I.

Not the most exciting win, but it’s better to beat the Bucs 17-3 than it is to lose to them like say… the Eagles and Bengals did. Either way, if you beat any team in this league 17-3, ya gotta be happy. If somebody told you right now that we’re gonna beat the Texans 17-3 next week, wouldn’t you sign on the dotted line right now?

II.

The storyline for this game was simple enough: The Giants came out strong, pretty much dominating the first quarter and putting up 14 points within the first twenty minutes. After that, our dominance abated. It was like we half conservatively sat on a lead, and half played down to the level of the abysmal Bucs. Either way, we prevailed handily and were never even tested. This was one of those easy afternoons at the Meadowlands with nary a tense moment – there wasn’t a single point where it looked like the Bucs were gonna make a serious move in this game.

III.

If it wasn’t our dominance, it was the Bucs’ ineptitude. The Joey Galloway drop was huge – he catches that pass and the Bucs are in position to make the game 14-10, or at the very least, 14-6. The Alex Smith drop in the endzone (or was that Clayton?) was also huge – another opportunity squandered for the hapless Bucs.

IV.

If I were a Bucs fan, I would have been pretty pissed about the play-calling. Although the Giants dominated the first part of the game, the Bucs were never really in a position where they had to abandon the run. But abandon the run they did. Cadillac Williams, their best offensive player, got only 8 carries, while Michael Pittman got two. That’s 10 running plays in a game where 1) they were never down by more than 11 points until around 4 minutes left in the game; and 2) they were playing with a pretty terrible rookie quarterback, against a team with a fearsome pass-rush, in a venue where the wind was as huge a factor as you’re gonna see.

But Gruden stubbornly insisted on throwing the ball: He had Bruce Gradkowski put the ball in the air 48 times. 48 times! That sounds like one of those Raiders-Broncos shootouts from, like, 1993. Except in this case, in the windy Meadowlands, Gradkowski and his inept receiving corps were en route to posting an anemic 2.9 yards per attempt. (By the way, how old did Joey Galloway look when they showed him without his helmet? Jesus.)

In Gruden’s defense, it looked like the Bucs were trying to throw short-passes, but Gradkowski was so terrible that he couldn’t even hit those. Also in Gruden’s defense was the Giants absolutely stifling run-defense: Aside from Gradkowski scrambles, the G-Men held the Bucs to 22 yards on 10 carries.

V.

So yes, another awesome performance by the Big Blue D, which has been awesome since the Seahawks game. Last year, our defense had some rough times before hitting its stride in Week 5, when it began a run of dominance that lasted until Pierce went down and other guys started getting hurt. This year seems to be following the same pattern. For the first three games, we didn’t look good. A bye week for week 4 gave us a chance to regroup, and since Week 5, we’ve been straight stout.

Yes, we’ve had our injuries, but it’s nice to have some depth this year. Osi’s out? No problem. Kiwanuka can step in. Madison’s out? No problem. R.W. can step in. Tuck’s out? We have Joseph as a pass-rushing D-Tackle. LaVar out? We have Emmons, and then Gerris. (By the way, I’m curious about what happened to Short during this game – did he go out with an injury? I know he was listed as questionable because of a knee injury coming in.)

(And speaking of Kiwanuka, it looked like over the course of the game, the Bucs figured out that all he wanted to do was speed-rush around the edge. He’ll learn. But how nice is it that our D-Tackles are generating a push up the middle, so that the quarterback has nowhere to step up to evade the Kiwanuka/Osis rushing off the edge? Fred Robbins has been an absolute stud – you can’t overstate what a godsend his improved play has been.)

VI.

I love Brandon Jacobs. The guy is always beefing. I mean, he starts beef every single play on special teams, and then beefs about 65% of the times he carries the ball. Ya gotta love it. That taunting penalty on him was bullshit, by the way. If a guy takes a clean (though not cheap) shot at you like the Bucs guy did, and you wind up getting the better of the contact, you have the right to get up in his face. Either way, he’s running really, really well. Whenever he’s in space in a one-on-one situation with a guy, is there even any doubt that he’s gonna bust out of the tackle? Gotta be excited about him.

Ok, nice W. More thoughts to come…