Nov 302011
 

New York Giants to Re-Sign LB Chase Blackburn: According to press reports, the Giants will soon re-sign LB Chase Blackburn, who played with the team from 2005-10.

November 29, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle) and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle) were undergoing further examination at the Hospital for Special Surgery yesterday. Both were forced to leave the game against the Saints and did not return. Head Coach Tom Coughlin was not able to provide an update on their status.

According to press reports using unidentified sources, Umenyiora might miss some time with his ankle injury. One source told The Daily News that Umenyiora will be “out a while.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday Conference Call: The transcript of yesterday’s media conference call with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at Giants.com.

WFAN Interview with S Antrel Rolle: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on the Giants’ Second Half Collapses: A Study in Second Halves by Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal

Articles on the Giants’ Defense:

Notes: The Saints gained 577 total yards, the second-highest total ever allowed by the Giants and the most they have surrendered in 68 years. New Orleans’ 49 points were the most allowed by the Giants since a 50-21 loss to Washington in 1999.

The Giants’ defense did not have a sack for the first time since November 14, 2010 vs. Dallas.

The Giants did not force a turnover, ending their NFL-long streak of 23 consecutive games with at least one takeaway.

This the fourth consecutive game in which the Giants did not score a first-half touchdown.

QB Eli Manning shattered a team record by completing 21 consecutive passes from late in the second quarter to late in the fourth quarter. The previous record of 13 in a row was set by Phil Simms and Kerry Collins.

Manning has thrown for 3,358 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He is the fifth quarterback in NFL history with seven consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdown passes. The other four quarterbacks to accomplish the feat are Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Drew Brees.

The Giants fell to 22-32-1 on Monday Night Football, including 15-24-1 on the road.

Nov 292011
 

Saints Blast Giants: The New York Giants were annihilated by the Saints 49-24 Monday night at the the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The loss dropped the Giants’ overall record to 6-5, one full game behind the division-leading Dallas Cowboys. It was the Giants third loss in a row after a 6-2 first-half start to the season.

The Giants’ defense played incredibly poorly, allowing 577 total net yards, 372 net yards passing, 205 net yards rushing, and 31 first downs. The Saints scored touchdowns on seven of their 11 possessions in the game. New Orleans also had 10 plays of 20 yards or more.

The Giants did pass for 392 total net yards and accrued 29 first downs, but only managed 73 net yards rushing. New York also turned the football over twice while the Saints did not.

The game was never really all that competitive after the first quarter. The Saints drove 70 yards in 11 plays on their opening possession but turned the ball over on downs on an unsuccessful fake field goal attempt. The Giants responded with a 9-play, 72 yard drive that ended with interception in the end zone.

After that, the roof caved in as the Saints scored three touchdowns on their next four possessions of the first half, including drives of 80 (10 plays), 80 (7 plays), and 88 (6 plays) yards. The last was the most damning as the Saints began the drive at their own 12 with 1:09 before halftime and New Orleans drove the field in 34 seconds.

Meanwhile,  New York’s five first half drives ended with an interception, two punts, a 42-yard field goal, and a missed 61-yard field goal. At halftime, the Saints led 21-3.

The Giants’ offense did show some life in the second half of the game, scoring three touchdowns on drives of 6-plays, 67 yards; 3-plays, 84 yards; and 12 plays, 80 yards. QB Eli Manning hooked up twice for touchdowns with WR Victor Cruz and HB Brandon Jaccobs also scored. However, the Giants still could not keep pace with the Saints as New Orleans managed four more touchdown drives of 73 yards (9 plays), 29 yards (2 plays), 80 yards (9 plays), and 40 yards (3 plays). The short 29-yard drive was set up by a fumble by rookie HB Da’Rel Scott on a failed 3rd-and-1 play. The Giants also botched a fake field goal attempt late in the third quarter when P Steve Weatherford failed to see that the play had been called off, turning the ball over on downs near midfield after a Saints’ post-possession penalty.

Manning finished the game 33-of-47 for 406 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Cruz caught 9 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Highlights/lowlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Injury Report: DE Osi Umenyiora missed the second half of the game with a sprained ankle. WR Hakeem Nicks suffered bruised ribs but continued to play. LB Mark Herzlich left the game with an ankle sprain and did not return.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference is available at Giants.com.

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

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Mario Manningham (knee), OT Will Beatty (eye/back), OT James Brewer, DT Jimmy Kennedy, LB Michael Boley (hamstring), and S Derrick Martin (hamstring).

Article on the 2011 New York Giants: Same Old Giants? Don’t Be So Sure by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on CB Will Blackmon: Giants’ Will Blackmon Returns to the NFL Feeling Healthy by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Nov 282011
 

November 28, 2011 New York Giants Injury Update – Boley Out: LB Michael Boley (hamstring) did not make the trip to New Orleans yesterday and will not play tonight against the Saints.

WR Mario Manningham (knee) did make the trip but remains “questionable” and will be a game-time decision.

Article on OL Kevin Boothe: Giants Glad They Held on to Versatile Kevin Boothe by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on P Steve Weatherford: The Giant of Strength From Toe to Head by Sam Borden of The New York Times

Nov 272011
 

By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at New Orleans Saints, November 28, 2011: The Giants are half-a-game out of first place in the NFC East with six games to play. But for them to safely win the division, they probably will have to go 10-6. 9-7 could get it done, but I wouldn’t count on that scenario. That means they will have to go 4-2 in the last six games of the season.

In my my mind, there are two realistic ways to get to the 10-6 mark:

  1. If the Giants lose their next two games, as expected, they will have to go 4-0 in their last four games of the season. That means a 4-0 run after going losing four in a row.
  2. They will have to steal one game from the Saints or Packers and then go 3-1 down the stretch.

Either scenario is possible, but for this to happen, the Giants have to play more like they did against the New England Patriots three weeks ago and less like they did against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

No one is giving the Giants a chance. It’s on the road in a hostile environment, where for some reason, the Giants play better. I love these kind of games. Don’t be shocked if the Giants pull off the upset.

Giants on Defense: In terms of yards, the Saints have the #1 offense in the NFL (#2 in terms of points). They have the #1 passing offense and #13 rushing offense. They have a quarterback who through 10 games has already thrown for 3,326 yards and 23 touchdowns (that’s a very good 16-game season for most quarterbacks). The Saints are also loaded with receiving weapons: TE Jimmy Graham (62 catches, 873 yards, 6 touchdowns), HB Darren Sproles (60 catches, 448 yards, 3 touchdowns), WR Marques Colston (42 catches, 589 yards, 3 touchdowns), WR Lance Moore (34 catches 386 yards, 3 touchdowns), HB Pierre Thomas (32 catches, 251 yards, 1 touchdown), WR Robert Meachem (29 catches, 359 yards, 4 touchdowns), WR Devery Henderson (18 catches, 318 yards, 2 touchdowns), etc., etc.

As you can see, the the Saints and QB Drew Brees not only put up a lot of numbers, they spread the football around, making their offense incredibly difficult to defend. Stop one or two guys, and one or two other guys bite you in the ass. That said, the two real match-up problems for the Giants are Graham at tight end and Sproles at halfback. Given the tremendously inexperienced state of the Giants’ linebacking corps (minus Jon Goff and Michael Boley), you got to figure Sean Payton is going to call a ton of short passes against the underneath coverage to exploit this weakness. This will also help to minimize the Giants’ pass rush.

I would think the Giants are going to play a lot of 5- and 6- defensive back coverages with Deon Grant and Prince Amukamara being on the field as much if not more than guys like Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones. This is a game where playing Jacquian Williams more than Mathias Kiwanuka makes more sense to me from a coverage (not experience) point-of-view. The problem is the Saints could cross the Giants up and run the ball like the Colts did against them last year. Folks concentrate on the Saints’ passing game, but the Saints can hurt you with the run. No one back stands out statistically, but as a group, the Saints have three guys who have rush for almost 350 yards each (Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles). Still, I’d load up against the pass, and take my chances.

The Giants desperately need their pass rush, which has largely disappeared the last two weeks, to re-emerge as a deadly and consistent force. If Justin Tuck is not effective, get him off the field and start JPP. Osi Umenyiora has to start playing better against quality opponents and not just the lesser teams. The Giants need Linval Joseph, Chris Canty, Jimmy Kennedy, and Rocky Bernard to apply more immediate pressure up the middle. Get after Brees. Make him uncomfortable. He does throw a lot of interceptions. Get turnovers and do something with those turnovers – take it to the house. Make game changing plays!

The way the defense will have to approach this game – and the following game against the Packers – is that every opposing possession is a game in itself. Play all out to force a punt like this is the last drive in the Super Bowl. The Saints and Packers will only have so many possessions each game. Each forced punt or turnover is pure gold and a victory in itself. Then concentrate on the next possession. Tunnel vision…one possession at a time!

Giants on Offense: Eli Manning can’t do it by himself. The lack of support he received from his offensive teammates last week was unexpected and incredibly embarrassing for every other man on offense without the #10 on his jersey. Dropped passes, no running game, no blocking. It doesn’t matter who is calling the plays if you don’t execute. If this group has any pride, they rebound strongly in support of their quarterback. If they don’t, then this group is not deserving of post-season glory.

I know Tom Coughlin wants to get the Giants’ running game going. I think it will be better this week. For one, it can’t be worse (29 rushing yards), but I do think David Diehl at left tackle and Kevin Boothe at left guard will give the Giants more of a smash-mouth line. And Chris Snee should be over his food poisoning. David Baas and Kareem McKenzie must play better however. And so do Ballard and Pascoe as blockers. That all said, the strength of this offense is obviously Eli Manning and the passing game. If the Giants are going to steal a win, they need to put the onus (or omus as John Madden would say) Eli and his receivers. Sink or swim with your best. The Giants are not going to beat the Saints with a heavy dose of Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware, but they have a chance with a heavy dose of Eli, Nicks, Cruz, Ballard, and Barden (it looks like Manningham may be out).

New Orleans is 20th in defense (the Giants are 21st in comparison) in terms of yards allowed. The Saints are 19th in defense against the pass and 19th against the run. Gregg Williams is the defensive coordinator of the Saints. He’s all about pressure and bringing the blitz from all angles. Eli, his blockers, and his receivers much make the Saints pay for this aggressiveness with big plays in the passing game and touchdowns. Eli is pretty good at burning aggressive defenses, but his blockers (tight ends and backs too) and receivers have to help him out. I have a feeling we might see a big game from Barden.

Giants on Special Teams: Darren Sproles is the man on both punt and kickoff returns. He has a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown this year and has a long kickoff return of 57 yards. He’s shifty and fast.

Nov 272011
 

Michael Clayton to Injured Reserve; Trattou Added to 53-Man Roster: The Giants placed WR Michael Clayton on Injured Reserve yesterday with torn meniscus cartilage in his knee. Clayton will undergo surgery on Monday to repair the damage. The injury reportedly occurred in practice yesterday.

To fill Clayton’s roster spot, the Giants added DE Justin Trattou from the Practice Squad.

To fill Trattou’s spot, the Giants’ re-signed QB Ryan Perrilloux to the Practice Squad.

November 26, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday were LT Will Beatty (eye/back), HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Mario Manningham (knee), WR Michael Clayton (knee), LB Michael Boley (hamstring), and S Derrick Martin (hamstring).

Beatty, Bradshaw, and Martin have been officially ruled out of Monday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Boley is “doubtful.” Manningham and Clayton are “questionable.”

RT Kareem McKenzie (toe) and DE Justin Tuck (ankle/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis. Both are “probable.”

DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) and HB D.J. Ware (concussion) fully practiced. Both are “probable.”

Article on  the Giants’ Defensive Line: Giants Aim to Strengthen Defensive Front with Saints, Packers Ahead by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Nov 262011
 

November 25, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday were LT Will Beatty (eye/back), HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Mario Manningham (knee), LB Michael Boley (hamstring), and S Derrick Martin (hamstring).

“I really don’t (know how long Beatty will be out),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It is not any good though. You are not going to hear any tomorrow afternoon or anything like that…He had surgery and it is a very serious situation, obviously. People keep asking about any length of time and I can’t give you that answer. We are just going to have to see. There is supposedly a segment or period of time where you are evaluating and seeing what he can or can’t do. That is where we are.”

“(Manningham) had some issues with his knee so the doctor wanted to see him in there today so he came in and they did some work on him in there,” said Coughlin. “They kept him in there elevated so he didn’t have to come out here (during practice)…He has had some issues all along and he has managed them well. We are still managing them.”

“I am going to be good to go on Monday,” said Manningham. “I am good. My knee has just been a little sore the last couple weeks but I am going to be good to go.”

Boley and Bradshaw did some running on the side. “I thought Boley looked pretty good,” said Coughlin. “He ran and did a good job. Bradshaw started out moving well and I don’t have any idea to what extent they ran him. They were to run him and depending on what they saw, they would perhaps do more or less.”

“It is getting a little better,” said Boley. “Obviously, it is not where I want it to be yet but it is getting better…I am still hoping that I can get out there and suit up on Monday. We still have a few days so obviously I have to see how treatment goes and how it feels running tomorrow…Hamstrings are kind of tricky, one minute they can feel good and then you take a setback. I am just trying to take it slow and hopefully it gets better by Monday…Unfortunately (I still feel it), but it is getting better.”

RT Kareem McKenzie (toe), DE Justin Tuck (ankle/shoulder), and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

HB D.J. Ware (concussion) fully practiced.

Coach Media Q&As: The transcripts and video of yesterday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

Player Media Q&As: The transcripts and video of yesterday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on OL David Diehl: Giants’ David Diehl Says Move to Left Tackle is No Big Deal by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on OL Will Beatty: Wedding Bells Drown Out Locker-Room Chatter by Sam Borden of The New York Times

Nov 252011
 

November 24, 2011 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday were LT Will Beatty (eye/back), RT Kareem McKenzie (toe), HB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Mario Manningham (knee), DE Justin Tuck (ankle/shoulder), LB Michael Boley (hamstring), and S Derrick Martin (hamstring).

Beatty has already been ruled out of the game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) and HB D.J. Ware (concussion) practiced on a limited basis.

Article on the Giants’ Offensive Line: Giants, Tom Coughlin Hoping Offensive Line Can Rebound from Rough Showing in Eagles Loss by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Nov 242011
 

Will Beatty Out With Detached Retina: The Giants surprisingly announced yesterday that LT Will Beatty will undergo surgery this morning to repair a detached retina in his right eye. Beatty does not know how or when the eye got injured. He has been experiencing blurriness the last few days. It is not known yet how much time Beatty will miss.

“The doctor doesn’t really know exactly how the surgery is going to go until he gets me in the operating room and actually dilates it and he can truly see what’s going on,” said Beatty. “I’ll know a lot more (on Thursday) how serious it is and time off and things like that…I’m hoping for the best. It could be a wide range of being out for a few weeks to being out for the season. I’m going for the lesser. But there’s nothing I can really do to rehab or anything so I’m just praying that when he goes (in) it’s not that bad.”

The Star-Ledger and The Bergen Record are reporting that David Diehl will now return to left tackle.

Giants Place CB Michael Coe on IR; Sign CB Will Blackmon: The Giants yesterday placed CB Michael Coe on Injured Reserve, officially ending his season.

To fill Coe’s roster spot, the Giants signed CB Will Blackmon, who played five games with the Giants last season.

Practice Squad Moves: The Giants have re-signed DT Dwayne Hendricks to the Practice Squad. To make room for Hendricks, the team terminated the contract of DE Craig Marshall.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday Conference Call: The transcript of yesterday’s media conference call with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at Giants.com.

QB Eli Manning’s Wednesday Conference Call: The transcript of yesterday’s media conference call with QB Eli Manning is available at Giants.com.

WFAN Interview with HB Brandon Jacobs: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with HB Brandon Jacobs is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Finally Becoming The Man for Giants by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on S Chad Jones: Giants’ Chad Jones Excited to Join Teammates on Sidelines Against Saints as He Continues to Recover from Crash by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Nov 232011
 

Safety Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on DT Chris Canty: Giants’ Chris Canty Looks to Step Into Natural Leadership Role by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Giants’ Pass Rush Missing in Action by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Notes: The Giants are 31st in the NFL with 83.2 rushing yards per game and 32nd with an average of 3.16 yards per carry. The Giants haven’t ranked next to last or worse in rush yards per game since 1953.

Nov 232011
 
Philadelphia Eagles 17 (4-6) – New York Giants 10 (6-4)

by rnargi for BigBlueInteractive.com

Game Summary

In yet another baffling display of ineptitude in a home game of incredible magnitude, the New York Giants lost in convincing fashion to an Eagles team that was on the ropes and ready to be taken out for the season.  This time was even more disgusting from the mere stand point that the Eagles were missing QB Michael Vick and WR Jeremy Maclin, arguably two of their best offensive players, for this game.

How does this happen?  It’s impossible to explain, but New York did not match Philadelphia in intensity, resolve, nor urgency.  At home.  Against a hated division opponent.  Knowing the Cowboys had already won their game.  With so much on the line.

This was essentially a playoff game.  With no more room for error, the Giants needed this one to stay one game up on the Cowboys in the NFC East.  For the Eagles, the stakes were even higher as a loss would all but have destroyed the “Dream Team’s” chances to fight their way back into playoff contention.

New York was thumped in every meaningful statistical category except turnovers, but on Sunday night they were unable to turn three QB Vince Young interceptions into any points, and once again a mind boggling decision to kick the ball to PR/WR Desean Jackson with a minute and a half left in the 2nd quarter which was returned to the Giants’ 14 yard line hurt them badly.  One play later, to add insult to injury, ex-Giant WR Steve Smith scored a touchdown to give Philadelphia a 10-0 lead.

What’s lost in the incredibly bad rushing stats (17 total rushes for 29 yards), the Giants had 20 yards on their first 5 carries.  That’s right.  After their first 3 drives in the first quarter, the Giants ran 12 times for just 9 total yards.  As has been mentioned in many stories and over in The Corner Forum, it was the worst rushing performance ever by the Giants under HC Tom Coughlin and it’s the worst rushing team, to this point in the season, in 58 years.

And this came against one of the worst rushing defenses this season coming into the game.  New York converted just one 3rd down rushing the football.  They converted two via penalty!

New York held the ball for just 23:42 despite shutting down the Philadelphia rushing game for most of the night.  They allowed the Eagles to chew up an astounding 11:51 of clock in the 4th quarter.

Offense

Where do you start with this?  There was very little offense on Sunday night.  Except for a few ad lib plays that Eli was able to hit, there were very few successfully executed plays all night.  Just look at the stats.  New York ran just 55 plays, gained just 264 net yards, converted just 5 of 14 3rd downs, and only made 12 1st downs all night.  The running game produced an average of just 1.7 yards per carry.  New York never got into the Philadelphia green zone.  When you consider that the Giants completed 18 passes, they still had only 10 plays cover 10 yards or more.  Only four were of a distance greater than 20 yards.  On the night, the Giants ran just 17 plays that gained four yards or more.  The Giants never led in the game.

The Giants never got into any sort of rhythm in this game.  Five of their first seven drives ended in three and out and a sixth was ended with an interception after three plays.  The other drive was only five plays.  New York punted six times in the first half, in addition to the turnover.  Their longest drive of the day, in terms of plays, was their final drive of the first half which was eight plays and ended in a field goal.  The second half wasn’t much better as they punted three straight times to start the 3rd quarter before finally scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the 4th quarter.  It appeared New York might tie the game late in the 4th but after getting to a 1st and 10 from the Philadelphia 21 yard line, QB Eli Manning’s fumble sealed their fate.

Quarterback

When you see the kinds of stats mentioned above, one would immediately assume the QB had a horrible night.  That wasn’t particularly the case on Sunday as QB Eli Manning did everything he could to keep the Giants in the game despite horrid offensive line play and four blatant drops by his receiving corps.  Manning finished 18 for 35 gaining 264 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  Unfortunately for Manning, he was under intense pressure all night and on the final drive he was strip sacked on 1st down at the Eagles 21 yard line.  When the Eagles recovered the fumble, it once again ended their hopes to try and force overtime with a furious comeback.

Manning was hurried 18 times, hit 10, and sacked 3 times. Frankly it’s amazing Manning came out of this game in one piece.

Manning’s interception was a very strange play.  It looked like the Giants might get going on their second drive after Manning hit Cruz for a quick 18 yard pick up down to the Eagle 45 yard line, but after HB Brandon Jacobs was stuffed for a 2 yard loss on the next play, the Giants were in 2nd and 12.  Manning took a shotgun snap and it looked like DE Juqua Parker was going to beat TE Jake Ballard for a sack and Eli saw it coming.  In fact, Ballard did a good job spinning Parker around but Manning got happy feet and just chucked it downfield where Cruz was wide open.  Unfortunately, Eli somehow didn’t see MIKE linebacker Jamar Chaney floating into the zone and Manning threw it right to him.

Manning also didn’t sense the pressure coming back at him on the sack/fumble and moved right into the spot where DE Jason Babin could get to him.

As usual, Manning was at his best at the end of each half.  In the first with just 1:22 left on the clock, he engineered a 50 yard drive that resulted in a field goal.  At the end of the 4th, he overcame two penalties, the first pinning the Giants on their own 9 yard line and the second an intentional grounding call that put the Giants in a 2nd and 20 to drive New York down to the Eagles 21 before the fateful fumble occurred.  As Manning said in the post game press conference, the Giants have to play better early.  Manning is only human and as seen in the past two games, it’s asking too much of him to have to come back time and again on the last drive of the game to either win or tie the game.

One quick note about the play that resulted in an interception.  Manning was blasted after the whistle by two Eagles which resulted in an unnecessary roughness call on the Eagles.  HC Tom Coughlin and others said they didn’t think the Giants came to Eli’s aid, but if you watch the replay RG Chris Snee went after one of the Eagles at a full sprint while Brandon Jacobs took on three other Eagles before a scrum resulted.  Coughlin wasn’t happy that the Giants gave up the 15 yards, but frankly it would have been sickening if the Giants hadn’t gone after the Eagles after Eli was illegally hit.

Running Backs

Speaking of Brandon Jacobs, he had an extremely rough night, carrying 12 times for just 21 yards.  And that’s with a long of 9.  Many people in The Corner Forum are debating whether Jacobs is done or not.  It doesn’t seem that there is any way to make that assessment when one considers the fact that the offensive line, tight ends and fullback are not opening any holes.  Jacobs had nowhere to run.  Granted, a case can be made that with the woes of the offensive line, the running game needs to employ a faster, quicker, shiftier back in order to take advantage of cutbacks and any other crevice that might be available.  Jacobs is not that kind of back.  He needs to get a head of steam and hit the hole with impunity and make contact at the second level to be effective.  In the current state of the Giants offensive line, there is no room for Jacobs to get to the second level.

To illustrate this point, the Giants had a 3rd and less than 1 from their own 31 yard line with 10:34 left in the 2nd quarter.  New York lined up in double TE formation with Michael Clayton in the slot on the weak side and Hakeem Nicks split wide on the left side and Jacobs lined up in the I.  TE Bear Pascoe shifted to the FB position to Eli’s right.  The Eagles were lined up with 7 in the box, 4 down linemen and 3 linebackers in a base formation.  On the snap, Baas engaged the RT, neutralizing him while Snee engage the LT and pushed him back.  McKenzie got up field and pushed the MIKE linebacker back and on the outside, Ballard did an outstanding job on the LT.  Pascoe got upfield and took out a safety coming into the box.  The only player who didn’t do his job was LG David Diehl, who pulled into the hole and ran right by the SAM linebacker who filled the hole and stuffed Jacobs in the backfield.  It’s a very simple lead play and Diehl didn’t do his job, as instead of attacking the backer in the A gap he went to the second level and helped on the WILL linebacker.

RB Da’Rel Scott had two runs for 11 yards, his longest an 8 yard gain.  Though he was ruled down on that play, the ball came loose and one has to wonder if that played into the fact that he got only one more chance following that run.  Scott caught one pass and Jacobs caught three.

D.J. Ware had -3 yards on three carries and also had no room to run.  Ware also caught two passes.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

WR Victor Cruz had another stellar performance despite one crucial drop which would have kept a drive alive.  Cruz is now obviously Eli’s number 1 target amongst his wideouts.  Victor was targeted a team high 10 times for a team high 6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.  Cruz nearly brought the Giants all the way back with a critical 3rd down catch and run for 47 yards on the final drive setting up the Giants with great field position to go for the tie.  Cruz now leads the Giants (tied for 8th in the league) with 800 yards and touchdowns with 5.

Hakeem Nicks was doubled again for much of the game and managed just 3 catches on 7 looks for 69 yards.  Nicks had an opportunity to change the game early but was unable to hold the ball going to the ground on the drive following the Eagles’ field goal drive in the 2nd quarter.  Had Nicks held the ball, it would have been 47 yard gain and a 1st and 10 at the Eagles 31 yard line.  That was one of several potentially big plays that could have swung momentum to the Giants sideline but went for naught.

Mario Manningham was nearly invisible catching just one ball for 4 yards.

TE Jake Ballard had a tough game.  On the second play from scrimmage for New York, Manning threw a perfect pass his way which would have gone for a 20+ yard gain and a 1st down near midfield, but Ballard dropped the ball.  Again, another big play possibility early that could have put the Eagles on their heels.  Ballard dropped another later in the game and ended up with just one catch on seven balls thrown his way.  Ballard also hurt his elbow and apparently had swelling in his knee following the game.  It was due for Ballard to come back to earth a little, but if he’s going to see that many looks he has to come down with the ball.

Offensive Line

There isn’t much more that can written about how bad the Giants offensive line was that hasn’t already been written.  In a word, they were horrible.  The middle of the line got zero push in the running game and the ends could barely contain the outside rush from Philadelphia.

All three guards (Snee, Diehl, Boothe) had terrible games.  Combined with C David Baas, they were unable to open any holes for the running backs and were pushed back into the pocket all night long.  William Beatty, who was up until Sunday progressing quite nicely, had his hands full against perennial Giant killer Trent Cole and was abused often.  RT Kareem McKenzie isn’t having a good year.  Considering that he graded out with a Pro Bowl caliber season last year, the drop off is very dramatic.

It may be time to make some changes on the line.  Kevin Boothe deserves a chance to show whether he can step in at left guard as Diehl has been a complete bust returning to his old stomping grounds.  Maybe give Diehl an opportunity to showcase for the right tackle job and give McKenzie a seat, too.

Defense

Once again the defense, though they faltered in the end, played well enough to deserve a win.  At this point, one cannot discount how badly injuries are taking their toll.  CB Michael Coe injured his shoulder in the loss and now the Giants are playing without 5 CBs who are out and on Injured Reserve.  Justin Tuck says he is about 65% healthy.  They have others like Michael Boley and Aaron Ross going in and out of the lineup.  It’s a lot to ask of any defense to continue to take the hits that the Giants are taking and not lose a beat.  At one point on Sunday night, due to Mathais Kiwanuka having to go out for a few plays, New York employed three rookie linebackers, two of whom were 6th round draft choices and the third being an undrafted free agent.  To compound things, rookie first round draft pick CB Prince Amukamara was playing his first snaps of the year as well.

The Giants had a rough time getting off the field on third down late in the game, but early on they did well.  Overall, Philadelphia converted nine of 17 third downs, but six of them came on the final Eagles touchdown drive.

Even with all the adversity and lineup changes, the Giants defense essentially gave up 10 points.  After they allowed Philadelphia to convert one first down on their initial drive, the Giants forced an interception on a two play drive and then two three and outs.  It was the fifth Eagle drive of the game where the issues of third down began to crop up.  The critical play was a 3rd and 10 from their own 30 yard line.  Following an incomplete pass and  run by McCoy for no gain, the Giants came with just a three man rush against max protection (Philly kept 7 players in to block on the play) and Desean Jackson beat the zone in between Webster and Phillips for a 32 yard gain.  Young had all day to survey the field and still made a poor throw that Jackson made a sensational catch on.  That drive resulted in an Eagles field goal.

The defense played well into the 4th quarter, forcing two punts and creating another turnover.  Philadelphia’s third drive of the second half was an uneventful 6 play drive that did feature another long 3rd down conversion of 7 yards.

The fateful drive was the final touchdown drive in which the Giants simply could not get off the field.  After running just 15 plays on their previous 3 drives of the half, the Eagles mounted a staggering 18 play drive of nearly 9 minutes in which they converted those six 3rd downs.  It’s not like the Giants didn’t have chances to get off the field.  Philadelphia overcame 2nd and 12, 3rd and 10, 2nd and 16, a 3rd and 4 in which Webster failed to bring Jackson down short of the sticks with a clean shot to do so, and the final 3rd and 8 which resulted in the touchdown.

Front 7

Apparently the game plan for Sunday night was to stymie the Eagles rushing attack and make Vince Young beat them through the air.  Unfortunately, both happened.  While New York was outstanding against the run until the last Eagles drive when they gained 67 of their 136 total yards on the ground, the Giants were unable to keep Young in check in the latter stages of the game.  The defensive line got extremely little pressure on Young, and after settling in following a shaky start he completed 15 of 18 for 169 yards in the second half.  On the night, the Giants managed just one sack and one QB hit, both from Jason Pierre-Paul.  Both Linval Joseph and Chris Canty played very well against the run.  Canty had 3 solo tackles for losses in the running game.  Unfortunately, neither could muster sustained push in the passing game.  Speaking of pressure, it’s obvious that Justin Tuck is not even close to 100%.  Although he was in on 5 tackles on the night, he didn’t get a sniff of Young.  Tuck played a lot at DT, leaving Pierre-Paul the duties of coming from the outside.  It didn’t help, as Tuck just couldn’t get into the backfield at all.  On the other side, Osi Umenyiora was effectively taken out of the game by LT Jason Peters. Towards the end of the game, Umenyiora was simply engaging at the line and not even getting up field. It was easily one of Osi’s worst games in his career.

The linebacking corps was missing Michael Boley, leaving rookie Mark Herzlich the opportunity to get his first start as well as his first significant playing time on defense as a professional.  Herzlich did an admirable job against the run, and nearly got home on a blitz.  Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams also saw significant playing time with the odd man out being Greg Jones.  While all three did well in the running game along with Mathais Kiwanuka, who also had 3 tackles for loss and 7 total (leading the Giants).   The problem was in the passing game where not a single linebacker broke up a pass.  A rookie mistake by Herzlich allowed Riley Cooper, who hadn’t caught a pass all year, get deep in the end zone for the deciding touchdown.  On the play, which was a 3rd and goal from the New York 8 yard line, New York was in a base defense after S Antrel Rolle reset the linebackers putting Herzlich in the middle.  On the play, the Eagles sent four receivers into the pattern.  It appeared the Giants were in the perfect set up as the outside receivers were covered.  Riley Cooper was in the slot, being covered by Rolle.  At the snap, TE Brent Celek released into the pattern and hooked over the middle right into Kiwanuka’s zone, but Herzlich, instead of drifting back into his zone, came forward and gave him a quick jam.  That was all the Eagles needed as Cooper slipped into the vacated spot and took a perfect pass from Young for the touchdown.  Herzlich’s reaction said it all, he had blown his assignment.  As Carl Banks said the next day, it’s a rookie mistake and they happen.  Both safeties, Phillips and Grant, were playing towards the outside receivers and the vacated area was wide open.

Secondary

While not getting a lot of help from the linebackers, the secondary played fairly well.  Corey Webster didn’t have his best game as he was charged with staying with Desean Jackson.  His critical miss on Jackson against the sideline on the 3rd and 4 play from the New York 20 yard line set up the final touchdown.  He had a golden opportunity to drop Jackson about 3 yards short of the sticks and whiffed.  Jackson ended up catching 6 of 8 balls thrown to him.  Aaron Ross was solid.  His hit dislodged the ball from TE Clay Harbor, knocking it up into the air where Kenny Phillips picked it off.  Later, Ross kept points off the board for Philadelphia when he went high in the air in the end zone to intercept an intended fade route.  Ross also made 5 solo tackles and 2 passes defensed despite missing time in the game with injuries.

Prince Amukamara played in his first game as a pro, and he was sensational.  He intercepted the very first pass thrown his way, and though the pass was under thrown, he made a great play on the ball to make the pick.  Prince also defensed two other passes thrown his way and made 5 solo tackles.  Amukamara’s hunger was evident when he ran down McCoy on the last drive saving a touchdown.

The safeties weren’t much of a factor in the game, but Kenny Phillips was once again involved in a lot of tackles and did come down with an easy interception off a deflection.  Interestingly, Antrel Rolle was very quiet in the game Sunday, registering just 2 tackles.  Rolle did not play as much near the line of scrimmage and didn’t blitz at all if memory serves.

Special Teams

Sean Weatherford was called on to punt 9 times in this game for a total of 463 yards.  He placed four of them inside the 20 and for the most part kept the potent Eagles return game at bay.  But there’s always a but against the Eagles though, isn’t there?  With just over a minute and a half remaining in the first half, Weatherford punted 50 yards to the Giants 35 yard line.  It was just outside the numbers and Desean Jackson made the Giants pay by returning it to the New York 14 yard line.  Weatherford saved a touchdown for the moment, but replays showed that Jackson may have been inbounds.  Other than that very significant but, the Giants allowed just 12 return yards on the other 8 punts.

The Giants did absolutely nothing in the return game either on kickoffs or punts.  Rookie Da’Rel Scott returned 3 kick offs but was unable to gain any significant yardage.  He did have one good 29 yard return to the New York 25 yard line on the final Giants drive but a holding penalty on Greg Jones pushed New York back to their own 9 yard line.

Coaching

Once again the heat is on OC Kevin Gilbride in The Corner Forum for lacking imagination in his play calling duties.  It’s hard to imagine how much different the Giants could have called this game when the offensive line slept walked through the entire game in both run blocking and pass protection.  As Bob Papa said on Sirius NFL Radio Monday morning, there was plenty of culpability to go around as Eli Manning has several options, both running and passing, on every play sent in to the huddle.  No one knows how many of Gilbride’s calls were changed at the line of scrimmage, and everyone knows that the offensive line did absolutely nothing to help in either phase of the game.  Gilbride didn’t drop four perfectly thrown passes nor fumble on the last drive of the game, either.

Perry Fewell also takes some blame for this loss for not being able to adjust his scheme to get more pressure on Young.  Again, the players must be able to perform but it was a little odd that Fewell didn’t try to rattle Young with some overload blitzes and he gave him way too much time when sending just three men in on him.

It’s also stunning how badly the Giants were out-hustled by Philadelphia on Sunday night.  How a team with absolutely everything to play for can come out with so little fire at home on a big stage is very disconcerting and falls squarely on HC Tom Coughlin.  There simply isn’t any excuse to not be able to match or elevate beyond the intensity of the Eagles in a game of this magnitude.

Final Thoughts

It’s down to a six game season.  Stating the obvious, it’s now or never for the Giants.  With New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas twice, the Jets and the Redskins remaining, there really is no fat left on the schedule.  The Giants will suffer a lot of changes if they continue this apparent second half swoon for the fourth straight year.  Time will tell if they will right the ship and sail into the playoffs or sink into mediocrity and miss them for a third straight year.  History isn’t on the side of this team.

(Box Score – Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, November 20, 2011)