Every so often, a game appears on the schedule that makes you think back to Super Bowl XXV, and how the Giants shocked the Bills and the world when Scott Norwood’s 48-yard field goal sailed wide right.
It just so happens it is the Bills who are visiting MetLife Stadium on Sunday, and it just so happens Pat Shurmur needs the Super Bowl XXV philosophy every bit as much as Bill Parcells did that magical night in Tampa.
Parcells needed it to keep Jim Kelly’s explosive K-Gun offense off the field.
Shurmur needs it to keep his reeling young defense off the field.
Parcells rode a 34-year-old warhorse named Ottis Anderson.
Shurmur needs to ride a 22-year-old Secretariat named Saquon Barkley.
The Parcells Giants kept the ball for an astounding 40:33, with Anderson, the unlikely Super Bowl MVP, bludgeoning the Bills’ defense and defensive coordinator Bill Belichick taking care of the rest.
The Josh Allen Bills are absolutely not in the same league as the Kelly-Thurman Thomas-Andre Reed Bills used to be, and asking the Eli Manning Giants to possess the ball for 40:33 is completely unrealistic. But Barkley and an improved offensive line, particularly on the interior, form the strength of the 2019 Giants at a time when their pass rushers couldn’t get home to Dak Prescott and their young cornerbacks were ducking for cover.
Anderson lugged the ball 21 times that Super night for 102 yards, mostly between the tackles. Barkley needs no fewer than 24 touches, on the ground and in the air, after inexcusably getting a mere 15 against the Cowboys.
It won’t be easy against an emerging Sean McDermott defense that limited Le’Veon Bell to 60 yards on 17 carries and six receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown, but the Super Bowl XXV model is the Giants’ best chance … especially if the turnover-prone Allen plays close to a clean game.
With Sterling Shepard (concussion) out and Cody Latimer questionable (calf), there is no Wideouts R Us store for Shurmur to shop at, so Barkley will undoubtedly have all of Buffalo waiting in ambush for him. But he can give you a great moment at any moment, so Shurmur will have to design creative and timely ways for Barkley and tight end Evan Engram to get the ball, and Manning will have to win his chess matches with McDermott and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
The Giants have given new meaning to Next Man Up in their receivers room: first Golden Tate, now Shepard and possibly Latimer.
And no one wants to hear any excuses.
No one would dare compare these Giants to the Super Bowl XXV Giants, but the Super Bowl XXV Giants won their championship with Next Man Up at the most important position when Jeff Hostetler had to replace injured quarterback Phil Simms.
How about showing some good old-fashioned New York Giants Pride for a change?
The Giants have lost six of their past seven home openers.
If being a 1¹/₂-point home underdog to the Bills isn’t a slap in the face, I don’t know what is.
Let’s see the elite playcaller in Shurmur. Split Barkley out wide every so often. Don’t be afraid to target tight end Rhett Ellison.
Let’s see Manning manage himself a game in the second year of this offense and get his team in the end zone.
Let’s see why defensive coordinator James Bettcher was up for head-coaching jobs two years ago.
Let’s give Barkley a chance to be the Gold Jacket Guy.
Parcells sold the Super Bowl XXV blueprint to his team early on and reiterated it night before the game.
“He said, ‘The only way you guys are gonna win is we’re gonna have to keep Buffalo’s offense off the field, and we’re gonna have to tire out those defensive linemen,’ ” Anderson recalled.
Which they did.
“They weren’t really tackling, they were mostly grabbing,” Anderson said. “And that’s why Bill just kept giving it to me.”
Keep giving it to Barkley and give Giants fans some Super Bowl XXV Deja Blue.
Source: Read Full Article