So far, the new year is off to a terrific start. Not.
Yesterday mostly sucked.
All the playoff games sucked, actually. The four wild card teams all lost, the four home teams all won, and every game ended in a rout. Most of them were over long before the fourth quarter rolled around. Of course, for me personally the worst of them was the last, when the Green Bay Packers routed my Giants. That one was actually a game for the first three quarters. The Giants defense came out loaded for bear, and stuffed the Packers and their bad man for most of the first half… but the Giants offense could not seem to take advantage, which (sadly) has been true most of the season. The running game, which had shown signs of life last week against the Skins, lay down and died again, and the passing game was erratic at best, with both Odell Beckham Junior and Sterling Shepard both dropping sure touchdown passes. OBJ dropped a number of other passes as well. Not his finest hour. In fact, it may well have been the worst game I have ever seen him play. Eli was pretty sharp for the most part, but when the receivers keep dropping balls delivered right into their hands, that does not count for much.
The result was that a quarter and a half of total Giant dominance yielded only two field goals and a paltry 6-0 lead. I knew that would not hold up (you cannot stop a qb as talented as Rodgers forever), and of course it didn’t. The Packers took the lead for good late in the second quarter with a solid drive that made it 7-6, and then tacked on another touchdown with an insane hail mary pass just as time was running out, to take a 14-6 lead into the half.
The Giants defense did have one more great stop left in them, turning back the Packers on a 3rd and 1 and then a 4th and 1 at midfield, then taking the ball and scoring their only TD of the game on a beautiful long pass from Eli to Tavaris King, who actually caught the ball and made it 14-13. That was the high water mark, however. After that, Rodgers could not be stopped. Big Blue’s D was plainly winded by then, and the offense gave them no help at all with a series of 3-and-outs and punts. Bad punts, too. For whatever reason, the Packer punter had a much better day, so much so that the Giants seemed to lose twenty yards of field position with every exchange. In the second half, Eli was repeatedly starting from inside his ten, Rodgers from midfield.
So: season over, Big Blue is done, the Packers go on. Here’s hoping they crush the Cowboys. And yes, it’s true, Aaron Rodgers is a baaaaaaaaaddddd man.
All in all, a pretty good season for the Giants. But I never really believed this was their year. The defense started slow but ended as one of the best in the league, but the offense never came alive. Next year, maybe, Big Blue can make another run, but first we need to (1) improve the offensive line, and (2) get ourselves a running game. A great young tight end would help as well. Will Tye is okay, but Mark Bavaro he’s not. He’s not even Jeremy Shockey.
All the teams I cared about having been eliminated, I am now rooting for Whoever Plays the Cowboys and Whoever Plays the Patriots. And if we wind up with a Cowboy/ Patriot SuperBowl, I will be rooting for A Giant Asteroid Strikes Houston.
Of course, the weekend was not all about football. Last night we also had the Golden Globes. Where Lena Headey lost, and GAME OF THRONES lost, and WESTWORLD and its two amazing actresses lost as well. Pfui. That was disappointing, but not unexpected. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association surprised me this year by nominating three genre shows — GOT, WESTWORLD, and STRANGER THINGS — for Best Drama, but in the end they reverted to form and passed over all of them in favor of the safe choice, the ‘prestige’ historical drama THE CROWN. (Which I did enjoy, mind you, even though I went away thinking that while it may have been good to be the king in the Middle Ages, it really sucked to be the queen in the 1950s). So: no Globes for us.
The highlight of the Globes — and the day — was Meryl Streep’s speech.