the new york football giants
10 September 2006 ¬
" Misplays, Missteps, Miscues: Giants Outplay Colts, Lose 26-21 "
This game gave us a lot of overwhelmingly positive things to walk away with - and a lot of overwhelmingly frustrating ones, too.

The Giants lost their home opener against the Colts, 26-21, and any glance at the box score might lead you to believe that this affair was dominated by Big Blue - and quite frequently, it was. The Giants had 186 yards rushing to the Colts 55, with Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs picking up first downs at will and the Giants D-Line absolutely shutting down Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Eli Manning outplayed his older brother, going 20 for 34 with two TDs and a pick versus Peyton's 25-41, 276 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Plaxico Burress made a spectacular catch to put the Giants on the board, tipping a high pass back to himself and coming down with it in the endzone. Eli wasn't sacked once during the contest, and the O-Line took Freeney and Mathis out of the equation entirely. Even what seemed bad news at the time - an injury to Osi Umenyiora (which doesn't appear to be serious) - turned to gold, as Kiwanuka picked up right where he left off in the preseason, hassling the Colts O-Line and putting constant pressure on Peyton Manning.

And yet, the scoreboard tells a different tale.. L26-21. It offers no explanation for such a disparity. So.. what went wrong?

For starters, the Giants committed a slew of penalties on offense, constantly stalling drives and bringing back huge plays. Three of those gaffes came on Plax's behalf, and although his touchdown acrobatics certainly made up for some his hot-headedness. we can't afford having to move the ball 100 yards on every 60 yard scoring drive. I am not, however, referring to the offensive pass interference called against Tim Carter in the waning moments of the fourth quarter - a call so obviously erroneous that it requires no further mention on my part. If we're fortunate, the officials will offer a brief statement tomorrow morning, acknowledging that the call was ridiculous, but that'll be the end of it. Sorry guys! Our bad! Better luck next time!

But by far the biggest collective groan of the night came when Jay Feeley, who is quietly establishing himself as unreliable in the clutch, missed a pedestrian 40 yard field goal in the 2nd half. Had he nailed it, the Giants would have held onto a one point lead during the 4th quarter - instead of trailing by two and desperately trying to push the ball down field. And with the way the running game absolutely dominated the Indianapolis Defense, it would have been game over, easy.

The only other dark spot on the evening was the play of the Giants defensive backs in third down situations. The Colts went 11-16 on third downs, including an unforgivable 4-8 on 3rd down and 10+ yards to go. The Offense, on the other hand, moved the ball at will. The G-Men are primed to steamroll through Seattle and Philadelphia, and head into the bye at 2-1. From there, the sky's the limit.


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