Monday, September 27, 2010

Dumb and Dumber and Dumbest

By Tony Mangia


Peyton showed his kid brother Eli an old-time beat down and after getting shellacked by the Colts last Sunday, the Giants figured out a new way to lose--self-destruction. If there is a way to hand a victory to your opponent, the Giants wrote the first and last chapters yesterday. Big Blue out gained the Tennessee Titans by 200 yards and still put an L in the standings. Dumb plays, dumber turnovers and the dumbest penalties this side of the Oakland Raiders doomed the home team from the start.

Deflected passes for interceptions, a red-zone fumble and silly chop-block call by Ahmad Bradshaw combined with five other personal fouls sunk the Giants. The creaky offensive line broke down again and the Giants could only muster 107 on the ground--88 the hard way by the gritty Bradshaw. Bradshaw fumbled at the five yard line and his knee-breaker inside their own end-zone was called a safety. The Titans scored a TD on their next drive giving them a nine point turnaround. Bradshaw's blunders cost the Giants 16 points and he was, arguably, their best offensive player.

The 386 yards thrown by Eli Manning were mostly catch-and -runs by the receivers. The Giants' defense managed to hold last year's rushing champion, Chris Johnson, to 125 yards and the mobile Vince Young to 6. The Giants' game one win over the not-so-good Carolina Panthers with a not-so-good quarterback was an aberration. They really stink.


Giant optimists are not despairing. The last time the G-Men went 1-2 was in 2007, the same year they ended up 10-6 and beat the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. The more abstract Utopians can dream of Bill Cowher coming out of "retirement." The former Steeler coach has expressed interest in the Giants head-coaching position before. For now, the naysayers rule. Helmet launching and trade demands by Brandon Jacobs and public rants from Antrel Rolle filled last weeks team blotter. Dissent in in the locker room, head-scratching penalties and lackadaisical play rule the team. Where is the tough love of red-faced head coach Tom Coughlin when you need it?

The Giants better turn it around fast. The NFC East has a couple of playoff contenders in Dallas and Philadelphia. Did anyone really think the Cowboys would lay like dead armadillos for long? Their wake-up call against the Texans and a bye-week to bask in the win should boost the talented Cowboys stock.

Michael Vick is looking like all-world in Philly. He seems more comfortable in the pocket than his years in Atlanta and he can still scramble when necessary. For two seasons, while other NFL QB's were looking into defensive walls and getting MRI's, Vick stared at an 8-foot cell and had body-cavity searches. Those twenty-one months in stir have preserved his legs and his body. The once irresponsible Vick seems to have matured as a man and quarterback. He threw for nearly 300 yards yesterday. Nobody's going to start comparing Vick with Sonny Jurgenson because he now takes three steps back after the snap. Vick has still shown he can still turn rabbit and run if the opportunity arises. If he doesn't take too much of a beating, Vick just might be the most dangerous weapon in the division.

The Giants unraveled early yesterday. They blamed the Titans dirty play for the penalties. I don't know how the Giants catagorized Bradshaw's chop-block but it seems the team from Tennessee got into Big Blue's head. "We're a defense that goes hard and gets into pile hitting," said Titans' Jason Babin, "Sometimes it rubs some people the wrong way." The Giants know all about wrong ways. It's the direction they are going.

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