Sunday’s game between the Giants and the Rams was a tad bit punchy, which is what you’d expect when Rams’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is involved.
Williams, of course, was at the center of the BountyGate saga in New Orleans, where he reportedly created a system that rewarded his defensive players for whispering sweet nothings in the ears of opponents.
Williams was given an extended vacation for his role in that soap opera, but he’s now back and once again leading a defense that’s garnering a reputation for being tempestuous meanies.
Would Williams play Nero in this week’s installment of Hero, Nero, Zero? No, that designation would fall to a kicker, because that’s how crazy the game was.
Let’s dole out the hardware for accomplishments, insanity and ineptitude.
HERO: Giants’ offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Giants, the Rams had not allowed a touchdown in three games. If they shut out the G-men, the Rams would have become the first defense since the 2000 Steelers to not allow a touchdown in four straight games.
Would St. Louis, which in the loaded NFC West is largely overlooked as a great defense, be able to hold the Giants out of the end zone for four quarters? That question was answered early in the first quarter after St. Louis return man Benny Cunningham coughed up the kickoff on the Rams’ first possession, and the Giants – already ahead 3-0 thanks to a field goal by Josh Brown (see more below) – scored six plays later when Eli Manning connected with ball hog Odell Beckham Jr. on a nine-yard touchdown.
The Giants offense, which has been up and down all season, was just warming up. The team ended up with 514 yards of total offense, as Manning threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, rookie running back Andre Williams ran for 110 yards on the ground and wide receiver Rueben Randle had 132 yards and a touchdown.
Oh, and Beckham had eight catches for 148 yards and two scores.
Can we attribute some of the Giants’ success against the Rams’ defense to the Rams’ three turnovers? Yes. But you don’t have two wide receivers and a running back go over the century mark simply because Shaun Hill is the opposing team’s quarterback.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo drew up a dynamic game plan and the players executed. The Giants have now won three games in a row. McAdoo will be rewarded with Tom Coughlin getting a one-year extension through 2016, putting off McAdoo’s succession plans as head coach.
NERO: Giants’ kicker Josh Brown.
After a game in which three players were ejected – two from the Giants, one from the Rams – after a melee broke out after Beckham was given a noogie by Rams’ linebacker Alec Ogletree, there was a lot of finger pointing by both sides. The Giants said the Rams were dirty and the Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher said something to the effect of “they started it!”
The Rams and the Giants were both chippy throughout the game. The one thing the Rams’ didn’t do that the Giants did? Have their kicker pig pile a tackle and then donkey kick an opponent in the face. Yeah, Josh Brown was quite the versatile animal on that one play, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
When kickers are getting called for unnecessary roughness, you know you're watching old school football.
ZERO: The value of next week’s Eagles game.
The Giants are on a roll and fans can’t help but be excited about this team’s prospects for next year, especially when Victor Cruz rejoins an offense that is clicking right now.
It would have been exciting to see the Giants face off against the Eagles in Week 17 with a playoff spot on the line for Philadelphia. But then the Eagles went ahead on Saturday and choked up a loss to the Redskins, eliminating themselves from playoff contention.
This next game might mean little in the standings, but Beckham has a chance to tie Michael Irvin’s record of nine straight games with at least 90 yards receiving. The last time he faced the Eagles (in his second pro start), Beckham was only targeted four times by Manning and caught two balls for 28 yards. It was his least productive day in this record-setting rookie season, in which Beckham has the most receptions (79) of any receiver through his first 11 NFL games.
Will the Eagles’ defense go after Beckham like the Rams’ defense did? If so, they better be ready to handle the angry vengeful foot of Josh Brown.