DETROIT LIONS 35 – NEW YORK GIANTS 14
Please note, the observations listed below are initial gut-reactions. They are not made based on film study. That will come later in the week during our formal game review.
I’ve been critical of Eli Manning before, and at times, it was justified. Manning has a little bit of that gun-slinger mentality in him where he simply doesn’t care, he’s going to try to fit some balls into some places they shouldn’t be. He’s going to make some bad decisions.
On Monday night in Detroit, he made one of them. He shouldn’t have thrown that ball to Victor Cruz. Period.
And that’s the only complaint I have with Eli Manning. That’s it.
Joe Montana wouldn’t have success behind this offensive line. Neither could Steve Young, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton or any other quarterback you want to throw back there.
The Giants offense lacks playmakers, lacks linemen and lacks a truly great running back. That’s not Manning’s fault.
When the New York Giants played the Detroit Lions last year, Calvin Johnson didn’t know who Prince Amukamara was. When Johnson spoke to the Giants media via conference call this week, he mentioned Amukamara by name. Monday night, Amukamara put himself on everyone else’s map, too. The former first-round pick was all over the field. Amukamara played with a newly-found physicality, made several nice plays on the ball and was, as written above, all over the field. It was a very impressive start to the season for Amukamara.
Many held their breath when Jason Pierre-Paul hit the turf with an apparent shoulder/neck injury. When he returned, he made his presence felt. Pierre-Paul may not have gotten to Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, but he did make several plays against the run. There was a stretch for awhile where the Lions offense was sputtering and Pierre-Paul was a big reason for that.
I was holding back on this until I heard after the game that both Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning admitted Manning’s first interception was on Manning. I thought Donnell was worthy of a stud. On a night filled with blemishes, duds and turds, Donnell was a nice bright spot. He made several plays down the field, and an impressive play on the fade route for a score on 4th down. Donnell was one of the few offensive players to stand out. The big question with him is blocking. If he could become a serviceable blocker, he could be the Giants ‘complete’ tight end they were so desperately looking for in training camp.
The one thing the Giants defense did very well was stop the run. Last year’s second-round pick was a big reason for that. Hankins was an absolute force up the middle for the Giants and disrupted several run plays and even collapsed the pocket a few times. The more I watch Hankins, the more I’m impressed. I look forward to watching the film this week to really break down his performance. He flashed a few times, which is what makes him a stud, but I’d like to see what he did on each play.
I know, he played the best receiver in the game, but I don’t believe it excuses the performance he put forth on the field. In one-on-one coverage, DRC was beat far too often with Calvin Johnson running wide open in the secondary. There were miscommunications between him and the safeties and things were just not pretty for the team’s prized free-agent acquisition. Again, I know, it was Calvin Johnson, but wasn’t Rodgers-Cromartie signed to the mega-deal because to match up with those kind of receivers?
The Offensive Line
My expectations weren’t high for the offensive line entering their match-up with the Lions. Truly, I didn’t expect much. The five who took the field for the Giants Monday night were even worse than I could have ever possibly imagined. There wasn’t a player who wasn’t beat. Will Beatty, John Jerry and J.D. Walton were utterly pathetic. For a team that was so bad up front last year, you’d think they’d have depth-on-depth-on-depth this year. Forget the Geoff Schwartz injury for a second, left guard was the least of the Giants issues. In fact, Weston Richburg may have been the best Giants lineman to take the field. Walton, Beatty and Jerry on the other hand? Wow. These were guys that were either returning, or signed, to solidify the offensive line. The group, collectively, may have looked worse Monday night than at many points a season ago. Adam Snyder should be ready to go next week, but he’s not the answer. The fact is, this is the offensive line that will be ‘protecting’ Manning for the next eight weeks. I don’t see how Manning finishes the season healthy.
The Giants ranted and raved about Williams this offseason, signing the linebacker’s praises about the steps and progress he had made this summer. For the first time in his career, the team believed he was ready to take the next step and be an every-down linebacker. Maybe it was the fact it was Monday Night Football, but Williams did not play well for New York. Several missed tackles, poor gap control and backside containment. It wasn’t pretty for Williams. Making things even worse was the juke-out suffered at the goal line. Not by Reggie Bush, but by Matt Stafford.
Again, with an offensive line like the Giants, it’s hard to have success in any facet of every game, but McAdoo gets on the ‘Dud’ list for one string of plays. This could be a situation where it’s just a difference of opinion, but in my mind, on first-and-goal at the one yard line…you run the ball. You run it three straight times. If it fails on all three, then you throw.
Needing something, anything, to get back into the game and trailing by 14 points, you most certainly do not throw a fade route to an undrafted rookie. On second a goal, run the ball. If the line can’t manage one yard on three carries, then there’s a bigger issue, but you need to trust the line.
I know, Donnell came a toe nail away from making the grab on second down, but in my mind I just believe you have to run the ball. What if New York hadn’t scored on fourth down and turned the ball over?
It’s early, maybe a little premature, but I feel deserving. The Giants have no playmakers opposite Victor Cruz. The Giants have no depth across the offensive line. The Giants don’t have a tight end that can be serviceable in more than one area. The Giants don’t have a top-notch running back. The Giants “don’t have” list can go on, and on, and on. That falls square on the shoulders of Jerry Reese.