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Win One, Win One

October 5, 2015

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Hey! Cool! The Jets and the Giants BOTH won this week.

That doesn’t happen very often.

Sometimes life IS magical and full of joy.

The Jets flew to London to play the Miami Dolphins. The Hapless Dolphins, as it turned out. The final score was 27-14, but the game was not nearly as close as that would suggest. The Jets pretty much dominated from start to finish, even with the refs doing all they could to help the Fins. (That first Miami touchdown was a gift, coming after a ‘drive’ that consisted of two phantom pass interference calls that took Miami almost the length of the field).

Miami was supposed to be good this year with the addition of Ndomukong Suh — some pundits were even picking them to topple the Pats in the AFC East — but it appears that was mirage. Suh was a fearsome run-stuffer in Detroit, but in Miami he has been a total non-factor. Yesterday the Jets ran all over the Fins; inside, outside, up, down, and through. Chris Ivory is a good running back, yes, but he had a career day yesterday, and looked like the second coming of Jim Brown. And who knew that Ryan Fitzpatrick could run? (Hint: I don’t think he can. Except against Miami).

Gang Green is now 3-1. I don’t think they are as good as they looked yesterday, but they may just be good enough to mount a playoff run. We’ll know for sure when they face Brady and the Pats and Evil Little Bill. Meanwhile, the Dolphins just fired Joe Philbin, their head coach. After what they showed in Wembley, that’s no big surprise.

Back home in the US, the Giants went up to Buffalo and beat Rex Ryan 24-10 in a game that all the talking heads picked the Bills to win. The G-Men appear to be better than most of the pundits predicted going into the season, and the Bills worse. Buffalo did a lot to beat themselves yesterday with 17 penalties… including a number of unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness calls that speak to a startling lack of discipline.

As dominant as the Jets looked in London, the Giants looked ever MORE dominant in Buffalo… for the first two and a half quarters. Eli and the offense were passing and running up and down the field, and the D would not even allow the Bills a single first down. But, as happens all too often with the G-Men, all those yards did not necessarily translate into points, and when Buffalo finally started to come to life midway through the third period and into the fourth, I started having nightmares of another game slipping away. The Giants, after all, had blown double-digit fourth quarter leads to Dallas and Atlanta in the first two games of the season. For a while, it looked as if that might happen again. All the momentum had shifted.

One play changed all that. On third and three, Eli made a short toss to RB Rashad Jennings in the flat, and Jennings escaped what looked like a sure tackle for a loss and took the ball all the way down the field for a TD, blasting through two more Bills en route. A great run by Jennings, poor tackling by the Bills, and it should have iced the game.

But, you know, it didn’t. The Giants still made it way harder than it should have been. Later that quarter, with less than four minutes left, a series of flagrant fouls by the Bills had the G-Men all the down inside the ten, first and goal. They were up 24-10 by that point. A field goal would have given them a three-score lead. All they needed to do was run the ball, run the ball, run the ball… either blast in for a TD, or, if stuffed, kick the FG to go up 27-10. Buffalo would have burned its time outs. Game over.

But no. Instead Ben McAdoo decides to get cute. No runs to burn the clock. Instead Eli attempts a pass to Odell Beckham Jr that went incomplete, then fires a pass to Reuben Randel that gets intercepted. No time run off the clock, no Buffalo timeouts burned. Hey, let’s give the Bills another chance, why don’t we?

It was Eli’s first INT of the season… but why the HELL was he throwing in that situation? No good reason. A FG is just as good as a TD in that situation. The playcalls were as inexplicable as those at the end of the Dallas game. Fortunately, this time it did not come back to bite the Giants in the ass.

With Dallas losing, the Giants, Cowboys, and Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Peoples are all 2-2, and the NFC East is up for grabs. Here’s hoping the Giants grab it.

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