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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eagles 23 Giants 11

First off, congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles. They played hard and were able to capitalize on the opportunity.

The MVP of the Eagles today was shared by three people: Eli Manning, John Carney and Kevin Gilbrown. While I will not take anything away from the Eagles, THE GIANTS BEAT THEMSELVES TODAY. Like we said this week, there will be no excuses if this team loses because they were afforded all the opportunities with advanced warning of how the game would play out. Indeed, there were no surprises! The only surprise, which really should not be one, is how cranially-challenged Kevin Gilbrown really is. But we will get to that in a bit.

1) I have said it here after we won Super Bowl XLII--> Eli Manning has a free pass for life. He won me, he won you, he won all the Giants a championship. So I will not serve him up and skewer the guy. I have no animosity or anger at #10. It was what it was for him. He played very poorly today. His longest pass, a connection to Hixon, was another backfooted prayer that happened to be fortunate enough to randomly hit Hixon. A broken clock is right twice a day, and that was Eli, who was guessing with his throws all afternoon and came up inaccurate too often in too BIG a game. Jim Johnson told the FOX TV crew that he was putting it on Eli by committing to stopping the run. ELI DID NOT ANSWER. If Eli answers the Giants win. If Eli does not answer, the Giants lose. It is not that complicated. When you think back to the "pick 6" by Manning throwing off his back foot into the wind in Q1 to Samuel, Manning effectively did not contribute ANYTHING offensively. 6 of the 9 points were set up by a Bradshaw kickoff runback and a Robbins INT. Technically speaking, that makes Eli essentially NEGATIVE FOUR POINTS WHILE OUT ON THE FIELD.

But Eli had some help in this crime of the Giants being beaten by themselves. He did not have any help from the dartboard poster child of this New York Giants blog..

2) Kevin Gilbrown. For those of you who do not know, we have been calling Mr. Gilbride "Gilbrown" because 'brown' is short for Dave Brown, the official curse word of the 2008 season here at ultimatenyg. Gilbrown was brown today. In such a big and horrendous way. All you have to do is go back to Carl Banks' discussion on WFAN which we painstakingly detailed 5 days ago. Banks spelled it out- the playcalling was hampering the team. The red zone inefficiency (0 for 3) and 3rd down inconsistency (3 for 13) was going to come back to bite you in the playoffs if you were in the wrong place (tight game) at the wrong time (ie Eli Manning playing poorly). We discussed in detail many weeks ago that what is needed as the antidote for opposing teams committing to stopping the run (WITH BURRESS NO LONGER ON THE ROSTER) is to do the following:

a) run flares to the RBs
b) run screens to the RBs
c) run delayed TE screens
d) draw plays
e) play action
f) quick slants

WHERE WERE THESE PLAYS TODAY? There wasn't a single screen. THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE SLANT!! So when your team is in the red zone 3x and comes away with 9 points, it is going to be a killer.

3) John Carney. This one is on the coaching staff, actually, squarely on Tom Coughlin. If there is one thing everyone knew, it is was that the 40something Carney did not have a long leg. So Coughlin is smart in activating Tynes for kickoffs, but why not use Tynes for the long FGs that Carney cannot make? Yes, they were with the wind, but you use Tynes because it was Carney who missed the LONG ONE two weeks ago vs Minnesota. This is not Monday AM QB. We have been asking (more than few times this season) for both FG kickers to be dressed for these reasons. Carney missing these FGs is more a symptom of the Manning problem/Gilbrown disease than anything else.

The rest of these items are subplots to the loss:
4) Matthias Kiwanuka was invisible later in the season and was once again unable to make the impact we needed.
5) The DL lack of push up the middle from Robbins and Cofield in pass rush was clearly a problem, especially after some early (Q1) effectiveness disappeared.
6) Jacobs running wide (getting strung out way too many times for no impact and NO POUNDING) and not north/south was a symptom of the Gilbride disease.
7) Bradshaw's # was not called a single time all game. Egregious misuse of personnel. At a certain point you have to accept the fact that Bradshaw can break a big play, and he got ZERO touches. 0.0. Those plays mentioned about were a perfect way to put him out there in space to utilize his skills. It was absent. Instead, all we got was one pass (ALL GAME!) to Ward in the flat that Ward dropped.
8) Boss got a lot more balls thrown to him, but Manning missed him also on 3 occasions that I can recall.
9) Manning needs to learn to throw a tight spiral beginning NOW. In the offseason. Simms changed his mechanics to make the Meadowlands in Nov/Dec/Jan an advantage. Until he does so, you can easily argue that it is a DISADVANTAGE to be playing at home. Indeed, what is Manning's playoff record at the Meadowlands? 0-2 I believe.
10) I am tired of watching LBers chasing RBs. Spags had more safeties on them this game, and it worked, but Spags will be gone soon and these slow LBers will not. Pls draft FAST LBers by committing stronger resources (high <#1, #2> picks) toward this position.

There are so many other items that could be discussed in this recap, but it will have to wait for coming days. After all, we now have plenty of time in the offseason to examine the responses needed. Certainly, it was not the Giants coaching staff's fault that Plaxico Burress essentially undermined this season. But it was the Giants coaching staff's fault that proper adjustments were not made to put the Giants in the best position to win. Gilbrown and (ultimately) Coughlin will have to deal with that. One of the things said here back in September and October when the Giants were kicking major brown on opposing teams was that the offense and the team were winning DESPITE GILBROWN, not because of him. When Burress was lost, this put more pressure on Gilbrown to work with less and adapt to the new hand being dealt. He was not equal to the task.

Ultimatenyg is a home to many people who are passionate about football and the New York Giants. I will put on a new hat right now: Ultimatenyg Grief Counselor. We have had a death in the family, a Giant death. The 2008 Giants season. So that you can manage this painful process, I offer you a personal journey through this bitter and painful period. The 5 stages of grief are:

1) Denial- I cannot believe we lost and are out of the playoffs. What happened?! Was this a bad dream? Someone wake me up from this bad dream and tell me it wasn't real.

2) Anger- That Motherbrowner Gilbrown. I hate him.

3) Bargaining- If I promise to be good and not send a letter bomb to Kevin Gilbrown, will the Giants be nice enough to release him?!

4) Depression- Sorry, not there yet. In a few days when I have to deal with the thought that the Eagles and Cardinals are playing for the NFC Championship, I will start to get nauseous and depressed.

5) Acceptance- The Giants were given plenty of advanced warning about what they needed to do back in W14 in order to win. They did not take advantage of their enormous opportunity and they have to learn from this if they want to win next season. Losing guys like Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress are body blows that are hard to come back from, so let's regroup for the draft and win it all in next season.

Thanks everyone for a great year.


Mike Kavis said...

What a bad game. Down two scores we start running up the middle every play. The two fourth down calls and the wildcat call were pathetic. Why was Ward getting the bulk of the carries in the first half when Jacobs was clearly the man?

This one was clearly on Eli & Gilbrown. Look at the passes McNabb made. Quick slants. We did not run one slant or one screen. We ran 3 of those useless -3 yard passes which has not worked once all season. I sure hope Gilbrown gets his head coaching job because that was one of the worst play calling I have ever seen. Mark Mosley of ESPN was blogging the game live and questioning the offense all game long (Jacobs wide, establishing the run when you are down 2 scores, etc.).

As much as I like Ward, I hope they don't resign him some Bradshaw can get involved next year. Last year he was our leading rusher in the post season and this year he is a punt returner.

The GMen need a big time receiver and Hixon should go back to kick returning where he excels. I am ready for the draft. LBs and WRs.

It was a great ride, until next year, peace!

Nature said...

you know im not surprised by KILLDRIVE...i am surprised that ELI didnt come out his funk, but then again it is up to the playcaller to get the O in the best position to succeed. i can think of 1 series that pretty much sum up why I hate GILBROWN

1st and 5 on about the opponents 25...Gilbride lines-up in empty backfield for 2 straight plays, 2 incomplete passes, and this is after watching ELI throw the ball all over the place, after the running game got lil pep in it...

Where are all those guys who said i should lay-off of GILBRIDE? the same crap i was B%#@ching about when we were winning 7 straight is the same crap that hurt us...with the way the D played in the first half the D should of had 17 points atleast. The D played good enough to win this game....from early out i made the comment that the game felt just like the LAST 4 weeks of the season...

If we decide to keep this guy Gilbride, we will have to get a #1 reciever and not have homefield because gilbride's offense cannot win in NJ in JANuary.

Nature said...

i said it all year long "the GIANTS need an IDENTITY" just because we lead the league in rushing dont mean we a running team... i think we need a OC from the PARCEL's tree or that type of offensive mind. GILBRIDE cannot adjust and he cannot call plays in bad weather...3 running back is a horrible idea and i said it all year. the most talented of the back rode the pine and covered kicks...

Strahan asked Bradshaw if he wanted WARD and Jacobs to return, he said NO!!!

Patrick Boyle said...

How about the direct snap to Ward on third and two? That play call perfectly symbolizes Gilbride. Most important play of the game up to that point and we run a trick play that we haven't used more than once or twice during the regular season. Wow.

Motown Blue said...

Andy, thanks for all your hard work and extremely insightful posts. Just wish TC could have peaked in on the analysis of this blog.

Unfortunatley, I am of Acceptance and was delusional of the fact that Gilbrown had adusted enough since W14 that they would be able to pull through in spite of him.

Another fundamental trait of a good/great coach is understanding the weaknesses and strengths of his disciples/personnel. Clearly Gilbrown is oblivious to this. When your QB is extremely erratic, much less struggles with the wind based on his mechanics, you put him is positions to succeed by running higher percentage plays as Andy pointed out. I wonder if Bradshaw can be covered by an LB out of the backfield on a flare or dump off. Guess we'll never find out will we? A gifted receiving TE all year was underutilized and on average had 3 receptions a game, infathomable! A running game dominating and you don't take advantage with the play action??

Andy, you hit it on the nose with your post yesterday with predicatability. I don't see much difference between w14 play calling and today.

Bottom line, we need Reese to take a stand and get rid of this guy. We went through ehat happended after the SF playoff game with having to bare with Fassel for another year. Please not again!

Antonio we love ya' but your time is up. A liability on pass coverage and it's time to seriously upgrade LB speed.

Since the beginning of the year we have seen what an injured #98 brings. Time to look for or draft a clog in the middle that give a push.

Finally, I am fearful of TCs loyalty and possible lack of agility in game planning strategy. You have to put a big blame on him as he is an offensive guy and his OC is a lobotomy.

Ginnetti said...

Quick question: Anyone know how much leeway Manning has to change plays at the line of scrimmage? I agree with the criticisms of the play calling, but to what extent is Manning culpable for not changing (at least a few of) the plays himself after reading the defense?

I'm an Eagles fan and the Eagles' offense looked about as befuddled as I'd feared they would, but I was pleasantly shocked by how ineffective the G-men looked. One must give the Eagles' defense a significant amount of credit (I mean, they've been shutting down everyone lately, not just the Giants), but that game really left me scratching my head.

walk said...

Andy. This is an excellent blog, and has been all season long. If the Giants (more like Eli and Gilbrown) played as well as your analysis, we could have won. Unfortunately, our defense was (reminding me of so many games in the 70s-90s) let down by our offense's inability to score TDs and make big plays. Our home field felt like Philly's home field. McNabb's lasers were Eli's floaters. I wish in football it would not be such a big deal to change QBs if one does not "have it." Clearly, Eli, our starting pitcher, did not have it, so bring in a reliever. Carr has zip and confidence. However, in football, such a move is tatamount to surrender in a war. Aaaaaaaaaah. You could tell that Philly and Eli, after that late 2nd quarter drive, were just not as spirited as Philly on offense. Both defenses were strong, but in different ways. Philly bent but did not break, but our NYG either were dominant or at times, a bit slow/tired/injured. It's tough when you start out so dominant (11-1), and then lose at home to a team that we could have and really should have beaten. Frustrating. I also blame Kilbride and Eli just did not, ever, rise to the occasion.

Mitch said...

Andy...thanks for a wonderful season and I'm extremely thankful for finding this blog. It is great to find other fans who share the same love and passion for our beloved Giants.

Every season begins with wild optimism and then the season ends with only one team and one legion of fans happy. For the other 31 teams it is back to the drawing board.

Well, I am eternally grateful for our season nonetheless because we won it all last season after waiting 17 years. I know with this currently constructed squad we won't have to wait another 17 to repeat.

Having said that, us fans seem to have a blueprint that will get us back to the promised land. I tend to agree with all the suggestions made here and hope we address them.

One change that is 99% certain is we will lose our talented DC Spags. We have lost other DC's in the past that are legendary ( Tom Landry, Bill Belichick ) and I never liked losing John Fox either. But it happens and the hope here is that TC makes the correct choice to succeed Spags. ( Probably Sheridan or Guinta ) I hope they keep the same aggresive style of Defense.

We all hope that Gilbride is gone....but I'm not so sure anyone would want him. If not, the hope here is that TC or Jerry Reese fires his "brown ass"

The needs are obvious.

We need young athletic linebackers with speed.

We desperately need a replacement for Plaxico Burress. We all didn't want to admit it, but this was the major reason we did not go further in the playoffs. We need a stud #1 out there. I don't know if the Cardinals can afford to pay all 3 of their talented wideouts. We all know that Larry Fitzgerald is not going anywhere...so maybe just maybe we can get Bolden ( I'm just probably using Andy's 3rd stage of "Grief" here...."Bargaining" Please if I'm good can we get Anquan Bolden for next season?....

A healthy Tynes next season. Feagles is ageless and I hope he returns for next season.

Like Andy, Eli has a pass for life from me. At 27, he won a Super Bowl and will always be revered because of that feat.

Now, having said that, the most important thing for Eli to improve as a QB is to finally get a coach to work with him in the off season to increase his flexibility, arm strength & technique to be able to deliver when it counts when playing in East Rutherford. The new stadium will not be any different, and there will be no tall buildings to break the swirling winds. So it is paramount that Manning be able to throw there or we will never have a "home field" advantage.

Also, I know that it is a QB's job to change the calls at the line of scrimmage, but it always seems that Eli does this too excess. (probably just something he sees his brother do)I would just love to see the Giants come up to line of scrimmage, call it quick and just run the play. It would seem better to not let the defense set and just go at them.

Oh well, I guess this is paralysis by analysis, but that is what we fans do.

Bob said...

I am currently in the anger stage,
with all the Da** talent we have on offense, couldn't score one offensive TD. A very poor performance.

I believe this whole issue is now in Gerry Reese's hands......he MUST FIRE Gollbrown, if this team is to move foreward, Gillbrown must go.

My concern here is that the Mara's have some misguided sense of loyalty to Gillbrown that keeps him around. I hope their stronger
loyalty is to the fans.

Next we need to grab some high performance, stud wideout in free agency, not the draft. This is because we need someone with a proven NFL performance record.

Finally we need 2 high performance
fast LB's.

Its all in Gerry Reese's hands, we need a minor rebuilding, pronto.

key west Brian said...

I only found this blog about six weeks ago and I can say that I love to read the blogs and how much everybody is on the money.
Everything that has been said this week, held out to be so true, nothing say as much as how much Gilbrown called this game. We klnow tha Eli didn't play well but he wasn't given much of a chance with the calls, Earth going wide no slants to Boss and no touches by Bradshaw.
We can only hope that Reese has seen enough and gets rid of Gilbrown.
Also it's about time to let A P go or make him a coach.
It was a good year but I do think that this should been a repete year as we should have had in 87.
Go Giants

ELI10 said...

I'm definitely in the depressed stage. Disappointing to blow an opportunity that doesn't come along every year - #1 seed, bye week, home field advantage.

Most surprising was the fact that in Jacobs's post game interview he admitted that they couldn't match the Eagles' intensity. WHY NOT? They were supposed to be rested, and they had to know the odds were that they would face Eagles. Two weeks to plan, the familiarity of playing them so often, why didn't they have a better game plan? Why was McNabb not pressured, it seemed when they did, his throws were off mark? Why no in-game adjustments? They were able to shut down Westbrook but you can't be so one dimensional that McNabb has all day to throw! If you are going to give up pass rush, how is it that the receivers are wide open and get yards after most catches? Why did they give up on our top rusher Jacobs (9 rushes in the 1st half?!) and why attempt the long pass in the wind when short passes and moving the chains worked so well in Tampa and Green Bay last year? Why not try the no huddle 2 min offense to start the 4th quarter - shake things up? So frustrating!

The thing that bothered me the most was that I never saw an intensity or sense of urgency! They never seemed to be rushing back to the line, even in the 4th quarter, taking their time. I love Eli to death but something to work on in the offseason is that habit of changing the play at the last minute and having to burn precious time outs! It wasn't a factor today because we were SO OUT OF IT, but if we needed an important time out they waste one or two each game on pre snap confusion.

I agree with the criticism of Gilbride and its not just about this game. They led the league in getting to the red zone and 20th in scoring TDs. How wasn't this addressed during the season and especially going into the playoffs?

Why wasn't Bradshaw utilized more throughout the season? We often watch the playoff games from last year and he was such a factor and contributed so much to our offense and this season just on special teams, and I'm sorry he had a great return today, but during the season he never seemed to see the field as well as Hixon.

Its a talented team and I certainly expect great things from them next year, but its so disappointing to see their season end with such an uninspired, flat performance by our GMen.

Thanks for your great blog, I enjoyed it throughout the season. I hope TC and JReese read it and act on some of your suggestions.

Raymond said...

I can't agree enough that the season is on Gilbride. For me the beginning of the end was the 2nd and 5 on the opening drive against Philly a few weeks ago. The offense was clicking--Jacobs and Eli looked sharp--and they were fairly deep in Philly territory, with only 25 or 30 seemingly easy yards to go for a score. So what does Gilbride do? A REVERSE TO MANNINGHAM. 12-YARD LOSS. That was the moment when the post-Plax wheels really came off. Instead of continuing to correctly play the hand he'd been dealt, Gilbride decided he was a genius. And the 1st and 5 today was the exact same thing. Jacobs looks good, Eli looks awful, so what does Gilbride do? Pass, pass, pass. SO FRUSTRATING.
By the way, Spagnuolo needs to take a hit here also. The D looked incredible in the first half, and yet he still decided to go to the prevent and give Philly a gift field goal at the end of the first half, thus allowing them to get into a confident rhythm going into the second half. If you're so worried about giving up the big play, why do you EVER play anything but the prevent? Again, SO FRUSTRATING.
Finally, let's not kid ourselves. Eli had an insane hot streak last season that won them the Super Bowl, no question. But let's be realistic: he's an adequate QB at best. Too often he's just awful. Watching Rivers vs. Roethlisberger in the next game was torture. Spirals galore!

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