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Green Sunday

December 13, 2009 at 11:38 pm
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It was a good day to be wearing green in the NFL.

The Jets won their morning game convincingly, even with Mark Sanchez nursing his knees back in New York City and Kellen Clemens playing abysmally in his stead. Hardly mattered. Gang Green’s running game was hitting, and the defense played lights out. Of course, they were in Tampa Bay playing this year’s Bucs, so it hardly counted. Josh Freeman, the heralded Bucs rookie QB, looked just awful, but maybe some of that was Rex Ryan’s D. Still, these Bucs are so bad they ought to make them go back and wear the creamsicle uniforms until they start playing better.

The Jets are still in the playoff hunt, but just barely. They pretty much have to win out, and with the Colts and the Bengals on their schedule, I think that’s unlikely. And next week they have to beat Atlanta, who have a bad record but gave the Saints all they could handle today.

Green Bay won as well. Another “green” team.

And, sadly, this evening the midnight green Iggles of Philadelphia defeated my Giants in a heartbreaker. All the talking heads are saying what a great game it was. Pfui. It was an EXCITING game, yes. The G-Men came out stumbling and spotted the Iggles to a two touchdown lead, then battled back for the rest of the game. Every time they closed the gap to one score the Eagles would get punch in another one and widen it again. Finally the Giants managed to take a one-point lead at 31-30… only to have the Eagles get a long TD on the very first play after the kickoff. The scoring continued after that, and finally ended 45-38 in favor of Philadelphia. The Giants racked up a ridiculous number of passing yards, and both teams left points on the board. McNabb missed one wide-open receiver who was streaking downfield for what should have been a certain touchdown, receiver Mario Manningham of the G-Men had two endzone receptions disallowed for having one foot out of bounds, and his fellow wideout Hakeem Nicks had a couple of TD passes bounce off his hands. There was also a Giants linebacker who dropped what would have been a certain pick-six served up by McNabb. It too bounced off his hands. (And weirdly, it wasn’t a pass after all, but a forward fumble, but after our LB dropped it players on both teams just ignored the live ball lying there on the grass). There were fumbles, a punt return for a TD, an freaky pass broken up by an Eagle that caromed off his thigh into the hands of the Giants tight end… lots of crazy, colorful, thrilling stuff. Both teams played hard.

But a great game? Pfui. For fans like me, who appreciate defense, it was far from that. Neither team brought their defense, from what I saw. The Giants certainly proved themselves unable to stop the Eagles. After ranking as the best defense in the NFL at season’s start, our D has fallen apart. Especially the pass rush. McNabb had all day back there. Eli played one of the best games I have ever seen him play — his stats were off the charts, and would have been obscene if Manningham could have stayed in bounds and Nicks could have caught the balls that were bouncing off him — despite the fact that he was under pressure every snap. McNabb, on the other hand, could have filled out and filed his tax return in the pocket on a couple of those plays. What the hell happened to the Giants’ fearsome pass rush? We have the same players as last year and the year before. With added depth; by rights we should be better. But Bill Sheridan, our new defensive coordinator, does not have them playing the same agressive attacking style that Spags did last year, that has made a world of difference. Sheridan needs to go. I want my Big Blue D back. I like winning games 13-10 much more than losing them 45-38.

Oddly, despite the loss, the Giants may still have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Jets do, provided the Cowboys continue their traditional December collapse. But I am not holding my breath. Next week’s game against the Redskins has the look of a classic trap game. After getting up emotionally for the big games against Dallas and Phillie, the Giants are all too likely to suffer a bad letdown against the Skins and get upset, which would effectively end their season. I’ve seen it happen before. And Washinton is better than its record. And even if they get past the Skins, the Vikings are waiting at season’s end. The only silver lining in the clouds over the Meadowlands is the fact that the Giants own the tiebreakers over the Cowboys, so if both teams finish with the same record, New York goes to the playoffs and Dallas stays home. But right now Dallas is a game up.

Life is magical… but full of pain.

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