It's Friday, the weekend is around the corner, and you're waking up and heading to work in the glow of a dominating New York Giants performance that saw Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers totally fall apart at our hands. Eli Manning had another great performance, Andre Brown and Ramses Barden had great games, and the defense nearly pitched a shutout. Enjoy your weekends, folks.
We'll talk about Brown and how he might have revitalized the running game, and how it was like deja vu to see Eli throwing the ball high to a 6-and-a-half foot tall wide receiver (this time named Barden, not Buress). But Giants fans, enjoy watching a weekend of football sans Big Blue anxiety with that victory already in our pocket. Let's start the nice, long countdown until the Week 4 game against those Eagles.
Things we think we saw…
Andre Brown is the real deal
Some of you were reticent to go all in on Brown and are going to sound like some Johnny-come-latelies this morning at work if you start banging his drum. Last night's 113 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown probably wasn't as important as the way he did it: hard, decisive, and perhaps most importantly patient running.
Brown fought north and south better than we've seen a Giants running back in a while, both making big plays but not sacrificing yards attempting to do so when it wasn't there. We're excited about Brown owning this job and don't think he loses it when Ahmad Bradshaw comes back.
Ramses Barden has a great smile
And gave himself plenty of reason to show it last night. Drafted one round before the aforementioned Brown in the 2009 draft, Barden's been sitting on the Giants sideline and trainers' table while Brown's been bouncing around the league and practice squads. Fitting that they would break out on the same night. While Brown's play might be more refreshing because of the Giants long running struggle to run the ball well, Barden absolutely dominated last night with nine catches 138 yards. With the Panthers focusing on Victor Cruz, Barden was able to beat single coverage and turn himself into Eli's go-to receiver all night.
Barden will probably move into the 3rd wide receiver role at least until Domenik Hixon returns from concussion, but Eli really looked last night like he felt comfortable throwing to the 6'6'' Barden. Wouldn't be surprised to see him on the outside across from Hakeem Nicks with Cruz in the slot much of the time.
Any which way, Barden, in a contract year, made himself some money last night.
Give credit to the boys up front
Brown, Eli and Barden surely had a little help doing what they did last night and all credit goes up front. The offensive line paved the way for Brown to pick up more than five yards per carry and convert on 3rd-and-short and 3rd-and-goal situations. More than that, they kept Eli clean and gave him enough time to throw (for the most part).
We wrote earlier in the week that we fully expected the new-look offensive line (plus Will Beatty, minus David Diehl with Sean Locklear at right tackle) to be just fine, and they were. We like being right about this kinda stuff.
Finally, some pass rush
The Giants only notched two sacks, but also had three QB hits and seemed to be in Newton's face more than we've seen them get in QB's faces through the first two weeks. Newton sure looked skittish (take a look at Jayron Hosley's interception and play right before).
The pass rush still has a ways to go, however. Jason Pierre-Paul seems to be driving the playmaking train by himself and is going to need some help if the Giants defense is going to dominate like it did last night.
Cam Newton ain't all he's cracked up to be
We'd all heard so much about Newtown and seen so many highlight. This writer, for one, was not really impressed with what he saw when Cam dropped back to pass. Unsettled feet, inaccurate throws and wasn't able to get the ball into the hands of his only real playmaker in Steve Smith.
Then add in his behavior, which included celebrating a touchdown that made the score 23-7 in the midst of a pretty bad personal performance, trudging to the post-game handshake with a towel on his head and breezing by Manning, and conducting a post-game interview like a child who has never lost a game. Not the franchise quarterback we thought we were going to watch.
Aaaaand the injuries, of course
The only drawbacks for the Big Blue, naturally, were another round of injuries although from the face of it nothing looks season-ending. Corey Webster suffered the worst of the worst, as he left the field to get his hand X-rayed and returned with a cast. Antrel Rolle was rolling around on the floor outside the end zone as if he'd lost a leg on the beaches of Normandy, but it sounds like he suffered a cut and a bruise from the camera he smashed into. Hosely reportedly came down with a hamstring injury and Keith Rivers apparently re-injured his.
We've got a full ten days to count down to a big matchup with the first place Eagles. We have a good feeling we'll spend most of that time watching the progress Webster's hand, Rolle's knee, Nicks' foot, and the hamstrings of Rivers, Hosely and Michael Coe. We'll also be watching the Eagles face off with the Cardinals on Sunday to get an idea of how Philly's playing and to see, hopefully, the Cardinals knock them off and send us to Week 4 with a chance to grab hold of the division.
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