Giants 30, Stiller 10 ��. Dec 10, 2000 Game #14
Stillers-Giants Post Game Analysis & Grades:
This was supposed to be the big showdown for the Stillers. A chance to show the league that last week's win over Oakland was no fluke. A chance to show that this Stiller team belonged in the playoffs. Instead, it turned into an embarrassing laugher, as the Giants whipped the Stillers in every phase of the game and romped 30-10, with the Stillers only TD coming in garbage time with just over a minute left in the game. This loss wasn't quite as lopsided as the January '97 playoff loss to New England but it was a similarly lethargic team stink right from the game's first play, when soft kickoff coverage allowed a 47-yard return by Stoutmire to set the table for NY's first drive. Ineptitude, poor focus & intensity, softee play, and flawed game plans killed the team the entire day.
1. Stoutmire takes the opening kickoff, which was shallowly booted only to the 13, and races 47 yards to set up the Giants on an easy FG drive.
2. On a 3rd and 1 from the Stillers 35, Toomer takes a reverse and run around the Stillers' left end, cruising for 28 yards to set up a 1st & goal.
3. Stillers stuff Dayne on 4th and goal soon after Toomer's reverse.
4. Kris Brown misses easy 36-yard FG on first drive of 2d half.
5. On 3rd and 9 from the Pgh. 36 in the 3rd qtr, Barber takes a shuffle pass and scampers 23 yards down to the Stiller 14. 3 plays later, the Giants scored a TD and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
6. Hilliard takes a 7-yard out pass, and then slips by Chad Scott and runs for 59 yards on last play of the 3rd quarter, setting up a NY FG that iced the game.
QB: The Western Union Man returned back to Earth with a spotty performance. Sure, he was victimized by a few dropped balls. But that doesn't override the blatant telegraphing and the tentativeness that he showed throughout the day. Nor does it override the scattershot throwing that saw balls being delivered too low, too high, too far behind, too short, or too late. Take the rare bomb to Ward, which was woefully underthrown. Or the curl to Shaw from his own EZ, which was dropped by Michael Barrow after Stewart stared at Shaw from the second the ball was snapped. Or the curls thrown to receivers that were caught, but caught while kneeling or stooping over, which is hardly a prime position to be in to get RAC yardage. His arm was nipped ever so slightly on the one INT, but that doesn't excuse him for being so tentative, holding onto the ball for that long without quickly unloading or at least shuffling laterally in the pocket. He finally threw for over 200 yards -- hooray! -- but over half of that came in the 4th quarter in mop-up time when the Giants were ahead by 27 points. C-.
RB: Bettis, just as I said would occur, was jammed up for almost the entire day. NY stacked the line, and unlike the undisciplined Raiders of last week, the Giant front didn't over-run plays upfield against Bettis. Bus tried hard, but the holes simply weren't there against a defense that sold out to stuff the run. B-.
FB: Kreider had an ok day. There were a few plays where I would have liked to see a better push or a better angle, but he had a couple ok blocks, too. The Giant defense often bottled up plays by getting either backside harassment or run-blitzing penetration, which meant Kreider's blocking wasn't much of a factor. Kreider caught both balls thrown to him. B-.
WR: Ward and Shaw each caught 6 passes, and Shaw had the lone TD on a 5-yard reception. Shaw had a best of times, worst of times kind of game. He allowed a high scorcher from Stewart to slip thru his fingers late in the 3rd qtr, and then in the early 4th qtr, short-armed a fairly routine catch on a deepish crosser and allowed it, too, to slither thru and fall incomplete. He did have a nice, leaping snare of a 3rd down deep seam route for 36 yards earlier in the 3rd quarter, and had a good grab of an 18-yard crosser late in the 4th. Ward drew a PI flag on Seehorn, but otherwise just ran piddly little curls and slants. Edwards was thrown only a couple passes -- 2 short curls -- but on the one he caught on his knees but adroitly popped up and dashed for big RAC yards on a 25-yard gainer. Pee Pee Hawkins had 2 catches for a whopping 7 yards. C.
TE: Breuner was a total non-factor in the passing game, & was not even thrown a ball the entire day. The blocking was ok. B-.
OL: A so-so day from the line. There wasn't much push or hole-making for the running-game, but then again, the Giants brought up a safety and stacked the line, so the O-line was continually facing more defenders that it could reasonably block. There was some slop here and there. Duffy, Tylski, and Faneca took occasional turns getting bullied about by Hamilton. Gandy allowed a 3-yard loss on a Bettis run, with an incredibly lazy, cement-footed failure to seal off the outside. To their credit, Stewart was given ample time on many a pass play, and much of the NY pass pressure came from jailhouse blitzes. B-.
DL: The d-line held its own against the Giant running game, holding NY to a paltry 2.6 yards a crack on the ground. In fact, take away Toomer's 28-yard reverse, and the Giants two RBs gained a piddly 40 yards on 23 carries. Henry, Smith and Kimo knifed in here and there to help jam up some plays. The pass rush, of course, was totally non-existent from this gang. Henry did have a jackassed 15-yard facemask penalty on a play that was about 2 seconds long (a quick 2-yard out to WR, which was incomplete.) This penalty greatly aided the drive that gave the Giants their 13-0 lead. Smith also was offsides late in the 4th qtr on a 3rd & goal at the 4, and Toomer caught a pass the next play. B-.
LB: Obviously, the LBs also chipped in to help hold the Giants' running attack to such minimal yardage. Leading the way was none other than Earl Holmes, who had another exceptional game, leading all players from either team with 9 solos and 2 assists. Holmes did take a poor angle and allowed Barber to run for 18 yards after a short swing pass on the game's first play, but after that, Holmes played like a possessed demon. He, Kirk, and Flowers combined to stuff Dayne on the 4th and 1 plunge. Holmes put a couple brutal hits on Tiki early on, and Barber looked tentative thereafter. Kirkland was a bit too quiet today. He chipped in on that goal-line stuff, but otherwise provided minimal impact. Porter didn't spend a whole lot of his time rushing the QB, and when he did, had little pressure. Gildon had an utterly wretched game in which he was a big ZERO the entire day. He shied from contact at every opportunity, and flopped about as though he was wearing dress shoes on a hockey rink. He was badly bamboozled on the 3rd & 1 reverse by Toomer, in which Big Jason was still aimlessly running to his right AFTER the reverse-handoff to Toomer had already taken place going left. On the key 3rd and 9 shuffle pass to Barber up right tackle, which gained 23 yards, Gildon was totally untouched, yet was down on all fours as Barber dashed by. Like imbeciles, Gumbel and Simms tried to give GilDong credit for the goal-line stuff of Dayne, which was an outrageous farce. Gildon took a cowardly approach toward FB Greg Comella, in which he simple laid down in front of Comella. This is acceptable for a puny DB when taking on a FB, but Gildon actually outweighs Comella. Gildon ended up on his back like a cheap whore, and then tried to trip up Dayne by pawing at him with his feet. Gildon's actually lucky he wasn't called for a cheap tripping call on this play, which was stuffed by Kirk, Holmes, and Flowers --- NOT Gildon. Holmes, A; all others, C.
DB: The DBs gave up some big plays, mostly off short or medium passes. Chad Scott had a miserable afternoon. On both Toomer's big gainer in the 1st, and Hilliard big gainer at the end of the 3rd, Chad was guilty of poor, softee tackling. The Hilliard play was despicable, as Hilliard -- a man who came into the game hobbled bad enough to be listed as doubtful -- was within 10 inches of the sideline, and all Chad needed to do was shove him OOB. Instead, Chad meekly waved at Ike and barely touched him, and Ike was off to the races. For the most part, Flowers had a decent game. He had good coverage on the flea flicker, and he helped stuff Dayne on the 4th & goal. Alex bobbled away a fairly easy INT. Battles had the team's lone sack. Dwayne finished 2nd on the team today with 8 solos. Alex and Battles poorly allowed Jilliard to bounce right off them on Hilliard's TD. To the DBs, they were asked to cover receivers for 5 and 6 seconds at a time -- all day long -- due to the total lack of a pass rush. B-.
Spec Teams: The spec teams were absolute vomit today. Brown missed 2 FGs, and even the one he made on his first attempt was an ugly looking knuckler. His KOs were, as usual, shallow. Josh had an equally vomit-laden day. His punts were short and low, which allowed NY to get good field position. Two Stiller KO returns were pushed back due to holding calls. Will Jackwell had two returns of 22 yards apiece. About the only bright spot, was the coverage of Ricky Huntley, who on 2 NY punt returns, came swooping in with speed and quickness to down Barber. D-.
Off Coord: Kevein Gaypride, armed with the win last week over Oakland, apparently spent all of 15 minutes preparing for the Giants. Gaypride had the erroneous belief that what worked against Oakland would automatically work against NY. As usual, he was wrong. He continually insisted on jamming 8 offensive bodies in front of Bettis, so that the Giants could easily clog up the inside with relative ease. Gaypride spent nearly the entire first half, ordering nothing but 7-yard curl patterns, which NY began to hungrily jump on. Then there's the THREE timeouts the offense had to waste, because the playcall took an eternity to get to the huddle. On top of that, one delay-of-game penalty was called for the same reason -- Gaypride was dicking the dog instead of getting the playcall into the huddle in a rapid, orderly manner. The NY pass offense is suspect, but we went deep once the entire game, which netted us a 41-yard gain in the 2nd quarter. Gaypride hated that play so much, that he refused to call in the rest of the game. The last 2 drives of the 1st half -- when this game was still in doubt -- epitomize the Gaypride offense. On the first such drive, we had the ball, 3rd and 4 on the NY 40, down 13-0. The DOG penalty pushed us back to 3rd & 9. Here, Gaypride calls the piddly-assed curl to Ward, for 6. Cowhead decides to go for it, and on 4th and 3, and 6-yard curl to Edwards was jumped on by Thomas and broken up. On the 2nd such drive, in which we were still down only 13-0, we gained 7 yards on 1st down, setting up a 2nd & 3 at the NY 14. We then got a free TO from the 2-minute warning. After the 2-min. warning, we come back and run on a Whaleshit counter, and he gets a yard. On 3rd and 2, we again run a vanilla Bettis slowpoke running play, which was engulfed by penetration and lost a yard. D.
Def Coord: Lewis got all kinds of accolades for his softee defense last week versus Oakland, which limited Gannon's rushing but allowed Gannon eons of time in the pocket. I warned that this is not the recipe for success in the NFL, but Lewis was so enthralled with this scheme, that he used it exclusively today, despite facing a QB (Collins) whose footspeed & mobility are equal to that of a Sumo wrestler. Rarely did we blitz or send more than 4 men at the QB, and Collins ends up having an hour and a half of free time in the pocket, with no harassment or vision disruption whatsoever. Collins was rarely hit, and rarely forced to hurry his passes. We make him look like Joe Montana, as he shredded us for 333 yards, no INTs, and only 1 sack (that by a backup safety). The run stuffing was good, but the despicable lack of pass rush was downright shameful. When you allow a marginal offense to succeed on 9 of 14 3rd down attempt -- few of which were "3rd and short" and many of which were "3rd and long" -- you've done a downright piss poor job by using this absurdly passive defensive scheme. D.
Head Coach: This game featured two coaches, both of whom issued bold proclamations a few weeks back. Fassel firmly stated that his team would make the playoffs, while Cowher meekly suggested that maybe his team might win out after losing to Philly. Fassel is now 10-2 in games that he's head-coached in December, while Cowher's December record during the past 3 seasons is unfit to print in a family newspaper. Why's Fassell done so well in the month of December? Because he has his men ready to play football. Because he has his players focused. Because he adapts and fine-tunes as the season goes on. Because he's not afraid to be bold, such as calling a reverse on 3rd and 1, on an overplay by Gildon that Fassel & his staff surely must have spotted in film study. Because he's playing to win, not playing not to lose. This is basically the antithesis of Cowher, who failed miserably in having his players ready and focused, and went into this must-win game with badly-flawed game-plans on both sides of the ball. And don't think for a moment, during the 2-minute warning in the 2nd quarter, that Field Goal Bill didn't have a say-so in the turtle-playcalling that produced two safe but predictably pathetic slow-as-molasses Bettis runs up the gut on 2nd-and-3 and 3rd-and-2, just so we could attempt a field goal. There's not much talent differential at all between these two teams, but the difference in coaching is enormous, and it showed today. F.
The quest for the playoffs is now over. The most valuable thing that can be done in the next 2 games, is to evaluate talent, especially that of young and/or rarely used players. Faced with the same predicament last year, Cowhead -- fighting to retain his cush job -- staunchly refused to do so, instead sticking with vets like Tomczak and Emmons who clearly had not future with this team. Let's see what occurs the next 2 weeks.
The Still Mill