| 7 years ago||
Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. The scheme had to change and players who weren’t doing their job needed to be held accountable. He accomplished both in the long layoff between the Broncos game and Sunday’s meeting with Dallas. For a guy who’s been beat up this year, praise for this performance is well warranted, especially since he finally got creative with that defensive front by standing up his pass rushers. That formation, which the Broncos used effectively against the Giants, created mass confusion for the Cowboys’ front and QB Tony Romo. “The guy knows football,” DE Mathias Kiwanuka said. “He knows Xs and Os better than most people. … I think he coached a great game.”
RB Brandon Jacobs. One of the big keys to the 74-yard touchdown pass was his ability to catch the ball and turn upfield very quickly. He sometimes struggles with that, and it often causes him to drop the pass when he doesn’t do it smoothly and the pass is high. In this case, he pivoted and turned beautifully, which took away any shot Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer had of chasing him down from behind.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Another guy who bounced back from a bad game in Denver. For an offense that was under pressure from the Cowboys all game long, they were effective.
Coach Tom Coughlin. I was observing the players last week to get a feel for how much confidence they had. I didn’t have a great feel for it, but if I had to bet, I would’ve said they were losing faith. I would have been wrong.
WR Hakeem Nicks. You wanna talk about an unsung hero? This was the guy. The Giants were headed toward a scoreless first half until he arrived and had a huge drive late in the second quarter. It started with a 16-yard catch on a comeback to the left side when he didn’t stop despite the fact many players did, due to an offside penalty on Spencer. Nicks was reaching for every inch while being brought down by Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins. On the next play, he blocked the heck out of Jenkins downfield to allow TE Kevin Boss to pick up about an extra 10 yards on a 16-yard play that was ruled a lateral (and thus, the first rush of Boss’ career) instead of a pass. On the next play, Nicks again owned Jenkins on a block to the left side that set up the third straight 16-yard gain – a run by RB Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw. Tough, gutsy performance from him. He ran with power despite those lower-leg injuries. Gotta protect the ball, though.
PR Domenik Hixon. I had told him early this season he was due for a punt-return TD. Didn’t think it would take this long.
WR Derek Hagan. He’s become an outstanding special-teams player. If you haven’t paid attention to him as a gunner on punts, do that next week.
DE Justin Tuck and Kiwanuka. Consistent, solid pressure from them, though I’m sure Tuck would have loved to have had a sack against a certain offensive lineman.
S Aaron Ross. I told him after the game he finally looked like he had strong safety instincts on that tackle of RB Marion Barber on fourth-and-2 to end the Cowboys’ next-to-last drive without any points. “I hope so,” Ross said with a laugh. “Did it look like it?” Yes, it did. “Good,” shot back. To recognize the release into the flat, come up quickly and knock down a guy like Barber with little forward movement is a tremendous play for a safety. And Ross had a similar one in the second quarter when he came up to wallop Cowboys WR Miles Austin. He’s playing much faster now, which means he’s getting comfortable at safety.
S Aaron Rouse. When the Giants made the switch to him from C.C. Brown after the debacle in Philly, I wondered how much of a difference he’d actually make because it’s not like he was playing great in limited duty. But since then, he’s played very well. And yesterday, he was a force at the line (and behind it on his sack and a tackle for a loss of 5). Without Rouse plugging one of the holes in the Giants’ leaky ship, this team might never have recovered from that four-game losing streak.
DT Barry Cofield. He told me on Friday his knee feels much better and keeps improving. He proved it Sunday by playing in the Cowboys backfield on a few plays, including a terrific penetration on a stop of Barber for a 4-yard loss. I'll have more from Cofield in the coming days.
CB Terrell Thomas. He was very good against the run, especially when it came to setting the edge on runs his way. Even when he didn’t make a tackle, he kept the play inside him, which is something he didn’t do so well earlier this season.
DE Osi Umenyiora. Maybe it’s better he had 10 days to rest and think about the benching because he needed almost every minute to get over it and get in the right frame of mind.
New York Giants keep playoff hopes alive with win over Dallas Cowboys
(Retired) LB LaVar Arrington. For helping Umenyiora get into that right frame of mind. I’ll have some words from him in a bit.
LB Clint Sintim. He’s on the board with a sack. Could wind up being the first of many.
Cowboys FB Deon Anderson. When he locks onto a guy and hits him, he hits him.
Cowboys WR Roy Williams. What a tease he is.
Jenkins. I'm not a huge fan of Cowboys CB Terence Newman. But I like Jenkins a lot.
Dallas TE Jason Witten. I like him, too.
Spencer. And him.