Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants Dominate Panthers – Grades
Dominant! Thy name is Giants! They cruise past the Panthers 36-7.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote that most men "lead lives of quiet desperation." And while it's unlikely that in the mid 19th century he had New York Giant fans in mind, no one can be sure. Either way, on this night, even the most jaded Big Blue supporter surely finds that whatever negativity burns inside them has been snuffed out - driven away and replaced by nothing short of unmitigated glee. Indeed, Giant fans live lives of bombastic exhilaration this week, as our G-Men rolled over the Panthers in dominant fashion the likes of which we haven't seen in years.
It seemed the rout was on from word go, as the Giants took the opening kick off and, without three offensive starters and their number three wide receiver, drove down the field for a touchdown - the Black Unicorn marking his territory early in this game for six. Three more scores followed, and before the Panthers had realized what in the hell was going on, the Giants were heading into the half up 20-0 - the combination of Eli Manning's skillful passing and Andre Brown's "I've been waiting years for this, sorry Ahmad but there's no way you're getting your job back," running proving unstoppable. For its part, the Giant defense were every bit as dominant on this night, and Big Blue cruised to a 36-7 win.
It's been a long time since any Giant squad has looked this dominant, particularly in such an all-encompassing fashion. There was no side of the ball, no position, honestly almost no single plays, in which the Giants were outdone. Special Teams, offense, defense, lines, receivers, backs, secondary, coaches, fans, uniforms, press conferences - All advantage, Giants. This was a beat down in every sense. And it was glorious. Let's do some grades.
Grades: Offensive Line - A+: What a performance for a unit that has caused their fair share of agita throughout Giant fandom. Eli Manning had eons of time in which to throw, and Andre Brown had some big holes to run through. It was, quite simply, a great game for this unit - one of their best in years. And oh yeah, they did it without David Diehl.
Running Backs - A+: Let's be honest, by "running backs," I mean Andre Brown. And seizing the opportunity presented to him by Ahmad Bradshaw's injury, Brown went over 100 yards with two touchdowns on Thursday - all the while, bursting through the hole, showing great patience when there wasn't one and, quite simply, looking like the best back the Giants have on the roster - including a healthy Bradshaw. Message received, Mr. Brown. You'd like to stay around for a while.
Wide Recievers - A: Not since Moses parted the Red Sea has a dude named Ramses gotten this much play, but what a game for this fourth year player. Stepping in for Nicks and Hixon, Barden had a career night, and with Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett continuing their big seasons - and with all minimizing the drops - it's damn near impossible to find any negatives. Great game.
Eli Manning - A: He had one bad throw that could have been intercepted. ONE! And it didn't even get picked off, it fell incomplete! Dude was surgical on Thursday; he tore apart the Panther secondary with an efficiency and precision that would have been scary if it wasn't so magnificent. Brilliant, brilliant work.
Special Teams - A: When was the last time the Giant's special teams forced two turnovers?! Admittedly, not a great way to show their worth, it was the 2011 NFC Championship game (four games ago), but before then? Either way, impressive.
Defensive Line - B+: This grade may have more to do with my reluctance to hand out straight A's, or the fact that on a night the Giants win 36-7 you kind of expect to check the box score and see Tuck, Umenyiora, and Pierre-Paul with eight sacks, than any truly bad play, but I thought - admittedly nit-picking - that they could have done a little better. They were great against the run, and did a good job containing Newton, but with that kind of talent, I've come to expect more...Ehh, what the hell. Give 'em A's!
Linebackers - A: Did you hear anything negative about the linebackers all night? I didn't. Good job in coverage, good job against the run. Great job overall.
Defensive Backs - A: Where has this been? Three interceptions? Less than 270 yards allowed? SEVEN POINTS? Make no mistake, Giant fans: this is a very good passing offense that this Giant secondary shut down on Thursday night. There were some significant plays given up, but since beggars can't be choosers, A'S ALL AROUND!!!!
Well, there wasn't a lot of mystery or surprise there, but why would there be? As I said above, our Giant squad was dominant Thursday night, and in every facet of the game. Every. Single. One. It was a sparkling, all-around performance - one that sends us all into the weekend with our heads held high, and adorned with an agressively goofy smile. Wear it well Giant fans. Wear it well. Until next time...