There were a few drives where the Giants appeared to be in synch. They put together an 8-play, 86-yard push for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter then opened the third with a 10-play, 81-yard drive. Those two drives accounted for 55.6 percent of the Giants’ total yardage in the game and they had 9 of their 22 first downs on them (both drives were helped by a Rams penalty). Other than that and the occasional spectacular non-catch by Hakeem Nicks, the offense continued to sputter. Tom Coughlin was especially disturbed that they could not seal the win late in the fourth by converting a fourth-and-1 after having such trouble on short yardage situations against the Redskins. Coughlin did like their rushing balance – they ran 35 times and passed 32 (including three sacks). But a well-oiled machine the Giants were not.
It’s a harsh grade considering that they allowed just one offensive touchdown and scored one on a turnover for the first time in almost two years. But the way Sam Bradford was able to throw for 331 yards without having his best receiver or his best running back on the field should send shivers through the defensive backs’ meeting rooms today. Aaron Ross was benched in the third quarter and had Michael Coe not gotten beat for a TD and punt returner Domenik Hixon been injured, maybe that would have been the last we saw of Ross. The 68-yard catch, roll, get up and run by Danario Alexander with Ross and Deon Grant just watching him was inexcusable, but Kenny Phillips made a TD-saving tackle at the 1 and the Giants held their ground for one of three red-zone stands. Justin Tuck had 1.5 sacks and five tackles in his season debut. The Giants held the Rams to 59 rushing yards with Steven Jackson on the sideline.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Well, nothing was blocked. That’s a start. Although the Rams did get good early pushes, particularly against Bear Pascoe, on some of Steve Weatherford’s punts. Weatherford put two of his punts inside the 20 and had one touchback. Dave Tollefson collected a muffed punt in the first quarter to set up the opening touchdown and then forced a fumble on a second-quarter kickoff return by the Rams. Lawrence Tynes did not attempt a field goal and had only one of his kickoffs settle for a touchback. The Giants had five penalties in the game, three on special teams.
Coughlin challenged two plays successfully, one that kept potential points off the board. His first was to overturn a would-be reception in the first quarter that would have set up first-and-goal at the 4 but forced the Rams to kick a field goal. The second led to the changing of a call from an incomplete pass to a sack by Tuck on Bradford, but the Rams scored their only TD on that drive anyway. Coughlin also made the right decision to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Rams’ 32, a play that helped the opening touchdown drive along. Maybe benching Ross for a series will get him more focused. Perry Fewell adjusted well to use the three-safety look to try to slow down the hurry-up of the Rams’ offense. Kevin Gilbride stuck with the run and called a balanced game, even if the ground attack was not as productive as he would have liked it to be.