Jan 262016
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Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Philadelphia Eagles 35 – New York Giants 30


My apologies for this game review being three weeks late. But better late than never and now that we unofficially know that the Giants’ offensive, defensive, and special teams systems will remain in place in 2016, what transpired against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 3, 2016 does have more meaning.

The regular-season finale was a crappy end to one of the team’s crappiest seasons in its history. Let’s painfully – but briefly – rehash what transpired:

Will Beatty tears his pectoral muscle in May and never returns, causing a domino effect on the offensive line at tackle. Jason Pierre-Paul permanently disfigures himself on July 4th, misses half the season, and returns to play one-handed football. Giants safeties start dropping like flies before the season even starts. Victor Cruz’s “the return” never happens. Jon Beason breaks himself again. The Giants also lose Johnathan Hankins, Owa Odighizuwa, Devon Kennard, Prince Amukamara, Geoff Schwartz, Larry Donnell, and Daniel Fells for much of the season.

For the most part, the Giants play competitive football in 2015, but keep painfully losing in the final seconds due to questionable decisions, red zone ineptitude, bad defense, and untimely special teams mistakes. The Giants lost the opener in Dallas with a red zone meltdown combined with allowing Tony Romo to drive the length of the field in the final seconds. A red zone turnover against the Falcons and another defensive collapse left the Giants at 0-2. The Giants rebound with a three-game winning streak before being blown out by the Eagles. Dwayne Harris haunts his former team as the Giants defeat the Cowboys at home. Eli Manning throws six touchdown passes against the Saints but the Giants still lose.

Nevertheless, the Giants beat the Buccaneers to improve their record to 5-4. They are in first place in the terrible NFC East with seven games left to play. The 2-6 Cowboys and 4-4 Eagles are wounded and fading. The Redskins are 3-5. Even with the Patriots looming next, with Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and Odell Beckham, the Giants are the favorites to win the NFC East.

But in a far-too-common occurrence during the Tom Coughlin era, the Giants collapse in the second half of the season. They only win one of their last seven games. The Giants have the Patriots on the ropes but Beckham and Landon Collins can’t hold onto the football. With the division on the line, the Giants fail to show up in Washington. Coughlin’s eschews a late field goal against the Jets who win in overtime as Josh Brown misses a game-tying field goal. A heroic comeback against the Panthers falls short as the defense collapses late again. New York gets destroyed in the Minnesota cold.

Which brings us to Week 17. Both the Giants and Eagles are 6-9. In their last seven games, the Eagles have lost five contests and been badly beaten by the Buccaneers (45-17), Lions (45-14), and Cardinals (40-17). The Eagles are 15th in offense and 30th in defense. Chip Kelly is fired before the finale. On the other hand, it is widely speculated both inside and outside of the locker room that this will be Tom Coughlin’s last game as head coach of the Giants. There is talk about sending him out on a high note with an inspired effort against a team that has owned the Giants the last eight years.

Instead an Eagles team with nothing to play for soundly beat the Giants 35-30. Coughlin is left with one last sour memory as the Eagles have now beaten the Giants 13 times in the last 16 match-ups. Once again, bad defense and red zone inefficiency lead to defeat.

As the third Giants’ head coach to win two NFL Championships, Tom Coughlin is undeniably one of the top three coaches in franchise history. But in the end, he was done in by his inability to defeat his divisional rivals in recent years. In addition to the Eagles dominance over the Giants, the Cowboys have defeated the Giants six out of the last eight games. And although the Giants had fared much better against the Redskins, the Giants came up woefully short in both 2012 and 2015 against Washington with the division on the line.

Giants on Offense

The Giants accrued 30 points, 30 first downs, and 502 total net yards (208 rushing and 294 passing) against the Eagles. New York had 81 offensive snaps to Philadelphia’s 65. The Giants won the time of possession battle 31:54 to 28:06 and were 7-of-15 (47 percent on third down). With numbers like that, you would expect a victory. But the team’s defense was again poor. And offensively, the Giants were only 2-of-5 (40 percent) in the red zone. The biggest error of the game came late in the 3rd quarter. With the Giants up 27-21 and driving at the Eagles’ 14-yard line, Eli Manning was sacked. The ball was knocked out of his hands and returned 83 yards for a touchdown. It was at least a 10-point swing in the game, and possibly a 14- or 15-point swing.

After punting on their opening possession, the Giants scored on each of their four remaining drives of the first half with two field goals and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, the first field goal drive stalled after the Giants faced a 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. The second stalled after facing a 2nd-and-5 from the Eagles’ 7-yard line. The second half was not as kind as the Giants scored twice (touchdown and field goal), punted twice, had the fumble returned for a touchdown, and ended the game with a turnover on downs. There was one head-scratching call (or audible) on 3rd-and-10 in the 3rd quarter when a draw play was called.


Eli Manning had a solid day, completing 24-of-43 passes (56 percent) for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His fumble that was returned for a touchdown was probably the difference in the game but that play was more on Ereck Flowers than him. Manning did miss a wide open Myles White in the end zone on the second drive that ended with a field goal. He also missed a wide open Odell Beckham in the 4th quarter on an errant throw and threw into double coverage a few plays later on a deep pass intended for Randle.

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and Shane Vereen had the type of day that the Giants dreamed they would have on a regular basis in 2015. Jennings carried the ball 27 times for an inspiring 170 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Williams chipped in with 26 yards on five carries (5.2 yards per carry) and Vereen 12 yards on four carries (3.0 yards per carry). Vereen also caught 6-of-8 passes thrown in his direction for 72 yards (12.0 yard average). He was a big factor on the team’s second TD drive when he ran for four yards on 3rd-and-2 and then caught three passes for 41 yards on three consecutive plays. But obviously the story was Jennings who ran with toughness and purpose. Remarkably, half his 863 yards on the season came in the last four games.

Wide Receivers

Aside from one big touchdown play to Rueben Randle, the wide receivers were surprisingly quiet against a secondary that they should have destroyed. One game after his NFL suspension, Odell Beckham was held to 5-of-7 passes thrown in his direction for just 54 yards. He was also flagged with a false start. Randle caught a 45-yard touchdown pass but was held to three receptions on his other six targets for just 34 yards. He lazily couldn’t come down with a 3rd-and-7 pass on the opening drive. Hakeem Nicks caught just 2-of-4 targets for 24 yards and Myles White did not have a catch despite three passes thrown in his direction. Nicks had a chance to be a hero late in the game but dropped a deep pass from Manning on the last desperate drive.

Tight Ends

Will Tye finished his surprising year on a strong note with five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Tye’s run blocking is noticeably improving as well, though he did miss one block that led to a 2-yard loss.

Offensive Line

From left to right, the offensive line was Ereck Flowers, Dallas Reynolds, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, and Justin Pugh. Adam Gettis also saw some time at left guard. The good news was the 208 yards rushing. And the line looked sharp on a number of pulling efforts, especially by Pugh and Reynolds. Richburg also stood out with his effort to make an initial block, then come off his man and engage a second defender. The bad news was that pass protection was shaky at times. Eli Manning was only officially hit four times, but two of those were sacks. The line had pass protection issues on the first drive as Flowers and Reynolds gave up back-to-back pass pressures. Then Jerry was flagged for holding on a play where Manning was pressured. Early in the 2nd quarter, on 3rd-and-7, Flowers gave up the first sack when he was beat by an outside rush and Reynolds blocked his man into Flowers. Of course, the decisive play of the game was the gimpy Flowers being beat for a sack-forced fumble that resulted in at least a 10-point swing. The line did a poor job of protecting Manning on the last desperate drive as both tackles and Reynolds gave up pressure.

Giants on Defense

The NFL’s 32nd-ranked defense played terribly. The Eagles scored three offensive touchdowns on their five first-half possessions as they easily drove 80 yards in five plays, 85 yards in six plays, and 80 yards in 16 plays. While the Giants did force two punts and caused a fumble in the second half, the defense also allowed a 13-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that for all intents and purposes put the game away. The Giants made the inconsistent Sam Bradford look like an all-star as he completed 30-of-38 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz caught all nine passes thrown in his direction for an astounding 152 yards receiving (16.9 yards per catch). Wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught two touchdown passes. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles carried the ball 15 times for 93 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

Most damning of all? The Giants’ “defense” (and I use that term loosely) allowed the Eagles to convert 10-of-13 third down opportunities, a 77 percent success rate that was the highest by a Giants’ opponent since 1970.

What’s worrisome moving forward is how uninspired and confused Steve Spagnuolo’s defenders looked. Are there talent issues? You bet. But the players on the field didn’t appear to play with much effort and there were too many easy plays for the Eagles simply because defenders were out of position. For example, there was one 3rd-and-1 play where the Eagles had two wideouts split to the left with only one defensive back in the picture. It was an easy uncontested pitch-and-catch for a first down. The defense also came up small again at the end of a game, allowing the Eagles to pick up two first downs, 37 yards, and run almost three minutes off of the clock after the Giants had cut the score to 35-30 with 4:30 left to play.

Defensive Line

The starters up front were Jason Pierre-Paul at left end, Cullen Jenkins at left tackle, Jay Bromley at right tackle, and Robert Ayers at right end. Ayers played a strong game with 7 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for a loss, and 2 quarterback hits. Sadly, no other Giant officially hit Sam Bradford. Pierre-Paul had six tackles and two pass defenses, Bromley five tackles, and Jenkins three tackles. As reserves, George Selvie chipped in with two tackles and a fumble recovery. He was flagged with a neutral zone infraction. Montori Hughes had two tackles and one tackle for a loss, but was easily blocked on Murray’s 54-yard TD run. Hughes did flash on a few occasions with his hustle in run defense. Pierre-Paul was successfully blocked on Darren Sproles’ 6-yard touchdown run as Sproles ran around him. JPP did bat a pass up into the air that was intercepted by Jonathan Casillas, setting up the Giants’ first touchdown drive on a short field. Jenkins was easily blocked on a 3rd-and-5 draw play that picked up a first down on the Eagles’ third touchdown drive of the first half.


The Giants started in the nickel with Jasper Brinkley and Jonathan Casillas starting at linebacker. Brinkley finished the game with 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. Casillas had 7 tackles and 1 interception. Others spotted in the game included Mark Herzlich (1 tackle) and Nico Johnson (0 tackles). The Giants linebackers looked slow, unathletic, and lethargic in coverage. The Eagles’ game plan was obvious and successful. Alternate throws to the middle of the field with short passes to the outside perimeter. Force the linebackers and safeties to run to the ball and make plays. Let this one astounding fact sink in: Bradford was 21-of-23 for 243 yards throwing to the tight ends and running backs!!!

Casillas was slow to react to receivers out of the backfield and to fill the gap on Murray’s 54-yard touchdown run. Johnson got faked on a misdirection boot to his side. Later, Zack Ertz (who caught all nine passes in his direction for 152 yards) was left all alone on a 60-yard gain. Casillas did not run with Ertz and there seemed to be confusion between defensive backs Landon Collins and Prince Amukamara on the play when the tight ends crossed. Brinkley couldn’t stay with Ertz on a 19-yard completion on 2nd-and-11 down to the Giants’ 3-yard line. Brinkley did make a number of nice plays in the 3rd quarter, including the forced fumble, an aggressive tackle in the hole against the RB, and then a sure tackle after a short pass. Casillas was beat by TE Brent Celek for 24 yards on 3rd-and-5 on the Eagles’ last touchdown drive. Both Casillas and Brinkley looked awful in coverage on this drive, including Brinkley embarrassingly whiffing on an open-field tackle attempt that set up the Eagles at the Giants’ 3-yard line.

Defensive Backs

The Giants started the game with Landon Collins and the recently re-signed and gimpy Brandon Meriweather at safety, Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie outside at cornerback, and Trevin Wade playing nickel corner. Trumaine McBride was forced to play safety after Meriweather injured his knee. The only defensive back with a pass breakup was Wade with just one.

The safeties were just dreadful in coverage as indicated by the receiving productivity of the tight ends. In addition, Meriweather was caught flat-footed on Murray’s 54-yard TD run. He also made a pathetic, flailing effort to tackle Ertz on his 60-yard catch-and-run. Collins looked lost out there at times. He got blocked and couldn’t make a play on Sproles’ 6-yard TD run. He later badly missed a tackle on Ertz too. On the Eagles’ third touchdown drive, on 3rd-and-10, Collins was cleanly picked off of Ertz, resulting in an easy first down. Collins was beat again by Ertz for 21 yards in the 3rd quarter. He gave up two more catches to Ertz late in the 4th quarter when the Eagles were running out the clock.

Wade got beat deep on 3rd-and-3 by Jordan Matthews who thankfully dropped a perfect pass, leading to the Eagles only punt of the first half. Only two Eagles’ wide receivers caught passes and only one caught more than two passes. The wideouts were limited to a combined 11 catches for 77 yards. But Matthews caught two touchdowns. One of those was also against Wade, who struggled at times with Matthews out of the slot. He did knock away one pass intended for Matthews on one of the Giants only three third down stops. Jayron Hosley was beaten easily by Matthews for his second touchdown on 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara were never really tested.

Giants on Special Teams

Josh Brown finished a strong season 3-of-3 on his field goal kicks, including a 48 yarder. Five of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. The other two kickoff returns went for only 24 yards combined. Brad Wing punted three times with all three punts downed inside the 20-yard line, including at the 2-, 3- and 9-yard lines. None were returned. All six Eagles kickoffs resulted in touchbacks with no returns. The only punt returned was by Odell Beckham for five yards.

(Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, January 3, 2016)
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According to FOXSports and one ESPN report, Head Coach Tom Coughlin is expected to to resign or retire. Coughlin’s extended family was on hand at today’s game. ESPN is reporting that Coughlin asked his family members to attend, although he did not reveal his plans to them as of Saturday night. All 11 of Coughlin’s grandchildren were on hand wearing “Coughlin Crew” sweatshirts.

“The frustration continues,” said Coughlin after the team’s 35-30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “You’ve got your questions prepared for what direction I’m going in. I’m not going to answer anything about that. The season just ended, there will be time for that. We will get into that discussion… I’m going to give myself a little bit of time. I’m sure we’ll talk with ownership and then we’ll go from there… No one has decided anything.”

When asked why his family was on the sidelines, Coughlin responded, “What happens is fortunately we play at home and the family gets together not on Christmas because people have to visit relatives and in-laws and things like that, and so this is the weekend that our group collects. But it was really neat to see it. The kids were all dressed up in a sweatshirt with their name on the back, and I don’t know, it was neat.”

Another ESPN report said General Manager Jerry Reese met with Coughlin before the game and told Coughlin “he loved him and always would but that he didn’t know what would happen.” The same ESPN source said Coughlin “has mulled the possibility of walking away on his own, but he’s concerned about the fate of his assistant coaches and wants to know what will become of them before he does that.”

Team ownership will reportedly meet on Monday to discuss Coughlin’s future.

Jay Glazer of FOXSports says that the Giants like Ben McAdoo, the team’s current offensive coordinator, to replace Coughlin.

New York Giants Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams will reportedly interview with the Detroit Lions for their general manager vacancy. Former New York Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi (1998-2007) is serving as a consultant for the Lions and he has ties to Abrams.

The New York Giants will pick 10th in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The New York Giants 2016 opponents have been set. The Giants will play:


  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals


  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • St. Louis Rams (in London)
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Pittsburgh Steelers

The New York Giants were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles 35-30 in the regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. With the loss, the Giants finished the second 6-10 for the second year in a row. The team also finished in third place in the NFC East for the third year in a row. The Giants have lost 13 of the last 16 against the Eagles, including four in a row. The Giants lost six of their last seven games after starting the year 5-4.

A quick synopsis of the game was that the Eagles got off to a quick 14-3 lead in the 1st quarter until the Giants closed the gap in the 2nd quarter with 17 points as the Eagles scored another touchdown. At halftime, New York trailed 20-21. The Giants scored another touchdown in the 3rd quarter to take a 27-21 advantage and were poised to take a two-score lead until a deflected pass was intercepted and returned 83 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles tacked on another touchdown in the 4th quarter while the Giants added a 48-yard field goal. Down by five points, the Giants got the ball back with 1:43 to play but New York failed to cross midfield and turned the ball over on downs.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

Linebacker Uani ‘Unga (concussion), safety Brandon Meriweather (knee), cornerback/safety Trumaine McBride (concussion), and tight end Jerome Cunningham (shoulder) left the game with injuries.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

Inactive for the Giants were WR Dwayne Harris (back/shoulder), RT Marshall Newhouse (concussion), S Craig Dahl (concussion), S Cooper Taylor (concussion), WR Geremy Davis, OT Emmett Cleary, and DE Kerry Wynn.

The Giants finished in third place in the NFC East for the third consecutive season.

The Giants finished 2-4 in NFC East games.

The Giants finished 3-5 at home and on the road for the second straight season.

The Giants are 25-23 in regular-season games at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants scored 420 points this season, the fifth-highest total in franchise history, and the sixth time they topped 400 points – five them under Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

The Giants allowed 442 points, the second-highest total in franchise history (501 in 1966).

The Eagles converted 10-of-13 third down opportunities, a 77 percent success rate that was the highest by a Giants opponent since 1970.

Quarterback Eli Manning started his 183rd consecutive game under Coughlin, the longest such streak by a quarterback/coach combination in NFL history.

Manning’s 24 completions increased his career total to 3,695. That moved him past Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Giant Fran Tarkenton (3,686) and into 10th place on the NFL’s career list.

Manning threw 618 passes this season, breaking the franchise record of 601 he set in 2014.

Manning’s 387 completions are also a franchise record. He set the former mark of 379 last season.

Manning finished with 4,436 yards, the second-highest total in franchise history. Manning passed for 4,410 yards a year ago; he owns the franchise record with 4,933 in 2011.

Manning’s two touchdown passes increased his career single season-high total to 35 – one less than Y.A. Tittle’s team record, set in 1963.

Manning’s 93.6 passer rating is a career-high.

Wide receiver  Odell Beckham Jr. caught five passes for 54 yards and set an NFL record for most receiving yards by a player in the first two seasons of a career.

Beckham finished the season with 96 receptions for 1,450 yards, both the second-highest totals in Giants history. Steve Smith holds the receptions record with 107 in 2009, and Victor Cruz owns the yardage mark with 1,536 in 2011. Beckham did not score against the Eagles and his 13 touchdowns leaves him tied with Homer Jones (1967) for the single-season record.

Shane Vereen caught six passes to increase his season total to 59, the most receptions in a single season by a Giants running back not named Tiki Barber – who had seasons with 72, 70, 69, 69 and 66 catches.

Running back Rashad Jennings finished the season with a career-high 863 yards, the highest total by a Giants back since Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 1,015 yards in 2012. Jennings’ previous career best was 733 yards with Oakland in 2013.

Place kicker Josh Brown kicked three field goals and three extra points to raise his scoring total to a career single season-high 134 points. His previous best was 127 points with Seattle in 2007. Brown increased his three-year total with the Giants to 350 points. That moved him past Raul Allegre (340) and Amani Toomer (348) and into ninth place on the franchise’s career list.

Brown made 30-of-32 field goal attempts this season, a franchise-record 93.8 percent success rate. Brown topped his own record of 92.3 percent (24-of-26), set last season.

Defensive end Robert Ayers had the Giants’ only sack of Sam Bradford, increasing his team-leading and career-high total to 9.5. No other Giants player had more than 3.0 sacks.

The Giants defense had 23 sacks this season, its lowest total in a 16-game season. The previous low was 25 in 1992.

Punter Brad Wing dropped three punts inside the 20, giving him 33 such kicks for the season, which tied the team record set by Brad Maynard in 1997 and 1998.


The season is over for the New York Giants. The players will meet with the press on Monday around 11:30 AM.

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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (March 26, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Game Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, January 3, 2016

This is the end of yet another utterly miserable and meaningless season. The Giants remained relevant until early December only because of the crappy state of the rest of the division. Despite four heart-breaking, late 4th quarter losses, at 5-5, the team was in complete control of its fate heading into a decisive game against the Washington Redskins on November 29th. Eli Manning vs. Kirk Cousins. Nevertheless, the Redskins took a commanding 20-0 lead and held on for a victory that would propel them to a division title. The game was reminiscent of key divisional failures against the Redskins (December 2012) and Cowboys (November 2013). Once at 5-4, the Giants lost five of six games with their playoff hopes very much alive. Atrocious defense, an inconsistent running game, red zone failures, untimely special teams breakdowns, questionable game management decisions led to a season of agony as the Giants lost seven games by six points or less.

This Giants-Eagles regular-season finale has a very eerie feel to it. Chip Kelly has already been fired. Tom Coughlin may “retire” immediately after the game. No one knows how the players on either team will respond. How they do will probably decide the outcome. Because of that, a win or loss here is virtually insignificant (see the Giants 42-7 beat down of the Eagles in Andy Reid’s last game in December 2012…the only Giants home victory against the Eagles in the last eight years).

What did the Giants accomplish in 2015? Aside from stat padding by Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, not much. And even Beckham managed to tarnish what had been his stellar popular image. Four consecutive non-playoff seasons. Three consecutive losing seasons. Dead-last defense. Horrible 4th quarter collapses. Two blowouts. Over 20 players on Injured Reserve. Let’s just get this thing over and get the few cornerstone players on the team out of the game healthy.


  • WR Dwayne Harris (back/shoulder – questionable)
  • RT Marshall Newhouse (concussion – out)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle – questionable)
  • S Craig Dahl (concussion – out)
  • S Cooper Taylor (concussion – out)

Moving forward, the Giants are obviously in better shape personnel-wise on the offensive side of the ball. Despite turning 35 on Sunday, Eli Manning is playing some of his best football and shows no signs of slowing down. Odell Beckham is one of the game’s true impact players. The offensive line has three good players to build around. Will Tye has flashed as a respectable #2 tight end at the very least. Shane Vereen is one of the game’s better third down backs. But the Giants still need a lot of help here. Can (or should) the Giants count on high-priced, injury-prone Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, and Geoff Schwartz next season or move on? If the Giants prefer Flowers at left tackle, Beatty is probably gone regardless. Cruz may never be the same player again. And aside from Beckham, the cupboard is pretty bare at wide receiver as Rueben Randle has proven to be a coach killer. The Hakeem Nicks encore was downright ugly. Dwayne Harris is a #3/#4 type. Wide receiver is a huge need on this team. So is offensive line unless Schwartz rebounds in big way and Bobby Hart turns out to be a surprise. Hart will start on Sunday against the Eagles and he may be the most important player to watch in this game. Even if Tye develops into a player, the Giants need more help at tight end as Larry Donnell regressed. While Rashad Jennings is capable at running back, he’s nothing special. Andre Williams was a huge disappointment in this system.

The Eagles’ front usually gives the Giants more problems than any other opponent. Will Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Jerry, and Hart put on their big boy pants or skirts on Sunday?

32nd in defense. 419.3 yards per game allowed. Almost 6,300 yards allowed. The Giants have given up over 6,000 yards four times in their history. And those four years were 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. The defense is an absolute train wreck and it has been for years. It’s not all due to the changing state of the game.

The Giants are facing an absolute defensive rebuild. Because of that, now would be an opportune time to switch to a 3-4 defense if they choose to do so. Despite a shaky rookie season, the coaches are optimistic about safety Landon Collins. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropped two potentially game-altering interceptions but otherwise had a very strong season. Despite a disappointing season before he ended up on Injured Reserve, Johnathan Hankins is a versatile talent who can play in any system. Everyone else is a question mark. Depending on their salary demands, it may be wise to let former 1st rounders Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara walk. JPP is permanently-damaged goods who may not respond well to a big contract. Prince is an injury-prone player who likely wants to be paid like a top corner but isn’t one. Jay Bromley probably sticks around at least one more year but all of the other defensive tackles are disposable. Defensive end Robert Ayers has flashed but he hasn’t proven to be a very tough player and is also a free agent. Defensive end, linebacker, and safety are an utter mess. Depending on if Amukamara returns, corner might be as well. There are players starting on the Giants’ defense that would struggle to make Practice Squads on other teams. There is no way the Giants can fix this unit in one offseason.

The Eagles are Jekyll and Hyde on offense depending on the play of their quarterback and offensive line at a given moment or game. Again, the Giants seem to bring out the best in them.

The special teams played much better this year but still had untimely breakdowns that contributed to painful losses. There were big punt returns by the Saints, Patriots, and Panthers. Josh Brown had his second very strong season, but for the second year in a row picked a bad time to miss his first kick, leading to losses (Jaguars in 2014 and Jets in 2015). Dwayne Harris did return a kickoff and punt for touchdowns. Brad Wing was a nice pick-up.

The Eagles’ special teams are outstanding and were a big factor in the team’s upset victory over the Patriots. Darren Sproles has two punt returns for touchdowns this year. Last year in the Meadowlands, the Eagles blocked a punt for a touchdown, a play that turned the game.

Tom Coughlin on his future with the Giants: “Do I want to come back? I don’t know if that’s a great question right now. What I want to do is win a game on Sunday, that’s the bottom line for this group right now. I always have the competitive spirit. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to figure it all out when it’s over. Right now, let’s stick with the game and let’s go win a football game.”

The closest season to this one that I can recall was BBI’s first season in 1995. That year, the Giants lost seven games that were decided on the final drive of the game. In six of those games, the Giants were either tied or leading at some point in the 4th quarter. Sound familiar? While the 1995 Giants had Dave Brown at quarterback, the team could run the football and play defense.

I despise the Eagles, but it may be best for the Giants to lose this game. By doing so, the Giants not only avoid a road trip to Seattle in 2016, but they could very much improve their draft position. My most important concern is to get Manning, Beckham, Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Harris, Vereen, DRC, and Collins out of this game healthy. The most important player to watch is Bobby Hart.

Oct 212015
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Philadelphia Eagles 27 – New York Giants 7


Hey, you! Get your damn hands off her! Or him, in this case our erstwhile NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Eli Manning. Finger points and weak threats, that’s pretty much all the Giants OL could use to stop a 3-hour long wedgie at the hands of the Eagles’ pass rush. It all started so well too, with the Giants marching down field to an early 7-0 lead thanks to Eli picking his spots underneath the Eagles Cover-2 and hitting Will Tye twice, Rueben Randle once and Larry Donnell once for first downs before dropping in a slant to Odell Beckham Jr. and an air of excitement against a team that has simply dominated the Giants lately. A quick 3-and-out forced by the injury-riddled Giants defense led to Eli and crew marching down to the Eagle 23-yard line and a quick two score lead..until TE Larry Donnell had a pass ripped from his arms. No matter, Steve Spaguolo’s troops were ready yet again, with back-to-back pass breakups by DE Kerry Wynn and S Brandon Meriweather and another 3-and-out…until DE Damontre Moore inexplicably pulled a belly-to-belly to suplex on QB Sam Bradford giving the Eagles 15 yards and a new set of downs. Just plays later the same Meriweather who looked so steady early on was beaten deep by WR Riley Cooper and the game was knotted at 7. At this point I’d like to jump into my DeLorean and hit 88MPH and never look down on this affair again but I’m a giver so let’s see where this all went from 1.21 jigowatts to a 3-3 record and the familiar feeling of, maybe we’re just not that good yet.

From that 7-7 tie, the Giants turned the ball over on downs, threw an interception returned for a TD (Exasperated Author’s Note: I just won’t use that term, I’m sick of it, along with “beast”, “hater” and any form of clever word play like Belicheat, Cowgirls, She-Gals, Foreskins…you get the point), fumbled the ball away, then proceeded to use punter Brad Wing as their own personal hand puppet as the offense just stunk the rest of the night. The Eagles on the other hand, weren’t great, they avoided a 14-0 hole when Donnell couldn’t hang on to the ball, were handed a TD drive on a platter by Damontre Moore, and a FG on a drive extended by a late hit by DT Cullen Jenkins. The teams combined for 5 Interceptions and 5 fumbles on a night both QBs wish they could have back. The difference for the Eagles though, is that a bad QB night is not a death knell as it is for the Giants. With the ability to rush the passer and move the ball on the ground, two former Coughlin staples, the Eagles can win ugly games with Sam Bradford stinking it up. With no running game to speak of (not once has this ground game reached 100 yards in 2015), if Eli isn’t Superman this team is dead in the water.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images


It works! It works! I finally invent something that works! Well for one and a half drives anyway, OC Ben McAdoo had invented something that worked for his QB and offense, an efficient quick strike offense that ate up the hook zones and medium middle en route to an 8-play, 80-yard drive that staked the Giants to a promising 7-0 lead. Manning was 5-of-5 for 59 yards and a TD on the game’s opening salvo, working the middle of the field with ease and at one point was 10-of-10 before Larry Donnell had the ball wrestled from his mitts. Somehow that game plan was tossed out after TE Larry Donnell’s catch-turned-interception and Eli was under siege Steven Segal-style all night. Manning made one crucial mistake on an interception-turned-TD deep inside the Giants’ own territory, but testing a fast defense on the edges instead of sticking with what was working is squarely on the play caller there. Had WR Rueben Randle not slipped on his pick attempt, the ball probably finds WR Dwayne Harris. But a play reliant on so much to go right deep in your own territory is, simply put, an awful idea. Manning did what he did could with an inconsistent running game and constant pressure from the 2nd quarter on, but he like everyone else was great for stretches and terrible in spurts.

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings started off strong (notice a trend here yet), picking up 16 yards on his first 3 carries and looking decisive and powerful doing so. Jennings gave way early to fellow backs Andre Williams and Shane Vereen and it looks like a big mistake in hindsight. Jennings finished with 63 yards on 13 carries and consistently imposed his will on smaller Eagle DBs. However, Jennings took a false step in following FB Nikita Whitlock on a 4th-and-1 inside Eagles territory and was stuffed for a loss. Had Jennings been more patient, he had plenty of room on the backside to cut inside and get the first down – poor run by #23 on that one. Jennings rebounded with a strong 8-yard run on another promising drive until he coughed up a screen pass that thwarted another potential scoring drive. Inconsistency in this group is really hampering this offense and Jennings’ night was a perfect example of how good and how bad this group has been at times. Andre Williams was dreadful, with 6 yards on 5 carries, consistently stuffed and looking tentative in the hole yet again. Former Patriot Shane Vereen was even worse, with 0 yards on 4 carries and 1 catch for 6 yards. Not good enough again from this group, and I’ll say it again, it may be time to shake things up and see if Orleans Darkwa can give this team a spark on the ground. With the double-coverage thrown at Beckham and teams guarding against the deep pass so fervently, this group simply has to step up for this offense to start to thrive against decent competition.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Wide Receivers

Rueben Randle took the first Manning pass on a quick slant for 8 yards and a first down and took a quick slant 15 yards for another in the 1st quarter, but only saw the ball 3 more times and finished with a ho hum 44 yards on 5 grabs. Mr. Hamstring, Odell Beckham, Jr., was like everyone else, perfect early on with a 13-yard dig route for a TD on the game’s opening drive. Beckham finished the first half with 61 yards on 7 grabs and a TD but did exactly nothing after halftime. A player that good simply cannot be erased in the second half, no matter what the Eagles threw at him. Myles White dropped his only opportunity and slot wideout Dwayne Harris failed to do much with 18 yards on two catches.

Tight Ends

Will Tye started off like everyone else, hauling in an early first down pass on a waggle play across the Eagles defense for a 17-yard gain and pulled down a 5-yard pass on 2nd-and-4 two plays later for his second first down and then…poof, he was gone. Tye has been forced into action from the Practice Squad following Daniel Fells’ unfortunate MRSA incident and showed up pretty well so far. He just needs more opportunities as evidenced by his early impact in this one. Another wobbly game from Larry Donnell, who one week ago was the hero against the 49ers in a thrilling last-minute victory. Again, great start for the former Grambling QB as he snatched a short middle pass from Manning on a 2nd-and-4 on the game’s opening drive and rumbled 16 yards for the conversion. The game turned on Donnell’s catch-turned-interception at the Eagle 22. After that miscue, Donnell only caught one more ball and simply disappeared. Donnell had a chance to redeem himself on 2nd-and-1 late in the 1st quarter, but he dropped a perfectly-placed ball by Manning inside the ten. This ended up killing any momentum the drive had.

Offensive Line

As with everyone else, good start with an 80-yard scoring drive, paving the way for 16 yards on 3 carries and a clean pocket for Eli to operate in. “I like this offensive line,” stammered Jon Gruden as the game began and he seemed right early on but the effusive praise would prove wrong, because this OL stumbled after the first two series and simply got man-handled up front by a quick, physical Eagle DL. Quick hitters were the balm early, but as the game wore on, the 5 up front just weren’t up to the task. RT Marshall Newhouse was out-fought all night by Connor Barwin and LG Justin Pugh had tons of trouble inside with DT Bennie Logan, killing most runs before they got started. RG Geoff Schwartz got bull-rushed by DL Vinny Curry that resulted in a sack on 3rd down on another failed drive. If there’s a positive here, and this season will test all of us to find those from time to time, it was the exceptional leadership shown by LT Ereck Flowers, the 21-year old rookie who took it upon himself to rally the troops on the sideline. This picture may not be worth 1,000 words, but superstars Odell Beckham Jr. and two-time Super Bowl MVP and team leader Eli Manning are intently listening to the rookie as he pulled his offensive teammates together. If the final tally depresses you, just look to the future of this line and offense in the towering new LT and you’ll find a little hope.

Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Defensive Line

Broken record alert, the Giants DL started off strong and faded as the evening wore on. DE Kerry Wynn got an early batted ball on the Eagles’ second drive and the front four looked off to the races until Moore’s incredibly stupid late hit on Sam Bradford. That play, which extended the Eagles’ first TD drive after it had been snuffed out in 3 plays, was another game-changer when it appeared the defense had bailed out Larry Donnell. Moore later chipped in with a sack and fumble recovery, another perfect example of the Giants’ night, brilliant one moment, bone-headed the next. DT Cullen Jenkins got involved early, batting down a 3rd down pass from Bradford and forcing a punt, but it was Jenkins’ touch late hit that extended another Eagles’ drive. Another Giant mistake, another Eagle opportunity. The DL had an issue holding the edge, something this front 7 was excelling at before this game. Using an extra TE to down block negated DEs Owa Odighizuwa and Kerry Wynn on several runs. Wynn and Odighizuwa simply need to get wider and hold the point-of-attack better on those plays.


I could almost hear the Bubble Boy taunting our LBs. “How you feeling now Constanza?…Not too good!” Not too good indeed Double B. This group was eaten up by a quick, aggressive running game that slowly but surely imposed its will on the Giants’ middle defenders. Uani ‘Unga led the group with 7 stops, but his MLB counterpart Jon Beason was consistently cut down and erased from the running game. Again, credit the Eagles’ offense here. They recognized that Beason hasn’t been attacking the hole as we pointed out in previous weeks and strung their plays out wide to give their OL time to get the second level and eliminate #52 from making a difference. Discussing who isn’t available seems silly but this group is much much better when Devon Kennard is healthy and able to impose his will in the running game. Jonathan Casillas gave up a gap on the game-sealing TD and looks to be better suited to coverage than run stuffing.

Jayron Hosley, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Jayron Hosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Backs

S Brandon Meriweather was confident early, knocking down WR Jordan Matthews to force an incompletion, but he missed a wide-open tackle on WR Josh Huff and followed that up immediately with a late cover on WR Riley Cooper who evened up the game at 7. Meriweather had not been exposed deep yet but credit Sam Bradford and Cooper with exploiting Meriweather’s trouble in deep coverage to tie the game. S Craig Dahl was somewhat impactful with 8 stops, one of which shut down an Eagle drive until Moore’s huge penalty. CB Jayron Hosley notched an early interception with the Giants only down 7 to give Eli and company some life before halftime. On the play, Hosley was playing bail technique, meaning he dropped deep at the snap, essentially acting as a two deep safety as S Landon Collins came down to cover a TE crossing the formation. Bradford’s overthrow fell right into #28’s mitts as Collins was in trail coverage. Credit CB Coach Tim Walton on that one – Hosley has jumped those routes in the past, giving up the deep seam, but he kept his depth, stayed patient and it paid off with a timely turnover. Hosley provided blanket coverage on Riley Cooper a few plays later on a 2nd-and-28, forcing an incompletion and a ridiculously long 3rd down. But he was victimized on a long pass to Cooper as the 2nd half opened. DRC launched himself into a stop on a WR screen but was otherwise not tested much by the Eagles’ offense. S Landon Collins notched his first interception of the year and was strong on the edge in run support, another glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal night.

Special Teams

Never mind Jon Gruden claiming K Josh Brown hadn’t missed a kick in his recent memory (Brown indeed missed an XP in Buffalo so I assume by memory Gruden means the last 15 minutes or so), Brown was perfect on his lone extra point so he’s got that goin’ for him, which is nice. S Craig Dahl helped on specials with a strong take down of the terrifying Darren Sproles on a punt return late in the first half. P Brad Wing was forced to launch 8 times with a long of 51 and 2 punts dropped inside the 20 but did hit a horrific 27-yarder in the waning moments of the first half that led to an Eagle FG. Good coverage again this week, which is notable given that it’s the Eagles and the irritating (he’s tiny and fast, it’s unnatural) Darren Sproles. The Eagles weree held to 58 yards on 6 punt and kickoff returns.


Head-scratching game from Ben McAdoo. The G-Men started off attacking the middle, hitting all 5 passes on the game’s opening drive underneath the Eagles’ safeties and just beyond the LBs. Rashad Jennings was in an early groove as well but gave way to Andre Williams and Shane Vereen on the second possession and never got the chance to keep it going despite running well most of the night. After shredding the Eagles over the middle, McAdoo then tested the edges of the speedy Eagles defense and he paid for it dearly. Eli’s first pick was an out route to Donnell that a drive earlier had been an in route, utilizing the 6’7” TE’s frame as a natural shield. Why you suddenly decide to try the other side of that with a speedy LB able to get to the point before your big TE is beyond me. Testing the edge again, Eli tossed a late out into the flat which CB Nolan Carroll returned for a TD and the rout from there was on. Inexcusable play call that deep in your own zone with reliance on a pick play working. Stupid, stupid football there.

DC Steve Spagnuolo’s group held up well early but eventually got no rest from a totally ineffective Giants’ offense and just got run over as the game wore on. Still without DE Robert Ayers, LB Devon Kennard and the recent loss of CB Prince Amukamara, Spags is working with a depleted group who hung in for over a half but eventually gave up 155 yards on the ground. Simply not good enough when they had to be.

Anatomy of a Run

We’ve heaped praise on DC Steve Spagnuolo and in particular, Jon Beason, Devon Kennard and Kerry Wynn for their stellar play vs. the run. This week, one play stood out as an example of why the Eagles right now are just a better team. With 6:19 left and the game still within reach, DeMarco Murray raced around right end for a 12-yard touchdown, doing something to this defense that no team had yet – dominate the edge. The Eagles ran a double TE BOSS (back-on-strong-safety) play to Murray in which his job was to beat the SS, in this case Brandon Meriweather. At first glance, this looked like a big mistake by #58, but his job in this formation is to one-gap outside the LT and cut down the angle on Murray and he does just that. LB Jonathan Casillas, however, does NOT maintain his depth and gets sucked up inside. Now his gap is empty and S Brandon Meriweather is forced to commit early instead of maintaining outside leverage. The defensive design is to turn Murray back inside, forcing him to deal with Casillas and Meriweather, with Collins holding the edge. Casillas abandons his post, forces Meriweather to commit and Murray strikes the final blow.

DM1The Eagles come out in a double-TE set against a 4-3 over/under combination. [In the under, the S lines up on the line of scrimmage as the SAM as shown above and the DE lines up head up on the tackle. In this formation though, Owa (#58) is shaded outside the TE as you would see in a 4-3 over]. This is an ideal way to shut down the edge run.

dm2At the snap, Owa does his job, attacking the gap outside of the tackle so his LB can slide in to fill the vacated gap (Jonathan Casillas #54). Casillas is in position, as indicated by an excellent red ellipse, but quickly loses depth and fails to maintain gap integrity.

DM3Casillas loses his depth – a big no-no against a back with Murray’s ability to get outside – and takes himself out of position, forcing S Brandon Meriweather to commit early to cover Casillas’ vacated gap. Meriweather also took a false step inside and gave up outside leverage for a split second, isolating S Landon Collins to hold the edge versus TE Zach Ertz.

dm4The BOSS play design works, isolating Murray on Merriweather, who already gave up his outside leverage and Murray races around Collins for the game-deciding score.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

A good coach takes the blame and provides cover when his team stinks and this week. I’ll take the award in symbolic unifying fashion. I’m sure I deserve it for my lame thematic reviews and unprofessional writing style but I feel compelled to make a plea with all my loyal readers and more loyal detractors: Calm Down about the debacle this week. Yes we lost 27-7 to our hated I-95 rivals. Yes the offense hocked up loogie after loogy after opening the game so well. Yes we had untimely stupid penalties, turnovers to spare and didn’t capitalize on a dreadful game by Sam Bradford. This is a team coming off of two straight miserable campaigns with new starters across the entire OL, and without the services of Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, Victor Cruz, Robert Ayers, Prince Amukamara, Devon Kennard, and Daniel Fells. Castoffs like Craig Dahl, Brandon Meriweather, Marshall Newhouse and youngsters like Will Tye, Geremy Davis, Ereck Flowers, Owa Odighizuwa, Landon Collins, and Uani ‘Unga have all been pressed into action sooner than anyone anticipated.

We stand at 3-3 and likely won’t challenge for anything. But treat each game as just that, one game, especially in today’s NFL. My old ball coach once told us before a game that would see us finish the season undefeated, “I’ll never ask you to be the best team anywhere except between those four white lines when the lights go on every week.” It worked every week for 13 weeks and we believed we could win every week. Pardon the Al Bundy flashback, but consider the pace of this game. A mistake or fewer here or there and we could be sitting at 4-2, but it wasn’t to be. Right now the Eagles are simply better, but despite the score, the margin is not as wide as it was one year ago. We’re making progress and more to come. Don’t give up the ship and don’t hop into your DeLorean just yet and fast forward to the draft or anything but our next opponent…the hated Dallas Cowboys. New week, new chance to win. Let’s go boys (and girls if you are not asleep or have not thrown your laptop out the window after all these words).

(New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 19, 2015)
Oct 202015
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants’ woes against the Philadelphia Eagles continued on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field as the Giants were dominated by the Eagles 27-7. With the loss, the Giants fell to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the NFC East.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The game started out well for the Giants and then went downhill after that. New York received the ball to start the game and drove 80 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest. Quarterback Eli Manning finished the possession with a 13-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Odell Beckham.

The Eagles went three-and-out and the Giants had a chance to put Philadelphia in a bigger hole by driving from their own 37-yard line to the Eagles’ 23-yard line. But on 1st-and-10, Manning’s pass to tight end Larry Donnell was ripped away from Donnell for an interception at the Eagles’ 22-yard line. Then the Giants had a chance to force another three-and-out, but defensive end Damontre Moore was flagged with roughing-the-passer after a 3-yard completion on 3rd-and-10 should have resulted in a punt. Given a reprieve, the Eagles would go on to tie the game on this possession by driving 78 yards in seven plays, culminating with a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Bradford to wide receiver Riley Cooper.

New York moved the ball once again on their third drive, reaching the Eagles’ 41-yard line, but the Giants could not pick up a first down on three successive tries after facing a 2nd-and-1. On 4th-and-1, running back Rashad Jennings lost two yards and the Eagles took over on downs.

The Giants’ defense held and the Eagles punted. However, Philadelphia went up 14-7 when Manning’s pass intended for wide receiver Dwayne Harris was intercepted by cornerback Nolan Carroll and returned 17 yards for a touchdown.

The Giants’ fifth possession ended at the Eagles’ 38-yard line when Jennings fumbled the ball away after catching a pass. Thus, after the fast start to begin the game, the Giants next four drives ended with three turnovers and a turnover on downs. The Giants had come into the game with only three turnovers on the season. Manning, who started the game 10-of-10 for 87 yards was just 14-of-28 for 102 yards the rest of the game. Manning was not helped by very shaky pass protection that gave up three sacks and multiple hits and pass pressure.

The Giants’ defense kept the team in the game for a while. The Giants got the ball right back after Jennings’ fumble when cornerback Jayron Hosley picked off Bradford at the Giants’ 25-yard line and returned the ball 17 yards. But the Giants went three-and-out after Manning was sacked on 3rd-and-7. The Eagles and Giants then each exchanged punts twice. With 1:12 left before intermission, Philadelphia drove 47 yards in eight plays to set up a successful 37-yard field goal. At the half, the Eagles led 17-7.

The Eagles received the ball to start the third quarter and drove to the New York 31-yard line. But on 3rd-and-8, linebacker Uani ‘Unga forced wide receiver Jordan Matthews to fumble which Moore recovered. The Giants picked up one first down, but Manning was sacked again on 3rd-and-10 and the Giants punted.

The Eagles then took a commanding lead by driving 85 yards in 11 plays with running back DeMarco Murray scoring from 12 yards out. This possession was kept alive when defensive tackle/fullback Nikita Whitlock ran into the punter on 4th-and-2 from the Eagles’ 23-yard line.

Landon Collins, New York Giants (October 19, 2015)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants went three-and-out on their next three possessions. New York only had one first down in the second half until late in the game. Bradford threw two more interceptions on Philadelphia’s next two possessions, one by safety Brandon Meriweather and the other by safety Landon Collins. The Eagles did manage one last scoring drive in the fourth quarter, kicking a 39-yard field goal after a 10-play, 40-yard possession. But the game was all but over at that point.

Offensively, the Giants were held to 18 first downs and just 247 total net yards (81 yards rushing, 166 yards passing). The team turned the football over three times (two interceptions, one fumble), was 4-of-13 (31 percent) on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down. Manning was 24-of-38 for 189 yards. Beckham caught seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown but was shut out in the second half. Jennings carried the ball 13 times for 63 yards while Andre Williams and Shane Vereen rushed nine times for a total of six yards. Manning was sacked times times and officially hit seven other times.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 24 first downs and 425 total net yards (155 yards rushing, 270 yards passing). The Eagles were 6-of-16 (38 percent) on third down. The Giants did force four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble). The Giants only managed one sack (by Moore) and three quarterback hits.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas left the game in the 4th quarter with a neck injury and did not return. Safety Brandon Meriweather also sprained his knee in the 2nd quarter but he returned.

Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
  • Quarterback Eli Manning (Video)
  • Running Back Rashad Jennings (Video)
  • Wide Receiver Odell Beckham (Video)
  • Tight End Larry Donnell (Video)
  • Defensive Tackle Cullen Jenkins (Video)

Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Trumaine McBride (groin/illness), DT Louis Nix, and OT Bobby Hart.

According to NFL.com, tight end Daniel Fells, who has been hospitalized for almost three weeks with a life-threatening MRSA infection (staph), has improved and he could be released from the hospital this week. Fells has now undergone seven surgeries with at least two more scheduled. Fells did have an infected bone removed from his foot, but it is believed that his foot will not have to be amputated. NFL.com is reporting that at one point the infection spread to his lungs, and NJ.com is reporting that the infection spread to his thigh. ESPN says that the additional surgeries are to further clean out the infected area and include plastic surgery on the areas of the foot damaged by the infection. It is believed Fells career is over due to permanent damage to the foot. “Long road ahead for him,” a source told The New York Post. “If you saw a picture of his foot, you wouldn’t believe it.”


Oct 172015
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 19, 2015

I’ve talked about it before. If you want to look at the reasons why the Giants missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons, look no farther than the division losses. From 2012-2014, the Giants were 1-5 against the Cowboys and 2-4 against the Eagles. You want to win the NFC East? You have to be able to beat these two teams in addition to the Washington Redskins.

Now within the span of a six days, a once-again banged-up, injury-depleted New York squad will play arguably their two most-important back-to-back games of the season. The Giants were in the same position in 2014. With an overall record of 3-2 with back-to-back games against the Eagles and Cowboys, the Giants fell 27-0 and 31-21 in those two games and didn’t win another contest until December.

Want to continue to remain relevant? Beat the Eagles. Be the more physical football team on offense, defense, and special teams. Win the turnover battle. Make plays against a very beatable opponent.


  • WR Odell Beckham (hamstring – questionable)
  • WR Rueben Randle (hamstring – probable)
  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – out)
  • LG Justin Pugh (ankle – probable)
  • OT Will Beatty (pectoral – out)
  • DE Robert Ayers (hamstring – questionable)
  • DE George Selvie (calf – probable)
  • LB Jon Beason (concussion – questionable)
  • LB Devon Kennard (hamstring – out)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas (calf – questionable)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral – out)
  • CB Trumaine McBride (groin/illness – questionable)

The Eagles are 23rd in the NFL on defense (26th against the pass, 10th against the run). Statistically, the Eagles are tied with the Giants in run defense in terms of yards-per-carry average (3.5). On the flip side, the Giants are 9th in the NFL on offense (7th passing, 26th running). And the Giants are 28th in yards-per-carry (3.8). Provided Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle play and can play effectively, the way the Giants should attack the Eagles is pretty obvious.

And there is another reason why the Giants should pass, pass, pass. New York will probably have to score a lot of points given the injury situation on defense combined with Giants’ inability to rush the passer. The Eagles’ passing offense may be struggling, but there could be some serious match-up problems for the Giants on that side of the ball. The Giants probably are going to have to score somewhere around 30 points to win. That means touchdowns rather than settling for field goals.

The Eagles can rush the passer. Though technically a 3-4 defense, the Eagles will mix up their fronts and use a variety of pass-rush packages. The best of the bunch is left defensive end Fletcher Cox, who is coming off of a 3-sack, defensive-player-of-the-week performance. Combine him with Pro Bowl outside linebacker Connor Barwin, who gave the Giants fits in Philadelphia last year, those two are going to be an issue for Marshall Newhouse and Geoff Schwartz. Nose tackle Bennie Logan and right defensive end Cedric Thorton can be tough against the run. The other outside linebacker, Brandon Graham (a guy who the Giants made a play for in free agency), can also get after the quarterback as can reserve defensive end Vinny Curry. The Eagles will be missing inside linebackers Kiko Alonso (knee) and Mychal Kendricks (hamstring). But veteran DeMeco Ryans still mans the middle. Given that the outside linebackers are basically ex-defensive ends, it’s a big, physical group up front.

The Eagles have had issues in the secondary. High-priced free agent acquisition cornerback Byron Maxwell has disappointed. The other corner, Nolan Carroll, is an ex-Dolphin who played mainly in a situational role in 2014 for the Eagles. Ex-Giant corner Walter Thurmond was moved to safety by the Eagles and now teams with Malcom Jenkins, who is solid. In a nutshell, the corners are bigger but not great in coverage, and the safeties are somewhat smaller ‘tweeners. Thurmond leads the team with three interceptions in just five games.

You have to figure the Eagles defensive coordinator expects a pass-first game plan, keeps the safeties back, and trusts his front seven to stop any remote threat of a running game. Still, given the fact that the Giants will need to score quite a few points, the Giants will have to accept this challenge and play into this game plan by passing the football. The Eagles will be very wary of Shane Vereen in the passing game, but I’m not sure they have the ability to adequately match-up with him. Those outside linebackers really are ex-ends who can struggle in coverage. The Giants might want to throw the Eagles for a loop too by playing both Vereen and Rashad Jennings – who can also catch the ball – in the backfield at the same time. This could confuse the linebackers and safeties. I wouldn’t use a lot of Andre Williams in this game.

The right-side of the offensive line will have issues with Cox and Barwin, and Flowers could have issues with the likes of Graham and Curry. The Giants should employ the same style of offense – quick, short passing attack. The Eagles have already pretty much said they will play aggressive bump-and-run coverage to disrupt the timing between Eli Manning and his receivers. This is where passes to the backs and tight ends can help. I would also put Beckham in motion quite a bit and play him out of the slot to help prevent the Eagles from getting a hand on him.

Manning needs to take what the defense gives him and not force the issue. Be aggressive, but don’t be stupid with the football.

Chip Kelly loves to run the football, but the Eagles are not doing it as well this year. They’ve fallen from 9th in the NFL in rushing in 2014 to 22nd. They run it better than the Giants, but not by much. Obviously, with the Giants 2nd in the NFL in run defense, one would expect most of the Eagles success to be in the passing game. That said, the Giants cannot afford to fall asleep in defending the run. They must be the more physical team up front against an offensive line that has had issues at the guard position. Like the Giants, the Eagles employ a three-headed rotation at running back with ex-Cowboy DeMarco Murray, ex-Charger Ryan Matthews, and ex-Saint Darren Sproles. Murray has struggled in Philadelphia, but the Giants are well aware of the damage he can do. Matthews has almost as many carries, is playing better, and is averaging 5 yards per carry. However, he has a groin issue and is questionable for the game. The Eagles will run the ball with Sproles too and he’s a threat to score every time he touches the football. The Giants need their defensive tackles to dominate inside and for the outside defenders – ends and backers – to continue to stalemate offensive tackles and tight ends.

Linebacker Devon Kennard will be missed for his ability to stop the run as well as rush the passer. The worry here is the match-up problems when Mark Herzlich is on the field. Look for Kelly to exploit that with passes to the backs (42 pass receptions by Eagles backs already this year) and tight ends (only 20 receptions but capable of much more). Sproles is basically Philly’s Vereen and I’m not sure the Giants have anyone who can cover him. I would be tempted to keep Jonathan Casillas in the game more over Herzlich, but also keep in mind that Casillas has been hampered by a troubling calf injury. Steve Spagnuolo may decide to go with a three-safety package of Landon Collins, Brandon Meriweather, and Craig Dahl. The Giants also need solid coverage from J.T. Thomas, Jon Beason, and Uani ‘Unga. Eagles tight ends have killed the Giants over the years and both Brent Celek and Zach Ertz can do a lot of damage.

To date, Spagnuolo’s strategy has been basically to load up against the run and not get beat deep in the passing game. He’s been willing to give up the short completions and force the other team to drive the field without making mistakes. At times, it has worked very well. At other times, it has failed miserably. A big problem is the Giants still can’t rush the passer. Hopefully, youngsters Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa will improve in that department while the return of some veterans such as Robert Ayers (hamstring) and George Selvie (calf) will help – or at the very least keep guys fresher. This might be a good opponent to give Damontre Moore more snaps. If he does, let’s hope he keeps the mental mistakes to a minimum. The good news is that quarterback Sam Bradford is fairly immobile so the Giants can take greater chances with blitzes. Left tackle Jason Peters is still a very good player for the Eagles however.

I expect Chip Kelly and Bradford to attempt to dink-and-dunk their way down the field, in a very fast, no-huddle fashion, with passes to the backs and tight ends. The Eagles have probably noticed the problems the Giants have had covering WR screens. They will likely take an occasional deep shot in the direction of Jayron Hosley and Trevin Wade with Prince Amukamara and possibly Trumaine McBride out. The Eagles’ receivers are a bigger group. Jordan Matthews is probably the most reliable. Rookie Nelson Agholor is the most explosive but he is out with an ankle injury. Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, Miles Austin, and Seyi Ajirotutu round out the receiving corps.

So does Spagnuolo keep with the same strategy and hope that quarterback Sam Bradford makes a mistake somewhere on each drive? My guess is yes. Short at cornerback, the Giants don’t want to give up cheap touchdowns like the Redskins did against the Eagles. Spagnuolo also doesn’t want that Eagles’ ground game to get untracked. So I would expect a frustrating evening with short passing game unless the Giants pass rush miraculously appears, the linebackers and safeties have a monster game in coverage, or Bradford really struggles.

Can the Giants hold the Eagles to under 20 points? 24 points? Turnovers could be decisive. And keep in mind that no lead is safe given the Giants’ fourth-quarter defensive woes plus Bradford has been completing over 70 percent of his passes in the second half of football games this year.

The Eagles special teams practically carried the team in 2014. And in last year’s regular-season finale, a blocked punt by the Eagles against the Giants was critical in their victory. They are very good at blocking kicks. Darren Sproles is an exceptionally dangerous punt returner who already has returned one punt for a touchdown this year. Josh Huff has averaged 30 yards per kick return the past two seasons.

Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo on the Eagles’ Defense: “They’re very good upfront, they have a lot of different guys who can cover in man-to-man, and they’re creative schematically. Good defense. Underrated defense.”

The advantage the Giants have is Eli Manning. The advantage the Eagles have is their ability to rush the passer. Much depends on how many of the injured Giants play and how effectively they can play. But I really think this game will come down to which team plays the most physically and turnovers. This game may be the Eagles season. They lose and they will be 0-3 in the NFC East. But it’s almost as big for the Giants, who are currently 1-1 in the division and facing an almost must-win game the following weekend against the Cowboys. Regardless, the Giants need to prepare for the best the Eagles have to offer.

“It’s a one-week season,” said Eagles’ nose tackle Bernie Logan. “We just have to go out here and dominate this game.”

“We’re going to show up and see who can punch harder,” said Eagles’ safety Malcom Jenkins.

Dec 292014
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – New York Giants 26

Game Overview

This game was not only a microcosm of the season but the past few seasons. The Giants can throw the football, but they can’t run it. The defense and special teams stink. The Giants can’t beat a team with a winning record. And they can’t beat the Eagles.

Offensive Overview

The Giants gained over 500 yards of offense and passed for 429 yards, the latter being the fourth highest in franchise history. They had 78 offensive snaps and controlled the time of possession by almost 10 minutes (34:37 to 25:23).

The Giants scored on 4-of-7 first-half drives and and 2-of-7 second-half drives, but only managed two touchdowns as New York was 1-of-3 in the red zone.

The Giants were 7-of-18 on third down (39 percent). The running backs only gained 76 yards on 25 carries (3 yards per carry).


Eli Manning completed 28-of-53 passes for 429 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception for a 78.3 QB rating. The yardage total is obviously impressive (4th highest in team history), but he only completed 52 percent of his passes, threw into double coverage some, and was lucky a few of his passes were not picked off.

That said, the lower completion percentage was not only a question of inconsistent accuracy, but some dropped passes, some non-calls by the referees, and a strategy to take more shots down the field.

“Now was the percentage the way you’d like it? Probably not,” said Tom Coughlin after the game. “But there were some deep shots that we wanted to take. We wanted the one-on-ones and we wanted to take some shots and we did. Unfortunately, most of them were not completions and they go in the book as incomplete. But it was part of what we wanted to do.”

Examples of some of the negative plays? On the second Giants’ possession that ended with a punt, the Eagles blitzed Eli up the middle and he somehow missed spotting Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell in the middle of the field as he threw the ball away deep (Eli was lucky intentional grounding was not called). On the following 3rd-and-9 play, Manning badly overthrew Odell Beckham.

Eli missed some opportunities like on this incomplete play.

Eli missed some opportunities like on this incomplete play.

Trailing by eight with over three minutes to play, the Giants had one final chance to tie the game, but Eli’s deep pass to Rueben Randle was picked off.

“It was just underthrown,” said Manning. “Rueben read the coverage right. They were jumping the outside route. He converted it to a go. I just couldn’t get enough on the throw. I saw it clean. They were in a quarters coverage. There should have been a window out there to hit the throw to Rueben. I couldn’t step into the throw. The ball floated up a little bit. I left it a little inside and let the safety make a play on it. It wasn’t a bad read. It was just kind of a poor throw based on the circumstances.”

Running Backs

Same old story…lots of run attempts…very little productivity. And this against the 17th-ranked defense against the run. Andre Williams carried the ball 15 times for 43 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Rashad Jennings carried the ball 10 times for 33 yards (3.3 yards per carry). Williams caught all three passes thrown in his direction for 19 yards, while Jennings caught 3-of-5 passes for 21 yards.

Williams did have a nice 9-yard run on 3rd-and-1 on the opening touchdown drive and an 8-yard run on the first FG drive. And Jennings had a nice 16-yard reception on 3rd-and-13 in the first quarter and an 18-yard run in the third quarter. But too often it was only 1-3 yards per attempt, or worse, a negative-yardage play.

Part of the problem may be the use of differing blocking schemes.

“We were dabbling a lot between schemes, whether we were outside zone, whether we were a zone team or a power team, what fit our personnel the best,” Williams said. “As we continue to learn the offense and learn what we’re good at, we’re bound to get better…I think we’re capable of both. I just don’t know if we knew when and where we were supposed to do what. It all comes with newness, new faces, and new players. Everything was new this year, especially for me. I think that played a big role.”

Wide Receivers

It was the Odell Beckham (12 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown) and Rueben Randle (6 catches for 158 yards) show. And both could have had an even bigger day as Beckham was actually targeted 21 times and Randle 13 times. As productive as these two were, the Eagles also had an unbelievable 11 pass defenses in the game.

The Eagles got away with obvious pass interference on Beckham on a few plays, including deep shots in the first and second quarters. Beckham had a nice 22-yard sideline reception on the Giants’ first FG drive on 3rd-and-5. Three plays later he had a 17-yard reception. Beckham had two catches on the Giants’ second-half field goal drive, including a spectacular, leaping 16-yard reception on 3rd-and-and-20 that set up the successful 53-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, Beckham had a shot at a perfectly-thrown deep ball down the middle of the field by Manning but the safety knocked the ball out of Beckham’s arms. Three plays later, Beckham could not come down with another deep pass, this time along the right sideline. Of course, the big highlight was Beckham’s 63-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

However, that was basically it for Beckham. “He was sick on he sideline,” said Coughlin. “He was ill and was vomiting and so on and so forth. They held him. He didn’t come back with a lot of strength right there.”

Randle made a great 43-yard catch despite double-coverage on the opening touchdown drive and followed that up on the next play with an 18-yard reception down to the 1-yard line. In the second quarter, Randle made another big play with another athletic 36-yard grab on 3rd-and-7. Three plays later, he caught a 25-yard pass. These plays helped the Giants get into FG range. However, the drive stalled when Randle was flagged with an offensive pass interference (pick) penalty.

Also on the downside, Randle really should have have come down with three more catches, including a 3rd-and-9 pass in the second quarter and a 3rd-and-11 pass on the play before the blocked punt. On the Giants’ third-quarter drive that ended with a 53-yard field goal, Randle had a key 24-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-2. After a 15-yard catch by Beckham, Randle appeared to have caught a 34-yard touchdown pass but a holding penalty wiped out the play. Then the inconsistency returned as Randle dropped the very next pass.

The only other receiver targeted in the game was Preston Parker, who caught 2-of-4 passes thrown in direction for 20 yards. He had a key 13-yard reception on 3rd-and-10 two plays before Beckham’s 63 yard catch-and-run.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell caught 2-of-6 passes thrown in his direction for 26 yards. On the Giants’ first FG drive, Donnell didn’t do a very good job of picking up a pass rusher on an incomplete 2nd-and-5 pass. One play later, Manning tried to hit him deep on the end zone, but he couldn’t make the play and the Giants settled for three points. On the following drive, Donnell got wide open on a 3rd-and-5 play but dropped a pass thrown behind him and the Giants had to punt. Donnell did have a 10-yard catch on 3rd-and-5 in the third quarter. Eli went deep to Donnell again in the fourth quarter but couldn’t connect.

Adrien Robinson could not make a play on a deep pass opportunity.

Offensive Line

Pass protection was pretty good as Eli Manning was not sacked and only officially hit three times. That was quite an improvement over the first Giants-Eagles game when Manning was sacked eight times, especially when you keep in mind that the Giants took a lot of deep shots down the field in this game.

Run blocking remains a sore spot as the Giants only averaged three yards per carry on 25 attempts against the NFL’s 17th-ranked run defense.

For example, on the first play of the second NYG drive, OC J.D. Walton and LG Weston Richburg allowed the Eagles’ nose tackle to run right past them to nail Jennings for a 3-yard loss.

Jennings has no chance as NT runs by Walton and Richburg.

Jennings has no chance as NT runs by Walton and Richburg.

Here you see Fletcher Cox shove Walton back into the backfield, disengage, and nail Williams for no gain.

Fletcher Cox abusing J.D. Walton.

Fletcher Cox abusing J.D. Walton.

After Jenning’s 18-yard run in the third quarter, Walton got shoved back again on a 3-yard loss. Then he made matters worse by getting flagged with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Two plays later, Walton was flagged with a false start and the Giants found themselves in a 3rd-and-29 situation, largely due to Walton.

Of course, the huge offensive line mistake was the holding penalty on LT Will Beatty that wiped out Rueben Randle’s 34-yard touchdown. The Giants had to settle for a field goal instead.

Even late in the game when the Giants were down by 8 points in the fourth quarter, and the Eagles probably looking pass first, the Giants couldn’t run it. Look how neither Walton nor Beatty can get any movement at the point-of-attack.

Both Walton and Beatty stonewalled and Jennings is bottled up.

Both Walton and Beatty stonewalled and Jennings is bottled up.

Defensive Overview

Just another dreadful performance. The Giants’ defense gave up 27 points, 23 first downs, 426 total net yards, 262 passing yards, and 164 rushing yards. The Eagles converted 7-of-16 third-down attempts (44 percent). And Philadelphia gained 20 yards or more on EIGHT plays.

The defense allowed the Eagles to score two touchdowns on their first two possessions, allowed the Eagles to drive the field at the end of the first half to set up an easy field goal, and couldn’t stop the Eagles in the second half once the Giants had twice cut their lead.

Yet after the game, Coughlin – at least publicly – seemed borderline delusional about the play of his defense against an Eagles’ offense led by Mark Sanchez of all people.

“I thought our defense battled,” said Coughlin. “Their first score was right down the field and score, but once we settled down, we did a decent job of holding them. I’m not sure what the number of punts were or anything like that. We did have some three and outs, which was very good and put ourselves in position…Defensively, again, I say we had a good plan, the plan was well taught. I thought we did a pretty good job, although you always say you’re going to try to stop the run. They had a lot of run yardage as it turns out.”

Defensive Line/Linebackers

Really shitty run defense once again against the Eagles as Philadelphia gouged New York for 164 yards, averaging over 5 yards per carry. The pass rush was not as consistent as the team’s four sacks suggest.

The best of a mediocre bunch was Jason Pierre-Paul (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for losses, 2 QB hits). The Giants didn’t get much out of Kerry Wynn (3 tackles) and Damontre Moore (1 tackle) at defensive end. Cullen Jenkins (1 tackle) also played some end but was largely invisible.

The tackles played very poorly, especially Johnathan Hankins (2 tackles, 1 QB hit) and Mike Patterson (4 tackles). Their defense on the goal line early in the fourth quarter was embarrassing as the running back jogged into the end zone untouched. Markus Kuhn (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 QB hit) was a little better, but not much.

The linebackers just didn’t make enough plays although Mark Herzlich flashed statistically with 7 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 tackle for a loss. He did sack Sanchez and made a nice tackle short of the first-down marker on a 3rd-and-2 run. Jameel McClain had eight tackles and one pass defense in the end zone at the end of the first half. Spencer Paysinger played but didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

On the first running play by the Eagles – a play that picked up 23 yards – JPP, Patterson, and Hankins were all blocked and McClain overran the play.

JPP, Patterson, and Hankins blocked; McClain overruns the play.

JPP, Patterson, and Hankins blocked; McClain overruns the play.

On the very next snap, both McClain and Herzlich bite badly on the play fake to the left as WR Jordan Matthews crosses wide open behind them to the right en route to his 44-yard catch-and-run TD.

Linebackers leave big hole in coverage by biting on play-action fake.

Linebackers leave big hole in coverage by biting on play-action fake.

On 2nd-and-15 on Eagles’ next possession, note how Hankins and Moore are easily blocked up front and no other linebacker or defensive back is anywhere near the line of scrimmage to help out against LeSean McCoy on an 8-yard run.

Moore and Hankins blocked and no one else there to stop McCoy.

Moore and Hankins blocked and no one else there to stop McCoy.

After Eagles pick up first down on 3rd-and-7, Wynn fails to account for Sanchez on a read option (and McClain is completely driven away from play) on 15-yard run by a nimble-footed quarterback (sarcasm off).

Kerry Wynn bites on play fake and Sanchez runs around him for 15 yards.

Kerry Wynn bites on play fake and Sanchez runs around him for 15 yards.

And then there is this little gem where the Giants’ defense appears unbalanced towards the side with fewer players. Everyone bites on McCoy’s first step to the left before he cuts back to the right and there is NO ONE on the perimeter of the defense to stop the run and McCoy gains 21 easy yards. This was a big play on the Eagles’ touchdown drive that put Philadelphia up 31-19.

No one outside to stop McCoy on 21-yard gain.

No one outside to stop McCoy on 21-yard gain.

How bad was the defense? With the Eagles up by 8 points with 4 minutes left to play, and Philadelphia facing a 3rd-and-18 from their own 8-yard line, the Giants should have been prepared for a draw play. Instead they gave up 17 yards on the draw and almost a first down.

Defensive Backs

Mark Sanchez completed nearly 64 percent of his passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. WR Jordan Matthews caught eight passes for 105 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass. The other wideouts to catch passes were Jeremy Maclin (3 catches for 49 yards) and Riley Cooper (2 catches for 37 yards). The tight ends caught 5 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Mike Harris (10 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defense) was beat by TE Zach Ertz for 18 yards on Philly’s first offensive snap. Two plays later, Stevie Brown (3 tackles) looked pathetic and slow trying to make a tackle on WR Jordan Mathews, who is not known for his speed, on his 44-yard touchdown catch-and-run. On the next possession, Harris was beat by Ertz again for 10 yards on 3rd-and-7.

Chykie Brown (6 tackles, 1 pass defense) had good deep coverage on Cooper on the Eagles’ second drive, but he was later flagged on this same drive with a questionable and game-altering 41-yard pass interference penalty on a play where Stevie Brown picked off Sanchez at the NYG 9-yard line. Three plays later, on third-and-goal, TE Brent Celek scored on a 1-yard TD reception by beating Harris who got caught up in the goal line congestion. Harris missed a tackle on McCoy after a short pass early in the 4th quarter on a play that picked up 15 yards and then got beat by Matthews on an 8-yard slant down to the 1-yard line. Chykie Brown got flagged with an offside penalty on 3rd-and-13 that helped the Eagles move a bit closer for their last field goal.

Antrel Rolle (8 tackles) just doesn’t seem to be making plays anymore against the run and the pass. On 1st-and-goal from the NYG 6-yard line, Mark Herzlich gambles on Mark Sanchez keeping the ball on a read-option play. Instead, RB LeSean McCoy has the ball. In my opinion, Rolle has to cover the gap on the potential cutback run more aggressively than he did. Instead, Rolle only makes the tackle after McCoy gains five yards down to the 1-yard line.

Antrel Rolle needs to make the play sooner in the hole on the goal line.

Antrel Rolle needs to make the play sooner in the hole on the goal line.

Late in the third quarter, Rolle had McCoy all alone but let him get away for an 11-yard gain.

Rolle has McCoy 1-on-1 but lets him get away on 11-yard run.

Rolle has McCoy 1-on-1 but lets him get away on 11-yard run.

Rolle also committed a 15-yard face mask penalty on the Eagles’ last scoring drive.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (2 tackles) gave up a big 20-yard completion to Maclin on 3rd-and-16 on the Eagles’ FG drive right before halftime. He also didn’t make much of an effort to get off a block on Matthew’s 44-yard touchdown. Quintin Demps (3 tackles) didn’t make any plays.

But what really drives me nuts are plays where receivers are simply left wide open, either from flaws in the defensive schemes and/or mental mistakes by the players.

Note how no one is anywhere near two Eagles receivers on this 3rd-and-7 play where Matthews picked up an easy 24 yards.

It's 3rd-and-7, not 3rd-and-27.

It’s 3rd-and-7, not 3rd-and-27.

And no one covers Jeremy Maclin on a short crossing route that picked up 25 yards.

Easy pitch-and-catch again for Sanchez and his receiver.

Easy pitch-and-catch again for Sanchez and his receiver.

And at the end of the first half, the corner and safety (Rolle) were nowhere to be found on a 22-yard completion to Cooper.



There were a few positives, but not many. Chykie Brown knocked away one pass. Harris did pick off Sanchez and returned the ball to the Eagles’ 49-yard line and tipped away a pass intended for Ertz in the end zone at the end of the first half.

Special Teams Overview

The punt blocked for a touchdown early in the third quarter was a difference maker. Punter Steve Weatherford’s other six punts averaged 41.8 yards, but only a 33.7 net. The Eagles returned two punts for 15 yards with a long of 13 yards. Zack Bowman made a nice play on one return by tackling Sproles right away.

Josh Brown was 4-of-4 on field goals, including kicks of 38, 20, 36, and 53 yards. Five of his seven kickoffs went for touchbacks. The Eagles returned one kickoff 29 yards and the other only went for 11 yards.

I have no idea why the Giants were trying to draw the Eagles offsides with a hard count on a fake FG attempt since the penalty would not have helped them there. Instead, Weatherford was flagged with a false start.

The Giants did not return a punt as all seven were fair caught by either Rueben Randle (5) or Odell Beckham (2) – bad job by the Giants in holding up the Eagles’ gunners.

Preston Parker’s three kickoffs were returned to the 24, 19, and 20 yard lines. He fumbled his first kickoff return but was fortunate the loose ball was recovered by Mark Herzlich.

(Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, December 28, 2014)
Dec 282014
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 34-26 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the defeat, the Giants finished the 2014 NFL season with a 6-10 overall record and 2-4 in the NFC East.

Despite the score, the Giants had advantages total net yards (505 to 426), net yards passing (429 to 262), and time of possession (34:37 to 25:23). But the Eagles scored on special teams (blocked punt) and dramatically out-rushed the Giants (164 to 76). The Giants also were flagged eight times for 106 yards, including a holding penalty that wiped out a a touchdown pass. Each team’s quarterback threw one interception.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Statistically, quarterback Eli Manning and wide receivers Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle had big games. Manning completed 28-of-53 passes for 429 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Beckham caught 12 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, while Randle caught six passes for 158 yards.

The Giants drove 80 yards in six plays on their first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead. Randle caught back-to-back passes of 43 and 18 yards, setting up running back Andre Williams’ 1-yard touchdown run.

But the Eagles scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game and went up 14-7. First the Giants’ defense surrendered a 3-play, 80-yard drive ending with a 44-yard touchdown pass. Then the defense allowed a 7-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass.

The Giants had three more scoring possessions in the first half, but each ended with field goals instead of touchdowns. The Giants cut the Eagles lead to 14-10 on a 38-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown after the Giants stalled at the Eagles’ 20-yard line. After two three-and-outs by New York, the Giants drove 47 yards in 10 plays, but stalled at the Eagles’ 2-yard line and settled for a 20-yard field goal. Then the Giants drove 71 yards in 10 plays but were forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal after reaching the Eagles’ 3-yard line. At this point, the Giants were up 16-14 with just over two minutes to play in the half.

However, the Giants’ defense allowed the Eagles to drive 66 yards in 11 plays to regain the lead 17-16 by kicking a 32-yard field goal as time expired.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half. The Giants could not gain a first down and sent out the punt team. Disaster struck when punter Steve Weatherford’s punt was blocked and returned 27 yards for a touchdown and Philadelphia went up 24-19 early in the third quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants cut the lead to 24-19 after an 8-play, 46-yard drive set up a successful 53-yard field goal by Brown. However, a 34-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Randle was wiped out on this possession due to a holding penalty on left tackle Will Beatty.

Both teams exchanged punts again. The Eagles then drove 65 yards in eight plays, scoring a rushing touchdown from one yard out to extend their advantage to 31-19.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants responded with a Manning-to-Beckham special. On the fifth play of the possession, Manning hit Beckham for a 63-yard touchdown pass and the Giants pulled to within five points at 31-26.

But the New York defense could not hold. A 10-play, 53-yard march by the Eagles set up a 39-yard field goal as the Eagles went up by eight points at 34-26 with just under eight minutes to play.

Both teams exchanged punts and the Giants got one more chance with 3:45 to play. But Manning’s deep pass to Randle was intercepted at the Eagles’ 42-yard line and returned 40 yards to the Giants’ 18-yard. The Eagles then ran out the clock to end the game.

Video highlights/lowlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Injury Report: Safeties Nat Berhe (knee) and Stevie Brown (foot sprain) both left in the first quarter and did not return. Tight end Larry Donnell left later in the second half with an ankle injury and did not return.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Tom Coughlin’s post-game transcript are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

Post-Game Player Media Q&A’s: Video clips of media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Corey Washington, TE Jerome Cunningham, OG Eric Herman, OG Adam Gettis, DT Dominique Hamilton, LB Devon Kennard (toe), and CB Jayron Hosley.

The Giants finished 3-5 both at home and on the road.

The Giants allowed 400 this season. It was just the fifth time in franchise history they gave up at least 400 points.

The Giants are 1-20 in regular-season games in which they throw at least 50 passes.

QB Eli Manning finished the season with a Giants-record 601 pass attempts and 379 pass completions. Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards, which is the second-highest total in franchise history. He passed for 4,933 yards in 2011. This was his fourth career 4,000-yard season. Manning threw 30 touchdowns, one shy of his career-high in 2011. Manning finished with 14 interceptions, or 13 fewer than he threw in 2013. Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

WR Odell Beckham is the first rookie in NFL history and the first Giants player with two 12-catch games in a season. Beckham is also the first NFL rookie with four consecutive games with at least 130 receiving yards and a touchdown. Beckham’s 185 yards is a Giants rookie record. Beckham joins Hall of Famer Michael Irvin as the only players in NFL history with at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Beckham’s season totals were 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, all franchise rookie records. Beckham set NFL records for most catches and yards in the first 12 games to start a career. Beckham’s 91 catches were the second-highest total in franchise history, topped only by Steve Smith’s 107 receptions in 2009. Beckham averaged 108.8 yards a game, well ahead of Victor Cruz’s previous Giants record of 96.0, set in 2011.

PK Josh Brown finished the season with 24 successes in 26 attempts (one of the misses was a block), a 92.3 percentage that is a Giants single-season record.

The Giants finished the season with 47 sacks, their highest total since they had 48 in 2011 (they had 34 sacks last season).

DE Jason Pierre-Paul finished the season with 12.5, the highest total by a Giant since JPP had 16.5 in 2011.

NY Post Q&A with QB Eli Manning: A Q&A with Eli Manning by Steve Serby of The New York Post

NJ.com Q&A with DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul breaks down his 2014 season | Four Downs by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Despite two straight losing seasons, NY Giants would be right to keep duo of Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning: Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning still a good combination to lead the Giants by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Why Giants phenom Beckham Jr. says best is yet to come by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on OG John Jerry: Giants offensive lineman John Jerry rebuilds reputation after bullying scandal with Dolphins by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the Upcoming New York Giants Offseason: Giants Will Revamp, but in a Considered Fashion by Bill Pennington of The New York Times