Giants Beat Up Browns, Jets Seek Victory At Winless Miami
By Michael Avallone
Passing Offense (B+)
For the third consecutive week, QB Kurt Warner displayed the necessary tools to win. Although he is not lighting up the scoreboard with TD passes (one in three games), the number under the “INT” column speaks volumes: ZERO. The offensive line, proving the naysayers wrong so far, again protected Warner, giving him time to complete 19-of-27 passes for 286 yards. Warner was sacked only twice and distributed the ball to five different receivers including five each to TE Jeremy Shockey (41 yds) and WR Amani Toomer (126 yds).
Rushing Offense (A-)
The thunder from the “Thunder and Lightning” tandem was missing as RB Ron Dayne was put on the Game Inactive List with a swollen calf. No matter, as the line opened up enough holes for RB Tiki Barber to rush for 106 yards on 23 carries (4.6 avg), including a TD. Barber went over the century mark for the second time in three games. Dayne’s replacement, RB Mike Cloud, rushed for only 12 yards on six attempts, but did score his first Giants touchdown with a five-yard run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.
Pass Defense (B+)
The Giants pass rush was effective against the Browns O-line, sacking QB Jeff Garcia four times and forcing two fumbles. Without much of a receiving corps, Garcia threw for only 180 yards, although he did complete 21-of-31 passes. DE Michael Strahan was again the best player on the field, registering two sacks and recovering two fumbles, the second of which culminated in a 95-yard scoring drive for New York. Rookie SS Gibril Wilson led New York with eight tackles and one INT while filling in for the injured SS Shaun Williams (knee surgery).
Rush Defense (B-)
The Giants were able to keep the running game in check in the first half, giving up just 45 yards, but that was more a product of Cleveland’s non-existent passing game than the Giants run-stuffing prowess. That being said, New York was solid against the run, although they did end up yielding 124 yards to the Browns, 91 of them to RB William Green.
Special Teams (B+)
The Giants were able to keep the Browns’ dangerous trio of PR Dennis Northcutt and KRs Richard Alston and Andre King from running wild. Giants’ P Jeff Feagles again showed why he is one of the top punters in the league, putting four punts inside the 20. Although none of New York’s returns yielded anything significant, their coverage was the best its been in some time.
The Giants (2-1) seem to have gotten over their misgivings with coach Tom Coughlin....at least for now. The true test for Big Blue will begin on Sunday when they visit Green Bay (1-2) and Dallas (2-1) over the next two weeks. Winning one of those games may give the Giants the necessary confidence to springboard them through the next quarter of the season. However, going up against a Packers team that is coming off two straight losses does not bode well. The Giants may be able to put up some points on Green Bay’s defense, but will QB Brett Favre and RB Ahman Green allow the Pack to lose three in a row? I didn’t think so....
Next Up: at Green Bay (1-2)
Prediction: GB 27, NYG 19
The Jets (2-0) face a dangerous situation this weekend. Coming off their bye week with an undefeated record while going up against the reeling Dolphins (0-3) could be a recipe for disaster. Coach Herm Edwards has to make sure that his team is prepared, no matter the sorry state of Miami. While the Dolphins’ defense has been as good as advertised, their offense is truly pathetic, avergaing just 7.7 points in three games. An upset is possible, but the only way Miami wins is by scoring points off turnovers...not a likely scenario with QB Chad Pennington leading Gang Green.
Next Game: at MIA (0-3)
Prediction: NYJ 17, MIA 10