Monday, December 05, 2011

After further review...

...the play on the field stands.

This is a sour grapes post about the Giants-Packers game.   It was entertaining and the outcome was in doubt till the end, so it was good viewing.  And this is the third week in a row where I got to watch the Giants on TV.   Before that I was complaining that they are never on in, here in the Midwest.  So I should count my lucky stars.   Of those games, this is the first one I watched in full, except for the first touchdown by the Giants.  Fox thought it necessary to show the end of the Denver game.  I suppose Tim Tebow is an interesting story line, but the schedule had the Giants game starting at 3:15.  They did show that first score on replay, somewhere during the first half.

After watching for a while, I had the feeling the refs were in the Packers pocket. It seemed as if all the calls went their way.  Tom Coughlin threw the flag twice.  Both times, the refs ruled the play stands.  Actually, on those I think Coughlin was wrong, but it set the tone for later.  It turns out that they review all scoring plays, without the coaches having to ask for that.  On one of the Packers' scores, the receiver juggled the ball the entire way through the endzone and then dropped it, without ever having possession.  That wasn't just my opinion.  The announcers said the same thing.  Then they went to commercial.  When they came back, they were saying the receiver had control of the ball for a moment with his left hand.  The play on the field stands.  But the receiver never had control.

The Giants pass rush was pretty effective.  They sacked Rodgers three times.  It really should have been four times.  The Giants got to Rodgers for a big loss on third down.  The Packers has something like 70% efficiency on third down, so this was a bid deal play.  But a penalty was called on the Giants - contact with the receiver beyond 5 yards of the scrimmage line.  This was an incredibly ticky-tack penalty, just a light bump, and entirely unrelated to the play.  The announcers noted that on the next play there was more contact, but nothing called.

The Packers are the better team.  They dropped several passes on perfectly thrown balls. That helped keep it close.  But you change the two plays I discussed and the Giants win this game.

The Giants play Dallas next week.  That game will probably determine which team makes the playoffs.  I wonder if they'll show it here.


Downes said...

I watched the game, which I thought was pretty good. Being Canadian, I don't cheer for either team. And from where I sit, the calls were correct.

In the case of the touchdown, especially, you can see clearly that the receiver is holding the ball with one hand, fully in control, before the defender slaps it out. The call was correct.

I would also point out that the Giants got away with a *lot* of pass interference. Yes, they had a few called on them. But it was evident that their game plan was to disrupt Packer receivers, to hit them well bast the 5-yard limit. The Packer's last touchdown, for example, was scored after the receiver was almost pushed outside the field of play by the receiver, an obviously illegal hit.

The 'ticky-tack penalty, just a light bump' actually knocked the receiver off-balance and disrupted his route. That is the *reason* Rodgers couldn't make the pass and was sacked. Another time on a third down Rodgers threw the pall into the dirt on seeing his receiver had basically been tackled by the Giant defender.

> change the two plays I discussed and the Giants win this game.

Not necessarily. It assumes that the game is otherwise played the same way. But the Packers behind (or tied!) are not the same team as the Packers with a lead.

I think Green Bay wins it either way. Don't call those and maybe the defense stops the Giants drive that eventually went for a score. Maybe one of the other Giant penalties is called. Maybe the receivers focus a bit more. Maybe something else is brought out of the bag of tricks.

The Giants are one of the best-coached teams in the league (just ask the Patriots!) and it's not surprising they had an effective strategy for the Packers. No doubt other teams will study the film closely. But so will the Packers - I don't think they'll be surprised by a Giants defense again, should they meet in the playoffs (still a bit of a long shot...)

Lanny Arvan said...

Hakeem Nicks played like a champion, and he was supposed to be hurt. On each catch he was getting a lot of yards after he caught the ball. And on that touchdown he made an unbelievable play. When you see excellence like that, the team should win. The Giants were also able to run the ball, which they hadn't been doing recently.

I don't know if the Giants can sustain that level of play. I wouldn't be surprised whether they make the playoffs or not.

Downes said...

Yeah, the Giants did not play like a 6-6 team. Their running game was excellent - except for some deep strikes it was their passing game that was weak. Also, they didn't really have an answer for GB's offense.

The Giants have two games against Dallas - if they can win those, they have a shot.