Aspects of Defense Much-Improved, But New York Giants Must Continue to Improve
The New York Giants have finally won a game. And no, there have been no reports of pigs defying gravity or hell being hit with a cold front. But it’s still early.
Big Blue took care of business on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings in a game that looked exactly like an 0-6 team taking on a 1-4 team. However, that matters very little in New York right now. Ugly or not, the Giants finally replaced the goose egg that had been haunting their win column for the duration of the 2013 season.
The G-Men won the game on the back of their defense which emasculated Josh Freeman in his Vikings debut. New York’s game plan was obvious from the start, as defensive coordinator Perry Fewell stacked the box with seven, eight, or even nine players, daring Freeman to beat them. One thing was for sure; the Giants were going to make reigning MVP Adrian Peterson earn every yard he gained.
It paid off like a winning lotto ticket. The Giants defense swarmed Peterson, surrendering just 28 rushing yards to the star running back.
As for Freeman, well, Vikings fans are praying that Monday night was simply a display of severe growing pains. The five-year quarterback was wildly inaccurate, making bad decisions and even worse throws. Freeman finished 20-of-53 for 190 yards and one interception. His quarterback rating was 40.6 and his total QBR was 6.1. It seemed like every time Freeman went under center he ended up throwing an incomplete pass. It was like a football-spun version of Groundhog Day.
Even though it was Freeman’s first start with a new team, credit still needs to be given to the New York Giants defense. First of all, the secondary proved that it is composed of very sound tacklers. Antrel Rolle, Ryan Mundy, Will Hill and Prince Amukamara all made open-field tackles to help prevent big plays and first downs.
Rolle especially, who has played like a mannequin for most of the season, looked like his 2011 self, even earning the “Gruden Grinder” Monday Night Football award. The veteran safety was around the football all night, deflecting three passes and coming up with a leaping one-handed interception that will surely be on a poster later today.
Jon Beason also looked impressive in his second game with the Giants. He has now led the team in tackles in each of his first two games, recording nine more last night.
However, it’s not all good news for the defense. Although the defensive line played well against the run, once again, they had trouble rushing the passer. Justin Tuck finished with the team’s only sack. The Giants got pressure on Freeman, but with the amount of players they had in pursuit, one sack is a pathetic number. The defense will struggle against better teams until the pass rush is resurrected.
The Giants looked much better in certain areas on Monday, but they must continue to improve if they want to turn their season around.
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