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One Savage Sunday

That was one horrible day of football.

The Jets lost and the Giants won, which normally would have triggered one of my "life is full of ups and downs" posts. The afternoon victory by Big Blue should have washed out the pain of the morning loss by Gang Green. Not today, though.

The Jets game... what can I say about the Jets game? They lost to the Miami Dolphins, at home. They are supposed to be a better team than the Fins. They beat the Fins earlier in the year in Miami. But okay, this is the NFL, upsets happen. This wasn't just a loss, though, this was a drubbing, a humiliation. The Dolphins spanked the Jets in every aspect of the game. Offense, defense, coaching, special teams... oh my god, special teams. The Jets have Mike Westhoff, one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL, but today they got owned. A blocked punt leading to a TD, a blocked field goal, an onsides kick that took the Jets completely by surprise, big runbacks... it was one punch in the gut after another.

Mark Sanchez's stat line will not look awful tomorrow, but only because he racked up some cheap yards and a cheap TD in garbage time. When it was still a game, he was awful. He held the ball too long, and when he threw it, it went high, it went low, it went awry. Not that it mattered, because the Jets don't seem to have any wideouts who can catch it anyway. I have been a supporter of Sanchez in this whole Tebow mess, but I have to admit, I am losing faith. He seems to be getting worse, not better. Not that I believe Tebow is the answer either. Yes, maybe Rex should put him in next game. Hell, he should have put him in THIS game, Mark wasn't getting it done. But Tebow is fool's gold, he won't save anything. We need another QB. What the hell is Chad Pennington doing these days?

So that was awful, but then the afternoon arrived, and with it the Giants. Surely they would defeat the hated Dallas Cowboys to avenge the opening day loss, I figured.

Well, they did. Kinda sorta. They won. Counts in the standings. Helps to solidify their grasp on first place in the NFL East. The Gmen are now 6-2 (actually, they seem to end up 6-2 every year, it is always the second half of the season that's the problem), with the Eagles and Cowboys at 3-4 and the Redskins at 3-5. So that's good. And the game was incredibly exciting as well. A great game, if you like suspense and don't especially care who won... but for a Giants fan, it was agonizing, and I cannot even imagine how painful it was for any Dallas Cowboys fan (vile hellspawn that they are ).

It was not, however, by any stretch of the imagination a well-played game by the Giants. And I LIKE to see my team play well, whether in victory or defeat. This victory was a gift of the gods... them, and Tony Romo.

It began well enough, admittedly. Romo threw an INT, and then another, and then a third, and by the time we were a couple minutes into the second quarter, the Giants were up 23-0 and the talking heads (one of whom was Troy Aikman, an awful commentator, especially on Cowboys games) were nattering about blowouts. Even then, though, I felt disquieted. Romo and the 'Boys were doing all they could to hand the game to New York, but the Giants were not driving the nails into the coffin. Aside from JPP's pick-six (a great play), they were turning all these Dallas turnovers into field goals, not touchdowns. Settling for three points when you should be getting seven will always get you into trouble in the NFL. I have watched enough games to know that sooner or later the gifts will stop, and then the game can turn. NFL teams are like zombies: not enough to put them down, you have to FINISH them, shoot them in the head. Always double-tap, or they will rise again.

And so it was. Up 23-0, the Giants were driving when Ahmed Bradshaw fumbled... the first mistake that Big Blue made, and one that ultimately led to no points, yet somehow that changed everything. You could almost HEAR the momentum shift. And all of a sudden Romo was throwing the ball to the guys in the white uniforms instead of the guys in blue, and shredding Big Blue's vaunted defense. From 23-0 it went to 23-7, then 23-10 at the half. After intermission, Dallas came out and drove right down the field to make it 23-17, and all of a sudden the blowout had become a game again (Even Troy noticed). Every Romo completion felt like a punch in the gut.

"I cannot BELIEVE this is happening," I kept saying, but happen it did. When the Giants got the ball back, their offense did nothing. Way too many three-and-outs. The running game was not clicking, and Eli's receivers started dropping the ball again, just as they had in the opener against Dallas. (What is it with Victor Cruz? He's all-pro against every other team in the league, but both times we've faced Dallas this season he has a sudden case of the dropsy). Late in the third quarter, Romo engineered yet another drive, ending with the same bloody rollout play he'd used to score a 4th down TD on his last drive. That time he ran, this time he threw, but the result was the same, and suddenly Dallas was WINNING 24-23.

It was the biggest comeback in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, and I felt sick.

Fortunately, they play four quarters in the NFL, not just three. And the fourth quarter belongs to Eli Manning. Usually. Tonight? Not so much. Yes, the Giants "came back" to win the game... but truthfully, Dallas gave it to them with two more huge mistakes. First Felix Jones runs right into his own man's ass, and puts the ball on the ground. The Giants recover the fumble, and Eli turns it into another field goal. Now it's Gmen 26-24. But their offense still can't score touchdowns, and the way the Dallas O was moving, with Witten and Austin, I had ZERO faith in that two point lead holding up. I felt marginally better later in the quarter, when the Giants tacked on another field goal and made it 29-24. A five point lead at least meant that Dallas would need to score a TD. But I still felt uneasy.

And with good reason. Sure enough, here comes Romo again, and down the field they come, and.... YES! Another INT!!! Four on the day! That should have ended it. Really. Truly. That should have written FINIS.

It didn't. All the Giants needed was one first down. Ten yards. So they ran the ball, and ran the ball, and ran the ball, and got nine-and-a-half yards. Dallas burned all its timeouts, but still got the ball back. And yet another drive. Clock ticking, Cowboys driving, my heart in my throat... it looked at one point as if the Giants had stopped them with a sack, but a crappy bogus holding call gave Dallas a reprieve... they were still at midfield, but there were only seconds left, so Romo heaves this Hail Mary to the endzone...

And seven bloody hells, Dez Bryant CAUGHT it, and fell on his ass in the endzone with what looked to be the winning TD.

It wasn't. Thank the gods, but Bryant has a big big hand, and as he landed the tips of his fingers touched the white beyond the endzone a split second before his butt thumped down. A bigger butt, or a smaller hand, and Dallas would have won the game. Instead the TD call was reversed, the pass was incomplete. Romo still got off three more passes (with TEN seconds left! how did we let THAT happen!!), but the last sailed high, and the Giants won.

Or rather, the Cowboys lost.

We'll take the win, but really, this was not a victory to take pride in. Game ball should have gone to our Scottish Kicker, whose field goals counted for most of the New York points. The rest was Tony Romo. I am SO glad Tony is on Dallas, and not my team. The guy would drive me crazy. You never know which Tony you're going to get. This game, Bad Tony showed up for the first quarter, but in the second and third Good Tony took his place, and was basically unstoppable. Fourth quarter the two of them alternated, with Bad Tony throwing the last pick, and Good Tony leading the final drive and lofting that bomb to Bryant.

It was incomplete, yeah, the refs made the right call when they reversed it... but there was no sense in which the Giants can take credit for that. They did not pressure Romo enough, and the coverage broke down in the endzone. It was pure luck that Dez's fingers touched the white before his butt landed on the green.

The Giants had this game not once, but twice... and twice they gave it away. Only the Cowboys would not take it. Good thing, too. Blowing a 23-0 lead would have been horrible. And coming back, retaking the lead, getting that final INT, and then STILL losing on a six-seconds-left Hail Mary would have been even worse.

One of these days, one of my football teams is going to stop my heart. The Giants almost did it today. We really need to get that home defibrillator, I swear...



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Oct. 29th, 2012 05:53 am (UTC)
My Seahawks had a 3-point lead with about 20 seconds left in the game, and lost. :/
Alexander Pendergrass
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
To a Lions squad showing glimpses of last season!!
Oct. 29th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
So much for home-field advantage times four.
Marc Lombardi
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
'Boys Game

Your recap is pretty accurate. However, that last pick wasn't "bad Tony". It was 4th and 10, he was pressured, a holding penalty was called, and all he could do was throw it up and hope Witten got it which would have made it 3rd and 20 (Giants would have taken the hold). He was backpedaling because of the pressure of the Giants' front 4. I mean c'mon, if you were really watching the game you'd know that.

Also, I think Troy is a fine talking head. He gives good analysis, is well spoken, and usually has good back and forth with the other talking head. I think it's your internal anti-Cowboy nature that's getting the best of you here.

One last thing - I'd take Romo over Sanchez ANY day. I don't even know if you're a Sanchez fan, but yeah you'll get bad Romo sometimes. Happens. I'm not the biggest Romo fan, but he gets put in the spotlight because he's the Dallas QB and therefore all his mistakes are taken to the extreme in the sports media. Oh well.

Love the books.

Dallas native and life long Cowboys fan - Marc Lombardi
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:41 am (UTC)
Re: 'Boys Game
Actually, that last Romo INT was on 4th down, so the Giants would actually have been better off if Stevie Brown had simply batted the ball away rather than catching it. They would still have gotten possession, but twenty yards further up the field.

Given the way Mark played today, I would probably take Romo over him as well. Wanna trade? We'll throw in Tebow. Two for one, how can you resist?

Edited at 2012-10-29 06:42 am (UTC)
Re: 'Boys Game - Marc Lombardi - Oct. 29th, 2012 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 'Boys Game - nycfalcon - Oct. 29th, 2012 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 'Boys Game - John Vizcarra - Oct. 29th, 2012 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
Vile Hellspawn

Sticks and stones my friend.
It was an exciting back and forth game that had me on the edge of my seat I'll agree.
But what else would you expect from the two best teams in the NFL's toughest division?
Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

(aka Vile Hellspawn who reads your books 😈)
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, once Romo figured out that he could just throw to Witten on like every play, the Cowboys were clicking. You'd think the Giants' defense would figure this out, especially since the Cowboys stopped even pretending to try running the ball.

Eli seemed off once again, although this time a lot of the blame could be placed at his receivers' feet. They never seemed to achieve any separation.

Oh well, I'll take the W. I'll also have to take extra stress medication after this game. If the rest of the games are like this, I'm going to need several refills before the season is done.
Oct. 29th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
They should have played Rivers on Whitten. He has the strength size and speed to front him.

Since Hakeem has been back there seems to be spacing problem. I feel confident that as he gets back into football shape the passing attack will click again. I wonder what the problem with Ramses Barden is. Big, long, with good hands and fair speed. I keep looking for him to be Plax redux in the "green zone."

I also think that Andre Brown needs more downs. I'm guessing his blitz recognition and pickup is not so good. Although it looked good enough when Bradshaw was down.
Oct. 29th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
My wife actually said "Oh man, I hope George didn't just have a heart attack right then..."
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:51 am (UTC)
Imagine my surprise, especially when I read that our starting QB was knocked out early.
Oct. 29th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry your football weekend was filled with 'meh.' I'll share a bit of the Georgia joy with you. 7-0 Falcons along with UGA upsetting Florida at the Cocktail Party.

All was not horribly bleak in the land of the Pigskin.
Oct. 29th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the best part!
The Patriots went over to London and annihilated the Rams. The only reason that the fans there stayed and watched the game is that apparently the Pats are the most popular team in the UK. Which is a bit strange that the most popular team in Britain is the one named after guys who fought the British...
Steven Lord
Oct. 31st, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Don't forget the best part!
How much of that is the Brady factor? Great athlete, married to a beautiful woman ... they may have a Beckham^2 craving that can be somewhat satisfied by Brady and Bundchen.
Jan D Thomas
Oct. 29th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
As for the Giants...
There was some really fuzzy clock working going on in Dallas yesterday. Coughlin was dancing around the issue with the media, but there were times when the clock didn't start until Romo is already two steps deep after the snap. They got a free play or two out of it, without a doubt.
Oct. 29th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
I am a Skins fan with heartaches of my own, but i watched the Dallas-Giants game with almost as much gut wrenching! Sorry it's not us at the top, of course, but was cheering on the G-men, complete with nail biting at the end! Eff Romo.and the 'Boys! :)

Edited at 2012-10-29 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oct. 29th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
The Jets were favored? No way. The Jets suck! They need an ownership transplant. Nobody knows exactly how much money Woody Johnson has in his trust fund, but I really do hope the Jets keep losing and he can't afford his share of MetLife Stadium nor the Jets. The Jets are just a toy for his ego. As was said on one of the pregame shows, he's the new Al Davis. Only, Al Davis was at one time brilliant in something. He's worse than the Wilpons.

Is it any wonder the bum wants to pay less taxes? He and his ilk have shown time and again that an accident of birth hurts the public.

I was wondering if I was the only one who thought that fans of both teams could be justifiably pissed off. The Giants were lucky that Tony Romo is the prototypical girl with the curl. When he's good he's very, very, good, but when he's bad...

It seems to me that Cruz is still thinking about that second game last season. He wants to make the big play against the Cowboys before catching the ball. Hopefully, he realizes his errors that he has to take the ball out of the air first. He also has to realize that defensive plan was to physically harass him for the whole game.

I don't know if Eli was confused by what the defense was doing or the play calling was the problem. Or, Bradshaw needs less touches. Or, all of the above. Why they didn't try more trickeration like that 3rd down play in the first quarter using Cruz to open holes or get one on one coverage is beyond me. Thankfully Eli, the play calling and Bradshaw smartened up enough.

Boley has not been playing terribly well this season. I felt that they should have put Rivers on Whitten. And, holy crap! Was that Justin Tuck we saw on the field yesterday? That endzone play was very interesting. On live play, like Stevie "the ball magnet" Brown, I would have sworn that Bryant landed out of bounds. Phwew! It seemed to me that Brown could easily have intercepted that if he had attempted too. Unfortunately that strike busting call in the Green Bay game almost hurt us. Sometimes trying to knock the ball down in the endzone may not be the best play.

But like you said. The Giants have a cushion for one more sucky game. I have no doubt that they will use it. This team thrives on adversity.
Oct. 29th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
The NFL came to London yesterday and a couple of your Voyager girls were there - admittedly only one of them (me) was supporting someone other than the dreaded Patriots... how could I, when they are the devil's team?!
That being said, the devil dominated in Blighty. Still, it was great to get some of that NFL spirit in the UK and made me nostalgic for home!
Eduardo Schimitt
Oct. 29th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
Greetings from a lone Giants fan in southern Brazil.

I almost had a heart attack when Dez Bryant caught the ball at the end.

I simply could not believe that the Gmen were about to lose the game after being winning by 23-0, so I started to pray for all the gods that I could remember.

Luckily the refs reversed the call and the Gmen won.

Edited at 2012-10-29 03:28 pm (UTC)
Oct. 29th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
My husband is a passionate Giants fan. I love your game recaps. Thank you!
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George R.R. Martin
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