October 05, 2022

Giants Don’t Look Super

September 06, 2012

East Rutherford, NJ - The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants wanted to pick up right where they left off last year when they faced division rivals Dallas Cowboys Wednesday night in front of the largest sold out (82,849) crowd at MetLife Stadium. Unfortunately, the offense looked like they were still in pre-season mode and the defense gave up too many big plays in losing 24-17 to open up the 2012 football season.

After both teams went three and out in their initial possession, the Giants, starting on their own 13 behind Eli Manning (he completed 3 passes for 53 yards) gets down to the Dallas 29 yard line. Rookie running back David Wilson running left fumbles killing the drive. Wilson, sat alone at his locker after the game clearly upset at his overall performance.

"I don't think this day could have been any worse," he started. "I did bad, I fumbled and then we lost." The Cowboys failed to take advantage of the New York miscue as they attempted a 4th and 1 run that was snuffed by Antrel Roll.

The first time Dallas got the ball in the second quarter, it led to the only New York lead of the night. With Tony Romo in the shotgun looking for Kevin Ogletree, Romo's pass sails over Ogletree's head and is intercepted by linebacker Michael Boley at the 47. Boley scampers down to the Dallas second yard line before getting tackled horse collar style resulting in a penalty and placing the ball on the one-yard line. Didn't matter as running back Ahmad Bradshaw loses three yards on the first two rushing attempts. Manning then throws an incomplete to Victor Cruz and they settle for a 22-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. The short yard running game that haunted them all of last year once again prevented them from scoring a touchdown.

Said head coach Tom Coughlin "we had been very good in goal line sequences against Dallas. I don't know whether the scheme flattened us out. That wasn't a great way to start."

New York's defense continued to play well until the waning moments of the first half. Dallas began at its own 27 with 3:34 remaining. Seven plays and 73 yards later, Romo finds Ogletree for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Romo completed 5 passes for 60 yards during the drive. The Cowboys took the lead they would never give back.
The Cowboys extended the lead in the third quarter as Romo and the offense slowed the Giants pass rush with quick passes. Romo would connect with Ogletree again as he gets behind cornerback Corey Webster, this time for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The nine-play, 80-yard score put Dallas up by 11 (14-3). Ogletree would end his night with 8 catches for 118 yards and the 2 touchdowns. Bradshaw closes the gap to four (14-10) after his 10-yard run caps a nine-play, 89-yard drive. Dallas ended the third quarter with a 33 yard Dan Bailey field goal (17-10), as the Giants looked to continue a winning streak in which teams have won the Super Bowl since 1999 won the opening game the following year. It would not happen.

With Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara out with a leg injury, Michael Coe took his place in the starting line-up. Coe would pull his hamstring in the fourth quarter and his replacement Justin Tyron was victimized by Romo for what turned out to be the Cowboys final touchdown. Changing the play at the line of scrimmage, Romo throws a pass to Miles Austin as he gets behind Tyron. Austin pulls the pass down and races into the end zone for the 34-yard score.

Manning finds ex-Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett with a nine-yard touchdown pass with 2:42 left and had one more opportunity to get the ball back. Dallas faced a third down and 12 situations on their own 34 after a holding penalty. Tyron gets victimized once again giving up a 13-yard catch to Ogletree.

Dallas gave the Super Bowl champions plenty of chances to win the game as they were penalized 13 times for 86 yards. The normally reliable Victor Cruz struggled as he dropped 3 passes that would have given his team first downs.

"We gave ourselves a chance there at the end of the game. We just took way too much time for us to score," said Coughlin. "We certainly are capable of playing much better."

He turned down the invitation to be on Dancing with the Stars, but New York Giants wide receiver extraordinaire Victor Cruz could not pass up an invitation to take his salsa dancing skills to Broadway. Fresh off his stellar performance (10 catches, 142 yards) in the 20-17 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Cruz shuffled his feet at the Modell's Times Square location to the delight of a crowd of Giants fans. He talked about the origin of his touchdown celebration, how exhausted he was after the team clinched the NFC Championship and being part of his very first Super Bowl. Oh, he also gave an example of the dance he hopes to display at some point during the game that will take place February 5th in Indianapolis.

Because high school and college rules prohibited end zone celebrations, Victor Cruz had to wait until he made it to the pros to express his excitement after scoring a touchdown. He caught everyone's attention when he hauled in 3 touchdown passes against the Jets in the 2010 pre-season game. Ironically, he didn't get his salsa on after any of the catches. A hamstring injury sidelined him for the rest of that year. When Steve Smith signed with rival and division foe Philadelphia the following season, Cruz was given another chance to display his talents. The Eagles were the first team to see his moves after he splits two of its defensive backs and scampered 74 yards for the touchdown. The Salsa Shuffle was born.

"My grandmother said I should do a dance when I score a touchdown." He wasn't quite sure if she would like It. "Once I got her approval, I had to keep it." It has taken the city and the NFL by storm.

With the rainy and windy conditions facing both teams in the championship game, it was a little surprising that the Giants offense would put the ball in the air as much as they did. Victor Cruz was Eli Manning's favorite target in the first half. They connected on 8 passes for 125 yards but you could tell he was wearing down as the game went on. He only caught 2 passes for 16 yards in the second half, dragging himself off the turf as the game went on. "I was exhausted," he said. The exhaustion faded the minute Lawrence Tynes 31-yard field goal sailed through the uprights sending the team to the ultimate game. Cruz was seen jumping up and down euphoric in his celebration.

Victor Cruz and his Salsa Shuffle was not part of the New York Giants when they beat the New England Patriots in 2008. He was part of the team that beat them last year when the Patriots were undefeated. Cruz will make it a point to talk to members of that 2008 squad to find out what the next 2 weeks will be all about.

"Come Thursday I will ask guys and get their take on it. How they feel about the game and how they are going to handle everything."

They say familiarity breeds contempt. That said, Cruz doesn't know which team has the advantage given they have played each other as often as they have over the last couple of years.

"We've seen each other a lot. We're very familiar with each other. They understand us well and we understand them well. It's going to come down to who makes the most plays."

Victor Cruz is hoping to do his Salsa Shuffle for the first time this postseason on the biggest stage and the biggest game of his career.

East Rutherford, NJ - The defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants were coming off their opening night loss against the Dallas Cowboys in a game that seemed like it took place last year. Big Blue faced a surprising Tampa Bay Bucs team that was coming off an impressive Week 1 win over the Carolina-led quarterback, Cam Newton. It was a homecoming of sorts for former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano who has a history with the Giants, the team he rooted for while growing up in North Jersey.

Tampa Bay wanted to set the tone right from the start as it decided to let its defense take the field after winning the coin toss. The move backfired as Eli Manning connected on 2 passes to Hakim Nicks for 48 yards leading to a Lawrence Tynes 37-yard field goal. The Bucs bounced right back with a field goal of their own as quarterback Josh Freeman completed a 41-yard pass to wide receiver Vince Jackson. It began a first half that saw Freeman lead Tampa Bay to a 24-13 lead as their defense picked off Manning three times. The last pick returned 60 yards by Eric Wright. Manning committing the cardinal sin for a QB looking directly to the receiver he was trying to connect with.

Not helping matters were injuries to David Diehl, (knee) Domenik Hixon (concussion) and Ahmad Bradshaw (neck).

Said head coach Tom Coughlin about losing three key players on the offense, "it puts you in a state for a while where you're trying to settle down. It happened so quick. You gotta give people credit. People really did step forward and play very, very well under the circumstances and gave us a chance to win."

When the Bucs extended the lead 27-13 it looked like the Super Bowl Champions would start the year losing their first two games. New York crept within eight after two more Tynes field goals (36, 38) ending the third and starting the 4th quarter. Like the game against Dallas, they could not get in the end zone the two times they were within the Tampa Bay 20. Then, just like he did all of last year, Manning engineered a 4th quarter comeback leading to a 41-34 victory.

Down 27-19, Manning finds Victor (Salsa) Cruz down the right side for an 80-yard touchdown catch and run. Cruz played with a heavy heart losing his grandmother earlier in the week. His customary Salsa Dance in the end zone had a special meaning.

"Right as I was done, I kind of looked up and held my hands up to her, letting her know that one was for her," he would say after.

Manning did not stop there and the defense, sparked after safety Kenny Phillips blasted Vince Jackson on a pass attempt over the middle, got the offense the back quickly.

The Giants took the lead (34-27) when Manning marched them downfield as tight end Martellus Bennett came up big catching 2 passes for 47 yards. The last, a 33-yard touchdown grab. The lead was short-lived as the Bucs tied the game on a spectacular catch by wide receiver Mike Williams. With Tampa's QB Josh Freeman in the no-huddle, shotgun offense, he hauls a pass to the end zone in the left corner. Williams jumps over cornerback Justin Tryon and brings down the 41-yard touchdown. With 1:48 left and staring at the potential of overtime, Manning made sure that would not happen.

Eighty yards away did not deter Manning and the offense. In order, Manning hits Ramses Barden for 24 yards. Hakeem Nicks was next catching a 50 yarder to the Bucs 11. Andre Brown scampers down to the 2-yard line, falling down before crossing the end zone in order to keep the clock running. The Bucs allowed Brown to score on the next play giving the Giants the lead but also giving the Bucs one more chance to score with 31 seconds left. It almost happened.

Freeman, who finished his day throwing for more than 240 and two touchdowns, finds Jackson again for 19 yards. Williams strikes again, making what looked like a completed pass that would have given the Bucs the ball on the Giants 16. The play was reversed and ruled incomplete and Freeman's next pass was picked off by linebacker Michael Boley ending the game.

It was a tale of two halves for the entire team. Three Manning interceptions led to a 24-13 deficit as the defense struggled. Then, sparked by the Phillips blast, the whole team woke up. Manning finished throwing for 510 yards the second most in Giants history. Nicks and Cruz caught a combined 378 yards. All this after losing three important parts of the offense.

Said Coughlin: "the first half was very disappointing. A lesser group of men I think would have had trouble. I'm just happy to be one and one."

Giants Hold Off Buffalo

October 16, 2011

East Rutherford, NJ - They were not going to let it happen two weeks in a row. The New York Giants were in the same situation against the surprising Buffalo Bills (the real New York State team) that they were in against the Seattle Seahawks last week. This time, instead of turning the ball over in their last possession, the Giants put the winning points on the board, courtesy of a Lawrence Tynes 23-yard field goal with just over a minute left in the game. Still, like they did last week, the Giants once again made a crucial mistake with a chance to put 6 points on the board before the winning kick.

Last week, in their last drive that would have given them a lead over Seattle, they got called for a false start at the 5-yard line. Eli Manning would then force a pass to Victor Cruz and the pass tips off his hand and gets returned for a touchdown. Sunday at the 17-yard line, tackle Stacy Andrews gets for a false start. This time, they decide to keep the play calling simple, leading to the winning score.

The Giants put the first points on the board the second time the offense took the field. Starting on their own 31, Manning (21-32, 292 yards and no turnovers) leads them to a 9 play, 69-yard drive ending in a 1-yard touch down run (the first of 3) by Ahmad Bradshaw. He would finish his day with 104 yards on 26 carries, his first 100-yard day this year. With Brandon Jacobs missing his second straight game with a sore knee, the Buffalo defense keyed on Bradshaw but the offensive line did a good job of opening holes. Said Bradshaw, "I'm very proud of our offensive line. The front did a great job for me to push it in on the goal line."

The Bills didn't waste any time showing everyone why they are one of the top teams in the AFC. They scored quickly on their next 2 possessions in a big way. First, Fred Jackson rumbles 80 yards tying the game at 7. The last couple of yards, he stumbles, but the Giants defense could not bring him down. Then, at their own 40, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick connects with Naaman Roosevelt for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Both plays took less than 3 minutes. It could have set the tone for the defense for the rest of the day, but Big Blue tightened up the rest of the day. Said head coach Tom Coughlin, "we had a couple of lapses on defense with the big plays. But we settled in there."

New York took a brief 3 point halftime lead (17-14) after Tynes' second field goal and Bradshaw's second touchdown run, but the Bills sent the teams to the locker room tied at 17 after a Rian Lindell long 49-yard field goal. Buffalo out-gained the Giants in the running game 125 to 46 but Fitzpatrick only threw for 99 yards. The Giants defense had to make adjustments while the offense needed to open up the running game. They did both in the second half.

The Giants took a 7 point lead (24-17) midway of the third quarter as the tandem of Manning and tight end Jake Ballard continue to click. In the 10 play, 75-yard drive, they connect on passes totaling 31 yards. It ends in Bradshaw's last touchdown of the day. Ballard finished his day with 5 catches for 81 yards. Said Ballard of the chemistry between the two, "you do what Eli expects of you to do and you're going to get the ball." With Fitzpatrick moving the ball from their own 41, he looks for Stevie Johnson deep down the left sideline. Corey Webster steps in front for the interception (his first of the day) returning the ball to the Bills 48. Looking like they would put more points on the board, Tynes attempts a 51-yard field goal that gets blocked. The lead would stand up until the fourth quarter as the defense did not give up any points in the third.

Buffalo would not go away quietly. They came from behind trailing New England by 21 points so it surprised nobody when Fitzpatrick moves them 51 yards in 11 plays after the block as Johnson catches a 9-yard touchdown pass. Webster would then pick off his second pass of the day as Fitzpatrick tested him again looking for Johnson on another deep pass to the left side. Not only did Webster snatch the pass but as he is returning the pick, Johnson gets called for a 15-yard face mask penalty. The Giants begin their game-winning drive on their own 27. A beaming Webster talked about his defense. "We didn't start off well early on giving up the two big plays. Other than that, we kept on fighting and ultimately we got the 'W'."

The New York Giants have the luxury of a bye week hoping they can get healthy on both sides of the ball. Jacobs' knee is a real source of concern. Justin Tuck is still battling neck and groin problems. First-round draft pick Prince Amukamara ran last week and might be ready when they face the Dolphins at home October 30th. Wearing a Yankee cap, Ballard said it best when asked how important it was to win going into the bye week. "It's huge. If we had lost this game, we would have had to wait two weeks to play again."

East Rutherford, NJ - It's not the way the New York Giants wanted to start against the lowly, winless (0-4) Cleveland Browns. After winning the coin toss, Big Blue coughs up the ball as running Ahmad Bradshaw gets hit by his own lineman Chris Snee.

Said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin of the play, "when you look at the tape, it was a little more freakish than you think."

Two plays later, Trent Richardson runs 15 yards for the touchdown. The next time Cleveland touches the ball, rookie QB Brandon Weeden finds wide receiver Josh Gordon as he runs right past Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn for the 62-yard touchdown. First, safety Stevie Brown creeps towards the line of scrimmage anticipating a run play, then the other safety Antrel Rolle was late helping out in the coverage. Blackburn could not catch up with Gordon. Before the 79,911 sold out crowd could get settled, the home team trailed 14-0.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning would cut the lead in half (14-7) after taking the team on an 11-play, 92-yard drive ending in a three-yard touchdown pass to Victor (Salsa) Cruz. Manning completed six passes for 61 yards. Cleveland also contributed to the drive with a 13-yard pass interference penalty. The Browns extended the lead (17-7) on a 32-yard Phil Dawson field goal. New York used its next long drive to put more points on the board but could only come away with a Lawrence Tynes 29-yard field goal cutting the Browns lead to seven (17-10) and Manning's last pass falling incomplete to receiver Rueben Randle.

The Giants defense had given up 156 yards in the air to Weeden and 56 yards on the ground by Richardson to start the game. Cleveland was looking to add to those stats and extend the lead as they moved down to the Giants 25 yard line. That's when the defense came up with a big play. Weeden overthrows Gordon into the hands of Brown who returns the pick 26 yards. Manning then finds Randle on a deep pass for 36 yards before Bradshaw runs it in from four yards out tying the game at 17.
New York's special team then gets into the act when they kick off next to the Browns. Will Hill forces a Joshua Cribbs fumble and that man, Brown, scoops it up on the 29-yard line. At 1:27 later, Manning finds Cruz for the second time all alone in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown. Penalties continued to hurt Cleveland on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they committed two miscues ultimately giving the ball back to New York with .17 left in the half. After a 12-yard run by Bradshaw, Manning looks to hook up with Randle again as Browns Buster Skrine is called for pass interference. Tynes then kicks his second field goal of the day giving Big Blue a 27-17 halftime lead.

The Cruz (Salsa) show continued in the third quarter after their first possession. From the shotgun, Manning (25-37, 259 yards, 3 TDs) once again finds Cruz alone in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown pass, his third and final for the day. With the lead 34-17, Cleveland looked to make a run similar to the way they began. The Giants defense would not let that happen.

Big Blue allowed a Dawson 41-yard field goal reducing the lead to 14 (34-20) with a little more than a minute to go in the third. Manning would then throw his only pick of the day as the pass intended for Cruz gets popped in the air by Sheldon Brown. Usama Young comes up with the ball. Weedon gets the Browns down to the Giants 5 yard line looking to close the gap to seven when his next pass is intercepted by Blackburn in the end zone. On the play before, Weedon's pass attempt gets batted right back to him by Justin Tuck. Weedon finds tight end Jordan Cameron which would have been a 13-yard touchdown pass bringing the score to 31-27. The score was nullified for an illegal forward pass. Six plays later, Giants rookie David Wilson puts the game with a 44-yard touchdown run for the 41-27 final score.

It was a record-setting day for Bradshaw, as he finished the day with 200 yards on 30 carries. Cruz salsa'd his way to three touchdown catches for a meager 50 yards. Big Blue got major contributions from back-ups on sides ball. Offensively, Little used wide receiver Rueben Randle pitched in with six catches for 82 yards, while Brown shook off his early miscue to come up with big plays on the defensive side.

They will need all of those components when they travel cross-country to face the San Francisco 49ers the team they beat last year on their way the winning the Super Bowl.

East Rutherford, NJ - The biggest question on the minds of New York Giants fans when they faced the Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium was which Giants team would show up. Would it be the team that won its last two games of the season against the Jets and Cowboys? Or would it be the team that lost 5 of 6 games that made it mandatory for them to win those last two games in order to qualify for the tournament? During that losing streak, the Giants defense was nowhere to be found. Offensively, the ground game disappeared and they had to rely on Eli Manning to keep them in every game except the loss to New Orleans. They seemed to right the ship against the Jets and Cowboys and hoped the momentum carried over in their first playoff game since the 2008 season.

Giants Playoff1 Eli-Manning Credit Bill Menzel LSVNew York won the toss and elected to receive spurred on by a crowd of more than 79,000 waving their white towels on a cloudy and overcast afternoon. Beginning on their own 25, Eli Manning, out of the shotgun, sees his first pass attempt go thru the hands of Victor Cruz. Ahmad Bradshaw's first rushing attempt gains no yards. A false start penalty by Hakeem Nicks pushes them back 5 and Manning's first completion only gets them 11 yards forcing them to punt. The Falcons themselves would go 3 and out on their first possession as both teams struggled to establish an early running game.

The Giants offense continued their early struggles when it looked like Atlanta would get on the board right before the end of the first quarter. Starting on their own 10, QB Matt Ryan, mixing the pass and run, would move them all the way down to the Giants 25. Faced with 4th and 1, Atlanta decides to go for the first down instead of the field goal and Ryan is stopped short on his sneak attempt. That stop would lead to the first score of the game, although it was not to the advantage of the New York.

Starting on their own 24, they immediately get pushed back 10 yards courtesy of a Chris Snee holding penalty. They lose another yard after a Manning pass to Bradshaw behind the line of scrimmage. Out of the shotgun, Manning gets flushed out of the pocket and retreating into the end zone, he let the pass go. The problem: No receiver in sight resulting in a safety and a 2-0 Falcons lead.

Said head coach Tom Coughlin "there was pressure on the edge and in the face of the quarterback. He (Manning) just wanted to get rid of it."

Atlanta failed to take advantage of the free kick possession giving the ball back to the Giants on their own 15. Thirteen (13) plays and 85 yards later, New York would take their first lead of the game and never look back. They ran the ball 9 times for 69 yards bolstered by a power run of 34 yards by Brandon Jacobs and a 14-yard scramble by Manning.

"That was really instrumental because we were struggling to make a first down," said Coughlin.

Manning caps the drive hitting Hakeem Nicks with a 4-yard touchdown pass.

The defense that kept Ryan and the Atlanta offense in check up to that point, seemed to get even more energized. The Falcons touched the ball 2 more times before the half and came away empty. Down by only 5, they got the ball to start the second half hoping to get their offense going. Although they didn't manage a first down with that possession, they put a scare in the Giants defense as both Aaron Ross and Jean Pierre-Paul were hurt on an incomplete Ryan pass attempt. Pierre-Paul would return while Ross was diagnosed with a concussion and would not return. It didn't affect the defense as after Lawrence Tynes nails a 22-yard field goal to increase the lead (10-2) the Falcons failed once again to convert a fourth and short quarterback sneak.

The Giants didn't take long to put more points on the ball the very next time they touched the ball. Manning (23-32,277 yards and 3 TD's) finds Nicks with a quick pass across the middle then he splits 6 Atlanta defenders streaking 72 yards for his second touchdown of the day.

Manning's 3rd and last touchdown pass (27 yards) to Marion Manningham start to the 4th quarter put Atlanta out of its misery. They limited Ryan to only 199 yards, sacking him twice. They only allowed 64 rushing yards with no runner gaining more than 13 yards in any one attempt.

Now the New York Giants travel to Green Bay in hopes of not only derailing the defending Super Bowl Champions but wanting to avenge their 3 point home loss back in December. They had to go through Green Bay when they won the Super Bowl in 2008.

Said Coughlin" we'll look at the tape of the last game and make adjustments defensively."

They are going to have to if they want to keep their season alive.

Upon Further Review: New York Giants take a beating from Dallas Cowboys; Take a bite of Humble Pie, and more thoughts

Bronx, NY - Let's begin with the Super Bowl Champion New York (Football) Giants opening the 2012 season against the hated Dallas Cowboys home at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants didn't do much to quiet the critics who said that winning the Vince Lombardi trophy last year was a fluke. The defense, after keeping 'Boys quarterback Tony Romo in check the first half, never laid a finger on him in the second half in the 24-17 loss. Making matters worse, they allowed DeMarco Murray to gain 131 yards on 20 carries. Forty-eight on a run that saw both Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck fail to bring him down in the backfield.

Offensively, last year's wide receiver sensation Victor (Salsa) Cruz uncharacteristically drops 3 passes that would have been first downs, trying to make plays before catching the ball and turning it upfield. Naturally, folks are saying he has succumbed to the "Helium Head Syndrome" after an offseason of appearing in everything from the Grammy Awards to every Red Carpet event celebrating his breakout season. To his credit, Cruz owned up to his mistakes.

"They were just drops," he said after the game. "A couple of them were me leaving before I caught the ball."

It was a game Big Blue needed to win because it was at home against a division rival. Head coach Tom Coughlin thought the team needed to taste a slice of humble pie.

"Take a bite out of humble pie," he told his team afterward. "It brings you right back down to earth."

Coughlin if anything, always keeps it real. Let's see how the Giants bounce back Sunday against a Tampa Bay team who looked impressive in its win against Carolina...

So who says you have to score in the pre-season? The New York Jets added a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano and backup quarterback Tim Tebow then proceeded to score only 1 touchdown in its four pre-season games. Mark Sanchez did not get the first unit in the end zone and Tebow was never used in the "wildcat" offense so teams would not know how to defend against him when he entered the game. None of that mattered when Gang Green took the field against the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon on a sun-drenched day at MetLife Stadium.

Sanchez, in his best performance as a Jets, threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns as they routed Buffalo 48-28. First-round draft pick, wide receiver Stephen Hill hauled in 2 of the touchdowns and momentarily quieted critics. Hill, who had a case of the drops during the pre-season was confident coming into the game.

"I just kept working hard," he said afterward.

Jeremy Kerley not only caught a touchdown pass but returned a punt 68 yards extending the lead to 21-0. The running game wasn't spectacular but Shonn Greene did manage 94 yards on 27 carries. More impressive was the offensive line who didn't let Sanchez touch the turf the entire game. They allowed him the time in the pocket to find the open receivers.

Defensively, aside from miscues in the second half, they pestered Ryan Fitzpatrick all day as they picked him off 3 times (Antonio Cromartie taking one to the house) as they got off to a 27-7 first-half lead. Tim Tebow, the talk of the town, was a relatively non-factor in the game running for only 11 yards on 5 carries. He attempted no passes. Eight times from the wildcat formation, he handed the ball off three times. At one point, Jets fans serenaded him with boos after he gained no yards when they were on the Bills 12-yard line. He claimed he didn't hear the reaction.

Yeah, right.

Head coach Rex Ryan, who almost got blasted on the sideline by Bills tight end Scott Chandler was downright giddy after the game.

"Obviously a tremendous performance by our football team," he said. I couldn't be happier for our football team."

The Bills were a pushover for Gang Green but rest assured the Pittsburgh Steelers won't be when the Jets visit them Sunday afternoon. The Steelers will be going into the game with a chip on their shoulders after losing Sunday night to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos...

Quick Hits: Speaking of Manning, he didn't look like the quarterback that hadn't played a game all of last year as he threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns (completing 19 of 26 passes) in 31-19 victory over the Steelers. Peyton kept the frenzied Pittsburgh defense at bay when he went to the no-huddle offense in the second quarter. Manning guided them to four scores (3 touchdowns and a field goal) in their last 4 times with the ball. Not bad for a guy missing a year and coming off 4 neck surgeries...

Five rookie quarterbacks made their debut in Sunday's contest and 4 of them played like it. Manning's replacement in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck, did throw for 309 yards and a touchdown but also got picked off 3 times in his team's 41-21 loss to Chicago...Miami's Ryan Tannehill had 6 of the worst minutes a QB can have throwing 3 int's in losing to the Texans 30-10...Cleveland Brandon Weedon tossed 4 int's in his team's 17-16 loss to the Eagles while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was not as bad. Wilson did complete 18 of 34 passes (only 153 yards, however) in their 20-16 loss to Arizona. Wilson was picked off one time and threw for 1 touchdown...RG III showed why he was not only the Heisman Trophy winner but the #1 draft pick as he led the Redskins to a surprising 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Robert Griffin the 3rd, passed for 320 yards completing 19 of 26 passes and 2 touchdowns and no ints. RG III completed his first eight passes and showed poise unlike a rookie when he found wide receiver Pierre Garcon for an 88-yard touchdown strike just before getting blasted by Malcolm Jenkins who blitzed on the play. It tied the second longest scoring pass by a rookie QB starting his first game...Week 1 is in the books. The Redskins, 49ers, Jets, Bears, Denver, New England, Texans, Atlanta, and Ravens put it on their opponents while the Eagles struggled and the Bills, Miami, Kansas City, Cincinnati looked awful.

Green Bay and the Giants didn't look much better. Let's see which teams bounce back in week 2!

East Rutherford, NJ - With major areas in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut still under ruins due to Hurricane Sandy, the New York Giants wanted to give temporary relief to their fans when they hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. After beating the Dallas Cowboys last week to improve to 6-2 (2-2 in the division) Big Blue wanted to start the second half of the season on a good note knowing that under head coach Tom Coughlin they have played 64 second half games losing 37 of them. In the first eight games under Coughlin during those years, they played 72 games winning a stunning 53. So what team would show to face a Steelers team making its first appearance at the Met-O-Lands?

The Giants second half struggles seemed to continue at the start as they couldn't generate anything offensively. When it looked like they were ready to make a move, Eli Manning threw his customary interception into double coverage.

Manning had moved the team from its own 16 to the 41-yard line before trying to get the pass to Victor (Salsa) Cruz. The Steelers would take advantage of the turnover as QB Ben Roethlisberger marched them down using 11 plays, 58 yards ending in a 4 yards touchdown pass to wide receiver Emanuel Sanders.

The Giants would then go on an eight play drive going 62 yards ending in a 1-yard touchdown run by Andre Brown. The drive was aided by a pass interference penalty by Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. With the ball on the second-yard line, Manning tries to thread the needle to Cruz which falls incomplete. However, Cruz is hit late by safety Ryan Clark giving the Giants first and goal. Cruz laid on the turf with bruised ribs, left the game on his own power before returning the next time New York had possession.

New York took its first lead of the game (14-7) as the defense, possibly spurred on by the Cruz late hit, forced a Roethlisberger turnover. At the Giants 32, Big Ben goes back to pass and is hit by Osi Umenyora. Linebacker Michael Boley picks up the fumble and scrambles 71 yards for the score. Pittsburgh would add three more right before the half after New York's Lawrence Tynes missed a 51-yard field goal. Roethlisberger completed two passes totaling 47 yards setting up the Shaun Suisham 30-yard field goal cutting the lead to four (14-10).

The Steelers looked like they were going to strike at the start of the third quarter when Chris Rainey returned the kick-off 68 yards to the Giants 35 yard line. They would gain only one yard on the drive as Justin Tuck came up with his second sack of the game forcing them to punt. They extended the lead to seven (17-10) after Manning hits tight end Martelllus Bennett for 33-yards. It sets up a Tynes 50-yard field goal.

Roethlisberger then had a Manning moment of his own resulting in an interception. Giants cornerback Corey Webster steps in front of Mike Wallace to pick off the pass, leading to Tynes' second field goal of the day (23 yards) to put them up 20-10. That lead was short-lived in a very fast way as Roethlisberger, from the shotgun hits Wallace on a quick pass and he turns on the afterburners.

Fifty-one yards later, he's in the end zone bringing the Steelers within three (20-17). The Giants gave Pittsburgh the ball back failing to get a first down on their next possession and looked to tie or retake the lead. With the ball on the Giants third-yard line, Pittsburgh sets up for a game-tying field. Instead, they fake it as holder Drew Butler flips the ball behind to Suisham who is tackled for a one-yard loss. Another New York three and out gave Pittsburgh another opportunity to take the lead and this time they didn't waste it.

The Steelers began on their own 49 with 8:55 left looking to atone for their earlier miscue. Roethlisberger uses a combination of runs (35 yards) and passes (29 yards) to move them downfield before Isaac Redman runs it in from one yard for the game-winning score. With 4:53 left and Manning's recent history, the Giants were once again thinking about a last-minute victory. Unfortunately, it would not be as Manning (10-24, 125 yards) could not pull it off as once again like the previous possessions of the last quarter they could not convert a first down. With all that, the Giants were still in the position to get another shot if they could get the ball back as they had all 3 timeouts left. Pittsburgh had the ball with 2:55 needing one first down to come away with the win. The Giants used two of their timeouts stopping the Steelers has the only gained one yard. That's when Roethlisberger finds Redman once again for 16 yards. Game over.

It was an emotional day for the Giants, knowing they were playing in front of fans, many of them who would leave the stadium to return to no heat, hot water or electricity. Big Blue wanted to send them home on a good note.

Said head coach Tom Coughlin afterward, "what we were trying to do was give them a few hours of enjoyment in a very, very difficult time. To let them know we understood the mass difficulties that were facing our neighbors. That many, many people were fighting to survive. I hope the message came through we were trying."

They came up short.

Upon Further Review: Derrelle Revis out, but Jets offense and defense awful

East Rutherford, NJ - So this is what the New York Jets defense looked like with the best cornerback in football Darrelle Revis out with a torn ACL in his left knee. The San Francisco 49ers spent the week in Ohio rather than travel back home after getting beat by the Minnesota Vikings last week.

After losing 34-0 to the 49ers at MetLife Stadium, it's not only the defense the Jets have to worry about. It's the 11 players on offense that head coach Rex Ryan should be concerned with. Ryan was clearly steamed afterward using some language he had to apologize for. Parents may want to shield their kids from the following quote.

"I apologize for my language," he began his postgame press conference. "Because I was going to say we got our butt kicked. But really, we got our ass kicked. There's no two ways ins or outs about it."

He then dissected how the ass whipping took place.

"We go in and it should be 7-3 at halftime. It's 10-0 because of the mistakes we make. Then we come out, turn the ball over four times. Here's the recipe for getting our ass kicked: 2 for 13 on third down that 15%, four turnovers, a blocked punt when they rush one guy and give up 245 rushing. How's that for a recipe."

Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, and Atlanta Falcons Still Undefeated

Things won't get any easier for Gang Green as they host one of the three teams that remain undefeated in the Houston Texans. They stayed perfect by rolling over the Tennessee Titans 38-14...The other two teams that are without a loss, Arizona, and Atlanta, had to work hard to come away with victories.

The Cardinals needed overtime to beat the Miami Dolphins (24-21) as QB Kevin Kolb threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Miami wasted a great performance by their QB Ryan Tannehill as he threw for 421 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Brian Hartline entered the Dolphins record book by hauling in 12 catches for 253 yards...The Falcons needed to go 90 yards with a little over one minute left to eke out a 30-28 win over the Panthers. Matt (Matty Ice) Ryan finds Roddy White for a 59-yard pass completion and then watches Matt Bryant kick the game-winning 40-yard field goal. Ryan finished his day throwing for 369 yards as White caught eight passes for 169 yards...

Washington, Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Chargers, and Broncos Among the Winners

Redskins wonder QB RGIII passes for 323 yards in its 24-22 win over Tampa. Another nail-biter as Washington's Billy Cundiff nails a 41-yard field goal with three seconds left...Seattle was brought back to reality after its gift win Monday night against Green Bay as the Rams turned them back 19-13. Rams field goal kicker Greg Zuerlein was feeling his oats as he converted four field goals. The first, a 58-yarder that was followed up by a club record 60 yards. Expect him to be named special team player of the week...The disappointing Lions lose for the third time in four weeks after as the Vikings go on the road and come away with a 20-13 win. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson continues to impress coming off knee surgery as he ran for 102 yards on 21 carries. Detroit's QB Matthew Stafford threw for 319 yards...For the second time this year, the Buffalo Bills gave up more than 45 points in a game. Sunday, they gave up 52 to the New England Patriots. The Bills did take a 14-7 halftime lead then saw their defense give up 45 points in the second half in the 52-28 loss. Patriots QB Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and two TDs...San Diego (37-20) and Denver (37-6) routed Kansas City and Oakland respectively. The Chargers jumped out to a 20-0 lead and Denver scored 21 third-quarter points running away with the victories...

Bengals and Ravens Tied for First in AFC North; Cleveland and New Orleans Still Winless

Don't look now but the Cincinnati Bengals are tied for first in the AFC North after its 27-10 road win over Jacksonville. The Bengals are tied with the Ravens who just got by the winless Cleveland Browns last Thursday 23-16. The Browns had a chance to send the game into overtime but Cleveland's QB Brandon Weeden pass in the end zone went out of bounds...They join the only other winless team, the New Orleans Saints who were edged by Green Bay 28-27. The Saints had a chance to take the lead but Garrett Hartley misses a 48-yard field goal with a little less than three minutes in the game...

New York Giants Lose a Heartbreaker to Philadelphia Eagles

The New York (Football) Giants fell to 2-2 and 0-2 in the division after losing Sunday night in Philadelphia 19-17 to improve their record to 3-1. Big Blue had a chance to win it after Lawrence Tynes missed his first attempt at 54 yards but Eagles head coach Andy Reid called a timeout. Tynes could not take advantage of the second opportunity as the kick came up short. Giants QB Eli Manning did throw for 309 yards and two touchdowns but the running game was non-existent. The Eagles did not turn the ball over for the first time this young season. The Giants host those lowly Browns Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Everything is not Big in Texas As Dallas Loses to Chicago Bears at Home

Finally, the Chicago Bears (3-1) went into Dallas (2-2) and picked off Tony Romo five times (tying a career high) coming away with a 34-18 win. Bears QB Jay Cutler completed 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards and two TDs while wide receiver Brandon Marshall pulled in seven catches for 138 yards and one touchdown. Dallas now gets a much-needed bye week, as Romo and his offense, try to figure out how to straighten out their issues. When they return to the field, four of their five following games will be on the road.

What will be the aftermath following the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fight?


• The Jimmy Butler saga continues. At last count, the Miami Heat and the L.A Clippers were vying for Jimmy Butler’s services. What’s complicating Butler’s trade is that Gorgui Dieng must be part of the deal.

Q. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves deal Jimmy Butler before the start of the NBA season?

Kyrie Irving is the man! First, Jimmy Butler, now it’s Anthony Davis that says he wants to play with Kyrie Irving in Boston. According to league sources, Davis will probably end up with the Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers.

Q. Let’s dream a bit, can you imagine a Boston team with Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Davis? If not Boston, where would you rather see Anthony Davis?

• Billed as one of the most significant fights in UFC history. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had their very anticipated showdown and Khabib won.

Q. What was not expected was the fight’s aftermath. Should the fight organizers have been more prepared for a potential melee?


LeBron James was considering joining the Toronto Raptors before he finalized his move to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, it seems both sides were interested in reaching an agreement.

• The family of NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL. Seau died from suicide at the age of 43; his death followed a long battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

Drew Brees passes Peyton Manning as NFL's all-time passing leader: New Orleans Saint quarterback Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the second quarter of a game against Washington. New Orleans defeated Washington 43-19, ouch!!!


• Former Louisville men’s basketball head coach, Rick Pitino, has been promoting his new book, entitled Pitino: My Story. He says he never wants to coach basketball again.

Q. Do you believe Pitino?

• Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has taken offense to the criticisms of fellow teammate, Carmelo Anthony, calling the criticism of Melo disrespectful.

Q. Do you think Chris Paul is right that the media may have gone too far with their assessment of Carmelo Anthony?


What’s The 411’s Photo of the Week is a photo of Saquon Barkley making a touchdown during the New York Giants game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium.


• We have a preseason look at the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

• New York Yankees Update: The Yankees made it into the ALDS and will play the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 tonight.

• Discord has visited upon the NY Giants.

Q. Are the New York Giants on the brink of falling apart?


Summer vacation is officially over, and Khloe Kardashian was headed back to Cleveland to be with baby True’s father, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and decided to stay in Los Angeles.

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