Devastating Losses Deal Big Blow To Giants, Jets
By Michael Avallone
Week 9 of the NFL schedule in New York can be summed in one word: OUCH! Both the Jets and Giants suffered tough losses — the Giants in particular — against inferior opponents. However, it was the injuries that may very well cripple both teams chances at a playoff run this season. Jets QB Chad Pennington will be out 2-4 weeks with a strained rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder while the Giants lost both DEs Keith Washington and Michael Strahan for the season. Much like the weather in the Northeast, the NFL season turned that much colder for New York’s two teams.
PASSING OFFENSE (C-) — QB Chad Pennington can be excused for his poor numbers (7-for-15, 141 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but that is the least of the Jets worries. After hurting his shoulder in the first quarter, Pennington worked through the pain until finally removing himself from the game in the fourth. Although the injury certainly had something to do with his performance, the Jets young quarterback did not get much help from his receivers, who dropped numerous passes. Only WR Santana Moss (6 catches, 157 yards) played well, finally looking like the receiver he was last year.
RUSHING OFFENSE (D) — Sooner or later RB Curtis Martin was going to have a bad game. The fact that it came when the Jets had no passing attack proved too much for Gang Green to overcome. Martin rushed for just 67 yards while backup RB LaMont Jordan — fresh of a 115-yard, 2 TD game last weekend — ran the ball just twice for two yards.
PASS DEFENSE (C-) — Buffalo QB Drew Bledsoe’s numbers weren’t special (18-of-30, 184 yards, 1 TD), but New York could not stop WR Eric Moulds (7 catches, 85) despite making him a priority. The Bills converted 7-of-18 third down chances while the offensive line played great, giving Bledsoe ample time in the pocket to find the open man. The Jets did not record a sack in the game.
RUSH DEFENSE (D) — RB Willis McGahee seems to own the starting job for the Bills, and for the third time in four games, he played like the superstar many thought he would be. McGahee ran all over New York, gaining 132 yards on 37 carries. The Jets defense allowed a season-high 157 yards on the ground.
The loss may have been ugly for the Jets (6-2) but losing Pennington for up to four weeks stings a lot worse. The Bills (3-5) are no pushovers with one of the top defenses in the league, and they showed New York they can pound the ball on the ground too. Now the Jets have to re-group and head home to face the Ravens with Quincy Carter at quarterback. It’s gut-check time for Gang Green...
Next up : vs. BAL (5-3) Prediction: BAL 17, NYJ 10
PASSING OFFENSE (F) — Momma said there’d be days like this. QB Kurt Warner (18-of-36, 195 yards) had his worst game of the season, losing two fumbles and throwing two interceptions. To add insult to injury, the offensive line continued to regress, allow a whopping seven sacks. Warner has now been sacked 18 times over the past three games, a ridiculous number. TE Jeremy Shockey led the team with six catches for 64 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE (C-) — The O-lines struggles didn’t just affect Warner. RB Tiki Barber was mostly a non-factor after his two early TD runs. He gained just 72 yards on 21 attempts as New York ran for only 91 yards as a team — a good 30 yards below their season average.
PASS DEFENSE (B) — When you look at Bears QB Craig Krenzels numbers (8-of 21, 144 yards, 1 TD) the Giants secondary seemed to have done its job. However, there were too many passing downs that were successful for Chicago when they had no business doing so. CB Will Allen had one of his poorer games, getting burned on a 35-yard strike to WR David Terrell (four catches, 70 yards). Rookie SS Gibril Wilson continued to impress, leading the team with nine tackles and a forced fumble.
RUSH DEFENSE (D) — Big Blue’s must have thought the back they were facing was Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton, not backup RB Anthony Thomas. With starter Thomas Jones injured, Thomas ran the ball 28 times for 110 yards and two TDs.
Unlike the Jets loss, Big Blue’s defeat was crushing in more ways than one. Losing Strahan and Washington for the season are huge blows to a defense that had been playing well over the first seven games. Making matters worse, the Giants (5-3) lost to a Bears team (3-5) they had no business losing too — particularly the way they did. Heading out to Arizona to face a tough Cardinals team may not be the best tonic for Coach Tom Coughlin’s troops....
Up Next : @ ARZ (3-5) Prediction: ARZ 24, NYG 20.