Finally at home again, and able to enjoy both of my football games on my own TV.
Except “enjoy” might not be the operative word for what I saw today.
The Jets game was a horror. Maybe it was two great defenses tearing at each other. Or maybe two awful offenses stinking up the joint. Probably a bit of both. Ack. Fumbles, interceptions, missed tackles, more fumbles… there were a few exciting moments, but the Jets plainly did not want this one, since they kept giving it away. (I don’t think Joe Flacco wanted it either, since he kept trying to give it back). Rex said this was going to be Gang Green’s year, but after last week’s loss to the Raiders and this nightmare, I’m not so sure. And next week they have to go to Foxboro to face the Patriots. That could be ugly. Nick Mangold better heal fast.
The Giants… well, the Giants pulled out a miraculous win, though not without a little help from the refs. Eli played well, as did Hakeem Nicks, and it was great to see Osi back in action and wreaking havoc in the backfield. But the game turned on the Victor Cruz reception just before the last of Big Blue’s TDs, when he caught the ball, broke a tackle, then went down (untouched) and popped back up again… leaving the ball behind, on the belief the play was over. The Cardinals pounced on the abandoned ball, claiming a fumble. The refs ruled no, Cruz had given himself up. That ruling was not reviewable, so the G-men kept the ball and Eli promptly threw the game-winning TD to Nicks (a great catch by Nicks, by the way, a pity it is getting lost in the controversy over the Cruz play).
Needless to say, lots of controversy over the Cruz ruling, with detailed discussions on all the postgame shows. Even Eli said after the game that he thought the G-men caught a break there. That’s certainly true. Bottom line seems to me it all comes down to a judgement. The rules do allow a player to give himself up, at which point the ball is dead. Cruz was on the ground, and had plainly stopped trying to advance. He did not “fumble” the ball. He had it, he fell on it, and then he popped back to his feet for the next play, figuring that this play was over. That’s good enough for me.
I really like Cruz, by the way. He’s an undrafted free agent. Joined the team last year, had a sensational camp, then got hurt in the last preseason game and was out for the season. But this year he’s back and making the most of his opportunities. He seems to have great hands, and he fights for the ball and makes the tough catches. It would not surprise me to see him beat out Mario Manningham for a starting job by year’s end. So I’m certainly glad that his mistake did not cost the Giants the game. Something like that can weigh badly on a kid still trying to make his mark.
All in all… four games in, the G-Men are 3-1 and the Jets 2-2. Not at all what I would have predicted before the season. But that’s why they play the games, as Chris Berman likes to say.
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