Giants Stomp Saints – Grades: Diary of a Giants Fan
After playing much of the game close, the Giants pulled away from the Saints to capture a 52-27 win.
If there's something to be said for purgatorial nightmares in which the same angst-ridden situation plays out year after year, it's that at some point, you learn.
Sunday, the Giants' experience with second half swoons and tenuous leads became their biggest strength, as the pressure of division rivals hot on their heels, turnovers, and momentum swings proved no match for the might of a team that's been there before.
They answered an Eli Manning interception returned for a touchdown with a 97-yard kickoff return to tie the game, and a Black Unicorn touchdown reception on the next drive to take the lead. They answered a Saint surge that made it a one point game with three straight touchdowns - Hixon, Wilson and Nicks each had one - to take control. And when the Saints rallied again, the Giants blanked them in the fourth quarter, added three scores, put the game away, and answered the gutsy wins of the Redskins and Cowboys that kept the race for the NFC East a close one.
Grades: Offensive Line - B: 135 rushing yards and no sacks paints a dominant picture; but while they were solid this week, I wouldn't say dominant. Sunday was a hell of an improvement over last week, and you'd struggle to find something "wrong" with their performance, but a knit-picker could find ways to improve.
Running Backs - A: "Though he be but little, he is fierce,"said Shakespeare. "Welcome to the world of relevance, David Wilson," said me. The rookie had 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns in what was, undoubtedly, the best game of his young career. More on him later.
Wide Receivers - A: Cruz, Hixon, Nicks, and Bennett each had a touchdown on Sunday in what was one of the unit's better games of the season.
Eli Manning - C: 250 yards passing and four touchdowns should write a different story, but the Giants' signal-caller threw two interceptions you'd be disappointed to see Brandon Weeden throw, and could have lost more.
Special Teams - A+: "Though he be but little, he is insanely, viciously fierce," said me and Shakespeare. With return yardage added in - including a 97 yard sprint for a score - David Wilson accounted for 327 all-purpose yards, a New York Giant record. Not since the days of...I don't know, Caesar?...have the Giants played so well on special teams.
Defensive Line - B-: One sack is nothing to celebrate, and is, quite frankly, a disappointment from this unit, but I think they did a decent job of making Brees uncomfortable throughout the game. For the second straight week, however, too much yardage was yielded on the ground.
Linebackers - B-: You really can't let the Saints run for over 140 yards.
Defensive Backs - A: A year ago, Drew Brees threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions en route to a Giant embarrassment. This year, he was picked off twice, scored only once, and was consistently frustrated by Rolle, Brown, Webster, and the rest of a Giant secondary that turned in an impressive performance in a big spot.
Next week, the Giants will battle the Atlanta Falcons. Look for a full preview of that game right here and, as always, Go Giants!