The honorable mention for the "Power Quote of the Week" has to belong to Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey:
"We left a lot of plays out there on offense and we know we should've won," he said. "If they're (the Colts) supposed to be the best team in the AFC, we've all got a lot to improve on."
Ouch. Oh well, no one to my knowledge has ever accused Mr. Shockey of being anything but brutally honest in expressing his opinions. But since the Colts aren't likely to forget that quote anytime soon, it's probably a good thing for the outspoken tight end that the only way his team will see Indianapolis again this year is if the two teams go head-to-head for the Lombardi Trophy early next year.
The Giants were called for ten penalties in the game. And that's just sloppy to say the least. The miscues took their toll on New York, killing a number of big plays, drives, and even subtracting ten seconds off the clock at the end of the game as they desperately tried to score to pull out the win. After the game, head coach Tom Coughlin summed it up pretty well when he said, "When you're constantly going backward, it's difficult to go forward."
There were plenty of complaints about the flags from the Giants' locker room, amongst their fans, and even amongst the media. But the one that evoked the most emotion was the offensive pass interference call against New York late in the game that occurred just one play before Giants quarterback Eli Manning made a poorly lobbed toss deep that was picked off easily by Colts cornerback Nick Harper. Eli showed great class in his postgame comments, refusing to point to that play as the cause of the Giants loss against Indianapolis. NFL.com's Shannon Sharpe agreed, making this point in his column today:
"...let me assure you, the interference call on WR Tim Carter did not cost the Giants the game, not by a long shot. The Giants had a ton of first-down yardage, followed by second-and-short yardage and then on third down, they'd shoot themselves in the foot with a false start or some other bad play. They found every reason not to win."
Many of the Giants didn't see it that way, of course. The alleged offender on
the play, Giants wide receiver Tim Carter denied any wrong doing. "I didn't feel like I did anything that would cause a penalty. There
was definitely no contact. I didn't understand the call."
Fellow wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who drew two flags of his own that brought back two big runs, could draw a fine from the NFL for not only criticizing the officiating, but even going so far as to call one of the officials out by name over the call against Carter. "It was horse---, period," he said, according to nydailynews.com. When Rick (Patterson, the side judge) is out there making calls like that, he just makes it hard for everybody."
Colts cornerback Nick Harper, who was covering Carter on the route, suddenly went down while Carter made his break to the outside. On the replay, Carter's elbow appeared to come up a bit at that point. But did he make contact with Harper?
"He nudged me in the back. It was a good call, one ... that we (cornerbacks) don't normally
get," Harper said
in this other article at the nydailynews.
And from his point of view, even if the Colts were the beneficiaries of a tight call, he felt it simply evened things out a bit on the night.
"So we finally get one," he said. "I got a push-off on the touchdown route (to Plaxico Burress) and we didn't get a call then."
Giants center Sean O'Hara added to the officiating controversy when he made a comment about the illegal snap call that went against the Giants with 17 seconds left on the clock and the team clinging to a slim hope of a touchdown that could win the game for them. By rule, the penalty forces the team to lose 10 seconds off the clock. The Giants had time for just one last play, which was an incomplete pass. O'Hara said the Colts were the cause of the confusion on the snap.
"The (Colts) defense was calling out a false snap count (earlier in the game). They know that's a penalty, but they do it anyway and they got away with it the first time. We told the referees they were doing it. They did it again and the refs missed it again."
Other members of the Giants squad knew that the loss to the Colts had much more to do with other factors than the penalties.
"Third and 12, third and 10 - you name it, they made it. That's what happens when you play a quarterback who's just about perfect," said linebacker Antonio Pierce. "You have to take advantage. We get those picks (interceptions), we take 13 points off the board.
"His (Peyton Manning's) accuracy is what always surprises you. You see it on film, and
then he does it front of you. He's scrambling and guys are hitting him
and talking smack to him, but he keeps his composure and just plays."
Defensive end Michael Strahan was also impressed. "Peyton is a great quarterback. He's been the best in the league for
the last few years. He knows where he's basically going with it before he gets it, which is tough (to
defend)," he said.
The lack of a pass rush by the Giants was noted by linebacker LaVar Arrington as another one of the other problems that they couldn't overcome. "If you give Peyton Manning or anybody in the NFL that kind of time to throw the ball, they're going to find somebody to throw it to," he said.
Running back Tiki Barber, who had a terrific night against the Colts, pointed to the second-half fumble that was recovered by Colts defensive end Robert Mathis as a contributor to the loss. "I stepped the wrong way. Eli called 44 and I thought I heard 45," he said.
Arthur Staple, a columnist for Newsday.com noted the Giants' penalties as a contributing factor, but he also brought up the three potential interceptions that were dropped by defenders and poor special teams work -- including a missed field goal -- as important to the outcome on the scoreboard at the end of the night. And he noted it in his blog with a touch of irony. "Frankly, it is amazing in a psychoanalytical sort of way that this team, coached by a man (head coach Tom Coughlin) who prides himself most on three things -- getting turnovers, keeping penalties to a minimum and utilizing great special teams -- has a team that would be 1-0 were it not for failures in those three areas."
The Colts admitted after the game that they hadn't shown their best execution on that national stage in New Jersey. Head coach Tony Dungy intimated that the defense may have been a bit too excited to maintain their focus on their gaps and assignments -- which is critical in Dungy's form of the Cover 2 defensive scheme. "We were a little hyper in doing things we don't usually do, like taking the wrong gap on screen passes," he said.
Pro Bowl linebacker Cato June wasn't impressed by the team's defensive work either, saying that he was looking forward to working out the kinks.
"We didn't play well, but we got the win. Now we know we can win and not be playing that well, but we need to play well so later on in the season we're not making those same mistakes," he said.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri and the Colts special teams coverage units did a great job all night to keep the Giants at a disadvantage in regards to starting field position. And the former Patriots kicker showed off his consistency, even in the clutch with a 48-yarder in the final minute of the first half. Vic Carucci at NFL.com had this observation from the game in his column on Monday:
"There was a lot of fuss over what the addition of free-agent kicker Adam Vinatieri would mean to the Colts, and after his four field goals
against the Giants, we found out that it means plenty -- especially if the Colts are going to have problems moving the ball on the
ground," he said.
And now we wrap up this week's feature with the "Power Quote of the Week". It comes out of New York and perhaps will give anyone still whining about the penalties as the main cause for the loss a reason to pause and reconsider. Wallace Matthews at Newsday.com provided this Power Quote with one simple sentence in his column today:
"Peyton still is the quarterback Eli would like to be and the Colts are the team the Giants think they are," he said.Take that, Jeremy Shockey.