The Rams and Giants both suck right now. Too many injuries, I suppose. All I know is that neither team performed well at all to close out the second week of the NFL season on Monday Night Football. A lot of stupid penalties, poor third-down numbers, brutal turnovers. Here are eight things I took away from the game…
1. Who’d have thought Cooper Manning would finally have a better year than his brothers? While it’s not exactly an ideal time to be in the stock game, Peyton isn’t in any game and Eli continues to struggle. I realize that the Giants offense still put 21 points on the board, but Eli had an embarrassing effort in the first half before regaining himself to beat a weak Rams secondary in less-than-impressive fashion. New York continues to be terrible on first down and Manning’s early pick came on the kind of throw that top-five quarterbacks simply don’t make. Against 25 other teams at a neutral site, the Giants probably wouldn’t have won on Monday night.
2. Quintin Mikell was one of the best free agent signings of the offseason. That interception was fantastic — the dude is superb in coverage, solid as a run defender and an effective pass rusher. Kudos to Billy Devaney for bringing in Mikell to replace O.J. Atogwe. The Rams are better off with him.
3. The No. 1 reason the Rams won’t run away with the NFC West? The red-zone offense is just awful. They had it inside the New York 10-yard line on three occasions and came away with a grand total of nine points in said scenarios. They finished with one touchdown in four trips inside the Giants’ red zone. This isn’t uncommon for a young team, but it’s clearly the next thing Josh McDaniels has to work on.
4. Sam Bradford had his best game as a pro. It was a tough loss for St. Louis, mainly because they kissed away a very winnable game due to dumb penalties, sloppy turnovers and poor red-zone delivery. But Bradford was a massive bright spot. He made a few throws that were just jaw-dropping. He put a half-dozen missiles into spots where only his receivers could get them, finishing with a career-high 331 yards through the air. His completion percentage (48%) wasn’t pretty, but consider that he was throwing to a group of unremarkable targets and received very little support from a running game sans Steven Jackson. McDaniels is letting Bradford spread his wings in his sophomore season, and it’s going to be fun to watch.
6. Neither team is good enough to win in January. And luck isn’t on either team’s side. The Giants lost two more key players to injury Monday night, with Mario Manningham and Hixon going down and not returning.
7. Going out on a fairly sturdy limb, and predicting that this is going to be the highest-scoring season in NFL history. Even a bad game like that: 44 points.
8. And as anyone I’ve ever dated could tell you, this was clearly my favorite moment of the night…