Sunday, January 20, 2008

Packers-Giants Quasi Live Blog: Third Quarter

Hickson starts the Giants on their 32, and the weather seems to be effecting the kickoffs more than anything else. Jacobs gets a couple in the middle, and Buck and Aikmann make the point that all of his success has been on the edge. I'm not sure how much of that is the Packers DL, and how much is Jacobs just dominating smaller defensive players. Burress gets 9 in front of Harris, and if I were the Pack, I'd be thinking about doubling him about now. (A play later, Fox's Chris Meyers says that McCarthy is thinking the same thing, but doesn't want to just yet. Well, he has only given up six points so far...)

Jacobs gets a yard on a slow developing run to the left. Manning has a clean pocket and Steve Smith wide open, but the throw is one of Manning's worst of the day, as it's behind and to the left. Big opportunity missed there. On third and 9, the play clock expires and the Giants take a timeout, and as usual, I wonder if 3rd and 14 is really so much worse than not having more time at the end of the game... and why is it that Manning takes so many time outs to avoid delay penalties as is. Harris then gets a pick after the timeout, but as Burress was on the ground, it's not surprising to see an illegal contact call for the first down. I'm not sure why Manning threw that way anyway, but it's still a big call.

Jacobs for 2 to the left, and he's not getting a lot of room even when they don't run in the middle. They try him again, and he gets 3 in the middle. Aikman buries Jacobs, not realizing of course, that by running him they're making the play-action viable, but it's a fair point that Bradshaw might be a better idea. On third down, the ball is batted down, but the Giants get lucky on a roughing the passer call that was pretty borderline; I'm not sure how the blitzer can avoid the QB on a play like that, and if he can't do that, there's no way you can blitz anymore. I'm not a neutral observer here, but that's just a terrible call. Burress now has 9 catches for 132 yards. Wow.

Jacobs to the right for 3, and the drive is now at 7 plays, 40 yards, and two back-breaking third-down penalties. A back shoulder throw to Burress gets the Giants to the Packers 11. Jacobs gets 4 in the middle on first, then slips to the 2 on second, and the Giants have third and 1 from the 2. Jacobs on third looks like he got the first down, then looks like he fumbled... but the refs decide that Kevin Boss recovered it, and got the first down. Another immense break for the visitors there, the third of the drive. On first and goal from the 1 on a broken play, the refs catch the Packers on an offsides, and the crowd has to be irate at this point; the defense certainly looks that way, as they take yet another offsides penalty. Jacobs gets the touchdown and taunts the Lambeau fans without drawing the get-even 15-yard unsportsmanlike call. The Packers faithful have to feel like they are playing against two teams right now. Giants 13, Packers 10.

After the kickoff, the Packers start at the Giants 39 after a 49-yard return from Williams. Favre starts from an empty backfield and hits Driver for 8. 2nd and 2 is a give to Grant, who just gets the first; Fox continues to note that the Packers aren't running the ball well, as if this is news. On first down, Favre doesn't get the call for PI despite active lobbying; the crowd's feeling mutinous about the refs now, and as it's a home game, I can see their point. Morency for a mediocre screen, and it's 3rd and 8 with a long field goal chance looming. Driver catches a pinball, and Sam Madison takes a terrible penalty that could be a get-even call for the last drive. Instead of 4th and 3, it'll be a first for the Packers, and Tom Coughlin is doing his Yosemite Sam impersonation.

From the Giants 12, play action buys Favre tons of time, and Donald Lee settles under a pretty ball in the end zone. After the point-after, Fox follows Sam Madison to the sidelines, where he's getting into it with his teammates. That's not a good sign for the visitors either, but if you're trading touchdowns, it's better to have the one that came from a big long drive. Our third lead change of the day brings the game to Packers 17, Giants 13.

Fox comes back from commercial to show three hot girls (well, for Green Bay) showing skin, and Aikman confesses to feeling like a big sissy. Finally, Troy, this Eagles fan agrees with your analysis! Hickson nearly matches the big Williams return, and the Giants are in business at their own 43. Not a good day for the return coverage units for either side.

Manning, from play action, has Burress for 8. Fox tells us that Burress is trash-talking the Packers bench, saying that Harris can't cover him. I think we're all aware of that by now, Plex. Bradshaw for the first, and he breaks a tackle on the next play and gets 10. Maybe it's me, and maybe he can't hold up to a lot of carries, but Bradshaw is just a much better back than Jacobs to my eyes.

Manning misses Toomer, who pushes off baldly and isn't called for it. He comes back to Toomer on second for 23 yards, and before the Giants can get the next play off, the Pack challenges. It's disallowed, and both teams have two timeouts left.

From the 13, Manning rolls out and hits Toomer for 8. In this setting, against this secondary, it's clearly his best game as a pro, and if you think I'm saying good things about him to set him up for future disappointment, you are impugning by Manning fandom, and I just can't have that. Bradshaw takes it in from there, and it's our fourth lead change of the day. Sheesh. Giants 20, Packers 17.

Five minutes ago when they were in the same situation, the Packers were energized by a big return. They won't get that this time, and they start from their 20 on a touchback. Giants have a 2-to-1 time of possession edge. Favre pumps to Driver and finds Robinson wide open for 16; Favre shook off pressure to get the ball there. It's not like there aren't holes here. Grant finally gets a hole and takes advantage, getting 13 on the left side. The next play is more like his other carries, and it's 2nd and 10. The last play of the quarter, Favre throws into triple coverage, and it incomplete. Yikes. Giants 20, Packers 17.

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