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Bolts Win Thanks to Complementary Football
Mike McCoy is usually content to wait to review the game tape before doling out praise.
The head coach departed from his season-long stance for just a moment though. The Giants game was just one in a strand of sixteen, but the type of play he saw for 60 minutes today from the sideline was exactly what he has preached since the moment McCoy ascended to the position of head coach.
"The passion of our football team was there today and that's the great thing about it," said McCoy. "It was an outstanding team effort."
McCoy saw what we all saw: all three phases working in concert as well as they have all season. The offense punted on its first possession and scored seven times after that. The defense forced three-and-outs and three turnovers that the offense capitalized on. And when a big special teams tackle was needed, several players stepped forward to provide the hit.
Turn on the tape and watch a near-complete game unfold.
Dial it back to 9:24 left in the first quarter. The Giants had just connected on their first big play -- a 51-yard toss from Eli Manning to a streaking Hakeem Nicks -- when the Bolts defense reset. Undeterred, they forced Manning to throw his first pick by working together with Shareece Wright deep and Donald Butler in the exact right place.
"We played our most complete game yet," said Rivers. "We talked about that all week. We had a good tempo going and our defense was awesome."
Fast forward the tape to 11 minutes left in the second quarter. The Giants tried to erase an early deficit with back-to-back bombs. Wright and Richard Marshall made sure they didn't connect with big defensive plays to force a quick three and out.
The offense rewarded their troubles with a long scoring drive. And after that score -- and a special teams tackle that prevented the Giants from gaining any momentum back by Darrell Stuckey -- the defense turned the Giants over again.
"To play a complete game by all three phases was great to see and great to witness," said safety Eric Weddle. "We've been searching to play a game when all three phases play well."
The defense picked the offense up, and vice-versa. John Pagano's unit surrendered the first points of the game when Rivers fumbled to start the second half. So when his side of the ball retook the field, Rivers said he felt a natural pressure to come through for his teammates.
"I usually feel more of an urgency (when things are going well)," Rivers said. "It's like, 'Alright, the D is rolling -- we better be rolling.' Let's not waste any of these possessions to get a two-score lead."
The tape will show Rivers and his offensive teammates rose to the challenge. Fast-forward through five minutes of a third-quarter drive and you'll see the offense playing its part and protecting a lead.
Add in three converted field goals from Nick Novak, and the tape will show all three phases working as one. When McCoy watches it, he'll see the brand of complementary football he's strived to achieve throughout his tenure.
"There are always going to be things we look at,” said McCoy. "But the way the three phases played together, feeding off the turnovers the defense created for us, getting some scores off of that. They did a great job."