Houston, we may have a Big Blue sighting on the horizon.
“It’s always been in my eyes,” Odell Beckham Jr. said after the Giants eighth victory in their last nine games.
The Giants formula is risky but it’s working and has produced 10 victories in 14 games: The defense plays lights-out and Beckham makes two difference-making plays, the offense does just about nothing else and Super Bowl LI is becoming a relevant topic.
If the Giants beat the Eagles on Thursday night in Philly, they will be in the playoffs for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 2011. They will clinch no worse than a wild-card spot and remain alive in the NFC East race.
The way this season is going, the 17-6 victory over Detroit on Sunday qualifies as a blowout.
“We score 17 points, the defense holds them to six – our offense is good enough to me,” Beckham said. “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
In the last two games, the Giants beat the Cowboys and Lions, two of the most explosive teams in the NFC, by holding them to a combined one touchdown and two field goals while the Giants scored just 27 points.
“I feel like we left some meat on the bone,” Beckham said. “The breakout game is coming soon.”
Can the Giants win deep into January and be playing on the first Sunday in February if they can’t score 20 points in a game and the offense never finds its way?
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picks off a pass in the end zone to seal the Giants’ 17-6 victory.
Beckham closed out the Lions with a spectacular left-handed, one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter after a crucial over-the shoulder 25-yard third down catch on a perfect throw from Eli Manning. Beckham believes the offense is capable of more and he wants it to do more.
“I think that comes with me being a perfectionist,” he said. “It’s just hard for me to accept good. I need it to be great. Above that, legendary. It’s got to be that way every single time.”
The offense made one play in the victory last week against the Cowboys when Beckham took a quick slant 61 yards late in the third quarter for the winning touchdown in the 10-7 victory.
Beckham now has 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons to go along with three 1,000 yard seasons. These are legendary numbers. The Giants offense could be legendary for being one of the worst to win the Super Bowl. But the ring has been fitted with teams dominated by defense and it can be done again.
The Bears won it in 1985 with the most intimidating defense of this era and Jim McMahon at quarterback. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 with Trent Dilfer. The Bucs won it all in 2002 with Brad Johnson. The Broncos won last year with Peyton Manning physically compromised and being asked just not to make mistakes. They all had shut down defenses.
Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and much better now than McMahon, Dilfer and Johnson were at any points in their careers. He’s much better than his brother was last year. But the inability of the offense to even have one explosive game has been a mystery that Manning and rookie coach Ben McAdoo have yet to solve.
“I’m proud of the way this team’s fought all year, found ways to win close football games, that’s a great quality to have,” Manning said. “That’s what you have to have going into December, you get in the weather, you get into playoff contention, you get playoff games, you’ve got to win close games. And we’ve been in a lot of them. I’m proud of the way the offense and defense have stepped up and made big-time plays at critical moments of the game.”
McAdoo is responsible for the offense, so that may be the reason why the defense is not complaining. Even so, this is a close team and a family atmosphere has developed. There has been no finger-pointing.
Leon Hall forces a fumble while the Lions are inside the Giants’ 5-yard line.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
“At some point you know what our offense can do. The weapons they have — it’s going to click when it needs to click,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Right now, they’re doing just enough for us to win and we’re going out there and holding on. It’s still a team overall game. What we do know is we keep stopping people and get them the ball, it’s going to happen.”
The Giants had two TDs called back by penalty – Victor Cruz’s fumble recovery in the end zone and a punt return by OBJ. They also came up with two turnovers in the end zone – Olivier Vernon’s fumble recovery forced by Leon Hall and DRC’s end zone interception.
They have won 10 games for the first time since 2010. That wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs. Tom Coughlin praised his players in the locker room in Washington after the season-ending victory. “A 10-win season in the NFL, okay?” he said in a classic rant. “And they can kiss my ass, okay? They can line up and kiss my ass. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
The next year the Giants became the first team to ever win the Super Bowl after a 9-7 regular season. Jerry Reese’s $200-million makeover of this year’s defense not only fixed the Giants’ historically bad defense of 2015, but overcame history by plugging in expensive free agents Vernon, Snacks Harrison and “Jackrabbit” Jenkins and making it work right away. The biggest concern now is Jenkins, who suffered a back injury in the second quarter.
“As of right now, we’re looking at ourselves as a championship caliber defense, a championship caliber team,” Jonathan Casillas said.
If the offense gets it going, the Giants can be tough to beat in January. But after 14 games, if it hasn’t exploded by now, it’s not going to. It may not matter. The defense is playing lights-out.
The formula is working.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News