Tag Archives: Andy Dalton

All bets are off in the NFC East

The Giants week 6 win over the Washington Football Team was not the most decisive victory in team history.  It was won when Washington’s head coach Ron Rivera (aka “Riverboat Ron”) decided to go for a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown in the final minutes which made the score 20-19 in favor of the Giants.  The two-point conversion failed and the Giants won.

Still there were positives to be taken from this game.  And perhaps, in the dismal NFC East, the Giants are still alive in the competition. It appears that the NFC East Division winner will be decided by the outcome of head- to-head games within the division since it is clear that none of the teams can generate a victory outside of the division.

The Giants are playing on Thursday night this week in an important division game against the Philadelphia Eagles.  (I am glad we don’t have to call them the “Philadelphia Football Team”; that would just make things too weird).  Since we are on a short week, rather than providing a lengthy game analysis from the victory over Washington, here are a few key observations courtesy of our friend and sports aficionado, Gregory Frank:

  1. Daniel Jones is a legitimate running quarterback, and among the best running quarterbacks in the NFL.  Sunday, he ran for 78 yards on only four carries, including one run for 49 yards.  And on the 49 yard run, he reached a speed of almost 21 mph.  That’s not Derrick Henry speed necessarily, but it was among the highest speeds attained that weekend.
  1. Jason Garrett’s play calling is too conservative and unimaginative.  When the Giants needed to pick up important yards, either to get a first down or to get past midfield,  they invariably gave the ball to Devonta Freeman to run up the middle, which usually gained only three yards or less.  It seems clear they’re trying to limit the number of times Daniel Jones makes a mistake, but they need to take bigger risks to open up the offense.
  1. Ryan Lewis appears to be a solid addition to the Giants secondary, playing opposite James Bradberry.  True, he was targeted by Dallas quarterback Andy Dalton for the 38 yard play that set up their winning field goal, but he was quite effective for most of the game, and seemed to be a significant upgrade from Corey Ballantine.

Good points, Greg.  I like the addition of Lewis as well as it became increasingly frustrating to see Ballantine get beat on every pass thrown in his direction.  I also agree with the comments about Jason Garrett. I would say thus far his play calling would be significantly underwhelming.

Tonight’s Giants matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, although dominated by Philadelphia in recent years, is anyone’s game. The rivalry, which dates back to 1933, is still pretty even at 88-86-2 over the history of the two franchises.  Despite the Eagles more recent success (they have won the division twice in recent years), I will always maintain a fair amount of disrespect for this team as I grew up in the Ron Jaworski years.

Jaworski, also known as The Polish Rifle, was terrorized by Lawrence Taylor in the 80’s. I believe he still has nightmares of seeing Taylor lined up near the line of scrimmage. Jaworski was sacked by Taylor 12.5 times in his career beating Joe Theismann’s glowing number of 8 sacks by Taylor.

On a final note, like many, I have joined a fantasy football league in this year of Covid confinement.  While amusing at times, this has created no end of mixed loyalties when viewing games this season. Tonight’s matchup is no different.  While I will be routing for my GMEN to win the game, I will also be pulling for Philadelphia running back Boston Scott to register some impressive stats.

Huddleball.com welcomes all fan insight and opinions.  If you want to blog with us this season, please email us at huddleball@gmail.com.

Close is just not good enough…

When you’re 0-5, it is probably safe to say that you are what your record says you are.  That holds true for the New York Giants.

Blowing a 14 point lead early in the game, the 2020 New York Giants looked for every possible way to give up their lead.  Most notable guffaws from Week 5 included eight penalties for 81 yards which resulted in two touchdowns being taken off the board; far more points than would have been required in their 37-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.  Throw in a clear missed pick-6 by cornerback James Bradberry and one has to be wondering where the team’s concentration is during the games played thus far.

The truth of the matter is that the Giants have been in the thick of 3 winnable games in 2020.  The scores included the following:

Week 2:   17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears

Week 4:  17-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams

Week 5:  37-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys

Their only blowout in 2020 thus far came at the hands of the San Francisco Forty Niners who, playing a number of backups, handily beat the Giants 36-9.  Throw in a 26-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener as another game in which the GMEN were manhandled on both the O-line and D-lines.

Looking under the hood, one can see that there is plenty wrong with this team.  Let’s look at the Giants Regular Season Statistics through 5 games (courtesy of Espn.com):

2020 Regular Season Statistics 

Offense

GP YDS YDS/G YDS YDS/G YDS YDS/G PTS PTS/G
5 1,412 282.4 1,017 203.4 395 79.0 81 16.2

Ranking:  30th

Defense

The Giants defense, on the other hand, while keeping things close during most games played in 2020 continues to allow game-winning drives.

 GP TOT. PTS PTS/G RUSH YDS RUSH YDS/G               pyds     Pyds/game TOT YDS YDS/G
5 133                                        26.6 553 110.60 1162        232.40         1715 343

Ranking:  20th (Per Pro Football Focus)

This is the third time this season Jones had a chance to win the game on the final drive, against the Bears, Rams, and now Cowboys, and has come up empty each time.  Joe Montana, he’s not,  Obviously, that’s an unfairly high bar, but he needs to convert some of these drives into wins if he’s going to be anything more than a journeyman quarterback.

This game saw a significant step in the right direction for the Giants offense, although it’s difficult to discern whether this was due to an improvement in Jason Garrett’s play calling or just a consequence of playing against arguably the worst defense in the league.  Devonta Freeman, who had 60 yards on 17 carries, showed good field vision, finding holes a still developing offensive line created for him.

The Giants secondary remains a major weakness despite their offseason attempts to improve it.  James Bradberry looks to be a bright spot, as he was able to contain Amari Cooper most of the game, but Ryan Lewis allowed a 38 yard gain by Michael Gallup that set up the winning field goal.  And unfortunately, the Giants number 2 pick in this season’s draft, Xavier McKinney, who was arguably the best safety in this draft class, has yet to see the field due to injury.

It is safe to say that this team does not inspire any confidence in maintaining a lead.  Even after the Giants took a 34-31 lead with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter (after an Andy Dalton fumble resulting from a bad snap), this 2020 team does not let you rest assured that a victory is in sight.  The Cowboys game winning drive saw Dalton connect with Amari Cooper on a 15 yard pass, wide receiver Michael Gallup on a deep pass for 19 yards, and then Gallup again for a 38 yard reception.  That basically sums up the Giants season thus far; inability to make the big stop when needed.  Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein proceeded to kick a 34-yard field goal to win the game, 37-34.

Long gone are the days of Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyoura, Justin Tuck and Matthias Kiwanuka.  The fact is that the current Giants squad does not have one defensive player on the roster who can be counted on to secure a win. And if you thought that special player was going to be Defensive End Lorenzo Carter this season, you would be wrong.  He left the game and the team for the season with a torn achilles. Yet another bit of misfortune in a horrendous season.

Bad drafting (Eric Flowers), bad luck (Saquon’s injury), Covid-10… all must improve before the Giants emerge from the cellar of the NFL.

Special thanks to our friend Gregory Frank for sharing his intimate thoughts about the week 5 matchup vs. the Cowboys.

Huddleball.com welcomes all fan insight and opinions.  If you want to blog with us this season, please email us at huddleball@gmail.com.

Colin and Sean’s Week 12 Fantasy Football Podcast

Colin and Sean are back again with their Week 12 podcast, discussing five under-the-radar players they expect to score monster points.  Then they discuss streaming defenses to get you ready for the fantasy football playoffs.

Click Here To Listen To the Week 12 Podcast

Questions/Comments? Send a message on Twitter @Cummingpodcast or email us at seanandcolinpodcast@gmail.com

AJ Green’s Up and Down Day Too Much Up for Bills

 By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazzolari

The Bills have played 5 very similar games this season. They have lacked consistency on offense and have created turnovers on defense. There was one big difference in Sunday’ loss at Cincinnati. The opponent made big plays on offense.

That opponent was the Andy Dalton-AJ Green combination. Green had about 200 yards receiving, most of which came on two huge gainers where rookie Tre’Davious White was beaten. In the first quarter, on their second possession, the Bengals baited White to peak into the backfield for a moment. That is all it took for Green to blow past and Dalton threw a perfect bomb. Green would not be caught and scored from 77 yards out.

The second big pass was the last play of the third quarter. And White had good coverage, but reacted a second too late. Dalton made a very nice pass again and Green caught it in stride and was off to the races. He was taken out at the 5. Cincinnati scored on the next play.

Although Dalton to Green carved up the Bills, they also combined to give Buffalo three takeaways. Micah Hyde got his league-leading fourth interception from a high pass that deflected off Green’s fingers. That pick led to Buffalo’s only touchdown.

In the second half, Jordan Poyer was gifted an interception as a result of a flat out drop by the future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, Buffalo went backwards on offense after that turnover. However, Green fumbled on the very next possession after getting drilled by the ever-hustling Lorenzo Alexander. That turnover led to three points and a 13-10 lead.

Buffalo’s last field goal was set up Brandon Tate’s electrifying punt return. Had he scored on that play, perhaps the Bills would have won the ball game. But, Tate was knocked out at the twenty-three and after a penalty, they moved the ball no closer and settled for three.

The Bills had some costly penalties and some very costly injuries. All in all, though, the game was microcosm of the season thus far. The run defense was stout, but the run offense was not strong enough. The game was tight and could have gone either way. The Bills are 3-2 going into the bye, but could easily 1-4 and just as easily, be 5-0.

I don’t think they will get blown out this season because their defense always competes. Hence, we are in for 11 more of these kinds of games that can go either way. My finger nails will pay the price. The next two games are at home and are winnable. But, other than a road game at Kansas City and maybe the New England game(s), Buffalo will have the opportunity to win.

My preseason 8-8 prediction looks fair at this point, but that is why they play the games!

 

By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazzolari

Arizona Cardinals: Dancing Under the Stars

The roof will be open Sunday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium. As the desert light dims and the stars wheel forth, Arizona fans will settle in for the premier clash on the NFL schedule as the 7-2 Cardinals host the 8-1 Cincinnati Bengals. It will be the second straight Sunday night contest for Arizona and it’s an opportunity for another prime time statement after the Cards trekked north to dispatch rival Seattle last week.

Arizona led 19-0 at one point and jogged to the locker room up 22-7 at the half. But despite the team underperforming of late Seattle is hostile ground, and the Seahawks have appeared in the last two Super Bowls. They clawed back after intermission and 69,000 fans howled when linebacker Bobby Wagner returned a fumble 22 yards early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle a 29-25 lead. But a cool Carson Palmer promptly led the Cardinals on an 83 yard TD drive, hushing the crowd, and Arizona went on to claim a 39-32 victory and a three game division lead.

Dance Party USA

Seattle enjoys a rich musical history (think Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana), and it seems the Cardinals felt this fertile region was the perfect venue in which to bust out some premium dance moves. Andre Ellington’s game-clinching 48 yard run served as the catalyst.

Backup QB Drew Stanton followed Ellington down the sidelines doing the windmill and some Frank the Tank Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot punches, and he completed the routine with a high-kicking Rockette flourish. It was trending on social media before he hit the showers. Watching the same play and not to be outdone, Carson Palmer broke out some fist pumps and then the camera caught him throwing a pelvic thrust toward the crowd, resulting in an $11,576 fine. Palmer said after the game his reaction was aimed at three friends of his in the stands. Three very special friends, presumably. YouTube viewers can reasonably argue whether Stanton’s or Palmer’s moves were more fine-worthy.

And don’t forget Cardinals receiver John “Smokey” Brown. After a 48 yard touchdown catch last season Brown unleashed an adrenaline-fueled, arm-flailing Harlem Shake maneuver, which appears at the end of a current NFL promo.

Current Matters

With a 7-2 record and a victory grip on the NFC West, the Cardinals and their fans have reason to dance. But coach Bruce Arians is the sort who won’t stop pushing his team to achieve until the Lombardi trophy is locked securely in a case and he’s taken it out and polished it a couple of times. Next up? 8-1 Cincinnati.

The Bengals stumbled last week in a surprising loss to visiting Houston, giving Cincinnati its first blemish of the year. Was Cincinnati exposed or was it a one-off? The evidence points more to an anomaly than a trend. As dynamic as Andy Dalton and the offense have been all year, the defense has held the last three opponents to exactly 10 points each. If it weren’t for the mighty New England Patriots, Cincinnati would be the class of the AFC.

35-year-old Carson Palmer has a history with the Bengals of course, having presided over years of mediocre squads. After suffering through a 4-12 campaign in 2010 and disagreeing with the direction the team was going, Palmer threatened to retire rather than take another snap with the team. This is a little like a two-year-old falling limp at the mall, refusing to walk another step, and swinging like a bag of potatoes when his mom tries to pull him to his feet. But anyone who endured those Bengals teams would find his position right and proper, and it seems Palmer knew his fortunes would improve if he headed west. After a stint with the Raiders, Palmer has found a home in Arizona and he’s leading a team with a shot at the title if everything falls into place.

These are high times for both Cincinnati and Arizona. Cardinals detractors will rightfully point to the alarming fact that Arizona has yet to beat a team with a winning record. But a Cardinals victory tonight would make a statement loud enough to sweep through the Valley of the Sun and perhaps all the way to New England.

Coach Arians might even do the Dougie.

– Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation