2004-09-24 / Sports

Giants, Jets Strong In NFL Week Two Victories

By Michael Avallone Sports Columnist

By Michael Avallone
Sports Columnist

New York Jets running back Curtis Martin breaks free for an 11 yard gain in the first quarter of the Jets’ 34-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers Sunday Sept. 19, 2004 in San Diego. Martin rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns while becoming the Jets’ all-time leading rusher.                      (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
New York Jets running back Curtis Martin breaks free for an 11 yard gain in the first quarter of the Jets’ 34-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers Sunday Sept. 19, 2004 in San Diego. Martin rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns while becoming the Jets’ all-time leading rusher. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Week 2 was a good one for the local teams. Not only did both the Giants and Jets win, but also they both stopped some dubious records in the process. Here’s my report card on Big Blue and Gang Green...

New York Giants

New York Giants wide receiver Tim Carter comes down with a 38-yard touchdown pass as Washington Redskins safety Matt Bowen defends during the second quarter Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. 
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants wide receiver Tim Carter comes down with a 38-yard touchdown pass as Washington Redskins safety Matt Bowen defends during the second quarter Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Passing Offense (B+)

The offensive line again played better than anticipated, giving QB Kurt Warner the necessary time to find the open man. Warner threw for 232 yards on 22-of-32 passing with one TD and, for the second straight week, no INTs. Third-string WR Tim Carter snared a TD pass from Warner, a 38-yard strike late in the second quarter, part of his team-leading 63-yard day. WR Amani Toomer hauled in six passes for 54 yards.

Rushing Offense (D)

After a stellar opening week rushing the football, the Giants stumbled against the Redskins, gaining only 62 total yards on the ground. RB Tiki Barber led the way with an unimpressive 42 yards on 18 carries. While the run blocking was merely adequate, the blame falls on the backs who failed to generate any momentum. After a promising opening game, RB Ron Dayne rushed for a putrid 12 yards on nine attempts and continues to frustrate the Giants with his finesse-like style of running.

Passing Defense (A)

After getting shredded by the Eagles in Week 1, Big Blue’s defense came out hitting in Week 2. Redskins’ QB Patrick Ramsey, inserted into the game after starter Mark Brunell (10-of-18, 92 yards, one TD, one INT) strained his hamstring, was intercepted three times and completed just 9-of-18 passes for 142 yards. Upfront, New York was rock-solid, intercepting one pass, registering four sacks, and forcing four fumbles. The secondary, after an embarrassing performance against Philadelphia, had a game to remember. Giants’ FS Brent Alexander picked off two passes while the two Will’s (Petersen and Allen) teamed with SS Shaun Williams to lead the team in tackles.

Rushing Defense (A-)

Washington RB Clinton Portis struggled against the Giants’ D-line, gaining only 69 yards on 20 carries, a far cry from his 148-yard Redskins’ debut in Week 1. He also fumbled twice. DE Michael Strahan had five tackles and one forced fumble while LB Barrett Green returned one of Portis’ fumbles 16 yards for the game tying TD in the second quarter.

Special Teams (C)

Special teams are still a sore spot for the Giants and head coach Tom Coughlin. Although the play was not poor, it was average at best. P Jeff Feagles was again solid with a 39.9-yard average while K Steve Christie went 2-for-4, connecting on two short kicks (38 and 22) but missing from both 51 and 47 yards out. The most glaring weakness on Sunday was the kick coverage. Washington KR Chad Morton returned five kickoffs for 112 yards, including a 49-yard scamper.

The Giants (1-1) played well at times on both sides of the ball but for some reason, stalled in the second half. Winning by only 20-14 when the turnover ratio was an astounding 7-to-1 shows that not everything is as rosy it seems. Still, New York has its first victory since last November and first win at Giants Stadium in over a year.

Next Up: vs. Cleveland Browns (1-1) Prediction:NYG 20, CLE 10

New York Jets

Passing Offense (A-)

Another unspectacular but extremely solid performance from QB Chad Pennington, who continues to look more and more like a Tom Brady-esque player. No. 10 completed a nifty 22-of-29 passes for 258 yards and two TDs, including 46 and 48-yard strikes to WRs Jonathan Carter and Santana Moss. Moss led New York with 97 yards on only four receptions.

Rushing Offense (A)

Is this 1995 or 2004? RB Curtis Martin again went over the century mark with 119 yards rushing, and with two first quarter TDs, has now reached the endzone more times in two games (four) than he did all of last season (two). The run blocking was solid but backup RB LaMont Jordan was again invisible, rushing for two yards on his only attempt. But with Martin looking like a 21-year-old instead of a 31-year-old, who cares?

Passing Defense (B-)

Normally a grade of B- would be construed as having a fairly good day. Unfortunately for the Jets, such a grade is more indicative of how poor San Diego QB Drew Brees is than their overall play. Brees completed just 8-of-19 passes for 116 yards (1 TD, two INTs) before being replaced by Doug Flutie in the fourth quarter. Gang Green led 27-7 before two fourth quarter TDs got the Chargers back into the game. In all honesty, it is a game they never should have been in in the first place, a fact coach Herman Edwards cannot ignore.

Rushing Defense (B)

Holding All-Pro RB LaDanian Tomlinson to just 87 yards on 19 carries has to be considered a success. New York has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher in its first two games, a big reason why the team is undefeated. Despite registering just one sack, the line was solid enough to keep the pressure on the Chargers QBs.

Special Teams (D)

Maybe it’s something in the water in New York, as the Jets’ special teams struggled for the second straight week. A 17-0 lead and potential blowout was cut to 17-7 after allowing an 87-yard kickoff return for a TD by Chargers’ KR Tim Dwight in the second quarter. On the flip side, LaMont Jordan returned four KOs for just 71 yards for Gang Green. P Toby Gowin was solid, averaging 42 yards on five punts while K Doug Brien was perfect on all his FG and PAT attempts.

The Jets 34-28 victory was much the same as the previous week against the Bengals. Simply put, the game should not have been that close. Although New York can enjoy its bye week in first place at 2-0, Gang Green’s first undefeated September in quite some time has its warts.

Next Up: BYE

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