Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Giant Playoff Collapse?

Gotta glance over this topic for a few lines. Hopefully this won't draw out into a long-winded post.

The media coverage today is centered on whether the New York Giants would have fared better with Plaxico Burress in the game against the Eagles on Sunday.

The answer is, very obviously, yes, they would have, simply because he commands double-coverage from the defense whenever he's on the field. Do the Giants win that game with him? Maybe, I guess... but probably not.

The burden of this loss should fall squarely on the Head Coach and the Offensive Coordinator as far as I'm concerned. And how do I intend to prove this? With a couple of simple stats, and a bit of common knowledge.

The word is that the wind conditions were rough at the Meadowlands on Sunday, and Eli Manning ALWAYS struggles in the wind. That's probably why the Giants were so good away from East Rutherford last season. And it's also probably why the best quarterback in Giants history, Phil Simms, only completed 55% of his passes for his career. The wind in North Jersey is a bitch. There's no denying that. And having a 6'5" receiver with the wingspan of a pterodactyl has to help a little.

But here's the bigger question... with the wind gusting, and Burress not out there drawing doubles, why did the Giants keep throwing the ball?

Brandon Jacobs ran the ball 19 times for 92 yards. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Derek Ward chewed up 46 yards on 12 carries for a 3.8 average. They were able to move the ball on the ground, especially with Jacobs.

Once you see Eli struggle in the first quarter, why doesn't the coach put the ball in Brandon Jacobs hands on every play? The Giants offensive line obviously loves to run-block, and they're great at it. And Jacobs goes 6'4" and over 260 lbs.

You let that guy slam himself into the defense... over... and over... and over again until the Philadelphia Eagles feel violated the way Ashley Dupre must have felt shortly before cashing one of Eliot Spitzer's checks.

You force the Philadelphia Eagles to stick 8 or 9 guys in the box to stop the run. And once they commit to that, you send in some play actions passes, and even Tom Coughlin could have suited up at wide receiver and snuck down the sideline for long completions.

Instead, the Giants ran 30 passing plays against 31 runs, maintaining a perfect offensive balance between the effective rushing game... and the completely ineffective passing game.

They did nothing to force the Eagles to adjust to them, instead allowing them to control the game, and ultimately the final score really doesn't show how one-sided things really were.

So yeah, now I guess the only thing to do is pull for the Arizona Cardinals. Why? Because Philadelphia just had the Phillies win something. Pittsburgh got one a couple of years ago. And I'd just feel like a schmuck cheering on the Cleveland Browns to win a Super Bowl for Baltimore. Plus it's Baltimore. I dunno. I don't like Baltimore. I've been there, it seems like a nice enough place. But I don't like it. So yeah, no Super Bowl for Baltimore.

Anyway, if teams that I like can't win a championship, I guess I'd rather see the wealth get spread around a bit. If the Cardinals actually have fans, they probably deserve a parade.

And for the record, if anybody can, in fact, confirm the existance of Arizona Cardinal fans, I'd love to hear about it.

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