I've gone back and looked at some of the big plays from the Giants' 34-31 overtime win over the Falcons. And I always enjoy the way Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger reviews a game.
It's pretty obvious that Giants tight end Kevin Boss is becoming a force in the NFC East. I can't imagine a division in the league that has a group of more talented tight ends. Jason Witten, Brent Celek and Boss are all vying for Pro Bowl appearances, and Chris Cooley was having a nice season before an injury took him out of contention. Quarterback Eli Manning needs a receiver on the field who he trusts implicitly and I think Boss and Steve Smith can both fit that role.
And let's give some credit to Mario Manningham for making some huge plays against the Falcons. The 29-yard catch in overtime put the Giants in field goal position, but he made plays throughout the game.
Former Falcons linebacker Michael Boley had perhaps his best game of the season. From the plays I watched, you can tell that he's not having to think about things as much as he was earlier in the season. But defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has to do something to prevent his unit from surrendering late leads. This defense used to have a killer instinct that allowed them to lockdown quarterbacks at the end of games. Matt Ryan exposed them in the fourth quarter with two touchdown drives to force overtime.
And here's one thing Garafolo said about the Giants' kickoff coverage that made a lot of sense to me:
I'm really tired of seeing the Giants act like every team has Devin Hester deep. What's with the squib and angle kicks every game? Kick it deep. Did Atlanta KR Eric Weems really scare you enough to squib it after your first TD? RB Aaron Stecker picks it up at the 17, runs 18 yards and suddenly the Falcons have the ball at the 35. Nine plays later, they're in the end zone. Same thing to start the second half. Hester, Ted Ginn or Dante Hall in his prime? Okay. But Weems? Come on, boot it downfield already and let LB Jonathan Goff, DE Dave Tollefson or LB Bryan Kehl whack somebody.
The general sense I got from reading the postgame accounts is that Manning pretty much refused to let the Giants lose another game. They need him to be the best player on the field every week -- especially if the defense keeps breaking down late in games.
What were your biggest concerns after the game? Things you were happy about?