Nov 242014
 
Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The New York Giants lost their sixth consecutive game of the season Sunday night to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-28, dropping the team’s record to 3-8 and eliminating it from from a potential NFC East divisional title.

New York got things going early. On the team’s first possession, quarterback Eli Manning marched the Giants 80 yards in 13 plays before finding receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a three-yard score. After Dallas scored a field goal on their next possession, New York again got in the end zone.

With a first and 10 and the Cowboys 43 yard line, Manning dropped back and fired a pass deep down the right sideline in the direction of Beckham. While being interfered with, Beckham dove backwards and reached his right hand out. Beckham managed to gain control of the ball and pull it into his body for the score. On the night, Beckham finished with 10 catches for 146 yards.

Dallas was able to rebound from the Giants surge. Quarterback Tony Romo took the team 77 yards on nine plays before finding Jason Witten for a four-yard touchdown pass. On the Giants next possession, Manning again took the Giants on a scoring drive, setting up Andre Williams with a three-yard touchdown. Manning finished 29-of-40 for 338 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Leading 21-10 at the half, New York had the momentum, but the red-hot offense cooled off in the third quarter. The Giants punted on their first two possessions of the quarter and Manning threw an interception deep in Cowboy territory on the third. Dallas took advantage of New York’s stagnant offense, scoring a pair of touchdowns on a Romo 45-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley, then a 31-yard score to Dez Bryant.

With nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Manning finally got the offense going again. The quarterback took the team 93 yards in 14 plays before finding Adrien Robinson for a one-yard touchdown. The score put the Giants up four with just over three minutes to play.

After a touchback put the Cowboys at their own 20, Romo deflated the home crowd at MetLife. With little pressure from the Giants defensive front, Romo had near all night in the pocket. Quickly, he took the Cowboys to the Giants 13 yard line with 1:11 to play. In the shotgun, Romo moved slightly to extend the play 10 seconds before finding Dez Bryant in the back of the end zone.

The Giants had a chance to tie the game on their next possession, but went four-and-out when a pass to Rashad Jennings on fourth and two came up inches shy of a first down.

The loss drops the Giants to a two-way tie for last place in the NFC East with the Washington Redskins. Dallas remains in a two-way tie with the Philadelphia Eagles for first play. Dallas and Philadelphia play each other Thursday afternoon on Thanksgiving.

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

Nov 222014
 


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Charles Brown, New Orleans Saints (September 8, 2013)

Charles Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Waive OT Charles Brown, Sign LB Justin Anderson: The New York Giants waived offensive tackle Charles Brown on Saturday. Brown played at right tackle last Sunday against the 49ers when Justin Pugh left the game early with an quadriceps injury. Brown struggled in the game. A former 2nd round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, Brown was one of the veteran free agent offensive linemen General Manager Jerry Reese signed in the offseason in an attempt to shore up the offensive line.

With Justin Pugh still unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, it is expected that Geoff Schwartz will start at right tackle, though James Brewer also remains a possibility.

Anderson was signed from the team’s practice squad. He was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster last Saturday too before waiving him and re-signing him to the practice squad on Wednesday. Last week against the 49ers, Anderson did not see time on defense but played on special teams.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

NJ.com Q&A with OT/OG Geoff Schwartz: Four Downs with Geoff Schwartz: A few butterflies expected for his first game as a Giant by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on TE Larry Donnell:

 

Nov 212014
 


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Justin Pugh, New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 21, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Friday. All three players have been officially been ruled out of the Giants-Cowboys game on Sunday night.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) practiced on a limited basis and is “probable” for the game.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced. Both are “probable” for the game.

November 21, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Mindset of the team by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

November 21, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

New York Post Interview with Former Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride: Kevin Gilbride: Tom Coughlin will resurrect Giants again by Justin Terranova of The New York Post

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Rodgers-Cromartie went from free-agent coup to afterthought by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Nov 202014
 


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Shake Up on the Offensive Line?: According to NJ.com, offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will start at right tackle this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys for the ailing Justin Pugh (quadriceps). Schwartz was activated off of short-term injured reserve on Monday after missing the first 10 games of the season with a toe injury he suffered in the preseason.

More surprisingly is that left guard Weston Richburg has reportedly been benched for ex-49er Adam Snyder. Richburg was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants.

Snyder was signed by the Giants in September 2014. He was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. During his career, he’s played eight seasons with the 49ers (2005-11, 2013) and one with the Arizona Cardinals (2012). Snyder is extremely versatile, having starting experience at all five offensive line positions. He’s started 87 regular-season games in nine seasons. However, despite having very good size, Snyder was considered the weak link of the starting units in San Francisco and Arizona in recent years.

November 20, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

November 20, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

November 20, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR Rueben Randle (Video)
  • OG Geoff Schwartz (Video)
  • DT Cullen Jenkins (Video)
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Video)
  • S Antrel Rolle (Video)

Article on QB Eli Manning: Why Giants have to pay Eli Manning big bucks again by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on OG John Jerry: Changes on the horizon? Giants guard John Jerry hopes to rebound from ‘horrible’ game by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Head Coach Bill Parcells: Bill Parcells: Tom Coughlin can still coach by David Rieder for ESPN.com

Giants Online – Giants vs. Cowboys Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Nov 202014
 
New York Giants Defense (October 19, 2014)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, November 23, 2014

Some New York Giants fans are still in denial. They refuse to accept that 2014 New York Giants – like their 2013 predecessor – are a bad football team. The Giants are 31st in the NFL on defense. They are 21st in rushing and haven’t come close to 100 yards rushing in weeks. The Giants have a terrible offensive line. They have one receiver who scares anyone. Assets? Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. And every now and then Larry Donnell flashes. That’s about it.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a 3-7 football team that plays like a 3-7 football team despite one of the better QBs in the NFL and incredible head coaching continuity. The Giants may upset someone, but usually when they play a good football team, they are going to get beat. That won’t change until they get better players on offense, defense, and special teams.

The players should be on watch. The remainder of this season they will be closely evaluated by a franchise that will have to dump half its roster again in the offseason. There are no guarantees that another team will offer them employment either. Jobs are at stake.

FOUR DOWNS:

First Down
Will Eli Manning bounce back?
Contrary to what many idiots in the media have been saying this week, Eli is was actually having one of his best seasons until last Sunday despite the fact he (1) was coming off April ankle surgery; (2) was learning a completely new offensive system, terminology, footwork fundamentals, routes, etc.; and (3) he was surrounding by a mediocre supporting cast, exacerbated by the loss of Victor Cruz. But last Sunday against the 49ers, Eli fell back into some old bad habits and forced some throws.

Eli is a competitor and wants very much to win and is willing to take chances when the chips are down. But he has to accept that the rest of 2014 is more about 2015 and beyond. His focus at this point should be to continue to acclimatize himself to this West Coast system. Don’t force the issue, but treat the remaining six games almost as practice for 2015. Work on his technique and understanding of this system. If the play is there, make the throw. If not, throw the ball away. For his own physical and psychological well-being, let’s not start inflating those interception totals again. Keep the nay-sayers at bay.

The good news? The Giants are not facing a top-10 defense this week.

Second Down
Can Odell Beckham continue to bring the “wow” factor?
Let’s be honest. The only reason some Giants fans continue to tune in at this point is Odell Beckham. He hasn’t been perfect (media and fans have underplayed some of his drops), but it is obvious to everyone that he is the only truly exciting player on the Giants roster right now. And despite his tremendous productivity in just a few games, there is a sense that he has only scratched the surface. Is he capable of practically single-handily taking over a game, and winning a game the Giants should otherwise lose?

Third Down
Can the Giants stop the run?
The Giants are dead last in run defense. 32 out of 32, allowing an average of 145 yards per game. Dallas is 2nd in the NFL in rushing, averaging over 153 yards per game. Dallas’ strength is New York’s weakness. It’s pretty easy to figure out what the game plan will be.

Fourth Down
Can the Giants stop the pass?
Just one month ago, the Giants played Tony Romo and the Cowboys. The results? The Cowboys accrued 20 first downs and 423 yards of offense. Dallas was 9-of-14 on third down (64 percent). The Cowboys were 3-for-3 (100 percent) in the red zone. Romo only had 6 incompletions, and none in the second half of the game where he was a perfect 9-for-9. Dallas also had five pass plays over 20 yards. WR Dez Bryant had 9 catches for 128 yards and TE Gavin Escobar 3 catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns. WR Terrance Williams had the third touchdown reception. Giant-killer TE Jason Witten was kept quiet but we all know his ability. Now the Giants are without their most consistent corner (Prince Amukamara) and best coverage linebacker (Jacquian Williams).

BREAKING DOWN DALLAS:

OFFENSE
Strength?
The Cowboys have no major weakness on offense other than a recent historical tendency to act like a bunch of spoiled babies on the sidelines when things don’t go there way and Tony Romo’s fragile back. They are 6th overall in the NFL in terms of yards gained, averaging 387.5 yards per game. The Cowboys are tied for 7th in terms of points with 26.1 points per game. They are 2nd in rushing and 17th in passing. RB Demarco Murray – by far – is the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,233 yards. WR Dez Bryant is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. TE Jason Witten is a future Hall of Famer and back-up TE Gavin Escobar caught two touchdown passes against the Giants in October. Tony Romo is completing over 68 percent of his passes and has a QB rating of 107.2. And if that were not enough, Dallas arguably has the NFL’s best offensive line with three first rounders who are playing like first rounders.

Weakness?
Bryant is the one true stud the Cowboys have at wide receiver. Terrance Williams has six touchdowns, but only 27 catches. The next most productive wideout is Cole Beasley with 16. The Cowboys are also -1 in turnover differential having turned the football over 18 times (10 fumbles, 6 interceptions by Romo, 2 by the backup).

DEFENSE

Strength?
Dallas is in the middle of the pack defensively, ranking 15th in terms of yards allowed (14th against pass, 12th against run). There are no obvious defensive superstars on the team but the unit has played much better than expected. Before the season, it was anticipated Dallas’ defense would be one of the worst in the league. Their strength has been their overall consistency. MLB Rolando McClain has been a major addition as a fiery leader and play maker. CB Orlando Scandrick is their best defensive back who can play both outside and the nickel.

Weakness?
On paper, this defense should be much worse than it is. Perhaps Dallas’ offense is so productive that it hides the defense. Dallas only has 16 sacks on the year. And their third-down defense is subpar, allowing teams to covert over 42 percent of the time. Dallas suffered another big hit at linebacker when they lost Justin Durant late last month.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Place kicker Dan Bailey is exceptional. He’s automatic from even 50+ yards. Dwayne Harris averages over 25 yards per kickoff return and almost 9 yards per punt return..

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Odell Beckham
If one player could help pull off the upset, it’s Odell. But the opposition will begin to concentrate more and more attention on him.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
With no Prince Amukamara, the Giants not only need Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to play well against Dez Bryant, they will need him to stay on the field for most of the game. DRC hasn’t played a full game in quite some time due to his IT band (back/hamstring) issue.

FROM THE COACHES’ MOUTH:

Tom Coughlin – “Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting, that is all it takes, one game at a time, bounce back. Again, it is about all of those eyes that look at me on Wednesday morning, I am thinking about them, quite frankly, trying to bring them through the disappointment toward the next opponent.”

Jason Garrett – “That has always been something that we have strived for around here – to  be a balanced attack, to be able to attack a defense a lot of different ways…Really, when you are talking about any of this stuff it starts with the guys up front. We made a real commitment to get better on the offensive line here in the last three or four years by using first round pick to draft guys. We think it has been a good investment for our team and it really allows you to do what you want to do offensively. It allows you to feature the skill players that you have both in the running game and in the passing game…The idea is that we want to be a more physical football team, control the line of scrimmage more and be a team that can run the football. Fortunately, we have been able to draft the guys we have up front and we think they are some really good, young, cornerstone type of players who can be here for a long time.”

FINAL WORD:

The Giants should be able to move the football better against this opponent than they have in recent weeks as long as the offensive line plays better this week against a lesser defensive opponent. Justin Pugh (quadriceps) is probably out so look for Geoff Schwartz to start at right tackle. The Giants need John Jerry to bounce back.

However, the real problem for the Giants is on the defensive side of the football. The Giants what they are – the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL and the 32nd-ranked run defense. And the Giants linebackers don’t match up well against the Cowboys tight ends and running backs in coverage.

Look for Beckham to take one to the house on special teams, but it won’t be enough. Cowboys 42 – Giants 27.

Nov 192014
 
Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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November 19, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

I don’t know (if Pugh will practice this week), we will see, he’s day to day,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

LB Justin Anderson Re-Signed to Practice Squad: The New York Giants have re-signed linebacker Justin Anderson to the Practice Squad. Anderson was signed off of the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster last Saturday but waived on Monday when the Giants activated offensive guard Geoff Schwartz from short-term Injured Reserve.

November 19, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

November 19, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

ESPN Radio Interview with RB Rashad Jennings: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with RB Rashad Jennings is available at ESPN.com.

Articles on the New York Giants Upcoming Offseason:

Articles on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: McAdoo wasn’t brought in as Coughlin’s head coach-in-waiting by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Injured cornerback Walter Thurmond III ‘wouldn’t mind’ re-signing with Giants in the offseason by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Articles on QB Eli Manning and the Giants-49ers Game:

Nov 182014
 


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New York Giants on WFAN RadioThe audio of WFAN interviews with the following players from Monday and Tuesday are available at CBS New York:

Weston Richburg and Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Weston Richburg and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Larry Donnell joining ranks of top Giants tight ends by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Offensive line short of the mark by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: What Tom Coughlin must show John Mara in final 6 games by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo: Reuniting Tom Coughlin with Steve Spagnuolo could be perfect blueprint for NY Giants by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Sights and Sounds from Giants-49ers Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-49ers game is available at Giants.com.

Nov 172014
 
Larry Donnell, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Larry Donnell Almost Comes Down with Game-Winner – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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San Francisco 49ers 16 – New York Giants 10

Game Overview

It was a tight game and the Giants came very close to pulling off the upset, but this team finds new ways to lose every week.

The 32nd-ranked and now injury-depleted defense played much better this week, good enough to win. Special teams even made plays. But Eli Manning – who came into this contest with only six interceptions – almost doubled that total in a single game with five. And the offensive line was outright dreadful, directly impacting the Giants’ ability to run or throw the football.

Offensive Overview

The Giants scored on their first possession – the first time they have done that in 21 games. It was an impressive 5-play, 63-yard effort that ended with a touchdown.

After that? The Giants had 11 more possessions:

  • Five interceptions.
  • Three Punts.
  • Two turnovers on downs.
  • One field goal.

In a game decided by less than a touchdown, the interceptions proved decisive. One handed the 49ers three points. Three others occurred in San Francisco territory, including the 17- and and 4-yard lines. That’s a 9-point swing right there.

Quarterback

By far, Eli Manning played his worst game of the season, finishing 22-of-45 for 280 yards, 1 touchdown, and 5 interceptions (36.6 quarterback rating).

Was Eli hampered by no running game? Yes. Was he hampered by terrible pass protection? Yes, far worse than the official stats indicate. But this was “bad” Eli at his worst, falling back to some bad habits. He was taking chances with the football instead of taking the sack or throwing the ball away.

Manning made some excellent plays under duress. None better than his 17-yard completion on 3rd-and-10 in the 4th quarter on a play where he should have been sacked as the right side of the line collapsed. Manning also made a superb throw to Rueben Randle on 3rd-and-12 as not one, but two, free blitzers smashed into him. Manning never lost confidence in himself to the bitter end. But he was one of the major reasons – if not THE reason – why the Giants lost the game.

On the first pick, Eli stared down Beckham but you also have to give credit to ILB Chris Borland for making a great jump on the ball. “I thought I could get it in there, the guy jumped it pretty well, the linebacker,” said Manning.

The second pick was bad. The Giants were in field goal range. Manning was focused on Rueben Randle but the corner had him well covered. Eli should have come off that throw and looked for another target. “I had a little quick out, the corner jumped it, tried to pull it back and couldn’t pull it back in time and it went to another defender,” said Manning. In other words, it sounds like Manning decided at the last second to not make the throw but unleashed the football regardless. You can’t do that.

The third pick was a bad overthrow in the direction of Randle. Eli was under immediate pressure and rushed his throw. “I tried to hit a corner route to Rueben, I don’t know if I just overthrew it,” said Manning. “I was on the ground, I didn’t see how it all finished up.”

Pocket collapsing on Manning as he rushes his throw

Pocket collapsing on Manning as he rushes his throw

The pass rush also directly contributed to the fourth interception as RT Charles Brown completely whiffed on the rookie defensive end and Manning was hit as he threw.

Pocket collapses again on Eli on 4th interception

Pocket collapses again on Eli on 4th interception

Running Backs

With Rashad Jennings back after missing four games, it’s pretty safe to say we know where the major problem lies with the running game. It’s the offensive line. Jennings, who surprisingly played 59 snaps, finished the game with 59 yards on 18 carries (3.3 yards per carry). Andre Williams only played nine snaps and had two carries for a total of two yards. Henry Hynoski had one carry for four yards on 3rd-and-1.

Wide Receivers

Rueben Randle had seven catches for a career-high 112 yards. Those are impressive numbers, but also keep in mind that he had 15 passes thrown in his direction. Randle was very sharp early, catching two passes on crossing routes for a total of 38 yards on the team’s lone TD drive. My biggest problem with Randle in the game was his inability to make the game-winning TD catch on 2nd-and-goal from the 4-yard line. There was contact with the defender, but he could have made the play.

So close to winning the game

So close to winning the game

Odell Beckham was largely quiet for three quarters but came on late. He finished with six catches for 93 yards. But like Randle, seven other passes thrown in his direction fell incomplete (including two drops) or were picked off. The highlight of the game was obviously his 37-yard circus catch down to the 4-yard line on what very well could have been the game-winning touchdown drive.

Fans and the media have criticized the play calling on the goal line, but the 49ers loaded up in the box, daring the Giants to make plays on the outside, something New York has done well all year (the Giants are actually one of the NFL’s best red zone teams this year). Two of the fade passes hit the receivers in the hands. They didn’t make the play.

Preston Parker was a non-factor, catching only one pass for nine yards. Corey Washington was on the field for nine offensive snaps but was not thrown to.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell started off strong, catching three passes for 54 yards in the first half, including a 19-yard touchdown on the team’s opening drive. He also made a spectacular 30-yard reception on 3rd-and-4 in the 2nd quarter despite being mugged on the play. But he was held without a catch in the second half. And while it would have been a difficult catch, he had both hands on the 3rd-and-goal potential game-winning touchdown throw with just under five minutes to play. (Though, I personally thought he was also mugged on this play).

A lot of contact by the safety before the ball arrives

A lot of contact by the safety before the ball arrives

Offensive Line

Just dreadful, especially after RT Justin Pugh left the game with a strained quad muscle after only playing eight snaps. His replacement Charles Brown was atrocious, both as a run blocker and pass blocker. Coughin was asked how Brown did. “Not very well,” responded Coughlin. That said, some of Brown’s problems in pass protection were also caused by RG John Jerry’s poor game. Both VETERAN linemen played like they had never seen a stunt before and got in each others way. “We didn’t initially stop the first rusher in order that we could then switch it off,” said Coughlin. “We had too much penetration.”

Once again – for the fifth game in a row – the Giants were out-muscled and out-played up front. The Giants averaged 3.1 yards per carry and the Giants had problems running the ball even when the Niners were playing nickel defense. Rookie ILB Chris Borland gave the Giants fits, not only with his two picks, but his run defense. It’s like he had an invisible cloak as Giants blockers just let him run right by them a number of times, including FB Henry Hynoski and Jerry.

Eli Manning was under constant duress, far worse than the official two sacks and seven quarterback hits indicate. This is especially troublesome when you consider the 49ers were 25th in sack production coming into the game. “There was pressure, sometimes to the point where (Eli) wasn’t going to be able to function if he didn’t release the ball when he did,” said Coughlin a day after reviewing the tape.

Look at these two back-to-back plays on the Giants’ second possession which ended in a three-and-out. Extremely poor blocks by Jerry at right guard led directly to 2nd and 3rd down incompletions.

John Jerry gets beat on incomplete 2nd down pass

John Jerry gets beat on incomplete 2nd down pass (3-man rush on play)

John Jerry gets beat on incomplete 3rd down pass

John Jerry gets beat again on incomplete 3rd down pass

The left side of the offensive line had issues at times as well. On the play before Eli’s second interception, Manning had no time as Weston Richburg failed to pick up the end stunt.

Weston Richburg beaten on stunt by Aldon Smith

Weston Richburg beaten on stunt by Aldon Smith

But the big problem was the right side. Charles Brown and John Jerry were the worst players on the field. Late in the second quarter, rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch literally knocked Brown on his ass and sacked Eli, fortunately the play was wiped out by an illegal holding penalty. At the start of the 3rd quarter, Jerry got beat for a sack/forced fumble. On the very next snap, Brown and Jerry failed to properly pick up a stunt and Eli was sacked again.

Charles Brown and John Jerry fail to pick up stunt and Eli is sacked again

Charles Brown and John Jerry fail to pick up stunt and Eli is sacked again

These are just a few snapshots of the problems. Brown’s play actually deteriorated as the game progressed. By the 4th quarter, the 49ers were simply toying with him. And the offensive line – as an entire unit – just collapsed on New York’s final drive with 1:09 to play. Eli never had a chance.

Center J.D. Walton continues to struggle with big, physical tackles. He was also flagged with a holding penalty, helping to halt the Giants’ last drive right before halftime.

To me, the dreadfulness of this line is encapsulated by its inability to gain an inch of space for Rashad Jennings on the 4th-and-an-inch play in the third quarter. In fact, Jennings actually lost ground on this play. 4th-and-an-inch – perhaps even less than that! The result didn’t shock any of us because we know how bad this line is.

Jennings never had a chance

Jennings never had a chance

Simply too much penetration by safety and defensive lineman

Simply too much penetration by safety and defensive lineman

The screen game was not good either. On one middle screen late in the game, Jerry not only did not blocking anyone, he literally tackled Rashad Jennings.

Defensive Overview

When compared to the terribly poor defensive performance the previous four games (over 400 yards of offense allowed), the Giants defense improved this week by allowing “only” 333 yards (148 yards rushing, 185 yards passing). The more impressive stat was only allowing 16 points (really 13 when you consider that one interception set up the 49ers at the Giants’ 29-yard line).

The 49ers only scored three points off of five New York Giants turnovers.

Not counting the kneel downs, the 49ers had 10 legitimate possessions. They scored nine points on three drives in the first half with another drive ending with an unforced fumble and another with a punt. In the second half, they scored on their opening possession, turned the ball over on downs off a botched field goal, and punted three times.

The one play that really hurt was the 48-yard touchdown catch-and-run by WR Michael Crabtree early in the 3rd quarter.

That said, there issues with the defensive schemes that continue to bug me. On a key 3rd-and-5 play on the 49ers’ first scoring drive, Fewell sent two blitzers (Jameel McClain and Spencer Paysinger) off of the left side and dropped DL Mathias Kiwanuka (playing DT on this snap) into coverage against TE Vernon Davis. As is usually the case, the opposing offense easily recognized and blocked the blitz. Kiwanuka, who should not be called upon to cover a receiver the caliber of Davis, was caught in a chase position. An easy first down was the result.

Giants send two blitzers and drop Kiwanuka

Giants send two blitzers and drop Kiwanuka

Blitz is easily blocked and Kiwanuka is in no position to defend pass

Blitz is easily blocked and Kiwanuka is in no position to defend pass

Defensive Line/Linebackers

The 49ers rushed for 148 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. They controlled the clock for almost 35 minutes and were a decent 6-of-14 on third down (43 percent). With those numbers, you would expect the 49ers to have generated more points. Not counting the drive where the 49ers started on the Giants 29-yard line (49ers only gained three yards on three plays on this possession), the defense really only allowed three scoring drives: two field goal drives and one touchdown drive.

On these three drives:

  1. First field-goal drive: 49ers running backs gained 29 yards on four carries, the biggest being RB Frank Gore’s 17-yard gain (to the right) – the longest on the day for San Francisco. QB Colin Kaepernick also lost seven yards on a QB run.
  2. Second field-goal drive: The 49ers ran the ball four times for 23 yards with the longest run by a 16 yarder by Gore (to the right). But the Giants’ defense also caused two -1 yard runs on this drive.
  3. Touchdown drive: The 49ers only ran the ball once on this three-play drive, an 11-yard gain by Gore (to the right).

The 49ers did move the ball well on their opening possession, including gaining 47 yards six runs (16 coming on a QB scramble). But the drive ended with an unforced fumble by Gore.

So overall, the 49er running game, though very productive, did not help the 49ers generate a lot of points.

That said, there were some worrisome breakdowns. On the 17-yard gain by Gore on the first scoring drive, the left-side of the defense was nowhere to be found.

Robert Ayers, Mike Patterson, and Mark Herzlich easily washed inside...

Robert Ayers, Mike Patterson, and Mark Herzlich easily washed inside…

opening up the entire left-side of the defense

opening up the entire left-side of the defense

This drive stalled however when Jason Pierre-Paul and Devon Kennard blew up a read option play to the right side of the defense, with Kennard tackling the quarterback for a 7-yard loss. It was a nice play by Pierre-Paul who originally took the bait inside but was athletic enough to re-direct and force Kaepernick into Kennard’s path.

Pierre-Paul and Kennard cause 7-yard loss

Pierre-Paul and Kennard cause 7-yard loss

Really, most of the damage in the running game seemed to come against the left side of the defense and away from Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins. Here we see Gore’s 16-yard gain on the second field goal drive. Mathias Kiwanuka is pushed way inside by #71, Herzlich is blocked by #77, and the TE (#89) takes out Antrel Rolle. (Markus Kuhn was also knocked to the ground). Jameel McClain can’t make the play.

Kuhn, Kiwanuka, Herzlich, and Rolle all effectively taken out of the play

Kuhn, Kiwanuka (by #71), Herzlich (by #77), and Rolle (by #89) all effectively taken out of the play

On the very next play, Kiwanuka has the quarterback dead to rights, but can’t make the play and Colin Kaepernick scrambles for nine yards.

Kiwanuka should nail the QB for a big loss but allows him to get around him

Kiwanuka should nail the QB for a big loss but allows him to get away

The leading tacklers for the Giants were the linebackers: McClain (all 68 defensive snaps, 14 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss), Kennard (55 snaps, 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss), and Herzlich (48 snaps, 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 pass defense). Herzlich was a bit up and down, but he brought some needed emotion to the team. The trio of McClain-Herzlich-Kennard isn’t a very athletic or speedy group and that showed up on the film. Spencer Paysinger played 13 snaps and had three tackles.

Kiwanuka (64 snaps, 4 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss) led the defensive line in tackles, but did not play well. Pierre-Paul (64 snaps) only had one tackle but was stouter against the run. DE/DT Robert Ayers (39 snaps) finished with 2 tackles, 1 sack (the only by the Giants), 1 QB hit, and 1 tackle for a loss. DE Damontre Moore (18 snaps) had the Giants only other QB hit as New York only officially hit Kaepernick in the pocket twice. The Giants pass rush was obviously not good on Sunday.

Johnathan Hankins (54 snaps, 2 tackles), Mike Patterson (35 snaps, 3 tackles), and Markus Kuhn (18 snaps, 2 tackles rotated at defensive tackle and did not really stand out. Jay Bromley was available but did not play.

Defensive Backs

The 49ers were limited to 193 yards passing as Colin Kaepernick only completed 15-of-29 passes. 48 of those yards came on their lone touchdown of the game. The 49ers only had two offensive plays over 20 yards.

On the long touchdown throw, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (41 snaps, 2 tackles, 2 pass defenses) was beat by WR Michael Crabtree to the inside for an intermediate gain. But the real problem was S Quintin Demps was caught badly out of position and failed to prevent the long score.

Crabtree beats DRC to the inside but Demps is way out of position, failing to prevent long TD

Crabtree beats DRC to the inside but Demps is way out of position, failing to prevent long TD

The other big negative play was a 35-yard pass interference penalty on 2nd-and-18 by Rodgers-Cromartie, who continues to be plagued by IT band issue that limits his snaps and affects his play. The pass interference penalty helped to set up San Francisco’s first field goal. The announcers felt interference should not have been called, but DRC did not help his case by turning around for the football. Early in the game, Rodgers-Cromartie made a nice play by defeating a block and knocking away a pass on a bubble screen. He also knocked down a 2nd-and-11 pass near the goal line in the 2nd quarter. Late in the 2nd quarter, WR Michael Crabtree beat DRC for a 25-yard gain, the only other long pass play.

Zack Bowman (48 snaps, 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery) played more than any other corner. Newcomer Chykie Brown (30 snaps, 3 tackles, 1 pass defense) saw more action than Jayron Hosley (20 snaps) and actually played pretty well. Brown had nice coverage on a deep shot to TE Vernon Davis after Eli’s first interception and later made an excellent play by diving and knocking away a 3rd-and-11 pass intended for Crabtree.

Antrel Rolle (6 tackles) and Demps (4 tackles) played all 68 snaps. Stevie Brown played 17 snaps but did not show up on the stat sheet. Safety play is killing the Giant this year. Rolle has been just OK and Demps and Brown have been below average.

Special Teams

The Giants special teams performed well in this game.

The Giants surprised everyone in the 3rd quarter with an onside kick that PK Josh Brown made possible by forcing the 49er who was in the process of securing the ball to fumble. Mark Herzlich also deserves credit for ripping the ball away.

Brown had two other kickoffs, one resulting in a touchback and the other returned 26 yards after a holding penalty was enforced.

Brown remains perfect on the season on field goals, hitting from 43 yards out in this contest.

Steve Weatherford punted three times, averaging 43 yards per punt (40.3 net).

Preston Parker returned five kickoffs, with a long of 38 yards. He reached the 22, 25, 29, 22, and 41 on his five returns.

Odell Beckham returned three punts for 39 yards, with the long being a 25 yarder.

Damontre Moore made a dumb play with a late block on a punt return.

The Giants had good coverage on the botched field goal where the holder attempted to complete a pass down field (good awareness by both McClain and Herzlich).

(San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants, November 16, 2014)
Nov 172014
 


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Giants Activate OG Geoff Schwartz Off Short-Term IR: The New York Giants activated offensive guard Geoff Schwartz off off  Injured Reserve/Designated for Return or short-term injured reserve. Schwartz was placed on Injured Reserve on September 3 because of the dislocated right big toe he suffered in the preseason game against the New York Jets on August 22. Today was the deadline for the Giants to activate Schwartz or place him on season-ending Injured Reserve.

To make room for Schwartz, the Giants waived linebacker Justin Anderson, who was signed off of the team’s Practice Squad on Saturday.

Geoff Schwartz, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Geoff Schwartz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“I am ready to go,” Schwartz said. “I had a couple good weeks of practice. Last week was real good. I took every rep for the scout team. I felt good out there. I expect I’ll be ready to go…It was a pretty significant injury. It takes a little time for it to heal. Once you get it healed, it takes a little bit of time to get your strength back and that is kind of what it took.”

Schwartz was starting at left guard before he got hurt. He has experience at right guard and right tackle as well.

“I have no preference (about what position he will play), other than getting him going,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said about Schwartz.

“I’ve started 11 games at tackle.” Schwartz said. “I played three and a half quarters last year at tackle in the last game of the season. I can play tackle. Obviously, I was signed as a guard, but I think they like my versatility, and I feel comfortable definitely playing tackle.”

That versatility should serve the Giants well as RT Justin Pugh was forced to leave the game on Sunday with a strained quad. His replacement, Charles Brown, was terrible, as was starting RG John Jerry.

November 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

November 17, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the New York Giants Upcoming Offseason: With playoffs unlikely, here are 10 questions NY Giants must address by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: As boring as it sounds, it’s still all about the offensive line by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the Giants-49ers Game: Giants snap counts vs. 49ers: Andre Williams’ snaps vanish, Devon Kennard gets more playing time by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Nov 162014
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Five Interceptions for Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The opportunity was there.

With five minutes to play and the New York Giants trailing the San Francisco 49ers by six, Eli Manning and the offense had a first and goal at the San Francisco four yard line.

In spite of Manning’s then four interceptions, the lack of a running game and continued offensive dysfunctions, the team was still in a position to win. It needed just four yards in four plays.

New York didn’t get a yard before Manning was intercepted on fourth down, all but sealing the deal on the team’s 16-10 loss Sunday afternoon in East Rutherford.

“Four shots from the four yard line,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “It’s inexcusable that we didn’t score.”

Throughout the game’s entirety, the calm, cool and collected Manning that had taken the field for New York’s previous nine games was no where to be found. Manning missed passes low, high, inside and out. Coughlin said Manning was dealing with “accuracy issues” and the quarterback’s play made it abundantly clear.

Manning, who entered the game having thrown six interceptions all season, was intercepted five times, three of which when targeting Rueben Randle. He completed just 22-of-45 passes for 280 yards.

“You’re not going to win a game turning the ball over five times,” Coughlin said. “I can guarantee you that.”

Early in the game, it appeared as if the game was headed in the complete opposite direction as what it ended up. On the Giants first possession, Manning marched New York 63 yards in five plays before finding tight end Larry Donnell for a 19-yard touchdown. The drive was set up when Zack Bowman recovered a Frank Gore fumble.

But after New York’s touchdown, the offense went cold. The team’s ensuing drives resulted in  a punt, two interceptions and two more punts before finally getting on the scoreboard with a Josh Brown field goal in the third quarter. With the Giants offense in a rut, San Francisco did just enough to win the game.

Following Gore’s fumble, the 49ers kicked three consecutive field goals to go on top, 9-7. On their first drive of the second half, quarterback Colin Kaepernick hit receiver Michael Crabtree on a slant. The former first-round pick burst through the center of the Giants defense for a 48-yard score.

New York answered with Brown’s field goal, but were unable to put any additional points on the board after. Manning was intercepted for a fourth time at the San Francisco 20, but the most back-breaking pick came with New York deep inside 49er territory.

Starting at their own 35 with 6:18 to play, Manning marched the Giants quickly into San Francisco territory. On second down at the 49er 41, Manning went deep to Odell Beckham Jr. down the right sideline. The rookie made a leaping grab to set New York up at the four. On first down, Manning threw a fade to Beckham that was out of reach. On second down, Manning threw a fade to Randle which fell in complete. On third down, Manning threw a fade to Larry Donnell who landed hard on his shoulder and dropped the ball. On fourth down, Manning forced the ball inside to Preston Parker. As the ball hit Parker’s hands, the receiver was hit and the ball popped up and into the arms of San Francisco linebacker Chris Borland.

“We need to bounce back,” Coughlin said. “Now we’ve had a defensive fiasco, we’ve had an offensive fiasco. Perhaps maybe now we’ll be able to go out and put something together.”

The loss for New York drops its record to 3-7. It faces the Dallas Cowboys at home next Sunday night.

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Quick Hits and Tidbits

  • The Giants lost their fifth consecutive game to fall to 3-7. It is their worst record after 10 games since 1998, when they were also 3-7 and finished 8-8.
  • Inactive for New York were cornerback Mike Harris, linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion), guard Adam Snyder, defensive end Kerry Wynn, offensive tackle James Brewer, offensive guard Brandon Mosley and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf). Mike Patterson started for Jenkins and Mark Herzlich for Williams.
  • Offensive tackle Justin Pugh left the game with a quad injury and did not return. Speaking after the game, Coughlin said Pugh originally hurt his quad in last week’s game against Seattle, but practiced fully all week. It acted up against San Francisco.
  • Receivers Rueben Randle and Preston Parker each left the game at various points in time with ailments. Both returned and were said to be fine after the game.
  • Of Manning’s interceptions, three were intended for Randle. Two were intercepted by Chris Borland, one by Michael Wilhoite, one by Chris Culliver and one by Eric Reid.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. finished with six catches for 93 yards. Rueben Randle caught seven passes for 112.
  • Earlier in the week, Coughlin spoke about how he wanted his “big players” to make “big plays.” The comment was in response to a question about Jason Pierre-Paul. On Sunday, Pierre-Paul had one tackle. Receiver Preston Parker had two.
  • Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. recorded a sack bringing his season total to five. Since the start of last season, Ayers has 10.5 sacks. In his first four seasons, he had 6.5.
  • The San Francisco 49ers rushed for 148 yards on the Giants defense and averaged 4.0 yards per carry.
  • The Giants recovered an onside kick in the third quarter, their first successful onside kick since Nov. 7, 2004 vs. Chicago.

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

Post-Game Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of post-game media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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