Zac’s note. This piece was first published on my Examiner page
As the New York Yankees were clinching yet another American League pennant, the New York Giants were reminding fans that the easy part of the 2009 NFL schedule is far behind them.
The Arizona Cardinals defeated the New York Giants 24-17 on Sunday night. A full game recap and box score can be found here.
The Good: Give credit where credit is due. The Arizona defense caused four New York turnovers on Sunday night, which included three Eli Manning interceptions. The secondary was all over Giants wide receiver Steve Smith, who was non-existent until the fourth quarter. Even more impressive was the Arizona pass rush. Heading into last night’s Cardinals-Giants showdown, New York quarterback Eli Manning had been sacked three times during the entire 2009 NFL regular season. Arizona downed Manning on three occasions, two of which occurring when Arizona defensive tackle Alan Branch simply abused the Giants offensive line. There’s no other way to say it. Arizona won the war up front.
On both sides of the football.
What happens when you give Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner time to throw? As I said in my game preview, he takes advantage of the situation and burns opposing teams. Warner completed 20 of 36 pass attempts for 231 yards and a touchdown. The Giants did manage to pick Warner off once.
One very cool thing happened last night for Giants-Yankees fans. The tipped pass that eventually became the Hakeem Nicks touchdown happened roughly 30 seconds before the Yankees took the lead in last night’s ALCS clincher. The entire New York/New Jersey metro area went crazy. Quite the sight to behold.
The Bad: The NBC announce crew constantly bringing up the weather. I spoke with several people who were at the Meadowlands last night. Each one of them told me what a beautiful evening it was in East Rutherford. Weather was not an issue.
With that said, the Bad Eli made an appearance in last night’s Cardinals-Giants contest. Manning completed 19 of 37 attempts and was intercepted on three occasions. My biggest complaint regarding Manning is that he held onto the football for a second too long far too many times. I found myself yelling “Get rid of the ball, Eli!” for four quarters.
Here’s my Tony Siragusa moment for this recap. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has got to hit the hole faster. As I said earlier, the Cardinals won the battle up front, causing problems for both the Giants passing and rushing attack. Still, watching Jacobs tiptoe around openings was quite aggravating.
The Ugly: Jeff Feagles had possibly the worst day of his career. One word: Shankopotamus.
Four turnovers. The Ahmad Bradshaw fumble late in the fourth quarter crushed my soul just a little bit.
Overall: The Arizona Cardinals came east and won a prime time game, something that most experts said they could not do. Looking at the Giants right now, though, I can’t help but be worried. Injuries or no injuries, this is a football team with serious problems on both side of the ball. The running game is average. The secondary is terrible. C.C. Brown is probably still giving Larry Fitzgerald four yards. Yeah, that’s a guy you want to give openings.
Things get no easier as the Giants travel to Philadelphia this Sunday. Are the Giants contenders? We’ll know this Sunday afternoon.
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