At a pivotal moment in the game Victor Cruz lost his footing, fell and assuming he had been touched or tackled got up without the ball. Whistles blew and the play was blown dead. Replays clearly indicated that Cruz broke a tackle, regained his balance and then fell forward on his own accord. By the untrained eye it should have been a fumble, but of course the NFL rulebook often defies logic. In what has become a very controversial call the referee ruled that Cruz “gave himself up” therefore the play was over (giving yourself up is not a reviewable play.) By the rulebook you can argue the referee made the right call. Giving yourself up is not clearly defined by the two measures we often associate with it; either taking a knee (think kick off returns) or sliding feet first (think a QB on the run.) The subjectivity of this rule has become the games story line and that’s unfortunate.
While the Cardinals caught a bad break it’s important to note that the referee’s decision didn’t force them to give up a go ahead touchdown. While the blown call was a turning point, it’s not fair to ignore Arizona’s defensive struggles, or Manning and Nicks’ ability in the process.
What Went Right?
Manning to Nicks
Hakeem Nicks was having a great game before the final play but, with 10 catches for 164 yards there’s no doubt Manning and his favorite receiver are on the same page. What Nicks lacks in height his makes up for in his ability to time jumps and pluck the ball out of mid air. Manning also had another great game going 27/40 with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Outside of his bone headed play the past two weeks Cruz has emerged as the third receiving option the Giants so desperately needed. Emerging similarly to Mario Manningham last year, Cruz caught 6 passes for 98 yards.
What Went Wrong?
Is it crazy to say that outside of Eli Manning no one on the Giants may be more valuable than Justin Tuck? The Giants defense struggled mightily in games Tuck missed (against the Redskins and Cardinals) but looked great in games he played (against the Rams and Eagles.) In this game Jason Pierre-Paul had trouble adjusting to the left side of the defensive line in Tucks absence. Umeniyoria had two sacks in a strong return to the lineup. When this Giants defensive line is full healthy it’s going to be impressive to see the havoc they can create.
The Giants defense also missed Tuck in run defense. Beanie Wells rushed for 139 yards (averaging 5.1 a carry) and three touchdowns. He barreled over many Giants in the process and looked like a vintage Brandon Jacobs clone.
The Giants offensive line still failed to provide running lanes for Bradhsaw and Jacobs. Bradshaw averaged 3.1 a carry and Jacobs 2.0. This is something that needs to improve as the Giants go forward. Center David Baas left with a neck injury during the game and did not return. He is considered day to day.
The Giants get the Seahawks at home. The Seahawks are always competitive at home but are dismal on the road. The Giants should win this one with ease.
About the Author
Written by Jason Comack
Jason Comack graduated from Oswego State University. You can hear Jason on 88.1 FM (streaming as well on WCWPSports.org) every Monday and Thursday at 6 PM. Jason covers MMA as well as the New York Giants for Pro Sports Blogging. Follow him on Twitter @J_Comack