Author Archives: anthonysavell

About anthonysavell

A UK based NFL (in general) and New York Giants (in particular) fan. Twitter: @anthonysavell

Thoughts following Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants 7th October 2012


Yesterday was a good day for the Giants, they couldn’t have hoped for better results. After a shaky start they took care of the Browns, the Eagles lost, the Redskins lost and the Cowboys didn’t play.

The Giants are now 3-2 and tied for the best record in the NFC East with Philly.

It looked sticky at first though. Within 6 minutes the Giants were in a 14 point hole. A fumble from Bradshaw and some questionable run defence put us 7 points down in less than a minute and a mismatch of Chase Blackburn on a wide receiver led to a 60 yard touchdown a few plays later.

From then on though it was all Giants. Bradshaw had a big day catching and rushing, David Wilson looked good on kick returns and broke a big run in the fourth to seal the game.


    Hixon, Cruz and Manning were solid as was a break out day for Reuben Randle. If a couple of pass interference calls had been,are (including the interception off Cruz’s hands) then the Giants would probably have won even more comfortably than 41-27.

    Our defence at times though is still porous. The rush needs to get home to help relieve the pressure on our battered secondary and we need to learn to seal the edge and be disciplined in the running game.

    Nevertheless it was a good bounce-back from a game in Philly that they should have won last week.

    We are in a good position going into week 6 but our schedule from here is tough – starting with the 49ers next week on the West Coast.



Thoughts following the Giants loss to the Eagles 30th Sept 2012


The first thought following this heartbreaking 2 point loss (19-17) is that Ramses Barden will get the blame for it. His Offensive Pass Interference penalty moved the Giants back making the missed field goal 54 yards instead of 44 yards. It wasn’t his fault – Namdi Asomouga was in a position to intercept Manning’s pass – which was thrown to Barden’s wrong shoulder – if Barden hadn’t pulled Asomouga down for the penalty then the Giants wouldn’t have been in a position to kick a field goal to take the lead anyway.

Why the Giants threw the ball instead of running it on that down is a mystery to me. Even a quick kneel down followed by a field goal would have secured the game. I agree with the call not to try to shorten the distance of the kick with a throw with 15 seconds left and no timeouts after the penalty though – the danger of watching the clock expire with no kick attempt is too high.

My second thought is Osi Umenyiora. The British-born Osi is one of my favourite players but he was burnt badly on several runs where he failed to keep contain on the edge. On a key third down he jumped offside, giving the Eagles a first down which they turned into a touchdown. He needs better discipline and to understand the situation on the field.

The Giants’ secondary and their injuries: Phillips (knee), Rolle (knee), Webster (Hand), Thomas (knee), Coe (hamstring), Amukamara (ankle), Hosley (hamstring) – when are we going to catch a break? After Phillips went down in the first half the Giants admitted it changed their strategy – without him shoring up the centre field they couldn’t rush as aggressively. Webster was responsible for the Jackson touchdown as well.

We saw the good and the bad sides of Eli Manning last night – a clinical drive in the fourth and at the end of the second to put points on the board but also an end-zone interception and the poor throw to Barden at the end of the game. Those two plays resulted in at least 6 points not being scored – if either of those drives ended in points then the Giants win.

That’s it for my thoughts. I’m disappointed and tired after a late night but there’s still 75% of (an admittedly tough) schedule left. They have time to right the ship, get healthy and hope Dallas and Philly start losing some games. Of the three games the Eagles have won they have done it by a total of 4 points – it’s a game of inches. A few plays here and their against Dallas and Philly and the Giants are 4-0 and sitting pretty. As it is they are 2-2 and need to work hard.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @anthonysavell

A look ahead to week 4: New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles 30th Sept 2012


Following a wild few days of football the Giants are in a strong position.

Cam Newton crosses the goal line to give Carolina their only points of the day

On Thursday night they dismantled a good Panthers team in a game that no-one expected them to win. It was effectively over after the second drive. The rest of the game Eli and his cast of back-ups shone (Dre Brown and Ramses Barden in particular but also in the secondary.) Cam Newton embarrassed himself (a ‘Superman’ celebration after a 1 yard score when his team were trailing by 23 points) and sulked for the rest of the game.


Backup running back Andre Brown dominated the Panthers ‘D’ behind excellent line play.

Following a Redskins loss which drops them to 1-2, an Eagles loss which drops them to 2-1 and a Cowboys win which moved them to 2-1 the Giants are in the mix of the NFC East and currently looking like the strongest team in the division. Only a tie-breaker with Dallas separating them from the division lead.

All three of the Giants NFC East rivals looked sloppy in their games on Sunday. Dallas’ O-line was shocking and Jason Witten has been a non-factor – they were lucky to win. The Redskins sputtered after a strong first two weeks and again their O-line looked shoddy and their Defense porous.

The Eagles struggled to eke out wins in Weeks 1 & 2 (winning each week by 1 point), yesterday they fumbled the game away and let Vick get pounded into the ground (13 hits including 5 sacks) he doesn’t have the build or stamina to take up that pace of a beating and can’t be looking forward to facing the giants D-linemen next week. The Eagles run and pass game looked bad, not as bad as their non-existent pass-rush and run-defence though.

Following the Giants’ win on Thursday they have 10 days to get healthy and prepare for the Eagles and Eli is always excellent on the road in Philly.

Here are my keys to the game:


The Cardinals pass rush left Vick battered and bruised on Sunday.

Giants D-Line against Michael Vick

The Giants need to get pressure up the middle on Vick but maintain their rush lanes and discipline. The Cardinals showed the blueprint for this and you better believe Perry Fewell was watching. Pressure in his face and hard disciplined pursuit by DEs and Linebackers. They can’t give him an escape route to squirt out the pocket like Romo did in week 1. They were great against Cam on Thursday, they need more of the same.

The ends can’t get forced too far up the field or the draw and screen games and quick dump off passes to the running back will hurt them.

Giants LBs against ‘Shady’ McCoy

The Giants linebackers need to be stout in run defence and wrap up on their tackles. McCoy is probably the best cutback runner in the league and makes plays when the play breaks down, often reversing field completely. The linebackers need to know where he is and bring him down. They also need to fill the holes and be alert for screens and swing passes. McCoy in the open field is a nightmare.

Can Boley get his fourth interception in as many games?

Giants Secondary against the Eagles pass game

Jackson and Maclin both have the speed to blow the top off the Giants battered secondary while Avant and Celek can get open behind the linebackers against a zone defence. The Giants need to hold up in coverage long enough to pressure Vick with the front 4. Give him time and there will be plenty of big plays down the field for him to take.

Eli Manning against the Eagles pass rush

The Eagles love rushing from a ‘wide 9’ formation. Eli has to recognise this and exploit it with the run and screen passes when possible and when the Eagles blitz he needs to exploit the one on one match ups with Cruz and Nicks on the outside.

In the redzone look for Bennett and his new best-friend Barden to be the in targets Eli looks to for the TD.

My prediction: 17-10 Giants if they stay healthy and disciplined and the pass rush gets home against Vick.


Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @anthonysavell

‘Manning delivers -with his mouth’ by ESPN’s Ian Connor


A commentary on Thursday night’s Giants @Panthers game.

Manning delivers -with his mouth

For my look ahead to this game see here:

A look ahead to week 3

How did I do?


Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @anthonysavell

Sunburn, Beer pong and a fourth quarter showcase by Manning: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants 16th Sept 2012


I’m back from New Jersey and it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had!

For a look back at the game there is a good article here:

A look back at the Giants’ 41-34 win against the Buccaneers

I got to the tailgate at about 8am and wandered around for an hour or so before approaching a group to see if I could buy a beer. I made the right choice! The guys that I met gave me the beer, and many more and fed me all morning until kickoff. I couldn’t have met a nicer group of fans. They made my trip.

Mike, Joe, Chris & Jaime – the four best people in the world to tailgate with before a game

We played Beer-Pong (a complex game that I won’t go into here) all morning, ate great food and generally laughed away the morning until kickoff:

Joe teaching me the nuances of Beer Pong

Chatting about Giants football and catching the sun

I arrived in the stadium (merry from plenty of lager) in time for the National Anthem. My seat in row 1 was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have been closer to the field and when the ball was at the far end the HD screens were just like watching on TV so you didn’t miss a moment. They even had NFL Redzone highlights on of other games during the TV timeouts.

A rather sunburnt me in MetLife stadium during the game.

Andre Brown (Running Back) awaits the opening kickoff. After Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury Brown carried the load for the Giants and averaged 5.5yards per carry and a TD.

The view from my seat as Brown celebrates his TD late in the 4th to give the Giants their lead.

A professional photo of the same celebration

The Giants celebrate another TD

The Giants D gets to work in the 4th quarter after tying the game

Eli throws a toss to rookie first round pick David Wilson in the 3rd quarter.

The next day’s New York Post celebrating Eli’s record breaking day

One final word on the replacement referees; there seemed to be a lot of contact and holding by Corner-backs on receivers down the field and very few flags. At least one of these led to an interception and others led to big missed plays. The NFL needs to get it together and get a deal done to get the real refs back on the field – and they need it done quickly.

8am in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The view of the Giants’ Timex practice facility from my hotel room.

There was also a great view of the sun rising over Manhattan across the East River in the other direction.

At 7am (before my breakfast) I saw the Buccaneers’ advance party of coaches and staff leave for the stadium.

Their 3 team coaches are here already to take the players to the game.

I saw TB linebacker Quincy Black getting in the hotel lift when I arrived yesterday. Can’t get over the sheer size of these players.

Looking forward to getting stuck into the tailgate party in the stadium car park in an hour or so…

Here’s my look ahead to the game

Fumbles, flags and corners. Thoughts following the Giants’ loss to the Cowboys

I won’t re-hash the whole game Notorious-Ohm has done a great job of capturing the five key factors that led to the Giants’ loss here:

5 plays that shaped the game.

My thoughts are this:

We desperately need depth at the centre of the D-line. By the end of the 3rd quarter the Defensive tackles looked done in.

The defence looked strong against the run in the first half and whiffed badly on a few plays in the second half – notably the 48 yard run that should have been a 4 yard loss. Murray evaded tackles by Kiwi and Tuck in the backfield, got some blockers and almost went the distance. The running style and broken tackles was what my friend Danny would describe as “slippery business”. The Giants need to wrap up on tackles and stay with the play.

For a deep and vaunted linebacking corps we looked slow at times flowing left and right against slant routes and slow later in the game to step up and plug the A & B gaps.

The secondary was already in tatters, Corey Webster (1st string) and Micheal Coe (4th string) starting on either side at cornerback. This often meant the 3rd receiver (Kevin Ogletree) was lined up against a special teamer or a Safety (usually Rolle) – as a result he had a big night. The situation got worse in the 3rd quarter when Coe went down with a hamstring injury meaning Justin Tryon would be matched up against Ogletree & Miles Austin (a huge mismatch which led to two key plays – a 34 yard TD to Austin on a first and 30 and a completion to lose out the game on a third and 10 to Ogletree). There was no excuse for Webster – who is our best corner- to miss badly on a 40 yard TD from a double move by Ogletree or a big play for 40 yards by Dez Bryant either.

The Pass Rush looked strong, but if you are banged up in the secondary the rush has no time to get home. Romo was looking for short slants and swings and connecting on them all night. In fairness to him he played a great game and was phenomenal at improvising when a play broke down and he escaped the pocket. We have to face Freeman, Newton and Vick in the next few weeks who are also excellent out of the pocket – this will be a real test of rush lane and assignment responsibility of the D-line.

Offensively we struggled and sputtered. The line needs to shore up in pass protection and get downhill and violent in run blocking. They didn’t open any holes for Bradshaw all night he was running into a wall of bodies all game long – they need to get more ‘push’

The pass game struggled a bit. Nicks looked rusty and maybe a tad slow in his first action since breaking his foot, Cruz looked distracted and made one key drops – he acknowledged it was a poor game for him – albeit he would have had a TD but for a non-call by the refs on a clear pass interference on a 3rd and goal. Domenik Hixon however looked strong and made the catch of the game in double coverage to set up a TD. If he had arms an inch or two longer then he’d have had a touch down of his own earlier in the game on a slightly over-thrown ball from Manning.

The run game struggled behind poor offensive line play and 1st round draft pick David Wilson fumbled on his second carry – a toss play on the Dallas 29 (within field goal range) it didn’t lead to Dallas points but it was critical. Wilson seemed to take it hard – this is good in one way: he cares about his mistakes, but he needs to have a short memory and not dwell on mistakes – just get out and correct them. He ruled himself out of the game with how he responded.

So the ‘champs’ came back to earth with a bump, they have 10 days to put it right before a home game against the Buccaneers. They need to win their next one as going 0-2 will put them well behind the 8-ball in a division with (what appears to be) a much improved Dallas team and a dangerous Redskins and Eagles in it. They have the toughest schedule in the league this year and they need to play with more intensity and less mistakes – most of all they badly need help at cornerback!

One last thing; the replacement referees looked shoddy and out of their depth – hopefully this situation gets sorted soon. Kiwanuka reportedly said ‘I haven’t been held this much since I was a baby’