ReFo: Giants @ Bengals, Week 10
They’re losing, they’re not playing well, and they’re in danger of allowing the NFC East to become competitive. Not three things you would have thought after they beat the San Francisco 49ers so convincingly.
Now, let’s not just talk about the woeful Giants. No, this was a victory for the Bengals as much as a defeat for the G-Men. They battered the Giants’ offensive line and took full advantage of excellent field position. I’ve had plenty of doubts about this team, but if they generate performances like this they’ll be a problem for a lot of teams.
New York – Three Performances of Note
Not Looking Quite So Eli-te
There were moments against both Washington and Dallas where in hindsight you wondered if Eli Manning (-1.2) was about to experience one of his infamous slumps. Well, after the past two weeks its seems we’re bang in the middle of one. His interception chuck to Pat Sims was, for want of a better word, daft. His throw that was picked off by Nate Clements was another awful decision. As Ben Stockwell said, it’s good for quarterbacks to have short memories. It’s not good for them to forget things all together.
Mixed Day for the Line
I literally had people phoning me up to bemoan the uselessness of David Diehl (+1.3). Our own Twitter account (@PFF) got in the act in a perfect demonstration of why what you see in real time, isn’t always the same as when you carefully break down the tape and watch plays over and over again. Now Diehl was guilty of giving up a sack and three hurries, with the sack not being pretty at all as Robert Geathers breezed by him. However, apart from that he gave up just three more pressures and none of them at the kind of speed Manning couldn’t do something about.
No, bigger problems came for Kevin Boothe (+1.0) who saved his grade with his run blocking, but had some real problems, giving up two sacks, two hits and another hurry. Geno Atkins tormented him (and Chris Snee to a degree) but you know you’ve had a rough day in pass protection when you get beat for a sack by Domata Peko.
Chase-ing Down the Bengals’ Running Game
Another player I’ve rarely had much good to say about in the past is Chase Blackburn (+3.3). He’s a bit of a liability in coverage and has a habit of missing tackles, two of my pet peeves from linebackers. But give credit where it’s due, because he made some nice plays in this game. Besides his forced fumble on special teams, he made three impressive defensive stops, the best of which came when he didn’t let Kevin Zeitler lock his block on him at the second level, and then chased down BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a tackle for no gain.
Cincinnati – Three Performances of Note
Dalton in Rhythm
I remember watching Andy Dalton against Tennessee last year and thinking this kid had something about him. I then spent the rest of the year watching him and thinking “I got that one wrong”. Comparisons to Matt Ryan were premature and his collapse in the second half of the season was disappointing. Even more concerning is that he took a lot of that form into 2012 and had a number of games in the first half of the year that made you think he was regressing.
However, against the Broncos he looked better, and against the Giants he looked very good. Granted, life is always a lot easier when the opposing team doesn’t get any pressure (just six of his 30 drop-backs saw him pressured), but he was ruthlessly efficient in tearing up the Giants’ secondary. In the end, 6.6 yards per attempt isn’t going to blow anyone out of the water, but with just one negatively-graded throw and some good ones into tight coverages, Dalton displayed the traits you’d want in a franchise quarterback. I still want to see what he does when he’s pressured, because he’s proven to be among the worst at not letting them become sacks. But this was encouraging.
Potent Pass Rusher
I was talking to my colleague Pete Damilatis about this game and he made a good point. The Bengals’ pass rush played as good as the Giants pass rush thinks they are. Well, I’ll leave it to others to lay into the failings of the Giants’ front four, but I’m going to town on praising the Bengals’ pass rush, and that starts with Geno Atkins. In commentary it was mentioned that Atkins is starting to be discussed as one of the most disruptive interior tackles in the league. Where have you been guy? He’s been that good since entering the league!
He drilled Manning to the turf four times and picked up a further five hurries. You know how rare nine hurry games are from defensive tackles? In truth, the whole defensive line rotation (that picked up 22 quarterback disruptions) was ably assisted by Manning holding onto the ball longer than 2.6 seconds on 58.8% of his pass attempts. The Bengals really got after the Giants’ offensive line and never gave up on plays.
He’s a Former First-Round Pick You Know
Remember when Adam Jones (+4.6) used to be all over the news? Well, now the only thing we talk about with him is his corner play, and whisper it quietly, but that’s pretty good. With the Bengals eager to see more of Dre Kirkpatrick (who made his debut in this one), Jones needs to be at his best, less he finds himself begging for another chance with another team. Well, despite Manning going after him he allowedonly 6 of 10 balls into his coverage to be completed for 53 yards, broke up three passes, and forced a fumble on Ahmad Bradshaw. A hearty well done on rebuilding your image and your career with more than just words.
– The fearsome Giants pass rush picked up just six combined sacks, hits and hurries between them.
– Andy Dalton had a 143.1 rating throwing to A.J. Green. The wide receiver also picked up 2.93 yards per route run.
– Mathias Kiwanuka was on the field for 43.3% of plays. That means he’s been in on 48.9% of all Giants defensive snaps this year. That’s a lot of money for a rotational player you don’t trust to be on the field when the opposition goes to a two tight end set.
The penetration of Geno Atkins meant Manning could never get into a rhythm. That was key in giving Dalton good field position to work off and preventing the Giants from mounting a comeback.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled