Nicholas Alfonse – 1/19/09
Now that the New York Giants’ front office has decided to select recently fired Buffalo interim head coach and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to revive the defense, it’s time to try to look at the situation in a positive light. The Bills’ defense historically hasn’t performed well over the past few years, especially while under Fewell. However, there are a number of bright spots that can be found amidst this mess created by the teams’ terrible defensive performance down the stretch this season.
Even though Buffalo gave up more total yardage this season, they were able to make big stops when it mattered most. While New York ranked 30th in points allowed this season, Buffalo was 16th with just over 20 points per game. Despite finishing the season a dismal 6-10, of those losses, five of them were within one score. Buffalo could have been a competitor this season, had their offense been able to score points. Ranked 30th in total yardage and 28th in points, averaging just over 16 points per game, they simply couldn’t compete with many of their opponents. By the offense performing so poorly, it shed a negative light on all aspects of the team’s season.
The Bills were also effective against the passing game, ranking 2nd with just over 184 yards per game allowed. This was far better than the Giants in 2009, as opponents averaged over 214 yards per game. New York gave up 31 passing touchdowns this season (tied for 30th), compared to Buffalo’s 14. Their secondary was able to make 28 interceptions, while the Giants only managed 13. Even though New York has traditionally been thought of as a dominant defensive team, there were many occasions where Fewell’s defense performed better.
While Fewell certainly doesn’t seem like the next Steve Spagnuolo, at least he should be able to help organize the secondary and prevent the Giants from surrendering so many passing touchdowns. Oddly enough, for all the attention the defensive line receives, New York and Buffalo had the same amount of sacks this season. Forcing turnovers was a great piece of New York’s dominance in the past which is desperately needed in order to turn this team around. Hopefully Fewell will be comfortable in his new role and aid the Giants in returning to defensive supremacy.