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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eagles 23 Giants 0

Overall- Look at the score above, that is the true score, the true story. The FG block at the end of H1 and garbage time TD at the end of the game should not cover up the fact that our offense scored ZERO points folks. 0.0 In the last few years this blog has made only a few predictions/point spread outcomes, but this morning's was spot on.

Feel free to skip straight to The Ugly below, if you want to read anything that is significantly on the margin.

The Good:

1) It is one loss, enables the team to get a wake up call and correct some things. No damage from this one loss in terms of getting the bye, in terms of still getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Bad:

2) Let's remember that Dallas limped into the playoffs with homefield advantage in the playoffs last season, and a lot of good that did them. They were one and done, so there were lots of things that went wrong today that cannot continue...

3) The pass drops. These are the fundamentals, blocking and tackling, catching passes. If your receivers are going to drop balls it does not matter if you have the greatest OL or a passer putting it on the money. I lost track of all the guilty parties to this sin, and if I have the energy/time to go back this evening and watch the tape, I will come back here and edit in the names and numbers, but it was not pretty.

4) No pass rush on McNabb. See comments from NYG 36 Eagles 31 post.

5) POCKET CONTAIN ON McNABB was NOT THERE. Where have you gone Michael Strahan, our lack of pocket contain turns its lonely eyes to you.

6) Defensive coverage of Westbrook and the TE. Our linebackers are not our strong suit, and this is where they can get exposed. Westbrook 1 on 1 vs any LBer when healthy? It is going to be a field day for him. He is one of the best players in the entire NFL when healthy.. we forget (well, to be fair, not this blog, who mentions a healthy/Westbrook whenever we face the Eagles) this because we have not gotten a 100% Westbrook in quite a while. Believe it or not, as Andrew (see one of the very last comments in the prev post) states, the defense overall played okay enough for us to still have a chance despite all of the transgressions mentioned. It gave up many third down conversions, but its play would normally keep the team in the game.


7) Gilbride made many mistakes this game and his largest one was not playing within the field conditions. THE WIND CHANGED THE ENTIRE COMPLEXION OF HOW AN OFFENSE COULD RUN ITS GAMEPLAN. So Gilbride's playcalling was mostly weak. The Giants went against the wind in Q1 and Q4. Manning could not throw the ball downfield, yes, it was not an accident that Gilbride made a great playcall on the very first play he had the wind, airing it out for Hixon. And yes, it is not Gilbride's fault for dropping the ball. But where Gilbride goes awry is precisely where the Eagles did well... THE SHORT PASSING GAME. Where were the screens to RBs? Where were the checkdowns to your RB? Where was the QB scramble? Where were the RB slip screens? Where were the 5-7 yard slants to WRs to give them a little more confidence in not dropping the ball? How many balls were thrown out of the backfield to Ward and Bradshaw?

A guy like Westbrook is great on a day like today because he is great in small ball. And when the wind is what it is, small ball is not a good idea, it is a NECESSITY. The closest thing to Westbrook that the Giants have is Ahmad Bradshaw. Yes, this NY giants football blog is home of the Bradshawlics, we are completely biased and we fully admit that. But this game CRIED OUT for his EXTENSIVE USE. You have a tool box loaded with tools, use them! When you look at how the Eagles got their yardage today, they:

a) dinked and dunked to their TE coming out of the backfield AFTER blocking (that is a checkdown, folks) for a chunk of those 44 yards
b) hit Westbrook on checkdowns for 72 yards
c) McNabb scrambled for 20 yards.

That is a total of ~120 yards on bs, which was is over 1/3rd of their yardage on the day. That moves the chains and makes them control the ball, especially in spots where the wind was against them. WE TOUCHED THE BALL FOR EXACTLY ONE TIME IN Q3 WHEN WE HAD THE WIND. So the Eagles did precisely what we did not do. (And please do not forget how it keeps the defense on the field and demoralizes them, they do everything they need to do except stop them.)

We have been the nitpickers when ripping Gilbride, when asking for Eli Manning to run ONCE per game to keep the defense honest, when asking for them to use Bradshaw's speed in the short pass out of the backfield, when asking for Manning and the RBs to practice those plays more so that the ball does not end up at the player's foot instead of in his chest. Maybe these things become more important when the weather gets tougher. Maybe these things become more important when Hixon replaces Burress on a full time basis. Better to have this wakeup call now and let necessity be the mother of invention for Gilbride in W14 instead of Jan 10th-11th.

Summary: The Eagles came to play, the Giants were flat, not as sharp, but there is a lot to improve on, a lot to learn from. Better now than the Patriots in the Super Bowl or the Cowboys in the Divisional playoff round. Plenty of time to correct mistakes. It was not our day, but we will come back much stronger, assuming the normal adjustments are made and they come back hugrier, which I fully expect.


Nature said...

Andy if you read the INTRA game talk you will see me screaming for #44 early, i thought his speed and ability to make the first guy miss could of been used....you could see gilbride was out of his mind early on, the reverse was a horrible call killing a good drive, how about the shotgun pitch on 3rd down and 2 (i do believe this is the worst play in any team's playbook) i have never ever seen that play ran for a positive gain, and the 4th and 1 shotgun pass

Gilbride uses the Oilers playbook from Super Tecmo Bowl circa 1991

Nature said...

Congrats to the 2008 NFC BEAST champions...lets not forget the big picture folks....we are in the dance so we have the chance you look for in the the start of the season...we are OFFICIALLY in the Tourny fellas...next step first week bye...i dont care for home field throughout it means absolutely nothing in our case....

Bass said...

Andy--I heard Coughlin's postgame comments on the radio. Someone (I think it was Sal Paolantonio) asked him something like, "Do you think the offense was affected by the absence of Plaxico. When Plaxico was in the previous Eagles game they would frequently double team him. During this game none of the Giants receivers were double teamed. Did that affect the game plan and the results?"

Coughlin became kind of pissed off and brushed it off which made me think it was a valid point. I know there were multiple reasons why the G-men lost and the Plaxico situation has been beaten to death. However, the fact that the Eagles were able to get away without double teaming any of the receivers may have contributed to the loss and the Giants will need to address this in future games. This ties in exactly with what you and the other bloggers have been responding with in terms of what they need to do with their offense--especially in bad weather conditions.

J.blaze said...

don't you think home field, in the cold windy tundra of Giant Stadium, is Eli's worst enemy?

Where was the short stuff to Ward or Bradshaw to open up the field today?

Gilbride seems pretty stubborn to change the game plan.

Bass said...

Nature, I agree. Congrats. Obviously it would have been nicer to celebrate after a Giants victory. However, a divison title is a good accomplishment, especially in this division.

Crazed Giant fan said...

The Giants just didn't make the plays they usually do. Kenny Phillips missed a huge tackle on a 3rd and long on the first Eagle TD drive. It kept the drive alive. That is the first time this season I've seen him miss a tackle he should have made. What happened to Aaron Ross? I didn't see him from the 2nd qtr on.
I think Andy is right on target with his criticism of gilbride. The wind conditions demanded the short passing game. Why didn't he adjust?
Mostly, they beat us on both lines of scrimmage. There were numerous runs for negative yardage. Something we haven't seen much of this year.
All in all, a very disappointing game.

Andy F. said...

Nature, you and I are so much in agreement on all of this, that is effectively old and stale news. I read all the intragame comments.. you and I are the broken record.

Thanks btw to Michael S. for the game seats. He was party to ou conversation when #44 came into the game, and I specifically said to him: "use him in the PASS." Bradshaw had ZERO balls thrown to him today. Ward? One? Two tops? The stats show one reception for two yards. Boss one reception for 5 yards. Lots of room for improvement.

Mike said...

I agree that our RBs should have been used out of the backfield. Ward has been catching on average 5-6 passes a game the last several weeks--either with dump offs, traditional RB screens, or lining up as a WR and getting the ball on slip screens...where was this? Where was Boss on some TE screens? How about Moss, Manningham and Hixon on some short routes, WR slip screens or just quick passes?

The game plan today sucked terribly. And it didnt help when the few play calls that did work, the players blew it (Hixon and Smith drops are the big ones).

Mitch said...

I don't believe this was a good loss at all. It will not benefit us next week at all. We will be going into Dallas now undermanned and with a little bit of our aura diminished.

We were beat in all phases except specials and it was frustrating as all hell.

The events of the past week took their toll and I don't care if every player on the team denies it. This team was not prepared for the intensity that a desperate team that needed it...and wanted it more to keep their playoff lives alive.

Amazingly, the pass-happy Eagles did the smart thing on a windy day and ran the ball. Gave it to Brian Westbrook a career-high 33 times. Only averaged 3.5 yards per carry, but controlled the ball, and moved the chains and converted nearly every 3rd down either by running or passing. In fact, Donovan McNabb completed 19 of 30 passes, including 12 to Brian Westbrook and L.J. Smith.

A month ago, Brandon Jacobs and the Giants steamrolled the Eagles for 219 rushing yards. Today the Eagles held us to 88 yards on 24 carries. Giants had just 2 runs of 10 yards or more.

With no Plaxico Burress to worry about and an assist from the wind, the Eagles held Eli Manning to seven completions in 21 attempts in the first three quarters. Safeties and linebackers did an excellent job on tight end Kevin Boss. (who I thought would be a factor)

So much for the belief that the Giants were unbeatable. The Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines both won the trench battles.

Can someone tell me why Killdrive had possibly the worst gameplan ever considering the conditions?

xtian said...

ditto on all the comments about the bad offensive play calling! ugh!

the giants got beat plain and simple. i think they were starting to believe their press clippings about how good they were. i expect them to come out real hungry against dallas next sunday night. knocking dallas out of the playoffs would be a sweet thing!

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