20 of 34 for 292 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Not bad for a guy who wasn't supposed to have any weapons on offense this year. As I mentioned in an earlier post, GM Jerry Reese told Eli he had to step up not only his game, but his receivers' games as well. I think it's safe to say that Manning has answered that call. He has wavered between efficient and dominant through four games so far, and is making a strong case for another Pro Bowl. Here's hoping that Plantar Fasciitis isn't going to be a lingering problem.
11 catches for 134 yards and 2 TDs
I think we can all stop wondering who the Giants go-to receiver is going to be. Though pegged to be only a possession receiver, Smith has emerged as a consistent threat in the red zone as well. He's been so good this year, people may have to stop referring to him as "the other Steve Smith."
5 Tackles (4 for a loss), 1 sack, and 1 pass defense off his helmet
Now we see why the Giants really targeted this guy in free agency. His athleticism and football IQ have really amped up this defense. It seemed like Boley was everywhere on Sunday, and the analysts kept calling his name. Boley is a playmaker, and should be a big part of this defense going forward. After he recovers from his knee surgery of course (noticing a theme here?)
(another) fumble recovery, onside kick recovery
Continuing the trend of players who stood out and are now injured, Kehl has been a demon on special teams this year. In 4 games, he's recovered 2 fumbles on kick returns (this time on the opening kickoff). And you have to watch pretty closely, but his onside kick recovery was extremely well done. Succop sold it well, but Kehl reacted extremely quickly and got his hands on the ball. He might be the best non-starter on this team...when he gets back from his finger surgery.
Heads up play when he got up after an injury to line up for the spike. If Boss stayed down, there would have been a 10 second clock runoff because the Giants were out of time outs, and the half would have ended. Getting up with a screwed up ankle couldn't have been easy, but that just shows how well-coached this team is. Naturally, he's probably out this Sunday with that injury.
1 catch for 54 yards, 1 TD
One catch isn't much, but one has to remember that he's coming back from a foot injury (sound familiar?). Of course, that catch and run of his was a thing of beauty, and a nice reminder why the Giants dropped a first rounder on the receiver from North Carolina. Pre-draft reports often likened Nicks to Anquan Boldin, and that nifty, highlight-reel run down the sideline sure looked like Boldin in blue.
What is it with Giants kickers? Jay Feely misses 3 in Seattle 3 years ago, and now Tynes caught the bug? Frankly, I've see enough of this guy to know he doesn't really have an NFL leg, and his accuracy this year has been awful. The Giants brought in Matt Stover (formerly of the Ravens) for a tryout. They should just sign Stover (who I like anyway) and move on.
Kansas City Offensive Line
Coach Todd Haley called out this unit last week, specifically LT Brandon Albert, for their poor play thus far. Well, the NY Giants defense isn't exactly who you fine-tune your pass protection against. This group gave up 6 sacks, and did very little of note in the run game. It's not like there are no good players on this line, they just need to get it together. A few more games against the Raiders ought to help.
After "Super Mario" got off to a super start, he fizzled out of sight in this game. Several difficult but catchable balls bounced right off his hands, once into a waiting defender for a non-Eli interception. I hope he bounces back against the Raiders, as the Giants really have high hopes for this kid. Of course, Oakland's secondary is extremely good, so he better get in a lot of practice this week.
NotesAfter next Sunday, the "easy" part of the schedule is over. The Giants have done exactly what they needed to: fatten up on bad teams. However, it worries me that they haven't exactly made these wins look easy, though that may just be them easing off the gas late in games they easily have won. However, Oakland's defense is better than advertised, so Eli and company need to be very careful with the ball.
Four weeks, and we're still waiting for the run game to pop. Jacobs has been effective, if unspectacular, and Bradshaw has been slightly more explosive. With our O-line playing well, and much more difficult games coming up, practice time is over. It's time for this unit to step up and play the way we know they can. Especially if Eli's foot is going to be a problem.
Perfect segue: these injuries are bordering on comical at this point. Every game, guys are going down. It feels like the 2009 Mets in helmets and pads. We've heard all summer about the great depth the Giants have, and we're seeing it. Backups and role players have been outstanding in these early weeks, but it's tough sledding after this, and we need to be getting guys back. A week 10 bye doesn't help, either.
By the way, my picks for Week 4 went 2-2, 1-3 against the spread. That brings the record to a much more reasonable level, so I can't brag anymore.