Oct 242017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 22, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks 24 – New York Giants 7

RECAP

After the Giants put a number in the win column last week against Denver, there was at least some sense of optimism surrounding the team. It would be short-lived, as the match-up with Seattle on paper was an ugly one for New York.

Seattle has had its own issues with the offensive line and penalties, both of which reared their ugly heads in the first half. Defensively, the Giants were fighting hard early including a stand where they stopped Seattle 10 straight times inside the NYG 10-yard line. A Thomas Rawls fumbled picked up by Landon Collins set the Giants up in the red zone and it took them just two plays to score, a 5- yard pass to the surging rookie tight end Evan Engram.

The rest of the first half was an ugly offensive display. Penalties, minimal protection from the offensive line, and failed conversions. This had the look of a defensive dogfight heading into halftime. It was a first half that saw the Giants gain 42 total yards, but they somehow still led 7-3.

Seattle got much more aggressive in the second half, throwing the ball downfield and taking advantage of the Giants’ defense defending the middle of the route tree. Doug Baldwin, who finished with 9 catches for 92 yards, caught his lone touchdown of the day after juking Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie out of his shoes with his release off the line. With no safety help over the top, it was an easy pitch-and-catch. Seattle led 10-7 halfway through the 3rd quarter with the NYG offense still mightily struggling.

With momentum on the SEA side fully, the Seahawks continued to move the ball consistently via the air game. Missed tackles and NYG penalties helped their cause as the cream eventually rose to the top. Wilson threw two more touchdowns and the Seattle coverage was strangling the second-rate NYG receivers. The Giants’ offense may have hit a low point, as they gained just 177 total net yards while converting 17% of their third down conversions.

Giants lose, 24-7.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Eli Manning: 19/39 – 134 yards – 1 TD/0 INT: In his second full week with replacement-level wide receivers, Manning looked lost and uncomfortable for the majority of the game. If it weren’t for Engram, he would have had a hard time breaking the 100-yard mark. I’m not sure if it is Manning or the design of the offense, but the amount of times they are throwing the ball 4+ yards shy of the first-down marker on third downs is alarming. It’s been happening since week 1 and all but assures this team will not be marching downfield. Manning can’t be looked down upon, as the situation he is in is among the worst in football.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Orleans Darkwa: 9 att/35 yards – 3 rec/13 yards: After his impressive performance in Denver, Darkwa came back down to earth. A 3.9 average can be considered a positive for the Giants, as Darkwa continued to break through contact between the tackles with his aggressive running style. His pass blocking left a lot to be desired, missing multiple blitzers up the middle.
  • Wayne Gallman: 5 att/15 yards – 2 rec/14 yards: Gallman’s presence wasn’t felt much. It was a good experience for the young slasher to see the difference in speed and physicality between the Seattle defense and what he’s been matched up against prior.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Travis Rudolph: 3 rec/32 yards: In his first substantial playing time of his career, Rudolph saw some ups and downs. He had a hard time getting off the jam a few times. His biggest weakness is a lack of size and strength. The quickness and hands can be used from the slot, but the inability to power his way through press coverage and fighting for the ball in traffic may end up being what holds him back. There is still a lot to learn with the playbook including a hot read he failed to make which ended up with a Manning pass hitting him in the back.
  • Roger Lewis: 1 rec/12 yards: Prior to the game, I put Lewis down as a guy that would be tested. This was a big day for him…being matched up against a strong secondary without anyone taking pressure off him. He didn’t pass. He was targeted 6 times and simply seemed overwhelmed. He didn’t sell his double route opportunities and got pushed around in traffic.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Evan Engram: 6 rec/60 yards – 1 TD: Engram is going to be the feature player on this offense for the rest of the season. He has passed every test so far this year and I think it will end up being huge for his career. I thought this fast, big, and physical back seven would be able to shut him down but Engram seemed more than comfortable and proved to be capable of handling the NFL’s best. This game was, however, his first negative blocking grade of the year. He had a hard time sustaining his blocks and got very little movement on the Seattle front seven.
  • Rhett Ellison/Matt LaCosse/Jerrell Adams: Ellison played about half of the team’s snaps and is still being underused. He dropped the one target thrown his way and his impact as a blocker was up and down. LaCosse saw a season high 17 snaps. One of the stars of training camp didn’t see any official targets, but he was a primary receiver on one play where Manning was scrambling and had to throw it away over his had. LaCosse was open and was visibly upset he didn’t get the opportunity to do his thing. Adams was barely on the field.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Tackles: Ereck Flowers continues to be the bright spot of the offensive line over the past 4 weeks. This is the best stretch we have seen out of him in his career. Justin Pugh was hurt in the first half and did not return, forcing the shaky-at-best Bobby Hart into action. Hart struggled to finish his blocks and is proving to be nothing more than an average backup in this league. His balance, hand placement, and confidence in his assignments simply aren’t there.
  • Guards/Center: John Jerry and Brett Jones appeared to have one of their worst performances of the year, respectively. Without re-watching the tape (time constraints this week), it looked like the pressure coming up the middle all afternoon was stemming from a lack of adjustment to late blitzes and twists/stunts. This is something these guys have been struggling with since training camp and I expect to see a non-stop effort by opposing defenses to do this the rest of the year. Jones is starting to look a little over-matched in there. D.J. Fluker had a positive game, showing flashes of dominance as a run blocker. Mentally, just as I saw with with the Chargers, he is a step behind often and doesn’t have the foot speed to catch up. He missed two blitzes inside that forced Manning into early throws.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Ends: With the injuries mounting at the position, Jason Pierre-Paul played 96% of the team’s snaps. The fatigue hampered his play a bit, but overall it was a gutsy performance if nothing else. He applied two pressures to Wilson, including one knockdown. He failed to rise to the new bar he set after a 3 sack performance in Denver and continues to be one of the biggest 2017 disappointments for NYG. The bright spot of the day was the play of rookie Avery Moss, who played less than half of the team’s snaps but led them with 4 pressures. He also forced the Rawls fumble after good backside pursuit. Moss is still way behind when it comes to strength and power, but he is making the most of what he has and is getting the job done. This will be an important stretch in terms of him maturing into an NFL pass rusher.
  • Tackles: Once again, the Giants’ interior dominated. It’s like clockwork now when it comes to Damon Harrison beating single and double teams alike with his pop off the snap, top tier strength when engaged, and almost-shocking quickness to free himself and take down ball carriers. He recorded 7 tackles including 1 or a loss. Rookie Dalvin Tomlinson and veterans Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas were impact players against the run. Thomas recorded a season high 3 tackles and showed some of the quickness we saw in training camp. Those two veterans are fighting for  2018 roster spots now.

LINEBACKERS

  • B.J. Goodson’s impact on a game where the ball is thrown a lot is minimal at best. So far in his young career (and I know we still have to wait and see), Goodson is proving to be a 2-down player. He is over-matched when it comes to defending those 3rd-and-5 passes over the middle – late to recognize and he is a straight-line athlete, not a quick adjuster. Keenan Robinson led the team with 9 tackles and appears to be on the uptick after a rough start to the year.
  • Curtis Grant saw a season high 34 plays. His straight-line speed and presence stand out. He is excellent in pursuit but again, the quick twitch in coverage isn’t there. He had a hard time sticking to his assignment after his opponents made their cuts.
  • Devon Kennard is quietly having a very good year for NYG. The versatility he has shown from the SAM linebacker spot is what this team has been looking for. He applied pressure, hit Wilson a couple times, and was stout against the run. Used correctly, Kennard can be one of those quiet-but-essential difference makers

CORNERBACKS

  • Janoris Jenkins is the little engine that could. I noticed this about him when he faced off against Brandon Marshall in training camp and it has shown up a few times this year. Up against the 6’6”-Jimmy Graham with no help, Wilson threw a fade into the end zone and Jenkins easily contested the pass. He is a fighter and a quality cornerback.
  • In his first game back from suspension, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie struggled. He was outclassed by the quickness of Doug Baldwin on a couple of occasions. He was only on the field for 16 plays and one has to think he may be one of the first guys who checks out mentally. I really do wonder if there is a trade market out there for him so NYG can get the pick back they sent to PIT for Ross Cockrell. Speaking of Cockrell, he has quietly been a solid addition. Reliable but unspectacular, he is rarely caught out of position or out of control – two things I had in his college scouting report out of Duke. Curious to see if he can earn a future roster spot here because so far, so good.
  • Eli Apple was back in his starting role, playing 97% of the team’s snaps. He had some good plays, but overall it was a negative performance again. He suffered another defensive holding on a play where he was fooled by a double route and allowed a touchdown late in the game to Graham. What was most maddening were the amount of times he lost his outside contain assignment against the run. It’s a simple role and almost inexcusable to miss it multiple times in one game.

SAFETY

  • Landon Collins made the highlight reel a couple of times, with his body-slam tackle of Tyler Lockett and fumble recovery that set up the lone Giants’ touchdown. However his performance in deep coverage was downright awful. He was outclassed speed-wise and showed that he shouldn’t be handling any single-high duties. He also had a bad missed tackle on Jimmy Graham that gave SEA about 20 more yards on one of their touchdown scoring drives.
  • Darian Thompson had a quiet game in a good way, sticking to his assignments and applied pressure as a blitzer twice. Nat Berhe recorded a sack but was only on the field for 4 plays.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • K Aldrick Rosas: 0/1 – Miss from 47. With the Giants down 10-7 early in the 4th quarter, Rosas pushed his game tying attempt wide right.
  • P Brad Wing: 7 att/38.4 net avg. Wing had one of his blocks partially blocked but otherwise had a good day.
  • Return: Ed Eagan handled punt return duties but was a non factor.

3 STUDS

  • TE Evan Engram, DT Damon Harrison, DE Avery Moss

3 DUDS

  • OG John Jerry, OC Brett Jones, S Landon Collins

3 THOUGHTS ON SEA

  • Russell Wilson has had one of the more impressive starts to his career when considering his production and win total. That said, he makes a lot of rookie-caliber mistakes when it comes to holding onto the ball way too long and being erratic with his decision making. I would say over the past 20+ games his arrow has flat-lined a bit.
  • The SEA offensive line is just as bad, if not worse, than what NYG is working with. It may be what ends up holding them back from serious contention because they day they are matched up with a quality pass rushing team, they are in major trouble.
  • The Seattle linebackers for a few years now have proven what an athletic, physical group can do for a defense. Those guys can cover almost anything thrown their way, they can knock the helmets off blockers, and they don’t miss a lot of tackles. They have set the bar for 4-3 defenses and those that run a similar front need to take notes.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  • As I said before, I looked at this match-up on paper prior to the game and came away with the thought that NYG had no shot in this one. I have seen every SEA game so far this year and if there was a defensive personnel/scheme combination that the NYG offense wouldn’t be able to move the ball against, it would be this one. I don’t think the rest of the season will be this ugly, but that was a blueprint other teams can try to replicate to keep NYG under 10 points.
  • I am going to get a lot of disagreements about this, but Eli Manning should get a pass for the rest of the year. The situation he is in simply doesn’t get worse. The offensive line has a new leak each week, the scheme and play calling appear to be outclassed by the opposition, and he has replacement-level wide receivers all around him. I’m not going to get into what the NYG QB approach should be next year and forward, but Davis Webb isn’t even a thought this season.
  • I try to steer clear of being overly-critical of play-calling and schemes. I simply don’t have the access to the information that is needed to have a fully credible opinion on the subject. That said, I watch 8-10 NFL games per week and there isn’t an offense in the league that is more predictable and repeatable that what I see with NYG. The same mistakes and shortcomings arise each week. The injury situation and the OL may hamper them a bit, but how many times are we going to see a pass to a receiver darting towards the sideline 4 yards short on 3rd down? Or a quick dump off to a running back with 4 defenders between him and the first down marker? When do we see Evan Engram run up the seam? The rest of the season is as much a tryout for next year for the coaching staff as it is the players.
Oct 222017
 
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Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (October 22, 2017)

The Dagger – © USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 24 – NEW YORK GIANTS 7…
The New York Giants got back on the losing track on Sunday as they were defeated 24-7 by the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fell to 1-6 on the season.

The Giants’ defense kept the game close until the 4th quarter. On the other hand, New York’s offense was beyond dreadful. The Giants were held to four first downs and 42 net yards in the first half and finished the game with just 14 first downs and 177 net yards (four first downs 49 yards of which came on late meaningless drive). More embarrassingly, six of the Giants’ 14 first downs were the result of penalties on the Seahawks; and the Giants did not have one rushing first down in the game.

Despite these horrific numbers, the Giants led 7-3 at the half and only trailed 10-7 in the 4th quarter.

Both teams punted the ball away to start the game after each offense picked up two first downs. The Seahawks then put together a 16-play, 85-yard, almost 9-minute marathon of a drive that ended on downs at the New York Giants 1-yard line when cornerback Eli Apple broke up a 4th-and-goal pass.

Although the Giants’ offense went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, New York immediately got the ball back when defensive end Avery Moss forced a fumble that safety Landon Collins recovered and returned 32 yards to the Seattle 17-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 5-yard touchdown. The Giants actually led in this game 7-0.

Seattle’s ran 11 plays that only netted 33 yards on their next possession and punted. The Giants went three-and-out for the second time and punted. The Seahawks then scored their only points of the first half after an 8-play, 49-yard possession set up a successful 39-yard field goal with 42 seconds before intermission. At the half, the Giants led 7-3 despite being out-gained 222 net yards to 42.

New York’s first three drives of the second half resulted in a total of two first downs, 32 yards, and three punts. Meanwhile, although forced to punt twice, the Seahawks also took the lead on a 4-play, 59-yard drive that included three big pass plays and culminated with a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

The Giants’ best drive of the game was a 10-play affair that only accrued a total of 57 yards and three first downs. Unfortunately, it resulted in a missed 47-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas that could have tied the game early in the 4th quarter.

The Giants’ defense forced another punt, and with 11 minutes left in the game, despite all of the offensive futility, the Giants still only trailed by a field goal 10-7. But on 2nd-and-5 from their own 41-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away to Seattle at the Giants’ 38-yard line. On the very next snap, off of a trick play, Wilson threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson. The play was controversial as it was not clear if Richardson had possession of the ball as he was wrestling for it with Landon Collins. Seattle now led 17-7 with less than 10 minutes to play.

The game was decided when the Giants went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Seahawks then generated a 12-play, 50-yard drive that ended with Russell Wilson’s third touchdown pass on 2nd-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 2:14 left to play.

Manning finished the game 19-of-39 for 134 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught six of 12 passes thrown in his direction for 60 yards and a touchdown. Giants’ wide receiver caught a total of five passes for 45 yards. The Giants’ ground game was not good. Orleans Darkwa gained 35 yards on nine carries and Wayne Gallman chipped in with 15 yards on five carries.

Defensively, the Giants only accrued one sack, by safety Nat Berhe. The only turnover generated was the fumble Moss forced and Collins recovered.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were running back Paul Perkins (ribs), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), center Weston Richburg (concussion), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and quarterback Davis Webb.

Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and defensive end Cap Capi (hamstring) all left the game and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants are 0-3 in MetLife Stadium. Not counting the strike seasons, the Giants last lost their first three home games in 1980.

The Giants have lost four consecutive games to Seattle, which has tied the all-time series, 9-9. The Seahawks are 3-0 versus the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants gained 177 yards on offense, their lowest total since they finished with 150 yards in a 38-0 loss at Carolina on September 22, 2013.

Quarterback Eli Manning played in his 208th regular-season game, breaking a tie with Howard Cross and moving into second place on the Giants’ career list. Hall of Famer Michael Strahan is the franchise’s record-holder with 216 games played. Manning started his 206th consecutive game.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo will address the media by conference call Monday afternoon.

Oct 202017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 15, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants, October 22, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
Last Sunday night was fun. This preview is not.

This preview is going to piss off a lot of loyal New York Giants fans who understandably want to grasp onto any sliver of hope for the 2017 NFL season. Last Sunday’s huge upset of the Denver Broncos was (1) too little, too late; and (2) most likely a mirage against a team that got caught taking the Giants too lightly.

The Giants season died when they began the season 0-5. Hell, historically speaking, it died when they started 0-3. The team wasn’t ready to play the 2017 season and nothing that transpires now will change those facts. The Giants are a seriously-flawed team (in all three phases) that now has nearly-insurmountable injury issues. They have no margin for error. Unfortunately all of this will be made clear very soon to those still clinging to hope.

The danger moving forward is that ownership and management will misplace responsibility once the season is over. The offense, defense, and special teams ended this season long before the Injured Reserve list began to expand. The team once again botched its own personnel and coaching analysis (more on that below). There are structural issues that must be dealt with if this team is ever to become a CONSISTENT winner, and not one that merely threatens to make the playoffs every four or five years. One senses that the Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011 emboldened franchise management with a certain degree of arrogance that now seems quite misplaced. To be blunt, their shit is beginning to stink.

Many fans were upset with my comments that wins from here on out will only worsen the Giants draft position. I will never root against the Giants. It’s not in my DNA. But if we are thinking with our heads and not our hearts, this team will need to draft its next franchise quarterback in 2018. And every win between now and the end of the season will make that goal more difficult. Trading up will cost a future #1 draft pick. And I don’t agree with those who argue that winning games is more important than draft slotting (see Cedric Jones vs. Jonathan Ogden or Aaron Ross vs. Darrelle Revis).

I’m sorry to be Debbie Downer. It sucks. This is supposed to be fun and entertaining. But I’ve got to call it like I see it.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Paul Perkins (ribs – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (ankle – questionable)
  • OC Weston Richburg (concussion – out)
  • OG John Jerry (tooth – probable)
  • DE Olivier Vernon (ankle – out)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas (neck – out)
  • LB Calvin Munson (quad – out)
  • S Landon Collins (ankle – probable)
  • LS Zak DeOssie (wrist/elbow – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Many Giants fans are not accurately assessing last Sunday’s offensive futility. The reason is that for the first time in recent memory, the Giants actually had what appeared to be a physical ground game. The Giants not only rushed for a season-high 148 yards against the NFL’s #1 run defense, but they did it in a blunt-force fashion that made us all feel good.

But despite all of that, the Giants only accrued 16 offensive points, 12 first downs, and less than 120 yards passing. The team only converted on four 3rd-down opportunities. The defense scored and Tom Quinn’s special teams didn’t screw up – neither are common occurrences.

More than all of that, one game does not make a trend. Orleans Darkwa is still an incredibly injury-prone back and it is highly doubtful that Flowers-Jerry-Jones-Fluker-Pugh are the reincarnation of the 1990 New York Giants offensive line.

What is most troubling about all of this is that the (expletive deleted) coaching staff couldn’t figure out that Pugh was the team’s best offensive tackle. Hell, he may still be the best left tackle on the team. And perhaps Fluker should have been starting all along? (Remains to been determined, but he clearly added a much-needed degree of physicality to the OL). Why can’t management acquire good offensive linemen and why can’t this coaching staff put them in the best position to succeed? Good job at starting to figure this out after spring workouts, 10 OTAs, training camp, four preseason games, and an 0-5 start!!! (sarcasm off) What would the Giants record be right now if the Giants had simply configured their offensive line better in training camp?

More bad news? Granted the Denver Broncos secondary is one of the best in the NFL, but the Giants patchwork wide receiving corps had TWO catches last week! Two for 22 yards! Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall (who is clearly done and was a bad signing) are not coming back. Sterling Shepard should help, but he’s not an outside threat. Teams simply are not going to be threatened by Roger Lewis and Tavarres King. I would imagine the Legion of Boom was cackling quite a bit in the film room this week.

Let’s end on a positive note. Evan Engram and Wayne Gallman look like promising young players. I’m excited to see more of them. I also am intrigued to see if the Giants can really morph their offense into a more physical ground-attack. I also suggest that Giants fans really begin to soak in the twilight period of Eli Manning’s career. He’ll be gone sooner than most of us realize, and he is still breaking League and Franchise quarterback records with each passing game. The Giants ditched Phil Simms before most of us were ready and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen again.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Take a bow New York Giants defense! Your performance against the Denver Broncos last week was great! You held the Broncos to three points until late in the 4th quarter! And you did this short-handed without Olivier Vernon and Jonathan Casillas!

Where the (expletive deleted) was this in the past four games? What would the Giants record be right now had the defense played like this against the Lions, Bucs, Eagles, and Chargers?

Again, one game does not make a trend. Prove last Sunday was no fluke. Can we have another game like Jason Pierre-Paul and Eli Apple? Some more sacks and turnovers please? Another game where we hold onto a 4th-quarter lead?

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Yea! Tom Quinn’s special teams didn’t implode for one game! And Ed Eagan flashed on his lone punt return. One game does not… oh (blank) it!

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo on how not calling the offensive plays impacted him as a coach: “It was interesting on Sunday night for the first time in a long time not calling plays, where I guess I could move around with a little more energy and vigor than I usually can. Your normal coaching personality comes out a little bit more when you don’t call the plays, simply because of thinking ahead from just a playcaller standpoint. You’re always thinking ahead from a game management standpoint, but when you remove the actual calling of the plays, it changes some things. I guess your personality comes out a little bit more on the sideline. So that was fun for me.”

THE FINAL WORD
This game will determine how much last Sunday night was a mirage or not.

Nov 102014
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Seattle Seahawks 38 – New York Giants 17

Game Overview

Stating the obvious, there is enough empirical evidence to clearly demonstrate that the New York Giants are not a good football team. Most notably:

  • For the second season in a row, after nine games, the team is 3-6.
  • When the Giants play a good football team, it not only loses but it loses badly. Going back to 2013, five of the team’s last eight losses have been by three touchdowns or more. In other words, the Giants are regularly being blown out.
  • The Giants are now officially the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL – dead last. They are 31st against the run, 25th against the pass, and 27th in scoring defense. Rewind back to training camp, the defense was supposed to be the strength of this team.

The season is over by mid-November again. Fans are already thinking about the offseason with almost half the schedule still to play. This is a pretty sad state of affairs.

Offensive Overview

Aided by a Seattle turnover, the Giants’ offensive performed reasonably well in a very tough environment in the first half of the game, scoring 17 points on six possessions. The two big offensive negatives in the first half were (1) for the 20th game in a row, not being able to score on the opening drive of a game, and (2) failing to generate any points after the second Seattle turnover near midfield.

The second half was a different story as the Giants did not score a single point on five offensive possessions, two ending with turnovers and one on downs.

Overall, the basic problem remains. The Giants haven’t been able to run the football during the four-game losing streak. Giants’ running backs were held to 43 yards rushing on 16 carries. (There was also one WR carry for 11 yards).

In the first half, the Giants ran 33 plays and passed the ball 23 times (almost 70 percent). In the second half, the Giants ran 30 plays and passed the ball 23 times (77 percent).

Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterback

Eli Manning played better in the first half, completing 16-of-23 passes for 192 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. In the second half, he completed 13-of-21 passes for 91 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Manning had a couple of superb excellent deep throws in the first half including his 25 yarder to Preston Parker and his 44 yarder to Odell Beckham.

Manning’s one interception, his first since September, is somewhat correctly being pointed to as one of the reasons why the Giants failed to make this a competitive game late in the contest. The Giants had a 1st-and-10 at the Seattle 39-yard line in a tie game. He threw deep to Odell Beckham against one-on-one coverage by CB Richard Sherman. In this case, Sherman had good position and an interception off of a deflected pass was the result. Eli took a shot and trusted his rookie WR to make a play. It didn’t happen. Should Eli have played it more conservatively? In hindsight, yes. But this is the type of shot that most NFL quarterbacks will take in the direction of their best receiver. The defense collapsed after this play. Manning doesn’t play defense. Did the interception suck the air out of the defense’s balloon too? Perhaps. But it should not have. It was still a tie game.

Eli’s worst play came with the game out of reach when he fumbled the ball away without being touched.

Andre Williams, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Running Backs

Giants running backs only ran the ball 10 times in the first half and six times in the second half. Andre Williams carried the ball 13 times for 33 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and scored one touchdown. Some fans contend he should be able to do more with the blocking he is getting, but I don’t see it. Williams is not getting much room to operate. Williams caught 2-of-5 passes thrown in his direction for five yards. Peyton Hillis carried the ball once for four yards and caught the ball once for five yards before leaving with a concussion, his second in two seasons. RB Michael Cox ran the ball twice for six yards and caught the ball twice for nine yards before leaving the game with a broken leg.

Wide Receivers

Two bright spots in this game were the play of Odell Beckham (7 catches for 108 yards) and Preston Parker (7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown). Like the offense, both performed better in the first half, when Beckham had 5 catches for 92 yards and Parker had 4 catches for 49 yards. Beckham was matched up against All-Pro Richard Sherman for most of the game and caused Sherman problems at times, such as his double-move on his 44-yard deep catch. He followed that up with a 26-yard reception, setting up the Giants’ second touchdown of the game.

Preston Parker, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

After a terrible performance against the Colts, Parker rebounded with his best game as a Giant, catching all seven passes thrown in his direction. He was flagged with a 10-yard offensive pass interference penalty that helped to stop a critical drive right after a second Seattle turnover. Parker made a very nice play on 3rd-and-4 by taking a big hit, breaking a tackle, and turning a short completion into a 20-yard gain.

Rueben Randle still is not productive enough. He caught 5-of-10 passes thrown in his direction for 39 yards. To be fair to Randle, he was obviously held/interfered with at least a couple of times but the penalties were not called.

Corey Washington was activated for the game but did not play on offense.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell caught 4-of-6 passes thrown in his direction for 26 yards. His longest receptions were only seven yards each. Daniel Fells caught one pass for 12 yards.

Offensive Line

Despite throwing the football 73 percent of the time against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, one would think that the offensive line did a reasonable job in pass protection by giving up only one sack (another “sack” was credited when the ball slipped out of Eli’s hand). However, too often Manning had Seattle defenders bearing down on him, even on quick-pass plays or on plays where the Giants moved the pocket. Manning was officially hit nine times but the pressure was even greater than that.

Look at the following back-to-back offensive plays where Eli is under immediate pressure as first Will Beatty, then John Jerry, completely whiff (and I do mean whiff) on their blocks.

Will Beatty whiffs in pass protection

Will Beatty whiffs in pass protection

John Jerry whiffs in pass protection

John Jerry whiffs in pass protection

Here is another example where Eli is forced to unload the ball quickly as he is about to get slammed by two defenders.

No time for Eli Manning

No time for Eli Manning

On running plays, once again, the Giants got their butts whipped up front by a stronger, tougher, more physical front seven. To be brutally honest, the Giants’ offensive line is soft.

Look at this play! The defensive end easily gets past Jerry and Pugh to nail Williams, who never had a chance. One man beat two blockers!

Defensive end blows by Jerry and Pugh to hit Williams in backfield

Defensive end blows by Jerry and Pugh to hit Williams in backfield

Weston Richburg, coming off an ankle injury, was flagged twice for holding and each penalty helped to end possessions prematurely. He had issues on other plays both run blocking and in pass protection. Justin Pugh was flagged with a false start. J.D. Walton simply isn’t very good. He’s a liability as both run and pass blocker.

Defensive Overview

New York Giants defensive rankings in terms of yards allowed:

  • 2011 – 27th
  • 2012 – 31st
  • 2013 – 8th
  • 2014 – 32nd

The 2011 and 2012 Giants’ defenses each gave up over 6,000 yards of offense – the first time that has ever happened in the team’s long and storied history. That may happen again in 2014 as the defense is allowing over 400 yards per game.

Here’s a hint Perry Fewell…stop smiling.

Fewell after the Seahawks convert on 3rd down

Fewell after the Seahawks convert on 3rd down

In the Seattle game, the positives were three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble). The Giants also forced two more fumbles that they were unable to recover. Unfortunately, both failed recovery attempts came on the game-clinching drive by Seattle that put them up 31-17.

But this was a horrific defensive performance and the players ought to be ashamed of themselves. The 350 yards rushing allowed were the most by an NFL defense in five years and the third-most in the 90-year history of the franchise.

The defense was out-muscled by a tougher, more physical opponent. Whether it was poor preparation by the coaching staff or player stupidity, the defense continually gave up the edge to QB Russell Wilson (14 carries for 107 yards and one touchdown). And the Giants wanted no part of RB Marshawn Lynch (21 carries for 140 yards and four touchdowns) between the tackles and off-tackle.

Defensive Line/Linebackers

A train wreck. 350 yards rushing? This is a game for men and the Giants didn’t play like men. And they didn’t play smart. Giant defenders over-pursued and lost contain. The most annoying thing is it isn’t like the Giants haven’t seen this style of offense before. They had to prepare for it in recent years against Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick.

As an example, look at the following back-to-back plays in the first quarter where the left side of the defense, including Ayers, completely loses contain on Wilson, who runs for a total of 20 yards.

Left side of the defense loses contain

Left side of the defense loses contain

Then they do it again on the very next play!

Then they do it again on the very next play!

In the second quarter, it was more of the same. In the first picture, either JPP or Stevie Brown lose contain on the right side of the defense; in the second picture, either Mathias Kiwanuka or Jacquian Williams lose contain on the left side.

Now right side of defense loses contain

Now right side of defense loses contain

Feeling left out, the left side decides to abandon its responsibilities

Feeling left out, the left side decides to abandon its responsibilities

But if you think the damage was limited to the perimeter of the defense, you are sorely mistaken. Time after time the Seahawks powered right up the gut or off tackle against a very soft defense in mano a mano situations. Defenders were pushed back and many yards were gained after contact. For example, there was one play where McClain hit RB Marshawn Lynch right at the line, but Lynch ran right through McClain and picked up 22 yards.

The only positives you can put to are that Robert Ayers and Johnathan Hankins each had sacks and Jason Pierre-Paul and Jameel McClain both forced fumbles.

Playing all 64 defensive snaps were McClain (12 tackles), Williams (9 tackles), and Pierre-Paul (8 tackles).

The Giants’ defensive tackles played like crap and were pushed back with ease. Inside, Hankins (51 snaps, 4 tackles) saw most of the action. Mike Patterson (28 snaps, 9 tackles) split time with Markus Kuhn (22 snaps, 1 tackle). Cullen Jenkins saw 18 snaps and had two tackles.

Kiwanuka (40 snaps, 1 tackles) did not play well. He was regularly mauled at the point-of-attack. And both he and Ayers (32 snaps, 5 tackles) lost outside contain on Wilson running plays. Damontre Moore only had three snaps (and one of those, Fewell had him dropping into coverage on a three-man rush on 3rd down that resulted in an easy completion (shocker). Devon Kennard had 22 snaps and finished with one tackle.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Backs

The Seahawks only passed for 172 yards, but those 172 yards came on 10 pass completions and the passing yards are misleading because Seattle ran the football so well. Zack Bowman and Quintin Demps had interceptions and Antrel Rolle recovered a fumble.

The Giants played much of the game in the nickel with Bowman and Rodgers-Cromartie seeing 60+ snaps and Jayron Hosley 42 snaps. Stevie Brown (35 snaps) saw more action than Demps (28 snaps), who may have been out of position on a 3rd-and-long deep pass that was luckily overthrown. Newcomer CB Chykie Brown played six snaps.

The big pass play in terms of yardage was a deep shot where – for some reason – Fewell had LB Jacquian Williams covering a wideout 60 yards down the field. But we’ve seen this before in Fewell’s defense.

Special Teams

Steve Weatherford is clearly struggling with the torn ligaments in his left ankle and his bad back. He punted five times for an average of 38.6 yards and a net of 34.4 yards. If there is any chance that he could be doing more damage to himself and/or he might not be completely healthy for training camp, the Giants should IR him now. Seattle only returned two punts for a total of one yard.

PK Josh Brown remains perfect on the year as he converted from 41 yards out. Two of his three kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Seattle returned one kickoff for 28 yards.

Seattle only punted once in the game and that punt resulted in a touchback. Two of Seattle’s seven kickoffs were returned, with Michael Cox only reaching the 19 and 16 yard lines.

(New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks, November 9, 2014)
Nov 092014
 
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Fan, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Embarrassed Giants Fan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the New York Giants 38-17 on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. With the loss, the Giants’ overall record fell to 3-6, the same record the team had after nine games last season.

The Giants led 17-14 at halftime and the game was tied 17-17 heading into the 4th quarter, but the Seahawks put the Giants away with three touchdowns in the final period and 24 unanswered second-half points.

The Giants’ offense was shutout in the second half and the defense gave up 350 total yards rushing, the most by an NFL team since 2009 and the third-most rushing yards the Giants have ever given up in a single game in team history. Seattle averaged almost eight yards per carry.

In the end, the Seahawks out-gained the Giants in first downs (27 to 20), total yards (510 to 324), rushing yards (350 to 54), and time of possession (33:12 to 26:48).

The Giants received the ball first to start the game but quickly punted. Seattle drove 80 yards in six plays on their first possession, finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Marshawn Lynch.

Preston Parker, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants punted again on their second possession but immediately got the ball back when CB Zack Bowman intercepted QB Russell Wilson at the Seattle 31-yard line and returned it to the 24. Five plays later, QB Eli Manning his WR Preston Parker for a 6-yard touchdown and the game was tied 7-7.

Seattle punted on their third drive and the Giants quickly went up 14-7 after 44 and 26 yard passes from Manning to WR Odell Beckham set up RB Andre Williams’ 3-yard touchdown run. Seattle turned the ball over again on their fourth possession after LB Jameel McClain forced a fumble that was recovered by S Antrel Rolle at the Seattle 47. New York was unable to convert this turnover into points and punted.

The Seahawks then responded with a 15-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Lynch to tie the game at 14-14 with just under two minutes to play before halftime. On this possession, the Seahawks converted on a 4th-and-3 from the Giants’ 36-yard line.

With 1:57 left to play, the Giants were able to drive 57 yards to set up a successful 41-yard field goal from PK Josh Brown as time expired.

The Giants led 17-14 at the half.

Seattle received the ball to start the third quarter but their first drive ended when Wilson’s deep was intercepted at the Giants’ 10-yard line by S Quintin Demps. After the Giants gained two first downs and punted, Seattle drove 70 yards in seven plays to set up a 28-yard field goal late in the quarter to tie the game 17-17.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Then the game really turned. The Giants picked up two first downs. On 1st-and-10 from Seattle 39-yard line, Manning threw a deep ball to Beckham who was well covered by CB Richard Sherman. The deflected ball was intercepted by S Earl Thomas in the end zone and returned 47 yards to the Seattle 42-yard line. The Giants’ defense then surrendered a third touchdown run by Lynch on a 7-play, 58-yard drive. Seattle 24 – New York 17.

The Giants went three-and-out on their next possession and Seattle then went up by two touchdowns by driving 53 yards in seven plays, with Lynch scoring his fourth touchdown with just under eight minutes to play. Seattle 31 – New York 17.

The Giants gained two first downs on the ensuring possession but the drive stalled at the Giants’ 46-yard line. The Giants turned the football over on downs after a run and three incomplete passes. Seattle put the game away with a 45-yard run by RB Christine Michael and then a 1-yard run by Wilson. Seahawks 38 – Giants 17. The Giants final possession ended with a sack-fumble-recovery by the Seahawks at the Giants 31-yard line.

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

Michael Cox, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Michael Cox – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Post-Game Injury Report: RB Michael Cox fractured his lower leg and will be lost for the remainder of the 2014 NFL season. RB Peyton Hillis suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. Rookie S Nat Berhe left in the second quarter with an ankle injury. TE Daniel Fells suffered a burner in the fourth quarter.

Post-Game Notes: QB Eli Manning finished the game 29-of-44 for 283 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Wide receivers Odell Beckham (7 catches for 108 yards) and Preston Parker (7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown) led the Giants in receiving. The Giants leading rusher was Andre Williams who only had 33 yards on 13 carries.

CB Zack Bowman and S Quintin Demps intercepted passes. LB Jameel McClain forced a fumble that S Antrel Rolle recovered. DE Jason Pierre-Paul and Demps also forced fumbles that the Giants did not recover. DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Robert Ayers each had one sack.

Inactive for the Giants were RB Rashad Jennings (knee), OG Adam Snyder (knee), OG Brandon Mosley, OT James Brewer, DE Kerry Wynn, DT Jay Bromley, and CB Mike Harris.

Nov 072014
 
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Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (December 15, 2013)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks, November 9, 2014

The 3-5 New York Giants (1-2 in the NFC East) will travel to Seattle to play the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks in a stadium where the road team rarely wins. Despite injury issues at quarterback, the 6-2 Philadelphia Eagles (2-0 in the division) and 6-3 Dallas Cowboys (1-1) in the division have all but left the Giants in the dust. The Giants have zero wiggle room. They must win this game or their season is all but officially over.

FOUR DOWNS:

First Down
Will Jason Pierre-Paul be Jason Pierre-Paul?
While few players on the Giants defense played well Monday night, Pierre-Paul was one of those that stood out as being abnormally quiet. Just a week after his best game of the season, Pierre-Paul was kept in check all night in prime time. The same statement that was made before the season still holds true today, in order for the defense to be successful, Pierre-Paul need to be a force. Be that against the run, the pass, or both. He can’t go invisible as he did on Monday.

Second Down
Will New York’s rebuilt secondary hold up?
It seems like a very, very long time ago that the Giants secondary was considered the deepest and strength of the team. Injuries have ravaged the position, taking the teams No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and now, with Zack Bowman in the hospital, No. 5 cornerbacks. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been banged up and now, New York may be starting a combination of Jayron Hosley and Chandler Fenner opposite DRC. It’s gotten ugly, very ugly. With a pass rush that has been sporadic, the New York secondary may be ripe for the picking Sunday.

Third Down
Can Odell Beckahm Jr. continue to progress?
If the Giants season ends short of the playoffs, one of the things that will be interesting to watch progress is the play of Odell Beckham Jr. The rookie has progressed each game he’s played with his play coming to the forefront on Monday night. The potential of Beckham going up against Richard Sherman will be fun to watch.

Fourth Down
Will Eli Manning throw an interception?
Eli Manning is going through his best interception-less streak of his career, but is this the week it finally comes to an end? The Seahawks have one of the better secondaries in the NFL and there’s a chance if New York falls behind early, Manning will need to air it out. One of the biggest positives of this season has been the progression of Manning after the regression from a year ago.

BREAKING DOWN SEATTLE:

OFFENSE – by Connor Hughes
Strength?
The Seahawks rushing attack is one of the best in the NFL with its combination of power and technique. The team simply wears opponents down throughout a game and by the fourth, no one wants any part of Marshawn Lynch. Couple the running game with the smart play of Russell Wilson, and Seattle has quite the 1-2 punch.

This season, Seattle is No. 2 in rushing yards per game, averaging 148.5.

Weakness?
Aside from Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks don’t really have another dynamic playmaker on the team’s offense. Golden Tate is in Detroit, Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets. There really isn’t anyone as a receiver that scares an opposition. From that standpoint, if New York can contain the run, the Seahawks lack-of receivers may be exactly what the Giants beat-up secondary needs.

DEFENSE by Eric Kennedy
Strength?
While not quite as intimidating defensively as last season, the Seahawks are still very good on defense. In terms of yards allowed, they are fourth in the NFL (4th against the run and 6th against the pass). But they are 10th in points allowed. When healthy, the Seahawks are strong on the defensive line and have the best secondary in the NFL. While Seattle’s cornerbacks receiver a lot of media attention, they have the best starting safety combination in the NFL. Bruce Irvin is a play-maker at linebacker.

Weakness?
Injuries. Seattle has had injury issues both at linebacker and in the secondary. And while Seattle can still rush the passer, the sack numbers haven’t been there  yet with Seattle only accruing 11 sacks on the season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Connor Hughes –
Odell Beckham Jr.
Yeah, I most definitely was not the guy that wrote the mathematically article about how the Giants should hold off on any lofty expectations about Beckham. The receiver looks like the real deal and is getting better and better each passing week. It will be very interesting to watch Beckham against the Seattle secondary and against Sherman when he wonders over to that side.

Beckham does things athletically I’ve never seen before. The one-handed grabs that were shown on tape on Monday Night Football were the same catches he was making every day from the jugs machine in training camp. Now that he’s healthy, the world is seeing what he’s capable of.

He’s surprised me. A lot.

Eric Kennedy –
Jason Pierre-Paul
If Robert Ayers plays as well as he did last week, and Jason Pierre-Paul can re-gain the form he showed only a few weeks ago against Dallas, the Giants defensive line could cause all kinds of problems for a Seahawks offensive line that has really struggled with injuries. The pass rush is important, but this week, run defense will be the greater emphasis. Stop the run.

FROM THE COACHES’ MOUTH:

Tom Coughlin – On the Seahawks leading the NFL with 5.1 yards per carry: “They definitely build themselves on that aspect of it. Now, they do it from open formations, too. It’s not just regular personnel. They want to run the ball first, and off of that comes all of their play-actions, which are outstanding, and then the quarterback (Russell Wilson) and his ability to keep the ball on the bootleg – scramble, get on the perimeter, make plays outside the pocket, that’s his game. He has a strong arm and he’s smart…Keep him in (the pocket). Keep him in there. He’s their second-leading rusher and he runs up and down the field if you’re not careful.”

Pete Carroll – “I think (Odell Beckham) looks terrific. We had him really highly rated in the draft. (We) loved his overall football ability. He was a terrific returner. His great speed and also he has just great athleticism and he is great competitor and smart player. You put it all together. He is a tremendous prospect for them and he is really coming alive and you can see that he has great potential.”

FINAL WORD:

Connor Hughes – I have a feeling this game will be a lot closer than many think, but this season as an entirety feels like it may spiral out of control after this loss. Antrel Rolle’s comments seem to have ruffled a few feathers and there’s only so much that can be expected from the Giants’ secondary. If Rodgers-Cromartie goes down, how much can really be expected of Chandler Fenner and Jayron Hosley?

It really is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen – the injuries that constantly seem to attack the Giants. More than anything else, the secondary injuries. Every year it seems players drop like flies. I don’t have any explanation for it, but this year may be the worst in recent memory. Realistically, because of injuries, the Giants could enter Sunday’s game without the following starters:

  • Running back (Jennings)
  • Receiver No. 2 (Cruz)
  • Receiver No. 3 (Jernigan)
  • Left guard (Schwartz)
  • Right Guard (Snee)
  • Left Guard (Richburg)
  • Defensive Tackle (Jenkins)
  • Defensive End (Kiwanuka)
  • Middle Linebacker (Beason)
  • Stronside Linebacker (McClain – who’s playing middle because of Beason)
  • Cornerback No. 2 (Amukamara)
  • Cornerback No. 3 (Thurmond)
  • Cornerback No. 4 (McBride)
  • Cornerback No. 5 (Bowman)

How many teams can take claim to that? How many teams can survive that? Seattle 28 – New York 17.

Eric Kennedy – I really want to pick the Giants in this game, but I can’t. Seattle doesn’t appear to be the same team as they were last year and I think they can be beaten at home. And in some ways, this game is a good match-up for the Giants in that the strength of Seattle’s offense is their running game rather than their passing game – which is key for the G-Men given New York’s incredibly banged-up secondary. But I just don’t see how the Giants are going to move the football in this game unless Eli Manning and Odell Beckham put on a 2-man show. The Seattle defensive line is going to dominate the Giants offensive line. In particular, their big defensive tackles are going to take away the inside running game. The Giants will become one dimensional. Rueben Randle will be easily handled and the Seahawks have the linebackers and safeties to cover Larry Donnell pretty effectively. If I’m Coughlin and McAdoo, I replace Preston Parker in the slot with Kevin Ogletree and perhaps the Giants could do some damage there.

Seattle just needs to play it conservatively and keep pounding the ball. With the Giants unable to move the rock and likely to be punting frequently with an injured punter (back problems now for Steve Weatherford), the Giants defense will eventually break. Look for Eli to be under duress, get frustrated, and throw a pick or two.

Bottom line…the Giants are 3-0 against bad teams; 0-5 against better teams. And the five losses haven’t been close. Giants keep it interesting until second half, but New York loses 29-9.