As expected, both offenses showed up to play today.
Unexpectedly, the top defense in the league slipped through the cracks and self-destructed, leading to a high-powered offensive output by the New Orleans Saints en route to a 48-20 win over the New York Giants. The Giants’ offense generated three scores in the first half, but some unfortunate and questionable penalties by the shaky crew led by referee Ed Hochuli put the Giants in an early hole.
Eli Manning, who grew up just two and a half miles away from the Superdome, struggled with his accuracy and also fumbled, setting back the offense and wearing down his team’s defense while he was off the field. The Giants’ secondary gave Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees plenty of cushion, allowing him to dance around the pocket and fire lasers to his open receivers. Receiver Marques Colston used his height advantage to leap over the Giants’ secondary and snatch passes from Brees, and running back Reggie Bush skipped down the sideline past Giant defenders and into the end zone for a score of his own.
The Giants were really out of luck when it came to officiating. The defense was in position to force New Orleans into a three-and-out when Corey Webster’s feet were tangled up with receiver Marque’s Colston’s, and the referees called pass interference on Webster. The call was clearly the wrong one, and even Colston laughed at the fact that it was ever called. A collection of questionable calls by Hochuli and his crew sent the Giants spiraling downhill fast.
Play-calling was also a bit shaky on the Giants’ side, and I am not sure I can agree with many calls by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride failed to realize that the Giants needed to work their way up the field by means of short passing plays mixed in with the running game, and he instead had Manning firing worthless cannonballs downfield. The absence of running back Ahmad Bradshaw was certainly the wrong decision, and it wasn’t until later in the game when Bradshaw entered the game when the Giants began to have some success in the running game.
Although this is a tough loss for the Giants, they are still sitting very pretty with this being their only loss. Teams never end up undefeated in the end, and the Giants can tell you that from first-hand experience in 2007. What the Giants should take away from this game has to be that the offense produced when they needed to against the Saints’ defense, which everyone expected. The Giants need to fill in the gaps on the defensive side in preparation for next week’s matchup at Giants Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals, and find a way to stop their dangerous offense.