STAMFORD, CT -I know the Knicks are threatening relevancy for the first time in a while and I know the Rangers are playing fast but not too loose – Sunday’s game notwithstanding – and are looking like a contender. But I’m in Giants/NFL mode, so let’s do it.
Giants: An unimpressive win, letting the Browns hang around too long. It’s worrisome when you can’t run the rock against the league’s 31st ranked run defense. Don’t you think Alabama could run it for 150 against the Browns? The RBs averaged under 4 yards a carry, as the O-Line woes continue. Adventures aplenty on special teams, with a muffed punt by Bobby Rainey and two long punt returns by Odell Beckham (including one for a TD) called back by penalties. Beckham is a thrill to watch with the ball in his hands. He accelerates as if everyone else is carrying backpacks filled with bricks. It’s risky having him return punts, but the Steelers let Antonio Brown do it, right? Expect more of him back there.
Punter Brad Wing was a factor, putting five punts inside the twenty and three inside the ten. He’s starting to make me forget Steve Weatherford, the strong-man punter. Bye Robbie Gould.
The Giants D-Line looked good, but I’d like to see Jason Pierre-Paul & Co do it against a decent O-Line. Eli continued his uneven play, but he did put together a nice drive when they needed it. Ben McAdoo deserves credit for the Giants impressive record. He is developing a reputation as a gambler, as he’s gone for it on several 4th down plays. But he seems to recognize his team’s limitations and doesn’t push it when he doesn’t have to. His late game management has been a big improvement from last year. The Giants will need to step it up, as the patsie portion of their schedule is over.
Jets: Can someone explain to me why the Jets went with Fitzpatrick over Petty? Did they think they could run the table, finish 9-7 (which would mean beating the Pats twice), and sneak into the playoffs? Petty has had two years of seasoning now. If you play him, one of two things will happen: 1. He will play better than expected and you realize you might have something. 2. You know for sure he is not the answer. At least you know. What is the downside? Wasting a 4th and a 2nd round pick on QBs that don’t pan out is the kind of thing that gets a GM fired. Would you give Maccagnan another year? It doesn’t help that some Dallas rookie QB, passed over four times by the Jets, has been doing OK. I don’t know if these Frankensteins are going to come to life as NFL QBs, but it’s time to hit the switch on at least one. It’s been a lost season, expect big changes.
Crafty Harbaugh: That was a great ending to the Ravens Bengals game. The Ravens punt team mauled the entire Bengals return team while the punter held the ball and time ran out. Yes, the game can end on an offensive penalty (or in this case, dozens of them), which is what the punt team is before they punt it. John Harbaugh knew this rule, channeling his inner Bill Belicheat, and took advantage. Expect a rule change next season, the NFL can’t have games ending with an entire team intentionally breaking the rules. Well, besides the Patriots.
The play looked like a scene from the grossly underrated Keanu Reeves 2000 vehicle, The Replacements. Most people think The Matrix is his best film, but this gem comes close. My favorite part is the end when the regular starting QB crosses the picket line and returns for the big game, displacing Keanu’s Shane Falco, who has lead a group of replacement players to the brink of the playoffs. Falco packs up and goes home. Why isn’t he at least the backup? But he shows up at halftime and is somehow allowed to go right into the game (after the obligatory inspirational moment where he sends the jerk QB packing). It was prescient of Washington Sentinels management to keep Falco active for the game, even though he wasn’t even in the damn building at kickoff. Interestingly, “sentinels” are autonomous killing machines that patrol the remnants of human cities looking for survivors in the Matrix. Coincidence? Anyway, enjoy:
Come back tomorrow for a pinch-hitter for flu-ridden Angry Ward, a man who insists Sweet November is Keanu’s best film. Also, please follow us on Twitter at @benwhit8 & @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.