NFC East: Chris Cook

Drive of the Game: Flash of competence

October, 22, 2013
Little bit of slim pickings here on this. Monday night's game was horribly played by both teams, as you've no doubt heard. The "drive" on which the New York Giants took control was a two-play, three-yard job in the third quarter after the Vikings fumbled a punt. So for the Drive of the Game, we go back to the second quarter, with the Giants trailing 7-3 having given up their third punt-return touchdown of the year and still wondering if they'd ever get to win and feel good about themselves again.

With 13:07 left in the first half, the Giants got the ball at their own 18-yard line. Eli Manning hit fullback John Conner for a seven-yard pass to start it. Two plays later, a 12-yarder to Victor Cruz converted a third down (something the Giants hadn't done at all in their first five games but have done better in the last two). Manning hit Cruz again on the next play for 11 to get them near midfield, and a couple of so-so run plays set up a third-and five from the Vikings' 47.

Manning then aired one out to struggling wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who could not come down with the ball but did draw a pass interference penalty against Vikings safety Xavier Rhodes. That moved the ball to the 24-yard line, and on the next play Manning threw it toward Rueben Randle in the corner of the end zone.

Now, Randle was "covered" on the play by Vikings cornerback Chris Cook. And the ball was underthrown, to an extent that would have allowed Cook to intercept it or knock it down if he'd seen it. But Randle saw it first, leaped in the air behind Cook and reached down to pluck the ball out from in front of Cook's face. Great play by Randle, saving Manning from an interception and giving the Giants a 10-7 lead they would never relinquish.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Well, let's see. The New York Giants... let me check... yes, they lead the Minnesota Vikings 10-7 at the half here at MetLife Stadium. Eli Manning has ... right, has not thrown an interception. His touchdown pass to Rueben Randle surely could have been intercepted, or at least knocked away, had Vikings cornerback Chris Cook ever laid eyes on it. But Randle saw it first and made a great play to leap in the air and scoop it out from in front of Cook's face. That's the difference-making play in an awful game so far, and the Giants have their first halftime lead of the season.

Gonna go right to the bullet points, because my eyes hurt:
  • The Giants' opening drive took 9:36 off the clock with 17 completely uninspiring plays and resulted in a Josh Brown field goal when they failed to convert their fourth third-down attempt of the drive. They were sharp, if unexciting, on the previous three third downs, and an interesting game-plan issue revealed itself. They were using Peyton Hillis some and Michael Cox some at running back on early downs, but they don't seem to trust either in pass protection, so when they get to third down they either go empty backfield or, a couple of times, have lined up wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan back there. Imperfect solutions, to be sure, but Cox and Hillis are the fifth and sixth tailbacks they've had to try this year due to injuries, and perfect solutions are unavailable at the present time. I did think Cox looked good on a couple of inside runs early, and I am at a loss to explain why a slow-footed Hillis got the bulk of the second-quarter work.
  • After missing three straight games with a neck injury, center David Baas returned to the lineup but limped off with a knee injury during the first drive. Can't make this stuff up. Jim Cordle is back at center.
  • In the first five weeks of the season, three different Giants opponents were named their conference's Special Teams Player of the Week. Minnesota's Marcus Sherels continued the misery with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter to put the Vikings ahead 7-3. The Giants have been so awful at so many things this year, but it's possible their coverage on punts has been their worst thing.
  • The thing the Giants do best is stop the run between the tackles, and Adrian Peterson's nine yards on eight carries in the first half are evidence that this aspect of the Giants' game is no joke. The Vikings need to get Peterson going if they're to come back and drop the Giants to 0-7, because new quarterback Josh Freeman looks very new and uncomfortable back there. He has not, however, been sacked. Coming in, the Giants as a team had five sacks for the season and only eight in their last 11 games.
  • Jared Allen's sack of Manning right before the end of the half was unlike any I've ever seen. He had his arms wrapped around the waist of Giants left tackle Will Beatty and yet still managed to grab Manning's jersey on the other side and hold on long enough to bring him down. Embarrassing for Beatty, incredible by Allen.
  • The Giants should win this game, which says a lot about how awful the Vikings are. But the Giants are pretty awful too. Let's settle in and see who's less awful in the second half.

Cowboys deactivate Kevin Ogletree

October, 17, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS -- If you want to know how poorly Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree has played on special teams this season, just take a peek at the inactives list for today's game. He's been replaced on the 45-man active roster by former reality TV star Jesse Holley, who was brought up from the practice squad Friday.

The Vikings made a late decision to make cornerback Chris Cook inactive to make room for running back Toby Gerhart. They also made Jon Cooper the starting center for today's game over John Sullivan, who will be in uniform. Take a long look at that matchup between Cooper and Jay Ratliff. That's one the Cowboys should definitely win. I'd be surprised, though, if Cooper's left in many one-on-one situations against Ratliff.