Nov 052009
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Philadelphia Eagles 40 (5-2) – New York Giants 17 (5-3)

by The Hack for

Game Summary: This one’s going to be short and sweet, folks. The Giants lost all three phases of the game, and badly, on Sunday. Mistakes, problems with communication, questions about the game planning on both sides of the ball, penalties…where to start with this mess? Problems that were once thought to be isolated or aberrations are becoming trends.

Instead of focusing on what’s already been dissected, bisected, inspected, neglected, injected and infected on BBI, this will cover the high…errr…LOWlights of the game and on Saturday I will publish a more detailed review and analysis of the first half of the season.

New York wasn’t ready for this game. The opening kickoff was a precursor of the disaster to come. Poor coverage set Philly up at their own 40-yard line. A 17-yard screen to LeSean McCoy on first down in which he abused Chase Blackburn by sucking him to the line of scrimmage before peeling off to the right into space put the ball in Giants territory. Following a 3-yard run, the Eagles ran a simple fullback dive in which C.C. Brown blitzed from the left side of the Giants formation and got caught in the backfield and never recovered. Read that again. C.C. Brown, over 45 yards, could not close the distance on a fullback whose longest run ever before Sunday was five yards. Chase Blackburn got caught charging outside on the right side of the line before finally realizing the play went right past where he had lined up , Pierce got manhandled completely out of the play, and not to be outdone, Clark was simply walled off the play, pushed to the ground, and never got up. In fact, I think he laid there for the rest of the afternoon.

Three plays and the rout was on.

From bad to worse to atrocious was about to happen. After getting fairly good field position themselves, the Giants needed just three plays to put Philadelphia back into prime position to score. A 13 yard gain by Brandon Jacobs, followed by no gain on the ensuing first down resulted in second and long. Manning dropped back, bird dogged Travis Beckum, and threw the ball right to Asante Samuel.

Philadelphia then executed a touchdown throw to Brent Celek above the linebackers and under the safety. It was called back, and after Corey Webster made a nice play to break up a pass to DeSean Jackson, Donovan McNabb completed a third and goal pass from the 17-yard line once again to Brent Celek. Guess where it went? Yep, right between safeties C.C. Brown and Michael Johnson, and it wasn’t even close.

Six offensive plays by the Eagle, and the rout was essentially complete. Down 13-0 (Robbins blocked the extra point attempt) less than four minutes into the first quarter, for all intents and purposes, this game was over.

Tale O’ The Tape: Once again if you hadn’t seen the game or the final score and just looked at it statistically, you’d have thought this was a close game. The Giants had more first downs, ran an astounding 24 more plays than the Eagles, had roughly the same amount of yards for the game, and they also had a very impressive nine minute advantage in time of possession. Once again, for the third straight week, the final statistic is the one that doomed the Giants: Turnovers. The Giants turned it over on two interceptions and one fumble, all three setting up points for the Eagles (two touchdowns and one field goal). On the day, the Eagles average starting field position was their own 40-yard line. The Eagles started four drives at their 40 yard line or better (own 40, NYG 10, own 46 and NYG 43). Those four drives resulted in 23 points. The final score had a difference of 23 points.

Frankly, as bad as the defense has been and was again on Sunday, the offense and the special teams put them in no win situations over and over again.

Offense: The Giants, despite being down early, didn’t abandon the running game as they did last week. Until late in the fourth quarter, the Giants actually were running more than passing. Naturally, considering how far down they were at the half, some people on BBI second guessed that strategy. However, if the defense gets off the field on the third and one play where McCoy goes 66 yards, the Giants have the ball back in decent field position with plenty of time and all the momentum for a comeback.

A criticism that seems to merit some serious thought is the lack of imagination the Giants have had on offense recently. It certainly appears that the opponents know what’s coming next. Misdirection and any type of decoy/deception plays are completely gone from the playbook. The Giants aren’t even running counters any longer.

Predictability has been a problem for a long time, years even. If fans know that after a first down pass goes incomplete that the second down play is going to be a run by Jacobs, so do the opponents. If the fans know that when Travis Beckum gets into the game that the play is going to be a pass, so do the opponents.

Finally, these past two weeks (and maybe longer) Ahmad Bradshaw has played with a broken bone in his foot and his statistics suggest that it’s bothering him more than he’s letting on. It’s puzzling that despite his situation, Danny Ware didn’t get an opportunity, even with the game lost late in the fourth quarter, to show what he could do.

The Quarterbacks: The crash to earth is complete. Eli Manning was not able to regain control after two horrible weeks and finally nose dived into the ground. It’s nearly impossible to believe that the QB out there against the Eagles was the same one seen in the first five games of the year. Four of his first five passes had interception potential, as the Eagles got hands on them. One of them was an interception, and it was deadly.

Eli had one stretch following the interception where he completed a string of passes, but threw another horrid, and I mean completely horrid, interception just before the half that lead to the fourth Eagles touchdown that essentially ended the game.

Three games a trend makes, just as five games a trend makes. Which guy is the real Eli? Or is he truly a Jekyll and Hyde player who will have these up and down stretches through his entire career? It’s been six years now that Eli has been in the league. It’s not acceptable any longer to have these types of stretches. There are no excuses.

Manning’s final statistics read 20-39 for 222 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs for a 55.7 QBR. Manning’s QBR for the season now stands at 86.4, good for 14th place on the leaderboard. The most sobering fact is that Manning has already thrown eight interceptions in just eight games. Last season, he only threw ten all year.

Could it be that his sprained foot is still a factor? Eli says it’s feeling better, but Tom Coughlin has suggested that at points in practice, Manning doesn’t seem to be pushing off as well as he should.

The Running Backs: For the first time in a while, Brandon Jacobs received 20 touches from the halfback position, gaining 84 yards. His 4.3 average was right where you want it to be, and any talk of him not getting the job done needs to stop. Bradshaw received nine carries but only gained 21 yards.

It still does not make any sense as to why the Giants insist on ‘balance’ between the running backs instead of riding the hot hand. They did have a couple series where Bradshaw spelled Jacobs on third down. Bradshaw spelled Jacobs for a series only a couple times this week, but the way Jacobs was running maybe they should have either brought Ware in for a series (due to Bradshaw’s injury) or let Jacobs tote the rock a few more times.

The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: Mario Manningham couldn’t go this week due to a shoulder injury and Ramses Barden was a healthy scratch.

The Giants tried to exploit the middle of the Eagles defense by throwing to the tight ends ten times, but only completed three (all to Kevin Boss) and suffering a deadly interception on one of those throws. Boss made the most of his three catches, recording 70 yards. Another throw over the middle intended for a wide open Sinorice Moss sailed 10 yards over his head and into the arms of a waiting defender. The middle was there for Manning, but he did not capitalize on it.

This week’s recipient of the “Critical Drop of the Day” is Steve Smith, who once again frustrated every BBI’er when a perfect pass (one of only a handful) from Eli went through his hands inside the five yard line on a fourth and four play from the Eagles 29-yard line. The fact that the Giants threw twice, on third and fourth downs, needing just four yards is troubling, once again. Deep passes on short yardage plays on third or fourth downs is now the norm for the Giants.

Hakeem Nicks had another solid day catching 4 passes for 53 yards. However, the opposing defenses have taken the quick out away from the Giants and are now snuffing it out regularly.

The Defense: There really isn’t much to say here that wasn’t said last week, so I’m not going to go into a detailed positional review. Suffice to say, MLB Antonio Pierce is either implementing DC Bill Sheridan’s calls incorrectly or Sheridan is guessing wrong about 80% of the time. The defense simply is not getting into position to be successful for much of the snaps. The two long touchdown runs along with the long touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson are perfect examples of calling and/or executing the wrong defense.

On second and seven from the Giants 41 yard line, the Eagles executed a simple fullback dive that ended up a 41 yard touchdown. Why? Simple, really. For some reason, Safety CC Brown blitzed from the right side of the Eagles formation and got caught in the backfield. Danny Clark was mauled to the ground and never got up. Antonio Pierce was ridden out of the play harder than…well…use your imagination. And of course, FS Michael Johnson was nowhere to be found until WAY too late.

On the DeSean Jackson touchdown, the Eagles ran a two receiver route. (I feel like starting a Seinfeld-like monologue, inserting “two receiver route” for “back and to the left” in the Magic Loogie scene). On the play, Webster passes Jackson off to the middle of the field, where NO one picks him up. Jackson breaks back outside, and C.C. Brown waves, “Hello, DeSean!” as he runs past him for the wide open touchdown. Truly, the most disgusting play of the day. At least on the Weaver run they ATTEMPTED to make a play, albeit the WRONG play. This was just simply blown assignments.

Finally, on third and one from their own 34-yard line – the Giants with all the momentum and looking to get the ball back with plenty of time to cut the deficit further – the Giants line up as if it’s third and 20. Four down linemen on the right side of the Philadelphia center and at the snap, Pierce and Brown attack the left side of the line, but not interior. They loop around the end, and watch helplessly as the Eagles (GASP!) actually execute a third and short play WITHOUT throwing DEEP!!!! What a novel idea!!

In a nutshell, folks, the defense played as if they were going up against their own offenses tendencies that they’d seen all year in practice.

Special Teams: They sucked. Better punting, so-so kickoffs, a missed FG, and atrocious blocking and tackling on the return teams. Those backup linebackers who can’t make the field on defense are proving why more and more as they show they can’t even execute the most basic of plays in the return games.

Coaching: Tom Coughlin needs to get hold of his coordinators and demand some originality and to cut out the crap that isn’t working. For the third week in a row, this team was not ready to play on Sunday, and by that I mean they didn’t expect anything they saw on offense OR defense from the opponents and never adjusted to it.

Offensive Player of the Game: None

Defensive Player of the Game: None

(Box Score – New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, November 1, 2009)
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