Week 7 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 23, New York Giants 24
What you need to know
The Denver backfield situation is officially confusing. While Tatum Bell was easily the most productive Denver back prior to this week, Mike Anderson busted out with season highs both in carries (24) and yards (120). Anderson was clearly the better runner of the two on this day, although Bell gained 60 yards on just eight carries (37 of which came on one run).
QB Jake Plummer had a solid and efficient day, yet posted very modest fantasy numbers. He took several shots downfield but didnít really blow anyone away with his performance.
The Broncos' defense was asked to win a game one too many times. After coming up with several key late game stops in recent weeks, the team allowed Eli Manning and the Giants to march downfield for the game winning score with just five seconds left in the game. For the majority of the game, Denverís defense looked very good Ė but not on that drive. Fact is, Denver led the game 23-10 early in the fourth quarter and just couldnít slow the Giantsí offense over the last ten minutes.
QB Eli Manning engineered a late fourth quarter drive that would have made his brother, Peyton, proud. Manning has had some fairly pedestrian games fantasy wise lately, but heís showing that he can certainly be a winner in this league. Today, he led his team downfield for the win against one of the leagueís very best teams, and did so by utilizing all of his weapons. After the game winning touchdown pass to WR Amani Toomer, many Giants players on the sidelines began losing it and jumping around as if theyíd won the Super Bowl. A lot of times, a seemingly regular game can spark a team to great things. Judging by the reaction to this win, the Giants may be able to milk several big weeks off of the emotion of this one game.
RB Tiki Barber was the only Giantsí running back to register a carry. True, there werenít many short yardage situations for the Giants, but Brandon Jacobs (who had a costly fumble last week) did not see any action. It should be noted that Barber himself fumbled on his second carry of the game, but HC Tom Coughlin never hesitated to give Barber the ball at key moments.
The Giantsí receiving corps featured a WR1 and WR1A today, as both Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer enjoyed outstanding games. Burress did more damage early on (though he was heavily involved on the game winning drive) and Toomer eventually caught the game winner after seeing his involvement greatly increase after halftime. This was just the sort of tag team duo the Giants envisioned when they brought Burress aboard.
What you ought to know
|QB Jake Plummer, Pass: 18 - 29 - 194 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0|
Plummer had a typical Jake Plummer day. He mixed several great looking passes with several near interceptions, and the end result was a solid day both for the team and for fantasy owners. It was nothing spectacular, and owners would have liked to see him do more against a defense like New York. Denver, however, had so much success running the football that taking it to the air was irrelevant for much of the game. Once again, he did not turn the ball over with an interception.
Andersonís stat line no doubt surprised many people. In addition to the terrific stat line, he looked good doing it. Anderson carried himself with confidence, and showed determination in bursting his way through would be tacklers all game long. He almost never was taken down with the first hit, and displayed both power and elusiveness in rumbling for his second 100 yard performance of the season. Anderson converted a fourth and short early in the game, as well as scoring from two yards out at the goal line. It would appear that even if Bell did begin getting the lionís share of the touches that Anderson would likely still have some sort of short yardage/goal line role. About the only negatives one could find with Andersonís day are these. A) He wasnít targeted once in the passing game. B) He nearly scored a second touchdown in the third quarter, but was just tripped up from behind. FB Kyle Johnson caught a four yard touchdown reception on the next play. Anderson lost ten yards rushing on a play that was called back due to a penalty.
|RB Tatum Bell, Rush: 8 - 60 - 0, Rec: 2 - 1 - 0 (4 targets)|
In a game that many thought would be Tatum Bellís coming out party, he was overshadowed by Anderson. He was given just ten total touches in the game, and couldnít do much with nine of them. On one run, he scampered outside and burst 37 yards up the left sideline. It appeared that he may have enough speed to break it for a score, but the Giantsí defenders took a good angle on him and he was pushed out of bounds. Still, even with that big gain, Bellís stats arenít overly impressive. Outside of that one run, he had nine touches for just 24 yards. So as you can see, it was really feast or famine with him Ė not necessarily the ideal way to sustain drives. Bell did get a carry near the goal line, but was stopped short. To make matters worse for Bell owners, Mike Anderson carried the ball on the very next play and did score.
Johnson vultured a touchdown just after halftime. Following Johnsonís 33 yard reception, Mike Anderson was handed the ball and had a great chance to score. Anderson, however, was just tripped up at the four yard line right before he could get in. Johnson caught a four yard TD reception just after that, no doubt infuriating Anderson owners who had him in their lineups.
The majority of Lelieís productivity not only came in the second half; it came mostly on one drive. Half of Lelieís targets came on a single drive in the fourth quarter, which demonstrates just how inconsistent Lelieís play has been. He tends to disappear for long stretches of the game, and that happened again in this game. In what many expected would be a huge year, heís simply been far too invisible for far too long a time period.
Smith made a big reception early in the contest, and then didnít do much the rest of the way. This was a very good matchup for the veteran wideout, and he came up rather small. With Plummer heaving up nearly thirty passes, one would have expected Smith to see more than just four of them. He just wasnít an integral part of the game plan.
Alexanderís production was random, much like fellow TE Jeb Putzierís. The presence of each man cut into the otherís stats and didnít allow either player to enjoy a very good day fantasy wise.
Putzier caught all three of his receptions in the first half. He was targeted three times in the second half, but was unable to corral any of the passes for a catch. Putzier was shaken up in the first half after being on the receiving end of a bit hit, but obviously since he played in the second half, he went back into the game.
Elam connected on field goals from 49, 42, and 27 yards. But it was his 49 yard miss that would have put the Broncos up nine that really stung. Still, one cannot pin this loss on Elam. The Broncos got the ball back after the ensuing Giantsí possession and went three and out.
Denver had a lot of trouble with Tiki Barber early in the game. In fact, Barber had half his yardage total on his first four carries of the game. After that point, Denver did a solid job of bottling Barber up. His next fifteen carries netted him a mere 43 yards. For a long while, the Giants were exclusively throwing the ball while trying to catch up, which also helps pad Denverís stats. All you really need to know is that Barber had one big gain and then a bunch of mediocre and poor runs. Outside of one big play, the Denver defense held Barber completely in check.
Eli Manning had very little time to throw for much of the first half, which may explain why his wide receivers (Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress) saw just seven targets combined prior to halftime. It was because Manning didnít have enough time to look downfield for them. The Broncosí pressure got much easier to handle in the second half, and Manning had much more time to look for his primary WR threats. The duo of Toomer and Burress was thrown to a whopping 22 times in the second half alone. That is a direct reflection on the job Denver was doing in getting to Manning. The final offensive play of the game for New York was a perfect example of Denverís lack of a pass rush. While John Lynch eventually was able to get in Manningís face, it took far too long to get there and Manning had plenty of time to find a streaking Amani Toomer across the front of the goal line for the eventual game winner.
Itís also very telling that Denver failed to register a single sack on Manning as well. CB Champ Bailey came up with a gorgeous diving interception of Manning, but Bailey cost his team an interception on another play. A pass deflected off WR Plaxico Burress and into the hands of S John Lynch for an apparent interception. Bailey, however, was whistled for pass interference, costing his team a turnover. S Deron Williams was injured late in the game and came off the field limping. He went back in, but was reinjured, and came out for good. No update was given on his condition.
Manning didnít play all that great for much of the game, but came up huge when his team needed it most. Manning was nine of 13 for 74 yards and a touchdown, meaning he compiled about nearly half of his fantasy points in the last couple of minutes in the game. Manning had trouble in the first half, because even though he wasnít sacked, he faced a lot of Denver pressure. It got a bit better in the second half, and Manning enjoyed great success picking apart the Denver secondary on that final drive. Manning was only intercepted once, though it could have been worse. He was bailed out of a John Lynch interception when Denver CB Champ Bailey was called for defensive pass interference. On Manningís lone interception of the game, Bailey sprawled out and made a phenomenal diving grab to pick the pass off. To make matters worse, it appeared that Giantsí WR Plaxico Burress could have at least knocked the ball down but he made no attempt on it.
Manning lost 18 yards passing on two separate plays that were called back due to penalty, and an undetermined amount of yardage on a pass to Burress that was called back due to off-setting penalties.
|RB Tiki Barber, Rush: 19 - 86 - 1, Rec: 6 - 24 - 0 (7 targets)|
Much of Barberís damage was done early on, as he compiled 43 yards by the midpoint of the first quarter. From that point, however, Denver clamped down and he would only compile 43 more rushing yards the rest of the way. Barberís day began quite inauspiciously, as he fumbled his second carry of the game away to the Broncos. HC Tom Coughlin was livid on the sidelines, but in a very telling sign, gave Barber every single RB carry for the remainder of the game. Barber was in for a four yard touchdown run, with no appearances from Brandon Jacobs. Barber nearly added a second TD late in the game. On the eventual game-winning drive, Barber caught a pass from Manning and took it down to the Denver two yard line before being tackled. Amani Toomer caught a touchdown on the very next play.
Jacobsí name isnít here for what he did, but rather for what he did not do. That is, he did not touch the football once all game long. Jacobs had a costly fumble at the goal line last week, and the New York media skewered HC Tom Coughlin for his decision to go with Jacobs rather than the veteran Barber. Itís doubtful that Coughlin kept Jacobs on the sidelines to appease the New York Post, but it was somewhat telling that Jacobs didnít see any touches one week after such a big negative.
Toomer appeared headed for yet another typically quiet performance, with just one reception on one first half target. Then, the second half happened. Toomer was thrown to twelve times in the second half alone, including twice near the goal line as the Giants were going for the game winning score. Toomer eventually did haul in the game winner near the front of the end zone as he was crossing in front of the defense. The play really put a charge into the Giants team as a whole, as several players were jumping up and screaming on the sidelines as if theyíd won the Super Bowl. If the Giants can turn their season in a really positive direction, it is possible that this game will be seen as that springboard, with Toomer playing a huge part in it.
Burress, who wasnít even definitive to start, ended up turning in an excellent fantasy performance. He scored the Giantsí first touchdown of the afternoon, and didnít stop there. He was heavily targeted throughout the game, though as the afternoon went on, more and more passes began heading Amani Toomerís way. There was some mention about Burress having his collarbone looked at on the sidelines, but it turned out to be nothing. The problem with Burress seems to be with a lack of focus at times. On one play, he is out leaping his defender by several feet to haul in a high pass. And on another, he is pulling up on an uncatchable pass, only to stand and watch Champ Bailey lay out for that same pass and pick it off. Still, if productivity is all youíre after, Burress has found a comfort zone with New York and is thriving. He lost out on a potential big reception that was called back due to off-setting penalties.
Shockeyís involvement in the offense dropped as a whole as the game went on, but he still grabbed a key reception on the game winning drive. Shockeyís 24 yard reception into the Denver red zone afforded the Giants four plays from inside the ten (and also salvaged a respectable stat line for Shockey in the process). Shockey lost eight receiving yards after one of his receptions was negated due to a Giantsí penalty.
Feeley nailed a 52 yard field goal just before halftime and connected on all of his extra points. Feely still hasnít faced the classic Giants Stadium winds, but to this point heís done a fantastic job.
Clearly, when you are giving up 191 rushing yards to someone, you arenít getting the job done. The duo of Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell ran roughshod over New York, specifically Anderson. Outside of a 37 yard scamper, Bell was held in check for the most part. But it was Anderson who really did the most damage. He converted an early fourth down run, and also blasted his way into the end zone for his touchdown run. Giantsí defenders seemed helpless at times to try and tackle him. Still, despite all of the ineffectuality of New Yorkís run defense, they did come up with several key stops of Anderson late in the fourth quarter when they were trying to get the ball back. The unit forced Denver to punt, and won the game on the ensuing drive.
The Giants werenít tested much in this phase, so itís sort of tough to gauge just how well they did. One could say they did well because they didnít allow very many big plays. Yet one could also say they did a poor job because they didnít record any sacks or create any turnovers. There were three separate occasions where New York defenders had glorious opportunities to intercept a pass, yet each time had the ball drop harmlessly to the turf. The Giantsí defense lost out on a potential fumble recovery on a play where Jake Plummer was ruled to have fumbled. Denver challenged the call on the field, and replay showed that Plummerís arm was clearly moving forward when he lost the football. It was ruled an incomplete pass. New Yorkís special teams/defense did catch a lucky break late in the game, though. Following the Giantsí last touchdown, Denver attempted to lateral the kick return but fumbled it away to New York. The Giantsí defense also lost a sack on a play that was called back due to a penalty.