If you’re casting around for a reason to hope for the Giants against the Packers Sunday afternoon, look to today’s Newark Star-Ledger. Mike Garafolo, one of the best pro football writers around, nails it down: “The Giants have to get to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 3.00 seconds or less. If they do that, they have a chance; if they don’t, Rodgers, who probably just had the best season of any quarterback in NFL history, will toast them.”
“The last time the Giants faced the Packers,” he writes, “they did a decent job of forcing Rodgers to hold the ball at times. His average release from snap to delivery was 3.0 seconds. But minus play-action passes, which take more time to develop, that number dips to 2.8. Eliminate a 5.6-second scramble on which Rodgers took his time because the Giants 3-man rush didn’t hurry him at all — the end result was a 7-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver in the right side of the end zone — and the average dips to 2.7 seconds.
Of the Giants 50 sacks in the regular season and playoffs, only 19 came in 2.7 seconds or less, so their internal clocks tell them they have to get to Rodgers very quickly.”
One of the main reasons for the Giants playoff drive has been their improved pass rush. It certainly isn’t the pass coverage; the Giants get very few “coverage” sacks where the coverage is so tight that the opposing quarterback is forced to eat the ball. With the Giants’ D, it’s usually a case of get in there quick or don’t get in there at all. In fact, only 5 times all year have the Giants been able to bring down the other team’s QB after 5 seconds have elapsed.
The Star-Ledger includes a list of all the Giants sacks that came within 3. The two fastest were recorded by their newest fan favorite — Jason Pierre-Paul, who stuffed the passer against Seattle and Washington in exactly 2 seconds. Here’s his 2011 highlight film. Note the Giants’ announcer: “He got in there so fast you could scarcely see him.”