Wed 3 Jan 2007
As Sunday approaches, weâ€™re learning that Shockey will probably play, Trent Cole is talking shit about Eli (gotta love that Post headline), and Deadspinâ€™s A.J. Daulerio has issued a formal declaration of war on G-Men nation. Ready or not, Big Blue will soon head down the Turnpike to take on a team who is playing better than anyone else in the conference. The result will be either a victory for the ages or a swift coup de grace.
But whatever the negativity that has enveloped this season, letâ€™s hope it doesnâ€™t overshadow the greatest offensive performance that Iâ€™ve ever seen from a Giant. What Tiki did last week was remarkable, especially under the circumstances. In what may very well be his last memorable act as a football player, the man single-handedly got us into the playoffs.
So, big play by big play, letâ€™s take a closer look at a performance that will go down in Giants history, regardless of what happens on Sunday.
–First Quarter, 3:26: After the Redskins pulled ahead on Randle-Elâ€™s end-around bomb to Santana Moss (which, in a single play, totally encapsulated a seasonâ€™s worth of play in the defensive backfield), we were faced a 3rd and 2 from our own 14. It was a decently big play at the time, especially considering our recent ineptitude in short-yardage situations, and that we had been 0 for our last 16 3rd down attempts.
We were fortunate to completely get away with a delay of game â€“ another thing that seems to happen all the timeâ€¦ fucking frustrating, this Tom administration â€“ when Tiki called a timeout and the refs didnâ€™t realize that the play-clock had already expired, but we took advantage of the break when Tiki took the handoff and went right, gliding through a huge hole created by an wash-down job by Kareem McKenzie â€“ who along with the rest of the offensive line, physically overwhelmed his man at the point of attack â€“ and a resourceful kick-out block by Visanthe Shiancoe, who was lined up to the right of McKenzie.
Once he was through the hole, he made a smooth little cut to the outside to elude safety Vernon Fox, who was charging from his two-deep safety alignment to stop Tiki before he got into the open field. It was to no avail for Fox, as Tiki easily ran through his one-armed attempt at a tackle.
The next man to have a shot at the Teekster was cornerback Ade Jimoh (one of my favorite NFL names, by the way), but Tiki deftly spun out of his tackle attempt â€“ a patented move, this one, where Tiki gives with the momentum of the tackler and leaves him empty-handed.
This 360 degree spin-move gave Tiki the opportunity to gather his momentum and cut to the inside to elude linebacker Lemar Marshall, who, because he was trying to run down the play from behind, had ever so slightly overrun the pirouetting Tiki.
This sweet slickness allowed Tiki to pick up another 12 or so yards before he was brought down, good for a 32-yard gain that took the G-Men all the way to the 46 yard-line. It was Tikiâ€™s first spectacular run of the night, but there would be more to come.
–Second Quarter, 13:20: On 2nd and 10 from the â€˜Skins 15, Tiki ran left off tackle through a nice little hole provided by another muscular kick-out block by Visanthe Shiancoe and a gorgeous â€˜backer-busting-blast-block by Jim Finn, who was leading Tiki through the hole on the play.
Smelling the end-zone, Tiki accelerated into the secondary, running through a pathetic arm-tackle attempt by number cornerback Carlos Rogers, (who, in his defense, was contending with a Chris Snee block while trying to make the tackle) before dragging Sean Taylor across the plane. Touchdown Tiki; 10-7 Giants.
–Second Quarter, 5:55: Tiki was in a groove at this point â€“ he had almost busted one on the last play, but Sean Taylor crashed in with a big flying shoulder to hold Tiki to an 11-yard gain instead of something much more. On the play, Taylor kind of knocked Tiki on his ass, and like the schmuck that he is, stood over Tiki and made a display about his huge hit, somehow forgetting that Tiki had just ripped off a slick eleven yard run on his teamâ€™s ass.
But the Teekster would get his revenge on the very next play, when he took a handoff on the Giantsâ€™ 45 and followed Jim Finn through a hole on the left side created by a nice kick-out block by the much-maligned Bob Whitfield and a strong seal by Dave Deihl.
Linebacker Rocky McIntosh stepped into the hole to greet Finn, but Finn blasted him out of it, allowing Tiki to slip into the second level, where his first move was to make a rather abrupt cut to the left to elude safety Reed Doughty, after which he followed a little seam created by a nice block by David Tyree.
But Sean Taylor, who had stopped Tiki in his tracks the play before and had dared to talk shit about it, was rapidly closing on Tiki. No matter, as the sneaky fast Teek-man ran past the spot that Taylor had chosen for the destination of his bee-line. Instead of the huge hit that he wanted, Taylor was left grasping the back of Tikiâ€™s jersey, but Tiki, with those late-career strong legs, sturdily kept his feet as Taylor lost his grip and fell by the wayside. So much for your flying shoulder, dick, and Tiki was off to the races.
The only man left was cornerback, all the way from the backside corner spot, but Tiki had a hustling Plaxico â€“ yes, you read that right â€“ escorting him downfield. Plax nailed the block, and Tiki cruised the rest of the distance for the electrifying 55-yard score.
–Fourth Quarter, 6:25: This was the masterpiece, but first the context: Having already given up two touchdowns and allowed the â€˜Skins to cut the lead from 27-7 to 27-21, the G-Men failed to convert a 3rd and 5, and seemed well on their way to choking away one more game in this most gut-wrenching of seasons.
But we caught a break when a defensive holding penalty gave us an automatic first down, and, from mid-field, after a five-yard run from Tiki, we fed our superstar again on a stretch play to the right side, a play designed to go behind pulling linemen Chris Snee and Sean Oâ€™Hara.
But there was something amiss about the timing of the play: Whether it was his fault or not, Oâ€™Hara took a little too long to get to his block, and Tiki was left kind of suspended on the wing, hoping that Oâ€™Hara got to his block before the other defenders closed in on him.
But Tiki did a masterful job riding Oâ€™Haraâ€™s back, and in an ingenious display of timing, he waited for Oâ€™Hara to wash down his man before making a perfectly-timed, perfectly-angled cut to the outside, somehow emerging from the morass at the line to find himself accelerating into the secondary.
He turned on the jets at this point, running through a flailing arm tackle by Troy Vincent and streaking into the open field for the score. The 50-yard touchdown gaveÂ us ourÂ 34th point.Â We went on to win the game 34-28.