I remember those games in the backyard, a bunch of us 8- and 9-year-old kids playing tackle football. Every once in awhile, a big 12-year-old, who had a deep voice and was already shaving, would join our game and run all over us little guys. The bully showed up at the Meadowlands Sunday.
All week the talk was the Giants' top-ranked running game against the Ravens' top-ranked run defense. On this Sunday, it was no contest. Brandon Jacobs may have had the best 73-yard rushing game in NFL history.
It didn't take long for the Earth segment of the Giants' Earth, Wind and Fire backfield to scorch the Ravens. On the Giants' second play from scrimmage, Jacobs ran into Trevor Pryce's back, bounced left and ran for 36 yards with Ravens reaching, diving, and missing in his wake.
Jacobs was just getting warmed up. On the same drive he pounded for 10 yards to the Ravens' 1, and 2 plays later, Jacobs' touchdown put the G-Men up 7-0.
After the Giants blocked a Matt Stover field goal, Jacobs thundered 15 yards to the Ravens' 3; two plays later, his touchdown made it 13-0 Giants. Jacobs and the Giants' O-line had made a loud statement, and this baby was basically over.
The 264-pound bruiser ran through the Ravens for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 1st quarter, and the weeklong build-up was over in about 14 scoreboard minutes.
The Ravens' defense that had given up only 1 rushing TD in 9 games, gave up 2 to Jacobs in less than 8 minutes. Jacobs' day was basically done – he'd only get 2 more carries.
Wind and Fire picked up where Earth left off: Derrick Ward (Wind) ran for 43 yards, and Ahmad Bradshaw (Fire) had a 77-yard run to highlight his 96-yard rushing day.
For the day, the Giants ran for 207 yards and averaged 6.3 yards a carry.
No bullies running the ball for the Ravens. The 3-headed monster didn't scare anybody, combining for only 47 yards, averaging less than 2 and a half yards a carry.
Give the Ravens credit; they fought their way back into the game. They were on their way to making it a one-possession game. Down 20-10, the Ravens had it 2nd-and-5 on their own 47 when a Joe Flacco pass went off Derrick Mason's helmet and turned into a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown. The pick-6 made it 27-10 Giants. So much for the comeback. 30-10 was the final.
This was going to be a measuring stick. Through 9 games, the Ravens' season was more than their fans could have hoped for. The Ravens failed this exam, but remember, they played the Super Bowl champs on the road.
I'm not sure what I learned about the Ravens in this game, but the Giants confirmed what I thought I already knew. The G-Men are the best team in the NFL. That's why they're wearing Super Bowl rings and have won 13 of their last 14 games.
- It hasn't happened since the NFL kicked off in 1921. The Steelers' win over the Chargers became the first 11-10 final in league history.
- It didn't mean anything in the big picture, but Ravens coaches have to love the way Fabian Washington ran down Bradshaw on his 77-yard run.
- It's hard to believe Matt Stover hasn't missed an extra point since his first season in Baltimore, 1996. He's set an NFL record with 372 consecutive bull's-eyes. His last miss came against the Rams at Memorial Stadium. He had made 134 straight before that miss.
So he's hit 506 of his last 507 extra points.
- If the Ravens were in the NFC North they'd have a 1-game lead. The Packers, Bears and Vikings are all 5-5.
- It's a tale of two cities, Titans 10-0, Lions 0-10.
3 and out,
Long-time and respected broadcast journalist Scott Garceau has covered Baltimore sports, including all of its pro football teams, for the last 30 years. Scott, who was the radio voice of Ravens football for the team's first 10 seasons (1996-2005), is a seven-time Maryland Sportscaster of the Year. Garceau is also honored as Baltimore's Pro Football Hall of Fame selector/voter. A native of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, where he is a member of the area Hall of Fame, Scott has covered the NFL since 1971.