I've never liked chocolate ice cream, don't know why....I hate peanut butter also.(Yes, I'm a weirdo and yes this tangent has a purpose)
You know what ice cream flavor I like?
Some might call it bland or simple. I call it pure and refreshing.
Now you've either; A) Stopped reading or B) Wondering where on earth I could be possibly going with this.
Let's hope it's B.
If I want Ice Cream; Vanilla. My Girlfriend; Strawberry (old faithful but flavorful) My Car; Carmel Swirl (classy, smooth and rich)
I want my football team to be Rocky Road. You don't know what the hell is in it but it has a cool name and tastes really good.
Apparently Josh McDaniels didn't get the memo.
Bill Belichick came to the counter of Baskin Robins (Now...That's a funny image...someone with photo shop get on that) and Josh McDaniels scooped him an extra-large vanilla game plan, with a hot turd topping.
You know I think theres something we forget about assistant coaches....sometimes they're assistants for a reason. It's why all too often first time coaches flame out. Jason Garret and McDaniels might be very good coaches one day, but this post-season was the year of the retreads and now we see why.
I didn't get anything, anything the Patriots did on offense. They had two weeks to game plan and came up with this? Did you not figure the Giants were going to be bringing pressure at Brady? It wasn't exactly a well kept secret. Where were the adjustments? You know...things you do when things aren't going as planned. Were you just content with an injured QB, who was clearly not right, getting pounded all game?
I wish I had game film to analyze (And when Anthony inevitable buys the Championship DVD, I will) but here are some things I noticed.
1) Draws? Counters? Where art thou!
The Giants run defense is great. In fact the ability of their pass rushing front four to stop the run so well is the driving force behind defense. However since they are such a "north/south" type unit they are prone to draw and counter running plays.
I really can't remember the Pats running many of these types of plays. According to the Play-by-play they only ran up the middle three times and to the right twice. I understand the run wasn't working but they only gave Maroney 14 carries to get it going, and most of them were generic off left tackle plays.
2) Why abandon the run?
I know Maroney wasn't working but, did they gave him a fair chance? Secondly if Maroney's style of running wasn't working why not try Faulk? Faulk, I know was hurt for some of the game but he still managed to catch 7 passes while attempting only one run.
3) Uh...Tom's Hurt. Maybe We Shouldn't Throw 50 Times?
Gripes one and two tie into this point. Why the hell was Brady throwing so much?
A) He clearly was affected by his ankle sprain B) Pass blocking was non-existent C) This was a close defensive punch you in the mouth type of game. The Patriots should have been more worried about clock control and keeping the first down in manageable range.
None of these factors should lead to a pass heavy offense.
4) Wes Welker Could Have Had 200 Catches!
I wish I had an exact percentage to gauge how money the quick slant/screen play to Welker was but I'm guessing it was close to 100%. I know he had 11 catches...but he should have had more.
Until the Giants either proved they could stop that play or had to adjust there defense to stop that play, McDaniels should have kept going back to the well. On every throw to Welker it seemed to be a replay of his previous catch. Welker would run a quick 3-4 yard route, make the catch, and squirm his way upfield for a 7 yard gain. The coverage on him was soft, most plays the corner was playing a solid three yards off him.
Eventually the Giants would have adjusted (because ya know that's what good coaches do) but the adjustment would have resulted in other things opening up for the Patriots explosive offense.
It would have either afforded Brady more time, leave Moss in single coverage or possibly both.
Another play they had similar sucess with was the Stallworth screen. He finished with only three catches but should have been targeted more.
Here's an offensive game-plan that would have worked.
1) Spread the field.
Force the Giants to consider not rushing 6. Going 5 wide would leave many people in single coverage if the Giants continued to rush 5-6 at Brady.
2) Go to a modified west coast offense.
Bill Walsh had the blueprint to beat a fierce pass rush many years ago. Quick routes, with a smart accurate QB and gifted WR's.
If Brady had taken a 1-3 step drop and just hit Welker, Faulk or Watson (who really was a non-factor this game) over the middle, or hit Gaffney/Stallworth/Moss on a quick out it would have been deadly. The Giants secondary isn't exactly the deepest unit.
When you mix that in with the occasional Moss bomb play it might have been unstoppable. It at worst, would have forced the Giants to generate pressure with only their front four.
I didn't write this with the intention of disparaging the Giants. They won the game, flat out, they were a better more prepared team. They deserved to win, Eli deserved to be the Super Bowl MVP.
Eli deserved to be the Super Bowl MVP. Happy Giant faithful?
The only guy who I think was more deserving on an MVP trophy was Steve Spagnuolo. He was great. He had a great game plan, got the most (and than some) out of his players, and every blitz he dialed up worked.
During the second quarter my friend Dave turned to me and said "this game is boring, this sucks"
I disagreed. Spag's was an artist and the Pat's were his canvas.
One blitz that stuck out in my mind was when Webster (Corner Back) and Wilson (Free Safety)both blitzed, somehow Moss was still double covered. They play didn't result in anything flashy like a pick or a sack...just an incompletion.
But It was a great football play executed to perfection, and to me that's pretty damn entertaining.
Kudos to the Giants. They earned it, now their the Super Bowl Champs, on top of the world and the 18 and 1 Pat's are just the 43rd best team ever.
Oh..and if you ever see Steve Spagnuolo in an Ice Cream shop I bet you he's ordering Quarterback Crunch.
(Jason Comack Ladies and Gentleman, He'll be here all week. And remember the 9 o'clock show is different than the 6 o'clock show.)