game plan and no hope of victory because of it. Without their great coach, they are barely a 500 team. Sorry Drew.
4. NFL defensive coordinators have clearly figured out how to cover Jimmy Graham. If you look at his numbers in the last four games starting in Oakland, he hasn't surpassed 60 yards in any contest. These are lousy numbers for a guy that was considered uncover-able last year.
Both of Brees' picks were on throws to Graham, where he tried to force the ball into coverage. To his credit Jimmy almost got one, then bobbled it into the waiting arms of Stevie Brown, the strong safety giving help over the top. Everyone sees you coming now Jimmy, and son, it just ain't working.
5. Despite being an enigma wrapped in a conundrum surrounded by a fog of impenetrable mystery, the Giants are in their playoff form and ready for another deep run. The fact is, when they have the toughest competition they hammer people. Just ask Green Bay and San Francisco.
The more serious the game, the more Big Blue steps up. There is no time as huge as December for the Giants, who just love going somewhere where they can be seen ,seemingly perpetually, as underdogs.
If you doubt this, ask Atlanta,Green Bay, San Fransisco and New England, in that order. Despite inconsistencies and the obvious flaws, nobody wants to see Eli and the G-Men in January.