Cards were coming off 2 wins (Atl and Cincy). Giants had only one win to its credit after a losing though credible effort vs. the Patriots. . Giants expected big things from the return to action of RB Saquon Barclay and TE Evan Engram. The return of Patrick Peterson was expected to strengthen an underperforming Cardinal secondary. For the Cards, it was one of those rainy morning time zone East Coast contests that traditionally buries them.
Cards Outlast Giants 27 - 21
The Bottom Line:
In "Cards started fast and the offense rolled up an easy 14 - 0 lead by the end of the 1st quarter. My alter-ego ("Mr. Yeah But") sat next to me in front of the teevee. "If we keep playing like we're playing, it could be 30 - 0 by halftime, I said." "Not so fast, replied Mr. Yeah But' - the Cards haven't learned how to win. They could blow the lead in a NYC minute.""
Which, of course, is what happened - Giants tightened the score 17 - 14 with a 28-yd TD pass from Jones to Ellison followed by a true game-changer in the Cardinal tradition - a Giant touchdown by Eli Penny off the return of a Michael Thomas blocked punt.. "That's more like it" murmored Mr Yeah But.
The two teams jockeyed for position, with the Cards widening their lead to 10-points by the end of the 3rd quarter on the third of Chase Edmond's TD scampers only to see it narrowed to 24 - 21 with 8:13 left and then back to 27 - 21 on a 35-yd Gonzalez FG with 2:09 left.
For Edmonds, the third TD was a headline-grabber that marked an East Coast home-coming for the Fordham U alumnus.
Things got a bit weird after that - Somewhere during the 2nd half, the fans were treated to a teeming East Coast rain storm (For some reason, most G-Men didn't wear gloves and had trouble scooping up "for grab" footballs - the Cardinal players were wearing their gloves). They narrowed the score to a 24 - 21 Cardinal lead on Barkley's 7-yd TD run with 8:13 left to play. The Giants were back in business with 4:23 left. They picked up a 1st down but a sack and 2 incompletions set up a 3rd & 18 with 3:11 on the clock. D Jones audibled to a draw play, but the Giants only gained 3 yards and left the G-Men with 4th & 15 with 2:35 and two time outs. Shurmer opted to forego the punt but newly reactivated Patrick Peterson "climbed Jones like a tree" and forced a fumble recovered by Reddick at the Gant 14. Gonzalez booted home the 27 yd FG to widen the Cardinal lead back to 27 - 21.
Another bit of weirdness during those last few minutes of the contest - Instead of fielding a punt in the end zone to give the GIants the ball at their own 25 with the clock stopped, their return-man (Slayton) elected to "run it out." They tackled him at the Giant 12 eating up more clock).
Cards weren't immune to eleventh-hour funky football thinking. With time increasingly precious near the end of the game, Kyler Murray elected to step out of bounds and keep the clock running instead of downing the ball in-bounds with the clock running. It handed the Giants an extra time-out.
(Ed Note- NYC beat writers have this annoying habit of blaming Giants players and coaches for "horrible mistakes that cost them the game." Which is a back-handed way of saying "the other team wasn't better than we were - we just screwed up." For what it's worth - we outplayed the GIants.
Passing: Murray 14 for 21...0 Int...104...QBR: 62.2
................Ryan 30 for 36...0 Int...356...QBR:46.6
First Downs: Cards 18- Giants 21
Total Net Yards: Cards 245- Giants 263
Sacked: Cards 2 for 15 - Giants 8 for 67 yds
Rushing: Edmonds 27 for126 yds...D Johnson 2carries for 1 yd...Murray 10 for 28 yds
................ Barkley 18 carries for 72 yds...Jones 4 for 35
Receiving: Cooper 4 for 29...Two others with 2 catches
................:...Tate 6 for 80...Fowler 4 for 35...Ellsion 2 for 33 yds and 1 TD
Fumbles Giants 3 fumbles/2 lost. Cardss fumbles 0 lost.
Interceptions - Cards - Hicks 1, Giants - none
Penalties - Cards 10 for 85...Giants 6 for 75
Tackles - Baker 8...Peterson and Hicks 7 apiece
................Bethea 9, Peppers, 8, Ogletree 8, Haley 7
Time of Possession: Cards 29:59- Giants 3:01
Missed FG's: Gonzalez 0 - Rosas 1 (fr 37)
Three straight wins isn't anything to be sneezed at. (To paraphrase Bill Parcells, "We are what we are.").
On both sides of the ball, the Cards showed they can play winning football. (Ed Note - Doesn't mean we will. It means that we can).The good news is that, as the players on all units learn to play better together, the team can be expected to improve its performance. But what is a bit unnerving is their tendency (as with most young football teams) to take their foot off the proverbial gas pedal and let the horseget back in the barn. 10 penalties is unacceptable, and - as other aspects of play tighten up - miscues like these will start to appear more oten in the "Reasons Why We Lost" excuses column.
Bottom line - The Cardinals are probably a better team than we expected them to be, but they have a long way to go before they become the team we hope they will be. At the top of the list are the dummass mistakes - from penalties to prematurely running out of bounds/not using the clock to our advantage to breakdowns in coverage.
But if the team keeps their collective heads down and commit to playing smart football, we're gonna surprise a few people.