Memo to the “experts” who said the Giants weren’t a top-of-the-line team because didn’t beat any one of consequence in compiling a 5-1 record – News Flash! Yesterday, they punched out a really rugged, top-of-the-line, Pittsburgh Steeler team, 21-14. And, what’s more impressive is that Giants only lined up 11 guys against 16 Steelers at a time.
Yeah, that’s right; the normal 11 man Steeler squad and the 5 officials who sure seemed to be on the Steeler’s side. Not only did the auxiliary Pittsburgh Steelers (The Pittsburgh Zebras) make an awful unnecessary roughness call on rookie Kenny Phillips for a vicious — but perfectly legitimate — hit, they also looked the other way when their Steeler team mates were holding and interfering with Giant’s receivers downfield.
This is not to say the Steelers didn’t play one hell of an old school tough game. They did. They’re a tough, take it to you, smash-mouth team. They shut down the Giant’s vaunted running game, giving up only 80 yards on 35 rushes and actually stopped the Giants on the one yard line. But, if the Steelers were tough — and they were — the Giants were tougher.
They held the Steelers to 95 yards on 22 rushes and one 3rd down conversion out of ten tries. They sacked Big Ben 5 times while Eli didn’t get sacked at all. They picked off 4 passes while the Giants didn’t turn the ball over at all. Big Ben was constantly harassed and went 13 of 29 passing (Less than 50%) while Eli went 19 of 32.
There were a couple of goofy Giant’s moments like James Butler completely losing his bearings on a 65 yard TD bomb to Nate Washington. He looked completely lost. And there was Eli trying to call a second consecutive time out even though you can’t do that.
But, what’s really indicative of this Giant’s team is that James Butler also made a beautiful interception and Eli — right after his time-out goof — tossed a perfect 30 yard pass to Amani Toomer on 4th down and 6 which probably saved the game. So, in the end, it was about which team was physically, mentally and emotionally stronger and which team was still hitting as hard in the 4th quarter as they were in the 1st quarter.
And that team was the Giants. Said simply; mentally, emotionally and physically, the Giants were the better conditioned team and if that’s conditional, they’ll take it every week.