2004-11-26 / Sports

Jets Get a Needed Win: Manning Shows Promise

By Michael Avallone Sports Columnist

N.Y. Giants’ Eli Manning gets away from the attempted sack by Atlanta Falcons Brady Smith. (AP/Bill Kostroun)
N.Y. Giants’ Eli Manning gets away from the attempted sack by Atlanta Falcons Brady Smith. (AP/Bill Kostroun) The future of the New York Giants was unveiled at the Meadowlands while the future of the Jets hung in the balance on the shores of Lake Erie. Thankfully for both teams, the results were largely positive, albeit in drastically different ways. Giants QB Eli Manning overcame a shaky start to post decent numbers in his first NFL start, while Jets QB Quincy Carter made like his injured counterpart, Chad Pennington, guiding Gang Green to a late touchdown for the win – and perhaps saving the season.

New York Jets

PASSING OFFENSE (C-) – It was not all his fault, but a mobile QB like Quincy Carter should not get sacked six times. It was another mediocre performance in place of starter, Chad Pennington but unlike last week, Carter (11-of-20, 116 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) did what he had to do in winning the game. The former Cowboys slinger completed three straight passes on the winning drive, hitting WR Justin McCareins for an 11-yard TD with just over five minutes to go.

RUSHING OFFENSE (A-) – The only glaring negative in the Jets rushing attack was that RB Curtis Martin (17 att, 88 yds) missed most of the second half with a bruised knee – though he is expected to play this weekend. Backup RB LaMont Jordan held up his end of the bargain by rushing for 61 of his 73 yards in the fourth quarter which begs the question: why won’t head coach Herman Edwards go to him more to save Martin’s legs?

PASS DEFENSE (B+) – Gang Green recorded only sack in the game, but it was a big one. S Erik Coleman took down backup QB Kelly Holcomb on the Browns final drive to preserve the win after DE Shaun Ellis had knocked starter Jeff Garcia from the game at the end of the first half. The duo combined to go just 14-of-27 for 120 yards and one TD.

RUSH DEFENSE ( B) – New York was able to hold the Browns to just 99 yards on the ground – 21 coming on RB William Green’s scamper that set up the only Cleveland TD. LB Eric Barton led the Jets with 10 tackles while rookie LB Jonathan Vilma continued to impress, registering six takedowns of his own.

Gang Green pulled a rabbit out of a hat with this win. They played from behind the entire game and looked lethargic until the winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Granted, a road win is tough to accomplish, particularly in Cleveland (3-7) but the Jets (7-3) never looked desperate for a win…something they should have been. Still, they head into week 12 right in the middle of the AFC playoff race but will again be without Chad Pennington.

Up Next: @ ARZ (4-6)

Prediction: ARZ 21, NYJ 14

New York Giants

PASSING OFFENSE (C+) – Things could have been a lot worse for rookie QB Eli Manning in his first start. Perhaps rejuvenated with the future of the franchise in place, the O-line played better than it had in a month, allowing just one sack against a strong Atlanta pass rush. Manning’s stats might have looked better (17-for-37 162 yds 1 TD, 2 INT) had TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Amani Toomer not dropped several passes. Still, the younger Manning held his own during a circus-like atmosphere.

RUSHING OFFENSE (B) — Once again, Big Blue’s running game revolved around RB Tiki Barber and only Tiki Barber. While the line blocked well and Barber did his usual damage (21 carries, 107 yds), the rest of the backs did nothing – as has been the case most of the season. Backup RB Ron Dayne carried four times for just 13 yards.

PASS DEFENSE (C) – Holding Atlanta QB Michael Vick to 12-of-20 passing for 115 yards seems decent – until you see that he decided to run almost as often as he threw. New York’s defense was able to sack Vick twice, but they had no interceptions and no passes defended…not good. TE Alge Crumpler – Vicks favorite target – caught four passes for 47 yards and two TDs.

RUSH DEFENSE (C) – This is where Vick can be most dangerous and he was so again. Atlanta’s QB rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries, part of the Falcons 201 total yards on the ground. RB Warrick Dunn finished with 69 yards on just 12 carries – a 5.8 average. Giants LB Nick Griesen led the team with seven tackles.

Even the most pessimistic Giants fan had to be fairly pleased with Manning’s performance. While the rookie made his share of mistakes, he showed the poise and strong arm that has experts everywhere predicting stardom. Unfortunately, New York (5-5) dropped their third straight game against a Falcons (8-2) team that is easy compared to the upcoming game against Philly.

Up Next: vs PHI (9-1)

Prediction: PHI 27, NYG 17.

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