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Giants were 2 & 12, but almost upset the Eagles the previous week, losing 34 - 29. The Cards were tossed out of the playoff mix by the Redskins in a 20 - 15 "pitchers dual." (For the second straight week, the Cards failed to score a TD). The final two games will be"gut-checks" for the entire Cardinal roster. (Steve Keim suggested that we can expect major changes in the off-season). Drew Stanton is expected to replace touchdown-starved Blaine Gabbert this Sunday.
Cards Blank Giants 23 - Zip
Answers to Unasked Questions:
We can knock Seattle out of the playoffs if we beat them next Sunday.
Stanton is a WYWIWYG QB. You pretty much know what you're getting - makes some plays, but not as consistently as you'd like. (Gabbert, while making progress, hasn't proved we can win with him as a starter).
We can win at small-ball, but only if we make fewer mistakes than the other guys. That didn't happen vs Washington but it did vs. the Giants,.
Either the Cardinal OL was sustaining its blocks long enough, or Stanton was getting rid of the ball quickly enough (maybe a little bit of each).
Giants admittedly didn't double Fitz often enough, and Fitz & Stanton made them pay.
Cardinal defense played solid (may we say "playoff" football yesterday). Hats off to Chandler Jones (who right before our very eyes is turning into a complete defensive football player who's as disciplined vs. the run as he is unbridled chasing the QB).
Game started off just like one more typical sloppy,, low-scoring "war of attrition: between two NFL also-rans. Cards managed to eke out a 3 - 0 halftime lead, and then managed to tighten up the defensive screws while putting just enough pressure on Giant defenders to gradually widen its lead and then hang on to earn the "W."
Giants received. KO returned to the NYG 19. After Gallman caught a short pass for +11, Giants went 3 & out. Wing's punt fair caught at the Card 20. Cards repeated the pattern - Fitz caught his first pass from Stanton for +10, but Cards punted from their own 31. Punt fair caught at NYG 13. Three & out. Wing's 36-yd punt fair caught at the Giant 49. A 19-yd completion to Fitz helped set up a 21-yd Dawson FG (to cap a 9 play drive that ended with the FG at the Giant 3 and left Cardinal fans grumbling about "having to settle for still another FG"). Cards 3 - Giants 0.
TB on KO. (Penalty-ridden series): Manning hit Engram for +12 (Holding call on Budda declined)...Holding penalty on Giants...12-Men On Field flag on Cardinals...Defensive Off Sides on Reddick....But on the6th play of the Giant drive, Manning's pass for Ingram was intercepted by Behea. Card ball at their own 25. But Cards held to 3 & out (Key play - Stanton sacked by O Vernon). Punt returned to Card 48. Giants ran off 4 plays (including a Delay of Game flag on Manning) to end the quarter when the Giants played around with "going for it" on a 4th & 2 & incurring another Delay of Game penalty. Wing punted from the Cardinal 45.
1st Quarter Score: Washington 7 - Cards 3
- Fair catch at Cardinal 8. Cards went 3 & out. Punt returned to Cardinal 47. Giants drove down to the Cardinal 15 in 7 plays, but the drive stalled and Rosas' 33-yd FG attempt was no good.
- Card ball at their own 23. Fitz hit Jaron Brown on a gadget pass play for +21-yds. Stanton then hit Fitz for +16. But the drive stalled and Lee's punt was fair caught (net penalty) at the NYG 6. Drive went nowhere and Wing's punt was fair caught at the Card 21. Stanton then put together a 9-play drive ending in a 13-yd TD pass to Fitz. (Other Key Plays: Stanton to K Williams for +11...Stanton to Fitz for +23...Stanton to Foster for +11...Roughing the Passer Call on O Vernon). Wash Cards 10 - Giants 0.
- 1:01 left til halftime. TB on KO. Manniing hit Shepard for +9 and a challenge on a 21-yd pass to Lewis was upheld. A +9-yd completion and an Offensive Pass Interference call was followed by another interception by Bethea. Ball on Card 30 with 0:09 til halftime. Stanton took a knee.
First Half Score: Cards 10 - Giants 0.
Cards received. TB on KO, and Cards put the game away.Stanton led Card offense on an 11-yd TD drive ending in a 15-yd TD completion to Smokey Brown. XP was no good. Missed kick took a little bit of air out of the Cardinal balloon. (Other Key Plays: Stanton to Fitz for +15. K Williams around RE for +21). Cards 16 - Giants 0.
TB on KO. An 8-yd sack by K-Mart set up a Giant punt from its own 48. TB on punt. A holding penalty on Holden helped stall the Cardinal possession. Lee's punt from his own 22 returned to NYG 20. Giants made it to the Cardinal 42, but failed to convert a 4th & 2. Cards took over on their own 42, but 4 plays later, Stanton's deep pass to a double-covered Fitz was intercepted in the end zone.
Giants took over on their own 20 and ran off 2 plays before the 3rd quarter ended.
Third Quarter Score: Cards 16 - Giants 0.
- On the first play from scrimmage, Bucannon sacked Manning who fumbled. Nkemdiche scooped up the ball and powered it in for a Cardinal back-breaking TD. Cards 23 - Giants 0.
- KO returned to NYG 25. Couldn't get past their own 47. Punt returned to Card 15. Five plays later, Stanton's pass for Nelson was intercepted by Cockrell who was pushed O-O-B at the Cardinal 26.
- Three Giant penalties set up an unsuccessful 4th & 25 scramble up the middle and turned the ball over on downs at the Card 36. Three & out. TB on punt.
- Giant drive started at their own 20 but stalled at the Card 35 when Manning (once again) failed to convert a 4th down.
- Cards took over on their own 35 nd moved to just short of midfield before punting to the Giant 10 and leaving 0:20 on the clock. Final Giant running play. Game over.
Notable Game Stats.
Final Score: Cards 23 - Giants 0.
Passing: Stanton was 20 of 34 for 209 yards, 2 TD and 2 Interceptions. (Manning was 27 of 45 for 263 yds, 0 TD's and 2 picks).
Rushing: K Williams gained 51 yds on 16 carries. Penny gained 24 yds on eight carries. (Giant runners gained a total of 43yds on 20 carries).
Card rush defense gave up 2.2 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 2.7)
Receiving: Fitz led the Cards with 9 catches for 119 yds and a TD. (Foster had 3; Four other Cardinals had 2).
Turnovers: Plus- 1 Cards intercepted two passes and gave up 2 interceptions. Giants gave away one fumble/ Cards 0..
Penalties: Cards were penalized 6 times - Giants 10.
- Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 27/35. (Giants 20/45)
Field Goals: Cards 1 for 1 Giants 0 for 0
Net Punting Yards: Lee averaged 41.4/ Wingo averaged 39.0
Tackles: Baker 8, Dansby 10, Bucannon 8, Mathieu 7
Sacks: 3. Bucannon and K-Mart: 1 apiece (C Jones wreaked havoc but wasn't credited with a sack)
Interceptions: Stanton gave up two (Both Cockrell). Manning gave up two (both Bethea)
Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 5 of 14 (35%. Giants: 1 of 14 for 7%).
Fourth Down Efficiency: Giants failed to convert 3 of 4 chances. Cards had 0 opportunities
Red Zone Efficiency: Cards were 2 of 3 - 66%. (Gians: 0 of 1 - 0%).
Time of Possession: Cards 33:13/ Giants 26:47
We overwhelmingly won the 3rd & 4th down and Red Zone battles
2 Touchdowns (finally)!
C Jones made a number of defensive plays that don't show up in the stats.
Dansby had a huge day
The Deech TD was pretty impressive (Now do it again...and again...)
Budda Baker continues to be consistent and deserves to be in the Pro Bowl.
No dumb mistakes on defense
Stanton and his receivers played well enough to win
OL line - while still a liabiity - played well enough for Stanton to be moderately effective most of the time.
The Dark Side
Quarterback - Stanton still didn't play well enough to be "our guy" next year.
Running Back - Did what they were asked to do - but that wasn't very much. The absence of D Johnson and A Peterson shows.
We did what we needed to do vs. the Giants (including NYC bragging rigjhts). Next week, we can blow Seattle out of the playoffs (if we play well enough). We're down to "each play" of "each series" of "each quarter" of our final game of the sesason. Let's wish Seattle "Happy New Year" - Cardinal Style.