Written by: Motown Blue and Glenn Warciski
That defensive performance brings back memories of the dominant defenses from the 80s and early 90s LT defenses. All units did their job and every unit had at least one turn in a stellar performance.
We were critical of the LB unit all season including setting out a blueprint to attack their defense with TEs and RBs in the middle underneath routes. Last night may have been Witten’s lowest receptions and yards in his career of killing the Giants. Collins was responsible for him most of the night but another defensive player stepped up and was all over the field. He matched Collins tackle numbers in total tackles and solo tackles the exception was he had a sack and 2 tackles for losses. He is a linebacker by the name of Kennard. We have been waiting for him to step up since he broke into the league as rookie but was derailed by injuries. It is a big development and boost for this defense if he can repeat this performance for the rest of the season. He was all over the field. He put pressure on Prescott that led to Hall’s INT.
When JPP went down this week with a hernia injury there was a lot of gloom and doom leading up to this game. How where they going to overcome arguably one of the best players on their defense? Who could have fathomed that an undrafted FA from Notre Dame by the name of Okwara would step in and fill those shoes with what will be a memorable career defining performance. He led the team with tackles, had 1 sack and, 1 PD and led team with QB hits. The Cowboys game plan was to attack him and run at him. That obviously factored into his tackle totals but it is an understatement that he stood up.
Janoris Jenkins has earned his contract and is quietly making a name for him as one of the best shut down corners in the game. The only receiver to have a modicum of success versus him is Antonio Brown. He completely shut down Dez Bryant all season. When covering Dez he was targeted 7 times with 1 completion for 10 yards, a forced fumble and a pick.
Those were all exceptional individual performances but the most encouraging takeaway from this game was the complete effort. It is rare to see a defense consistently get a hand on a ball and nock it down in coverage. Prescott statistics when not under pressure confirms this as he was 7 for 22. They all complimented each other at a high level. JJ summed it up best with his statement after the game:
“We can be as special as we want to be. We just have to buy in and continue to buy in.”
Spags deserves a ton of credit for coaching them up and getting them to “buy in.”
On the other hand, the only obstacle that may be in their path to a date in February is on the other side of the ball. Once again we witnessed poor play by the OL. Both Hart and fellow culprit Flowers struggled with the Cowboy’s edge rushers. It is maddening to continually see the OL pull on running plays and completely whiff. It is not working. It is obviously not their strength. Numerous times Sean Lee easily penetrated for a loss or very minimal game. The fact that he had 18 tackles is a damning statistical indictment on the OL play.
There were opportunities that eluded them with a drop deep in Cowboys territory by OBJ and an inexplicable fumble by Eli with a wide open Lewis. They have a great opportunity to go deep into the playoffs but they severely limit their chances with continued poor performances by the offense. Eli was lucky to only have 1 pick. It is becoming more apparent that Eli is affected by the poor OL play. Even when he has time he shows signs of being jittery. His decision making has dropped off in last several games. They need the Eli that turned in on in 2007 and 2011 SB campaigns.
OBJ erased his miscues with his game breaking catch and run touchdown. Earlier in this game, he dropped two balls. One would have resulted in a touchdown. While the other one would have been a first down. Instead of getting even in this game, the Giants had to settle for a field goal.
The Giants offense could NOT close this game out. They had to rely on their defense as well as the punting of Brad Wing. As we wrote last year, Wing has been sensational for the Giants. His last punt pinned the Cowboys on their one yard line. Based on how the Giants defense was playing, we knew the Cowboys were not going to get back in this game.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott went 17 for 37 for 165 yards One TD and 2 INT. He played like a rookie. It is our take, if he continues to play like this, Dallas is not going anywhere.
Jason Witten was held in check. He had 4 catches for a measly 26 yards. Yes a top notch tight end did NOT burn the Giants. Progress.