Dec 312019
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 29, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – New York  Giants 17

QUICK RECAP

Week 17 approached and NYG fans have become embarrassingly used to it meaning absolutely nothing. The most exciting part of the year for this franchise has been the offseason and this game didn’t host any implications beside the fact we were that much closer to a new head coach, the free agency period, and the NFL Draft. Arguably the darkest days in the history of the organization are here. We are living them. On a rainy Sunday, PHI came to town needing a win to lock up their NFC East title for the 9th time in 19 years.

With a depleted offense and more injuries on the way, PHI came limping into this one, to say the least. One of the most aggressive teams on 4th down in the league, PHI opted to try and set the tone early on a 4th-and-7 from the NYG 38-yard line but it was stuffed thanks to pressure from rookie Oshane Ximines. The NYG offense responded by reaching midfield being forced to punt.

The second PHI possession resulted in 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. NYG then responded with a drive that was a true microcosm of their 2019 season. On 2nd-and-4, Barkley was taken down for a 4-yard loss on a run that was intended to be between the tackles and then Daniel Jones was sacked because of a 2-man stunt by the PHI defensive front that Nate Solder and Will Hernandez looked helpless against. Three and out.

The two teams traded 6 straight scoreless drives combined. On the three NYG drives, the team gave the ball to Barkley two times for a total of -7 yards. Fortunately PHI was playing with the backups-backups on offense and their top play-maker over the past 4 weeks, Miles Sanders, was out of the game with a lower body injury. Their sloppy play kept NYG in it. The Giants were able to put 3 points on the board via a 37-yard field goal. PHI then responded with a 8-play, 75-yard, touchdown-scoring drive. Carson Wentz hit third-string tight end Josh Perkins for the 24-yard score. Perkins has 9 receptions on the year, all of them are against NYG.

There were 2 minutes left in the half and NYG had more than enough time and timeouts to try and get this game back to even. They responded with 8 plays that got them to midfield before having to punt. Barkley touched the ball one time (a 7-yard rush). PHI took their 10-3 lead into halftime.

NYG began the second half with the ball and they were able to score their first touchdown of the game. Jones hit Golden Tate in the back corner of the end zone for the 20-yard score and the game was tied up. You could feel the sigh of relief coming from Dallas, as they were handling the Redskins but needed the NYG win to secure their division title. This game was, at least, competitive. Oh have the barometers for success within this franchise changed!

That lead didn’t last long, however. The Boston Scott show reappeared just as it did Week 14 on Monday Night Football in Philly. In that game, he totaled 128 yards and a touchdown, almost all of which came in the second half. PHI scored a touchdown on their second possession of the second half on a 7-yard scamper into the end zone by Scott. The lead was 17-10. But then the big-play back from NYG struck once again, as he’s made a habit of in recent weeks. Barkley was given the first carry of the drive and took it to the house for a 68-yard score. The burst into space and runaway speed was something to marvel at. Man, what could be with this kid if they were able to constantly get him in space!

The 4th quarter opened with a PHI field goal, a NYG fumble, and then a PHI touchdown – all within the span of 2 minutes. The PHI play-makers on this drive other than Carson Wentz? Scott, Greg Ward Jr., Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Jordan Perkins. None of them were on the active roster until October 11.

The next two NYG drives did not pick up a first down, the second of which was a turnover on downs as a 4th-and-2 rushing attempt that took way too long to develop resulted in no gain. PHI took advantage of the blood in the water, and needed just four plays to get into the end zone again via another Scott touchdown, his third of the day.

The wind was out of the sails one last time in regard to the 2019 season, and also the Pat Shurmur era. NYG put together a few garbage drives, one of which ended in an interception.

Giants lose 34-17. The worst team in the NFL over the past three seasons (12-36).

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 28/47 – 301 yards – 1 TD/1 INT – 76.6 RAT. Jones was also charged with his 18th fumble / 11th lost fumble of the year. One could argue this one was more on the shoulders of Jon Halapio as it all started with a shotgun snap that went knee-high. Jones did re-gather possession and ended up losing it, however. Jones was inaccurate for most of the day, notably on downfield passes. He had Sterling Shepard twice and Darius Slayton once “wide” open (in NFL terms) but he just didn’t get the ball to the right spot. He was also late to see and throw on a few underneath passes where NYG was either on 3rd/4th down. Compared to what we have seen this year, it was a poor game by Jones.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 92 yards / 1 TD – 3 rec / 25 yards. It was heading toward another horrid day for Barkley until his 68-yard touchdown run livened up the box score. While we know Barkley has been big play-dependent when it comes to his total production over his first two years, it is still amazing what he can do for an offense when the space is there. There were a handful of attempts where Barkley had defenders at his feet upon his approach to the line of scrimmage – an image we all just got sick of seeing. There is a lot of potential with this offense because of what Barkley can do and the new coach better figure it out upon arrival.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 5 rec / 68 yards / 1 TD. Tate had an awful 3rd down drop early in the game but he woke up and ended strong. His touchdown catch was high-difficulty as Rasul Douglas was draped all over him and was actually called for pass interference on the play. Tate’s role on this team moving forward is interesting to me. He can’t be the #1 or even the #2 guy in the passing game. But if he can be you’re #3, you are talking about a high-ceiling attack. The issue? Nobody on this roster is head and shoulders ahead of him and it forces him into the expectation tier that he simply will not fulfill. My conclusion? Keep him here and hope for development elsewhere and/or a new face that can be a #1 or #2.

-Sterling Shepard: 5 rec / 39 yards. Shepard got a little banged up when he landed hard on his hip early in the game but he toughed it out and stayed in the game. Watching the All-22, he did pull up multiple times. Shepard was missed by Jones downfield two times and twice underneath. This could have been a huge game for him if Jones had been on. Something to chew on: Shepard has been in the league for 4 years. He is averaging 11.6 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns per season. While I don’t think the long-term contract was a bad decision, everyone needs to be on the same page that this team needs a better number one threat in the passing game. He won’t ever be that guy.

-Darius Slayton: 4 rec / 50 yards. Slayton had two opportunities deep with one of them being an underthrow and the other being Slayton just getting beat by the corner. Slayton’s rookie year is something to be pleased about, but not necessarily excited about if that makes sense. The speed and route running were effective all year but the book is out on him a bit. He really struggles to get off the jam and doesn’t play through contact well. He deserves an opportunity to be a guy here but I wouldn’t make plans around it; rather he can be the speed/deep threat accessory.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith: 8 rec / 98 yards. Smith led the team in targets, yards, and catches. Not bad for a 6th rounder who cut from SF. In all seriousness, Smith is one of the best finds this front office has had in awhile. While opportunity certainly created some of his production, Smith looks like a keeper. Having him as the number two guy next year while Evan Engram gets one more shot is going to be a nice roster asset.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The left side of this line was a disaster, as the dumpster fire here just continues to intensify. Will Hernandez and Nate Solder combined for 4 pressures and a simple stunt resulted in 2 sacks where they both looked lost. They also allowed 1 TFL each. This has been an issue for 32-straight games. Lack of chemistry can no longer be blamed. I will be very disappointed if Solder is the starting left tackle in 2020. I think Hernandez will have to be the left guard another year, but the issues I had with him on my scouting report out of UTEP popped up left and right all year. Buyer beware.

-Jon Halapio had his third-worst game of the season, which is hard to believe because he played really, really poorly in 2019. This position is another no-brainer when it comes to 2020 mandatory replacements. He allowed a pressure, a sack, and 2 TFL. I should be getting OL stats from around the league from my guys and I am going to guarantee Halapio grades out as one of the worst three OCs in the league. He was pitiful. All year.

-Kevin Zeitler also struggled in this one, his second-worst game of the year. He allowed a TFL and a pressure but most glaringly just didn’t get any movement off the ball for almost the entire game. Not a good way to end the year. Nick Gates allowed a pressure but other than that, ended the game pretty cleanly. He was the top NYG OL in this one and based on what we have seen this year, he deserves to be in the discussion for an OT spot or a 6th OL spot next year, the latter being preferred. I feel much better about him than I did Chad Wheeler for what it is worth.

EDGE

-Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter didn’t get to the QB but they each finished with a pressure and a TFL, respectively. Golden has been a consistent force all year that, similar to Tate. He can’t ever be THE guy on your pass rush but would be a solid secondary weapon. The cost of bringing him back and the scheme that is implemented will have a say in that decision obviously. Carter ended the year stronger than he started, but I can’t say I am overly optimistic about him heading into the offseason.

-Oshane Ximines had a key pressure on the first drive, but was pretty quiet otherwise. My expectations were not that high for a 3rd rounder who I had graded lower. Nevertheless, I didn’t see a lot out of him that gets me excited. The Giants need a lot of help at the edge-rushing position, especially if Golden leaves. Priority B behind the offensive line.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dexter Lawrence surprisingly played awful upon my re-watch. He was playing high and slow and even had a few plays where he looked disinterested. After a really strong year, I didn’t like seeing him end the season with Boston Scott running untouched behind an offensive line that was 40% injured. A big part of that was on Lawrence.

-Leonard Williams continued his solid play and ending to the season. He had 5 tackles – a half sack – 1 pressure. He did miss a tackle in the first half and there are still too many plays where he is rendered ineffective by a lone blocker, though. This is going to be a big decision for David Gettleman, as he just isn’t worth anything more than $10-12 million per year in my eyes. But Gettleman already gave up a 3rd-round pick for him in a hopeless season.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill both finished with 2 tackles. It’s funny how people coming into the year overrated Hill after his solid but opportunistic rookie season, yet now some are overlooking his value to the team. The NYG defensive line was really healthy all year and he happened to be the guy who didn’t get on the field much. I don’t see it as an indictment of poor play at all. The NYG DTs are solid and deep as we head into 2020.

LINEBACKER

-The best inside linebacker in the Giants home blue was David Mayo, not Alex Ogletree. I have to give Mayo credit for being a consistent hustler and blue-collar defender. He has athletic limitations and I’m not sure he is a guy I want penciled in as a starter in 2020, but he is a good guy to have on the team. He finished with 6 tackles and a half-sack. Ogletree finished with 4 tackles and was a liability in coverage. His time in NY needs to be over.

-Deone Bucannon finished with 2 tackles and a TFL where he made an extremely athletic and physical play. He has been impressive enough to warrant an opportunity at a backup job depending on the new scheme.

CORNERBACK

-Antonio Hamilton – according to the box score – had a really good game. 5 tackles and 4 pass break ups. But this is where watching the game is important. While he did make impressive plays on the ball a few times, Hamilton was burned a few times but luckily Wentz wasn’t looking his way. Also, can we stop with the taunting after you break a pass up just plays after you missed a tackle and allowed a first down while your team is losing by 10? Losing culture right there. But yes, let’s root for losses.

-Deandre Baker showed impressive coverage throughout but was burned badly on a crossing route where he simply did not recognize the route combination. That was a clear sign that he just doesn’t have it all mentally down. He was beat on that touchdown by a 3rd-string tight end. It wasn’t a speed issue, it wasn’t a ball skill issue, he just didn’t recognize.

SAFETY

Another quick glance at the box score and you will see that Michael Thomas led the team with 11 tackles and added a TFL. Solid game right? Wrong. He missed 3 tackles, was flagged twice, and was beat on three 3rd-down conversions in coverage. He was a guy who was brought in for character and special teams prowess so I can’t knock the personnel decision too bad here. But he can’t be a guy you are trotting out there for a meaningful volume of snaps.

-Antoine Bethea, another head-scratching veteran acquisition, missed 2 tackles and was completely run over by the 207-pound Scott for the final PHI touchdown. He takes bad angles and has almost no range in deep coverage. What exactly does he offer? Being a good guy can only get you so far. Hopefully NYG has a real safety tandem for the first time in years in 2020 and he won’t be a part of it.

-Julian Love was a mixed bag as we have seen in recent weeks. He had 8 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 PD. He also missed a tackle and was getting beat, routinely, by Greg Ward, Jr. in coverage. I am optimistic with Love when it comes to his potential to impact the team. The question is, where? He played a similar safety role to Jabrill Peppers and I wouldn’t want either of them in the deep FS-type role that Bethea was playing. I think Love could do it more than I believe in Peppers, but they may need to find a nickel role for him depending on, once again, the new scheme that is coming.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 37). Real inconsistent year for Rosas and a leg needs to be signed to compete with him in camp. No doubt.

-P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 42.8 avg / 42.3 net. For the second year in a row, Dixon statistically finishes as a top 10 punter in the league.

3 STUDS

-OT Nick Gates, RB Saquon Barkley, DT Leonard Williams

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Halapio, S Michael Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. Before we go and hand the NFL Coach of Year award to the team with best record, can someone please find me a coach that did more than Doug Pederson did with this banged up PHI squad? Would Harbaugh be the #1 seed if he was without Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, 2 starting OL, 2 starting corners, and his top 3 wide receivers? Or would Shanahan be coaching the #1 seed if he was without George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and his top 2 RBs? Pederson orchestrated 4 straight wins to end the year with 400+ total yards (first time PHI did that since 2013). All of this with the most depleted offensive roster in football.
  1. There is another feather in Pederson’s cap, but this has more to do with the winning culture that has been built from the top on down. PHI is 12-2 from week 15 on in do-or-die games (regular-season and playoffs). Winning culture is derived from avoiding losses guys. Another reason why you do not ever, ever root for losses.
  1. With all of this said, I can’t see PHI getting out of the Wild Card weekend alive. Even though they get a SEA team that has been slowly dying over the second half of the year, they are matched up favorably. I think SEA takes that game by 7+ points because their defense will be able to handle the group of backups with ease. It will be an ugly game, but I think PHI is just too beat up to defeat a quality team at this point like SEA.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. As I write this, the news of Pat Shurmur being fired is out in the open and the 3rd coaching search in 5 years is under way. Unfortunately this time of the year has become more fun than the actual season, a true sign of a losing franchise. I have 2 front runners (zero inside information, just preferences). My first is Eric Bieniemy, the OC from KC. I started to discuss him 2 years ago even though it may have been a bit early for him. I like the Andy Reid coaching tree, I like his offensive background, I like this guy’s attitude, I like his ability to relate to players but also put them in their place. My second preference is Matt Rhule, the NY local and current Baylor coach. I like his idea of building culture and sticking to tough-guy football with a dose or two of modern era tendencies.
  1. Daniel Jones. Overall this was a very solid rookie year. He earned the right to get 3 seasons (what I think every 1st rounder deserves if they show some things as a rookie) but I am not going to glorify him as the leader of the future just yet. I love the toughness. I love the sneaky athletic ability. I love the footwork and throwing mechanics. However, the turnovers are absolute killers in the NFL and setting a record for lost fumbles needs to be fixed. I also saw some arm power things that popped up during scouting and during training camp (both of which I addressed and got knocked for) during the season when it came to deep balls. He has a ways to go and I think he can be the guy, but I am not labeling him the guy yet.
  1. As much as this league has turned offensive, you have to get guys that make plays on defense. Even guys like Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Aaron Donald (none of which are in the playoffs) won’t turn a team around but every good team has guys on defense who make plays or strike fear into opposing offenses. The Giants don’t have any. Literally. None. While the offensive line needs to be addressed first and foremost, NYG needs to be aggressive with their abundance of cash in getting at least 2 play-makers. CB / EDGE / S / LB…any of those spots. Spend big, twice.
Dec 292019
 
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Philadelphia Eagles (December 29, 2019)

Philadelphia Eagles celebrate their dominance over New York Giants – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 17…
An injury-depleted Philadelphia Eagles team humiliated the New York Giants 34-17 at a rainy, dreary MetLife Stadium on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants could have ended the Eagles’ season, but instead Philadelphia won the NFC East. New York’s 2019 season ends with a 4-12 overall record. The Eagles now have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Giants.

Aside from a few plays, the Giants largely slept walk through the game. The Eagles were not overly impressive; the Giants were simply that bad.

The Eagles received the football to start the game and drove 55 yards on their opening drive to the New York 38-yard line. But on 4th-and-7, linebacker Oshane Ximines pressured quarterback Carson Wentz into an incomplete pass and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. The Giants gained one first down due a defensive holding penalty on the Eagles and then punted. On their second drive, Philadelphia drove 69 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 31-yard field goal. Eagles 3 – Giants 0.

The Giants and Eagles then combined for six punts on each team’s next three possessions. At this point in the contest, the Giants had gained only one first down (by penalty) and five net yards.

Finally, midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants moved the ball, gaining 67 yards in seven plays to set up a 37-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The game was tied at 3-3. However, the Eagles quickly regained the lead on their next possession as the defense surrendered an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to tight end Josh Perkins. Neither team scored on their final possessions of the half.

At halftime, the Eagles led 10-3 with the Giants only gaining six first downs and 108 yards of offense, punting the ball away five times in six possessions.

New York offered a glimmer of hope in the 3rd quarter before fading fast. The Giants drove 76 yards in 10 plays on their opening drive of the second half, with quarterback Daniel Jones finding wide receiver Golden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10-10. After a punt by the Eagles and a turnover on downs by the Giants, Philadelphia once again regained the lead 17-10 with a 9-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Boston Scott. Nevertheless, the Giants tied the game in one play when running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 68-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 17-17.

It was all downhill after that. The Eagles responded with their second scoring drive in a row, moving 43 yards in eight plays to set up a 50-yard field goal. Then disaster struck when an errant snap from center Jon Halapio was fielded by Jones but quickly snapped out of his hand by another defender. This resulted in a fumble that was knocked backwards 25 yards and recovered by the Eagles at the New York 2-yard line. Scott scored on the very next play and the Eagles were quickly up 27-17 early in the 4th quarter.

After both teams went three-and-out, the Giants turned the ball over on downs again when Barkley was stuffed on 4th-and-2 at the New York 38-yard line. Four plays later, Scott scored his third touchdown of the game and the Eagles led 34-17 with just over six minutes to play.

The Giants’ seventh possession of the half ended with an interception at the Philadelphia 6-yard line when wide receiver Darius Slayton slipped on the play. The Eagles went three-and-out. The Giants threatened on their last drive but couldn’t make the final score more respectable.

Jones finished the game 28-of-47 for 301 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was also sacked four times and officially hit 10 times. Jones’ leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (8 catches for 98 yards), Tate (5 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 39 yards). Barkley carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 25 first downs and 400 total net yards (121 rushing and 289 passing). The Giants only accrued one sack and did not force a turnover.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were RT Mike Remmers (concussion), CB Sam Beal (shoulder), QB Alex Tanney, RB Wayne Gallman, WR David Sills, OG Chad Slade, and NT Chris Slayton.

FB Eli Penny (back), WR Cody Core (concussion), and OC Jon Halapio (Achilles) left the game and did not return.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants finished in third place in the NFC East.

The Giants’ were 2-6 in home games in MetLife Stadium for the third consecutive season. They also lost there as visitors to the Jets.

The Giants were 2-4 in NFC East games.

The Giants have lost seven consecutive games to the Eagles.

The Giants did not intercept a pass in any of the final five games.

Daniel Jones  led all rookie quarterbacks with 24 touchdown passes this season, the fourth-most by a rookie quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018), Peyton Manning (26 in 1998), and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) had more.

Jones threw a touchdown pass in each of his last 12 games – all starts – the longest streak by a Giants quarterback since Eli Manning threw for a score in 12 straight games in 2008. The Giants’ record is 15 consecutive games from 1962-64 by Y.A. Tittle.

Jones rushed for 289 yards in 2019. That is the third-highest total by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era, surpassed only by Fran Tarkenton in 1967 and 1968 (306 and 301 yards, respectively).

Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,003 yards in 2019. He is the first player in Giants history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and the first with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since Brandon Jacobs in 2007-08.

NEW YORK GIANTS 2020 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants’ 2020 opponents have been set:

Home:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Chicago Bears

NEW YORK GIANTS TO PICK 4TH IN 2020 NFL DRAFT…
The New York Giants now hold the 4th pick in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Saturday, the New York Giants placed tight end Scott Simonson on Injured Reserve. Simonson suffered a concussion during last Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. To fill that roster vacancy, the Giants signed tight end Garrett Dickerson to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. Simonson spent time with the Raiders (2014-2015) and Carolina Panthers (2015-2017) before signing with the Giants in June 2018. He had his best season with the Giants in 2018, paying in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. The Giants placed Simonson on Injured Reserve in August 2019 with an ankle injury, cut him from Injured Reserve in September, and re-signed him to the 53-man roster in November. He played in five games in 2019 with one start, catching just two passes for 11 yards.

The Giants originally signed undrafted rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson in June 2018. He spent a couple of stints on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2018. Dickerson made the 53-man roster in 2019, but was waived in October and then re-signed to the Practice Squad in November. Dickerson has played in seven regular-season games for the Giants, but he does not have a catch.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is unspecified media availability to the team on Monday. General Manager Dave Gettleman told the press after the game that he would speak to them on Tuesday.

Dec 272019
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, December 29, 2019

THE STORYLINE

Here we are again. Seven of the last eight years with no playoff appearance. Yet another season over before the bye week. Soon the third head coach fired during a five-year span. Just eight years ago, this team was considered one of the model franchises in the NFL with it’s eighth NFL Championship firmly in tow. Now, almost unbelievably, the butt of a bad joke.

I almost always find myself agree with Sy’56. But I have to at least partially disagree about winning always being better than losing. I get it. There is no such thing as a “can’t miss” prospect. There is no guarantee that the #2 pick will be better than the #5 pick. And if a team doesn’t start creating a culture of winning, it will never turn the corner because it will always expect to lose. But the potential marriage of the pass-rush desperate Giants with potentially defense-altering Chase Young seemed too perfect. Young is not the next Lawrence Taylor, but the Giants changed the entire course of their franchise by selecting LT with the #2 pick in the 1981 draft. Overnight, he turned the defense into one of the best in the league. The Giants needed that then, and they need that now.

Young is all but officially out of the picture unless some weird shit happens. If he is, I do find myself now in Sy’s camp in thinking that winning this game against the Eagles on Sunday is more important than the difference in picking #3 versus #4 or #5. There are a number of defensive players and offensive tackles who can help the Giants. And unless players such as Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Dexter Lawrence, and Deandre Baker start believing they can beat the Eagles, nothing the Giants will do in the draft will matter. The Giants must get over this big, ugly, green mental hurdle that humiliates them twice a year now. You can’t get to the playoffs if you lose more division games than you win. And if the Cowboys defeat the Redskins, the Giants will be in position to ruin Philadelphia’s season. That would represent some sweet payback for all of those ultimately meaningless losses to the Eagles in the past eight years.

The 2019 Philadelphia Eagles are not a good team. They just aren’t. Just four weeks ago, the sad sack New York Giants had a 17-3 halftime advantage over them in Philadelphia. Then New York saw their own shadow, got frightened, and let the Eagles score the next 20 points en route to a 23-17 overtime loss. That pathetic shit has to stop. And this game is as good a place to start as any.

Moving away from the little picture to the big, Pat Shurmur most likely will be fired by Monday or Tuesday. The big question is does Dave Gettleman follow him out the door? It’s tough to see John Mara and Steve Tisch firing another general manager for the second time in three years. Some will point to the improved drafting, especially the election of Jones and Barkley. But Gettleman’s free agent decision-making has been dreadful and that’s a red flag for a team heading into an offseason with tens of millions of dollars to spend. He also picked Shurmur just two years ago. Finally, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, shouldn’t the GM who will head this team for the next 10 years (obviously not Gettleman given his age) pick the next head coach now? Potentially influencing all of this is the pie-in-the-sky, but not totally unrealistic possibilities that the Giants may finally be able to lure away Bill Belichick or Nick Saban. The timing matches up right for all parties. But those big fish will want more control. Don’t rule out options that seem like a pipe dream!!!

GIANTS ON OFFENSE…

Four short weeks ago, for one half, Eli Manning and Darius Slayton were tearing apart the Eagles. Slayton caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Then nothing in the second half as the offensive line started to break down. It was also this game where Saquon Barkley showed signs of coming out of his funk, but Pat Shurmur forgot he was on the roster in the 4th quarter. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard had a down game. Kaden Smith dropped two passes. And perhaps the goat of the game was Nate Solder, who simply was dreadful, allowing pressure on half of New York’s 11 second-half passing plays. How bad was New York in the second half? The Giants punted all six times they had the ball, gaining only two first downs and 30 yards.

Jones, Barkley, Slayton, Tate, Shepard, and Smith are quite capable of ruining Philadelphia’s season if (1) the offensive line can just play an average game, and (2) Pat Shurmur doesn’t turn stupid again. But the New York OL has a long history of getting weak in the knees when playing against the Eagles, and Shurmur’s play-not-to-lose style usually rears its ugly head late in games.

GIANTS ON DEFENSE…

You’ve heard me bitch about it for months. The Giants lose because they can’t field a reliable offensive line. They lose because of bad coaching. But perhaps more than anything, outside of one year (2016), they can’t play good defense. We saw it again last Sunday. The offensively-challenged Redskins marched up and down the field against New York, scoring five touchdowns, including a 99-yard drive with the game on the line at the end of regulation. It’s nauseating. While I have confidence that the offense can pull off the upset, I have none that the defense can do the job. This despite the fact that the Eagles only scored three points in the first half just a month ago against this same pathetic defense.

At this point, the Giants’ defense has to prove it to the fans that they can do the job. Stop the other team on 3rd down. Make that crucial sack or clutch short-yardage play. Pick off a pass. Force a fumble. Create field position for your offense, or even better, score on defense.

For the love of God, cover the tight ends. Don’t let a no-name back-up like running back Boston Scott beat you both running and catching the football. The defense did its job for one half the first time, wore down in the second half, and collapsed in humiliation in overtime. Enough. Play a full 60 minutes or more if needed. Get the job done. For once.

GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS…

C’mon Aldrick, let’s finish a disappointing season for you and the team on a high note. This would also be a great time for a special teams touchdown.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • WR Darius Slayton (knee)
  • TE Rhett Ellison (concussion – out)
  • TE Scott Simonson (concussion – out)
  • RT Mike Remmers (concussion – out)
  • OG/OT Nick Gates (shoulder)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (knee)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (back – questionable)
  • CB Deandre Baker (knee)
  • CB Sam Beal (shoulder – questionable)
  • CB Corey Ballentine (back – questionable)

THE FINAL WORD

Both teams are beat up. I’ll probably regret making this prediction, but the Giants are going to kick the Eagles’ ass on Sunday. And the win will knock the Eagles out of the playoffs, ruining their season, in a venue that will feel more like an Eagles’ home game. All three elements of the team will come to play. Who could potentially screw this up? Shurmur. His game-day instincts are just awful.

Just a word of warning to Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch. If the Giants do pull off the upset, don’t read anything into it. The needle is not pointed up on this franchise yet simply because you beat two dreadful and one mediocre team down the stretch. Your coaching staff stinks. So does your defense and offensive line. You need to bring in people capable of fixing these issues.

Dec 112019
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 23 – New York Giants 17 (OT)

QUICK RECAP

The NFC East has been abysmal in 2019 and it is surely a fair statement to label it the worst division in football. As week 14 was just one game on the NFL schedule away from being complete, not one team in the division had a winning record. DAL was in first place with a 6-7 record and PHI, with a win over the 2-10 NYG, would get to the same point. They would have to do so against Eli Manning, in for the rookie Daniel Jones because of a high ankle sprain. That fact alone actually created some hype for this game as NYG fans needed something to stimulate them after watching such poor football week after week for what seems to be the 100th year in a row. Manning confirmed in interviews leading up to the game he had no interest in being a backup and even less interest in being a coach. This was his best shot at a true showcase of his current abilities, making this his Super Bowl on a Monday Night. And we all know how he has played in those situations.

The night started off quietly for both offenses, as a total of 0 points were produced over the first five drives that took up the entire first quarter. PHI entered the game with just three wide receivers on the active game-day roster and their main leading rusher, Jordan Howard, was sidelined with a shoulder injury. NYG opened the 2nd quarter with a 3rd-and-13 from the PHI 35-yard line. Manning hit rookie Darius Slayton on a quick slant that was short of the first down marker, but a broken tackle and burst that outran the rest of the PHI secondary resulted in the first score of the night.

PHI, now without Alshon Jeffery because of a non-contact foot injury, started to finally create their own offense on the next drive. Even though Carson Wentz continued to look sloppy as he has all year, he was able to take advantage of broken NYG coverages to connect with tight end Zach Ertz for a combined 54 yards on two plays. NYG escaped a PHI touchdown on the next play thanks to a phantom holding call on PHI right guard Brandon Brooks and held them to a field goal.

The NYG offense was starting to click consistently and in multiple ways. Manning hit Slayton with an on-the-money deep ball for a 42-yard gain and Saquon Barkley was running as hard and efficiently as we have seen all season. While they shot themselves in the foot with a fumbled snap (that Barkley recovered), Aldrick Rosas re-lengthened their lead to 10-3 with a 34-yard field goal. Three straight 3-and-outs by both offenses put the ball back in NYG’s hands with under 2 minutes left starting at their own 16-yard line.

These next few plays would be the highlight of the night and maybe one of the top moments of the season for NYG. Barkley gained 15 yards on 2 carries and then Manning hit Slayton for 12 yards to bring the ball near midfield. On 3rd-and-8, Manning dropped back and lofted up one of his infamous deep balls to the young speedster Slayton, who got behind the PHI secondary. The throw was on the money yet again and it resulted in a simple, easy looking 55-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 17-3 lead as halftime was a short moment away. Manning, whose first NFL action was in this stadium back in 2004, was running downfield pumping his fists and enjoying successful football. Nothing on this night could hide the fact this team is an NFL bottom feeder over the past 5 years and this may be the worst NYG team ever. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant distraction to see Eli, host of a 10-20 record against PHI lifetime, celebrate on their turf while the Eagles were losing a game by 14 at home in a game they absolutely had to have.

NYG started the second half with the ball after nearly doubling PHI in total yards and winning the turnover battle. It was almost, quite literally, the complete opposite of what we have seen all year. We forgot what this actually felt like but something in the air suggested this wouldn’t last more than 2 quarters and that instinct was about to be proven right.

The two offenses traded short, 3-4 play drives, 5 times combined to be exact. PHI was dealing with a depleted receiver corps and NYG’s former high flying and efficient offense literally just stopped. The offensive line started to fall apart and they couldn’t get the ball to Barkley in space or Slayton, anywhere. PHI running back Miles Sanders had to leave the game with cramps and in walked Boston Scott, a 5’6”, 203-pound, 2nd-year, undrafted back with 94 career rushing yards along with 1 career catch. He was a key cog on the first PHI touchdown scoring drive that rounded out the 3rd quarter as he dashed into the end zone on a 2-yard run. NYG led 17-10 as the 4th quarter began, but after a quick possession, the ball was back in PHI’s hands.

Thanks to another 38 yards on four touches, Scott helped the PHI offense enter NYG territory. The Giants were missing tackles, blowing assignments on tight ends in coverage, and just not getting it done when rushing the passer. Thanks to a drop in the end zone by Greg Ward, PHI lined up for a 47-yard field goal but Jake Elliot pulled it left. Always nice to see him miss a field goal against NYG because that 61-yard game winner from 2017 still stings.

This was the kind of a game where having a top tier NFL running back should make winning borderline easy, if not completely so. The Giants had a touchdown-lead in the fourth quarter with under 10 minutes to play. NYG opted to call three straight pass plays. The first resulted was a sack, the second resulted in a 7-yard completion, the third resulted in an attempted flea flicker that had potential downfield. But Nate Solder couldn’t hold his block for more than 2 seconds, which forced Eli to quickly give the ball back to Barkley, who had just took the handoff and tossed it back to Manning. Play that out in your head. The play resulted in a 1-yard loss and NYG punted the ball back after taking a whopping 1:30 came off of the game clock. Pathetic.

The Eagles, not so coincidentally, went on to a 6+ minute, 14-play drive. Cornerback Sam Beal was flagged twice on 3rd down. PHI lost yet another wide receiver leaving them with just one and NYG couldn’t cover Ertz. This resulted in a game-tying touchdown pass to him, making it 17-17 with under 2 minutes. If this wasn’t a set up for one last Eli Manning career highlight, I’m not sure what was.

The Giants then went 3-and-out.

This was their 6th possession of the second half. It was their fourth 3rd-and-out and the other possessions resulted in 4 plays each, one first down each. It was a disgraceful second half performance.

PHI opted to try and use the last 1:25 of the game to go for the win. After all, they had completely dominated NYG after their adjustments were filed at halftime. They were left 1 yard short of the first down at their own 36-yard line with 45 seconds left. There was a moment of indecision: would PHI risk going for it or just punt it back to NYG and hope for overtime? Pat Shurmur didn’t realize the game was in is hands at this point. He stood there, waiting to see what PHI would do. He was unsure, unprepared, unable. 30 precious seconds ticked off and then he opted to use a timeout with 19 seconds on the clock. What a complete waste and clear sign of ineptitude.

The game went into overtime and there wasn’t a person in the stadium or at home who believed NYG would win this. After all, it had been over 30 minutes of game clock since NYG was remotely competitive. PHI needed just two plays, mainly thanks to a 25-yard run by the Darren Sproles clone with the first name Boston playing against New York. PHI slowly but surely inched their way up to the NYG 2-yard line. They were still without all but one undrafted wide receiver, but Wentz dropped back and found Ertz, the number one target, wide open and all alone in the back of the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

Giants lose 23-17.

QUARTERBACK

-Eli Manning: 15/30 – 203 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 94.2 QBR. Take a look at those stats and also take in that in the first half, Manning was 11/19 – 179 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 124.7 QBR. So for those who don’t want to do the math, he was 4/11 – 24 yards – 0 TD in the second half despite having 6 possessions. The way this game started was exactly what I was expecting to see. Manning coming out hot and on fire with a couple of lethal downfield “dimes”. Manning has a lot of pride, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that he has been a casualty of a disastrous organization the past 8 seasons. While his performance was far from flawless, he played a solid game. However, once the offensive line fell apart, it was more of the same that he has dealt with in the past. Do I think Manning can win with a good offensive line and strong supporting cast? Absolutely. He can still make the throws and he knows the game as well as anyone mentally.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 66 yards – 3 rec / 1 yard. For such an unimpressive stat line, I came away from this game as encouraged as I have all year about Barkley. This was the hardest we have seen him run all year (despite being taken down for a 3-yard loss on his first carry). It was just a slight sigh of relief to see him live up to his abilities again. Barkley looked healthy and strong. Not calling any plays designed for him on two straight fourth quarter drives was just maddening because he was clearly playing better, and remember, YOU USED THE SECOND PICK OF THE DRAFT ON HIM!

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton: 5 rec / 154 yards / 2 TD. All of that production was in the first half. This kid continues to make big, big plays despite the fact that the PHI secondary was bracketing him. His first touchdown was the result of a broken tackle in space, something we have seen several times now. The second was pure speed and excellent ball tracking, something we discussed about him around draft time. Slayton is really showing something this season and if I had to pick one bright spot in regard to the young players on this team, it is him. If he can shore up some little things, which I think he will, we could be looking at not just a good, but a VERY good WR. His production when considering playing time and targets is right up there with the best rookies in the class.

-Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate combined for 5 rec / 39 yards. Very underwhelming performance from two guys who this team really needed in their dismal second half.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith had 2 catches for 9 yards but also dropped 2 passes and allowed a TFL. He took a step backwards in this one after opening some eyes at how well he stepped in for Rhett Ellison. Scott Simonson was a non-factor and was flagged for a false start.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-In the past two years, Nate Solder has been responsible for more losses than any other player on this team. In the ultimate team game maybe that doesn’t mean much, but it does to me. What a weakness he has truly become to this entire team! He was decent in the first half (and NYG dominated) but then his true form came out in the second half where he allowed 2 sacks and 3 pressures. The Giants only threw the ball 11 times! Almost one half of the passes were impacted by his poor play. If he could have held on to his man 2 seconds longer on the flea flicker, that would have likely been a score. Just an awful, awful performance and it’s getting old writing about his poor play.

-Mike Remmers, Will Hernandez, and Kevin Zeitler all graded out above average. Remmers allowed 1 pressure. Zeitler went down with a foot injury late and it will be interesting to see if the team trots him out there in the coming weeks.

-Based on the subpar standard he sets, Jon Halapio played an OK game. However, “OK” still grades out as below average. He allowed a pressure and was flagged for a holding penalty on Barkley’s longest run of the night.

EDGE

-Really solid game from Markus Golden, maybe his best of the year. He had 4 pressures and a sack to go with 2 tackles. His run defense left a bit to be desired but this was a very solid performance for the pending free agent.

-Oshane Ximines had 2 sacks. Those were the only 2 impacts he made all night but it was a good job by him taking advantage of his limited opportunities, as he played under a third of the snaps. His lack of ability to defend the run appeared twice when he was washed out by blockers coming down from his outside shoulder, which we have seen a few times this year. However, he may have passed Lorenzo Carter on the depth chart. Carter finished with just tackle and at this point, simply just looks like a run-and-chase kind of player.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dalvin Tomlinson is playing the best football of his 3-year career, during the same timeframe the Giants added Leonard Williams. More on that later. He had 5 tackles, 4 pressures, and a forced fumble. This PHI interior offensive line is one of the best in football and he was winning one-on-one match-ups repeatedly.

-Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams were both impactful in very different ways. Williams started the game on fire and finished with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pressures. He had a bonehead personal-foul penalty on a late, dirty hit to Wentz’s sternum after a pass. Lawrence had 3 tackles, 1 PD, and 1 pressure but was more disruptive than that when it came to eating blockers and taking up space.

LINEBACKERS

-Alec Ogletree finished with 9 tackles and a pressure while David Mayo added 5 tackles and recovered the fumble on Wentz’s failed 4th-and-1 QB sneak in the first half. They did a fine job overall but they had a hard time locating and filling the lanes when Boston Scott got involved.

CORNERBACK

-Have to be happy about the play of Deandre Baker albeit against a depleted wide receiver group for PHI in a game where Wentz was fleeing pressure for most of the night. He had 3 pass break ups and seemed to be very comfortable in his assignments on all levels of the defense.

-Sam Beal was this weeks whipping boy in the secondary. Corey Ballentine a few weeks ago, Grant Haley last week, Beal this week. He wasn’t targeted a lot but when he was, twice on 3rd down, he was flagged. He simply didn’t trust his footwork and recovery speed, thus got way too grabby. I am surprised they didn’t attack him more often when the game clock was dwindling. How Beal responds will be important for his future on this team.

-Janoris Jenkins played some physical football in this one. He finished with 6 tackles and a pass break up. He really stuck his head in there a few times. Props to him for adjusting his style as the players he had to cover were tight ends more so than receivers.

SAFETY

-Antoine Bethea played solid football for the second week in a row. He led the team with 13 tackles, including 1 for a loss and also broke up a pass. Fortunately for him, Greg Ward dropped a touchdown pass that would have been on him, but overall Bethea deserves credit. He stepped up hard and made two impressive tackles against a downhill running back. Nice job for a guy who lacks size.

-Julian Love continues to flash but he missed two tackles and they both stood out. He finished with an impressive 6 tackles and 1 for a loss and also showed impressive coverage. He has impressive footwork and you can see signs of his former cornerback skills.

-Michael Thomas, who played just under a third of the defensive snaps, was roasted in coverage on a couple of occasions. The standout play was the final one of the game where a miscommunication appeared to be culprit but Thomas looked to be at fault. He let the one guy you think PHI would target in key moments roam free in the end zone.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 34)

-P Riley Dixon: 9 Punts / 46.1 avg / 43.6 net. That is a REALLY good game for Dixon.

3 STUDS

-WR Darius Slayton, EDGE Markus Golden, DT Dalvin Tomlinson

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, CB Sam Beal, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. If I am PHI, I’m not getting very excited about this win and/or this team. They aren’t good, they haven’t been good all year, and the injuries are really starting to pile up. They may sneak in to the playoffs but they aren’t going anywhere. A good offense can march up and down the field with ease against them and their pass catchers are among the worst in football.
  1. What is Carson Wentz? We are in year 4 now and he looks even worse than what he showed as a rookie in 2016 after two strong seasons in between. I have to think the issues here are correctable because he has shown too many positives in the past. But it goes to show you that it is amazing how bad a QB can look when the pass catchers aren’t there and the offensive line takes a step back.
  1. Doug Pederson embarrassed the NYG coaching staff on Monday night and I am kind of glad it happened on national TV. His back and forth “punt or go for it” took advantage of Pat Shurmur and his usage of useful timeouts was just the start. The entire second half, NYG looked like they had no idea how to adjust their plan once PHI altered their approach. This is a partial dig at Shurmur, but I respect Pederson a lot and his awareness of game situations on a weekly basis is what every team needs, but most do not have.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. The Giants seemed all but locked into the #2 spot in the draft, potentially #1 or #3. I think the need for a pass rusher, a true difference maker on defense, paired with the belief that DE Chase Young is going to be there makes this approach to the offseason rather simple from a big picture perspective. The Giants need to improve in the trenches, and Young seems like the obvious choice if NYG can find a new left tackle in free agency. And I don’t care how much it costs. My early favorite: Trent Williams.
  1. The emergence of Dalvin Tomlinson over the past month-plus needs to be talked about. He has another year on his rookie deal. But how the NYG approach his situation should be impacted by whether or not they will re-sign Leonard Williams,who could cost $12+ million per year. Big picture, Tomlinson will be cheaper. But the question needs to be asked, is he playing this well because Williams is next to him or did the light go on for Tomlinson? A lot of film analysis will have to go into that but my initial thought is Tomlinson is a guy you want to keep around no matter what scheme you implement.
  1. I am indifferent on whether or not I want to see Eli Manning play the rest of the year. It doesn’t seem like Jones’ ankle injury is serious enough to shelf him for the rest of the year but there is no point in pushing him through any kind of injury. We have enough to work with moving forward and his platform is set. If Manning does play in front of the NYG crowd, I think, out of whoever actually shows up, the NYG fans need to show respect and keep the booing to a minimum.
Dec 102019
 
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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 23 – NEW YORK GIANTS 17 (OT)…
The New York Giants are officially a (expletive deleted) train wreck. The Giants lost their franchise-record ninth game in a row, and sixth straight to the the Philadelphia Eagles, falling 23-17 in overtime on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants blew a 17-3 halftime lead, not scoring a single point in the second half of the contest. The Giants are now 2-11 on the season.

It was a game of two halves with the Giants scoring 17 points on three of their six first-half drives. After starting the game with two punts, New York took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the 2nd quarter when quarterback Eli Manning found wide receiver Darius Slayton for a 35-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-13. The Eagles cut the score to 7-3 on the ensuing drive with a 34-yard field goal after a 9-play, 59-yard drive. The Giants extended their advantage back to a touchdown on their very next possession with a 34-yard field goal of their own after an identical 9-play, 59-yard drive.

After two punts by the Eagles and one by the Giants, New York got the ball back with 1:46 left before halftime. On 3rd-and-8 from their own 45-yard line with 35 seconds left, Manning hit Slayton deep for a 55-yard touchdown pass.

At the half, the Giants looked very much in control, 17-3. The Eagles had been held to five first downs and 116 total net yards in the first half. Of Philadelphia’s seven first-half possession, five had ended with punts and one with a turnover.

The second half was obviously a disaster for the Giants. Aside from the kneel down on the last play in regulation, the Giants punted all six times they had the ball, gaining only two first downs and 30 yards.

While the defense forced two more Philadelphia punts to start the second half, they eventually wore down, giving up drives of 58 yards (touchdown), 58 yards (missed field goal), and 85 yards (touchdown). The Eagles tied the game at 17-17 with less than two minutes to play. The Giants’ sixth drive of the second half then ended with their sixth punt.

Philadelphia won the overtime toss and predictably and easily drove 75 yards in eight plays for the game-winning touchdown.

Offensively, the Giants only gained 11 first downs and 255 total net yards. The Giants were 2-of-12 (17 percent) on 3rd down. The Giants’ offense only held the ball for 22 minutes. Manning was 15-of-30 for 203 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. His leading receiver was Slayton who caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but he did not have a second-half reception. Running back Saquon Barkley had 17 carries for 66 yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 27 first downs and 418 total net yards (118 rushing, 300 passing) despite the Eagles suffering a number of game-ending injuries to key personnel. Linebackers Oshane Ximines (twice) and Markus Golden were credited with sacks. Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson forced a fumble on 4th-and-1 that was recovered by linebacker David Mayo.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (ankle), TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), CB Corey Ballentine (concussion), RB Wayne Gallman, OT/OG Chad Slade, and OT Eric Smith.

RG Kevin Zeitler left the game with a lower body injury, having to be carted off to the locker room. He was spotted wearing a boot on his right foot with crutches after the game.

GIANTS RE-SIGN RILEY DIXON…
The Giants announced on Sunday that they have re-signed punter Riley Dixon to a 3-year contract extension. Dixon was set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Dixon was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Broncos. He was named to the All-Rookie team. The Giants traded with the Denver Broncos for Dixon in April 2018, giving the Broncos a conditional 7th-round draft pick. He had a solid inaugural year for the Giants, finishing 7th in net punting in the NFL (41.8 yards per punt) and 11th in gross punting (45.4 yards per punt). This year, Dixon is currently 5th in net punting (42.8) and 6th in gross punting (47.0).

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 072019
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 15, 2019)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, December 9, 2019

THE STORYLINE

It’s easy to become disillusioned with the New York Giants right now. As fans of a sport with a long offseason, we look forward to each new season with great anticipation. But because each of the last three seasons has been effectively over by October, fans who once anxiously pined for the season to start now can’t wait until it’s over. Strange and sad.

When Eli Manning was benched after Week 2, I wondered if we would ever hear from him in an official capacity as a New York Giant again. With him as the #2 QB, there would be no reason for Pat Hanlon to designate him as one of the players to address the media during the week. There would be no reason to do a post-game interview. And a January presser for a player not retiring and headed towards free agency may not have been likely. In other words, I’m not sure Giants fans fully realized that they may have seen and heard the last of Eli as a member of the team. There would be no official send-off or goodbye.

Regardless of your feelings about the state of team management and the coaching staff, the decision to bench Eli was the correct one. Manning and the Giants were 0-2 at the time. It was quickly becoming clear that the same issues with the defense and on the offense line were not going to allow the team to compete in 2019. Playing Manning, who would not be with the team in 2020, and sitting the #6 player selected in the draft made no sense. With each mounting loss, much fan venom was being targeted at Manning. For once, the Giants didn’t wait too long and expeditiously made the right move. They moved onto Daniel Jones.

Jones won his first two games. The Giants evened their record at 2-2. Giants fans were in a great mood. But the defense continued to remain one of the worst in the league. The offensive line was not opening holes in the ground game and, like Manning, Jones was afforded little time to throw the ball and was getting hit far too much. Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate all missed time. The Giants went winless in their next eight games (literally half the season). Almost too predictably, Jones got hurt in the last game. It’s currently unknown if he will play again this season.

Analytically speaking, Jones missing 1-4 of the season’s remaining games is not good. The more he plays, the better prepared he will be for 2020. But in a twist of fate, Giants fans have now been presented with a second chance to fully understand they are really saying good-bye to Eli Manning. Perhaps for just one more game, but no more than four in total. When Eli Manning walked off of the field against the Buffalo Bills on September 15th (game pictured above), none of us knew at the time that was likely his last game as a New York Giant. Now we know.

Regardless of how you feel about Eli Manning, he is the franchise’s greatest quarterback. He holds every major team record. It’s not even close. He’s thrown for 22,000 more yards and 163 more touchdowns than Phil Simms. Charlie Conerly, Kerry Collins, Fran Tarkenton, and Y.A. Tittle pale in comparison. Most importantly, Manning was 8-4 in the playoffs, and responsible for one-quarter of the franchise’s eight NFL titles.

The rub with Eli’s career is if you take away his two 4-0 playoff runs, other than longevity which led to stat accumulation, his career doesn’t seem very impressive. But… but… but… you CAN’T take away those two playoff runs. He played an incredibly efficient game against the #1 defense in the NFL in Tampa Bay with two TDs and a 117.1 QBR rating. His 46-second TD drive before halftime against Dallas completely changed the game around. The greatest game of his career may have been his performance in -23 degree temperatures in the NFC Championship. He drove the Giants to two 4th-quarter, Super Bowl touchdowns against what was regarded as the best team and coach in NFL history and was on the front end of a play that is widely regarded as the greatest play in the history of the game. During the 2007 playoffs, Manning ended up 72-of-119 (60.5 percent) for 854 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. And he was awarded his first Super Bowl MVP trophy. Who wasn’t? Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady.

Fast forward four years. The only reason the Giants were in the playoffs that season was Eli Manning. The Giants had no defense or ground game that year until the playoff run. In his greatest season of his career, six of the team’s nine regular-season wins were 4th-quarter comeback wins. With the season on the line, Manning swept the Cowboys in the last month. Two more 4th-quarter comebacks came in the playoffs. That’s eight of the team’s 13 wins. Against the Falcons, Manning threw three touchdowns and finished with a 129.3 QBR. He then threw three more touchdowns, and had a 114.5 QBR, out-dueling league MVP Aaron Rodgers and the 15-1 Packers. Most quarterbacks would have folded with the beating he took in the NFC Championship Game, and his 17-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-15 to Mario Manningham was one of the greatest throws of his career. Perhaps his greatest throw came in the very next game, again with Manningham being the target. With the Giants trailing the Patriots late in the 4th quarter, Manning threw one of the greatest pinpoint passes in the history of the game in the tensest of situations, moving the ball from their own 12 to midfield. Eli finished the 2011 playoffs 106-of-163 (65 percent) for 1,219 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. And he was awarded his second Super Bowl MVP trophy. Wearing sad faces were Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, and Tom Brady again.

If there was a Mount Rushmore of New York Giants, Eli Manning would be on it. And if you told any Giants fan in April 2004 that Manning would go onto win two Super Bowls, they would have danced up and down with glee. Beyond that, he’s been the model teammate and citizen on and off of the field. Whether or not you think he is overrated, or if you believe the franchise botched the second half of his career by not surrounding him with even an average team, do not lose sight of the fact that he is a New York Giants legend.

Win or lose on Monday night, you are about to see him play for the New York Giants for possibly the last time. Appreciate the moment.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • QB Daniel Jones (ankle – out)
  • WR Golden Tate (concussion)
  • TE Evan Engram (foot – out)
  • TE Rhett Ellison (concussion – out)
  • LT Nate Solder (ankle)
  • LB Chris Peace (knee – out/Injured Reserve)
  • CB Corey Ballentine (concussion – out)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (back – out/Injured Reserve)

THE FINAL WORD

Thank you Eli. We’re proud of you.

Nov 272018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 25 – New York Giants 22

QUICK RECAP

The Giants took their annual trip down the Turnpike to Lincoln Financial Field against an Eagles team that NYG has lost 20 out of 30 games to during the Eli Manning era. To say this team has had Big Blue’s number would be a massive understatement. However, if there were ever a game to reverse those fortunes, this would be it. The 3-7 Giants came in winners of 2 straight whereas the defending Super Bowl Champions Eagles came in at 4-6 with injuries mounting and losers of 2 straight.

The Giants newfound fluidity on offense picked up where they left off from last week. They spread the ball around, but rookie Saquon Barkley continued to stomp on the idea that you can’t take a RB high in the draft with 44 total yards capped by a 13-yard middle screen pass where he burst into the end zone untouched despite defenders having the angles. Then came an odd decision by Pat Shurmur. PHI was flagged for 12 men on the field for the PAT attempt, moving the ball up to 1-yard line. That 1 yard made Shurmur spontaneously decide to go for a 2-point conversion in the 1st quarter. I have always believed you take sure-thing points on the road early in games, but to each their own. The attempt left NYG short and with a 6-point lead rather than a 7-point lead.

PHI was quick to give the ball back, running just 4 plays before being forced to punt. NYG chipped away before a 39-yard downfield connection from Manning to Odell Beckham put them inside the 10-yard line. The PHI secondary was without 3 starters and a key backup, thus I expected to see a ton of this throughout. NYG gave three opportunities to Barkley, 2 on the ground and 1 via the air but they only gained 3 yards total. Aldrick Rosas came in and nailed a 25-yard FG to make the lead 9-0.

Carson Wentz and the PHI offense continued to putter, as Mario Edwards ended their drive with a sack and NYG began their third drive of the day on their own 13-yard line. Manning spread the ball out well, hitting Russell Shepard for 29 yards, Beckham for 14 yards, and Rhett Ellison for 18 yards. NYG shot themselves in the foot with three penalties however, and it ended up making them settle on a long field goal attempt by Rosas. He drilled a 51 yarder through the uprights and even though NYG was yearning for more, they had s 12-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.

PHI finally replaced the 0 on the scoreboard with some points, as Jake Elliot hit a 42 yarder at the end of a quick drive highlighted by a 32-yard run by Corey Clement. NYG then made sure everyone knew who had who by the throat. On the third play of the drive, Barkley ran through 2 tacklers before out-unning the PHI defensive backfield to the end zone for a highlight-reel 51-yard touchdown. Remember…you don’t take a RB high in the first round.

NYG was up 19-3 and they sucked their fans back in; this team was inching its way back into legit contention. Wentz and the offense took advantage of a poor-tackling NYG defense, scoring a touchdown on a pass to Zach Ertz. They went for 2 and easily converted, making it an 8-point game with a minute left in the half and PHI starting the 3rd quarter with the ball. NYG opted to make a run at getting more points on the board thanks to yet another long return by Corey Coleman, this one for 46 yards. They got the ball to the 27-yard line and with 17 seconds left, Manning made a poor decision to try and force the ball to Beckham near the end zone, which resulted in an interception by Malcolm Jenkins. NYG, once again, had points available on the road early in the game but they got too aggressive and came up with nothing.

The 2nd half had a different feel to it, almost right away. PHI came out aggressive, hungry, and willing. NYG came out soft, satisfied, and hesitant. The NYG defense was bleeding, getting owned at the point of attack but they did come up with some big plays in key moments. PHI netted 3 points via 3 possessions. They moved the ball well but shot themselves in the foot via penalties and missed blocking assignments that led to sacks. NYG, however, gained just 3 net yards in the 3rd quarter. Even worse than that, Barkley touched the ball twice. The offensive line started to get pushed around and the PHI faithful could smell blood. Never has a 19-14 lead felt so miniscule.

PHI buckled up their helmets and opted to simply run over the Giants to start off the 4th quarter, literally. Running backs Corey Clement and Josh Adams gained a total of 61 yards capped off by the latter trucking into the end zone. On this drive, there was a stretch of 4 plays that, play by play, netted 23-8-15-11 yards. NYG couldn’t stop anything at the point of attack. PHI now held their first lead for the first time in the month of November, 22-19, after Adams successfully converted for 2 points on a, you guessed it, easy rushing attempt.

Manning and the passing game started to find their hot point again, thankfully. He hit Beckham and Ellison on consecutive plays for 48 yards. Shurmur once again forgot to follow his own words of getting Barkley 25+ touches per game. He gave it to him once, resulting in 1 yard, before Manning missed Beckham in the end zone many thanks to a missed pass interference penalty by the PHI secondary. One of their several misses for both sides on the day. Rosas hit his 3rd field goal of the day tying it at 22.

The PHI offense marched back on knowing exactly what to do. They continued to control the point of attack, rely on poor tackling and a weak defensive tackle play in addition to owning the middle of the field via the air attack. NYG did force a 4th and 1. Yet even after a timeout, they were outclassed by the PHI coaching staff. Wentz hit Nelson Agholor who couldn’t have been more wide open in the middle of the field which was as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. PHI bled the clock out, leaving NYG with no timeouts and under 30 seconds left. Elliot came back out and nailed a 43-yard field goal because, well, opposing kickers don’t miss field goals against NYG.

Manning and the offense had no shot without any timeouts. They ran a couple of plays but nothing deep and time ran out.

NYG loses 25-22.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 26/37 – 297 yards – 1 TD / 1 INT. Manning and the NYG offense came out on fire. The were firing on all cylinders, keeping the PHI defense off balance, and executing with ease. They had a game plan and it was working. However, Manning’s poor decision at the end of the first half to force a ball to Beckham who was double/triple covered that led to an interception rather than 3 points via a field goal was a turning point. Those were big points to not get, as was the missed 2-point conversion on the first touchdown which can be blamed on Manning not throwing to a wide open Rhett Ellison. Manning’s flow wasn’t the same in the second half, as the running game was non-existent and the OL got leaky. Manning just can’t create on his own and when things start to go awry, he doesn’t rise above. Not a bad game for the 15th year pro, but it was limited.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att / 101 yards / 1 TD – 7 rec / 41 yards/ 1 TD. What we saw out of Barkley in the first half was a continuation of Barkley further stomping down on the idea that drafting a RB high in round 1 was a bad idea. His level of play is elite on all levels. One thing I’m not sure everyone appreciates enough? 11 games in – 0 fumbles – 0 drops. Running backs are dropping passes weekly and what this kid does when it comes to reliability and consistency is just different level. Once again Shurmur simply underused him. I understand not wanting to give him 40 touches, but this kid needs 25+ as often as possible. Especially when you have a lead like the Giants had in the second half. It is a crime, it is inexcusable, that Barkley had 5 touches total in the second half. Unbelievable.

-Wayne Gallman and Elijah Penny combined for 30 yards on 8 touches. Gallman was solid on the ground, spelling Barkley on a few occasions. He continues to show very good burst upfield, something NYG is still trying to get Barkley to do more consistently.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 5 rec / 85 yards. On a day where the PHI secondary came in depleted, depending on a bunch of backup corners, Beckham wasn’t featured enough. Man, it must really be frustrating for him to see the opportunities that some of the other WRs in this league are getting. Beckham’s came down with a 39-yard gain in the first quarter and I expected to see more and more of it, but they just didn’t seem to look his way enough. 2 of his 9 targets were garbage attempts that had no shot. He likely would have had a TD catch in the 4th quarter on a play where the ref missed a hold as Beckham leapt for the ball.

-Sterling Shepard: 4 rec / 37 yards. Shepard was the victim of 2 missed penalties where the PHI defensive backs held him out of his breaks. Shepard is a next-level route runner with a combination of explosion, balance, and quickness when he is trying to get open. Unfortunate these refs didn’t see him get tugged.

-Russell Shepard and Bennie Fowler combined for 3 catches / 52 yards. Important to know these guys can come down with some big plays when called upon.

TIGHT ENDS

-Rhett Ellison: 4 rec / 77 yards. With Evan Engram out with a hamstring injury suffered in pregame warmups, Ellison got the nod and played all but 7 snaps on offense. He responded with 4 catches for a career-high 77 yards. Ellison was one of the bigger surprises of the day, catching balls up the seams and near the sideline, showing effective ability after the catch to gain extra yards. He did have one drop in the 2nd quarter, however. Ellison also allowed a sack and a pressure and even though most TEs can’t handle NFL defensive ends in pass protection, he continues to underwhelm in that department.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder had his best game as a Giant grade-wise. He was very smooth, very consistent, and actually showed some more physical play than what we have been used to this season. He held Brandon Graham in check all afternoon. His false start penalty seemed to be on Manning’s shoulders, who messed up the snap count. Chad Wheeler allowed a half sack and got pushed around a bit in the run game. Michael Bennett is one of the toughest DEs in the game when it comes to cutting him off inside against the run, and that is where he really struggled. His play has been consistently average all year. He is up and down each week.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-Jamon Brown has received some positive attention lately in addition to the NYG offense taking a turn in the right direction. I think too many have been anointing Brown as a catalyst for the change but now that we have seen him for 3 games, I’m not overly optimistic. He has been better than what NYG has trotted out there, but he is still struggling to gain the consistency I want out of a starter. He allowed one TFL, one pressure, a half sack, and was flagged for holding which got declined. Big picture he was OK, but the quickness inside got to him and he was a non-factor at the second level. Just looked a little slow and heavy.

-Will Hernandez had a solid game. He really pushed Fletcher Cox around for most of their match-ups and he truly is one of the best DTs in the game. He got flagged once for a holding penalty on a play where he struggled to adjust his weighty laterally, a theme we have seen with him all year.

-Spencer Pulley is further proving this team needs a new OC in 2019 and it will be near the top of the priority list. He just can’t beat guys one on one and can’t sustain his position on guys. He allowed a TFL and a pressure, a constant every week with him.

EDGE

-Overall, a very quiet day from the NYG edge defenders. Olivier Vernon had 2 pressures and 2 tackles, with Lorenzo Carter finishing with 1 pressure and 2 tackles. Neither could consistently beat their man one on one. Vernon’s 2019 status is going to very much depend on how he finishes this year. On one hand, the team’s pass rush went from non-existent to at least sometimes-effective when he came back form injury. On the other hand, he isn’t worth the money he is being paid if he is gonna net under 8 sacks a year with average run defense.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-The middle of the NYG defense was pounded, pushed around, and toyed with. While it wasn’t all on the shoulders of the tackles, Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill need to be better. If not, add nose tackle to the team-needs list. Hill had his most up and down game of his rookie season, finishing with 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pass break up. He also had a missed tackle and an offsides penalty in addition to just not holding his ground against lone and double blockers alike. Both are solid and active, but neither scare anyone.

-Mario Edwards finished with a sack and a pressure in his limited action. Have to be careful wanting more playing time with him, however, because he is a real tweener. He isn’t stout against the run and he needs specific match-ups to be an effective pass rusher. Solid role player that I want to see here in 2019.

-Josh Mauro had a couple of subtle but important missed tackles on the day. He isn’t known for dynamic playmaking ability, we know that. But he can’t miss tackles the way he did against running backs that weight 70 pounds less than him.

-RJ McIntosh made his debut with the club. Just 12 plays total, but he looked small and weak compared to what I saw out of him at Miami last year. He appears to be on his way back still and I expect to see him get looks each week from here on out. I liked him a lot during the pre-draft process.

LINEBACKERS

-Maybe the worst overall performance we have seen out of this position group all year. On the stat sheet, Alec Ogletree had a solid game. 4 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass break up. But if you really dive in to the all 22 game tape, he was arguably the biggest reason why PHI ran wild on this defense. Poor angles, inability to get off blocks, and late reactions were present the entire game. Is this guy a winning player? Does he create on his own? To me, it seems like opposing offenses can’t wait to attack him whether it be via the run or pass.

-Tae Davis out-snapped BJ Goodson by a comfortable margin. He finished with 3 tackles and a sack but proved he just isn’t physically ready for the NFL trenches. Goodson needs to continue to dominate the snap count, as I trust him to make the tackles and not get run over.

CORNERBACKS

-Lost in the emotion of this game was a very solid overall performance by Janoris Jenkins. He kept Alshon Jeffrey in check throughout most of their 1 on 1 battles. On the coverage sacks, Wentz was looking in his direction and his coverage couldn’t have been better. He still has that top 10 CB in him.

-BW Webb and Grant Haley both had solid games. Webb was flagged for a hold and also missed a tackle, but he finished with 3 tackles and a TFL. His coverage on the outside was solid. Haley almost had 2 interceptions for the second week in a row. He is going to come down with one at some point, I almost-guarantee it. He is making quick and correct reads but I can tell there isn’t that full-bore confidence in himself yet. That will come with time and NYG could have their slot corner set up going in to the offseason.

SAFETIES

-More of the same from Landon Collins. Once again he led the team with 9 tackles, 2 TFL, and added a pressure. He was active near the line of scrimmage and made a few impressive tackles. However he added 2 missed tackles and was outclassed in man coverage twice. If he can’t stick with tight ends underneath and he can’t be trusted in deep coverage, is he really a safety you want to build around? His highlight reel is impressive, I will give him that. But the other 90% of the plays leave a lot to be desired.

-Curtis Riley and Michael Thomas are both aggressive, physical players. They combined for 9 tackles but also combined for 3 missed tackles and are writing the book on how not to pursue ball carriers. Their angles were terrible.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 3/3 (Made 25-51-29). Rosas is now 23/24 and may be heading towards a Pro-Bowl spot if he can keep this up. Glad to see this staff is getting him more long FG looks than what we saw last year.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 att / 44.3 avg / 43.0 net. Solid bounce back performance overall, but he did duff one which gave PHI prime field position in the 3rd quarter (the defense saved him on that drive).

-KR Corey Coleman averaged 33.7 yards and has been the most dangerous KR in the league over the past 3 weeks. He did drop one in the passing game, but the value he is showing in this role alone can keep him in NY. PR Quadree Henderson took a nasty hit and will be out the rest of the year. Curious to see if they give Coleman a look at PR although that is a very different role.

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, LT Nate Solder, CB Janoris Jenkins

3 DUDS

-LB Alec Ogletree, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, RT Chad Wheeler

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

-Because I tend to be stubborn, I am sticking to my pick of PHI winning the division when all is said and done. I said it before the year and I said it after their rough start to the season. They aren’t overly impressive but I think there is some winning DNA in their culture. As bad as NYG handled that second half, PHI seemed to have confidence the entire game that they were still going to win. They made adjustments and trusted them. I think they end up 9-7 and win the NFC East.

-What is the strength of this PHI team? To me, it’s an easy answer. They walk into almost every weekly match-up with advantages in the trenches. Their OL is elite, maybe the best in the NFL. Their DL is not on the same level but they are deep and more dependable. I’ll say this all offseason…the OL and DL need to be the main priority of this team from a personnel perspective. You never have enough there, ever.

-I usually wait 3 seasons to evaluate a QB. Wentz is coming up on that mark with a few missed games due to the knee injury. Initially I had a mid to late 1st round grade on him coming out. Good, not great. You can build around him, he can win plenty of games. But looking at him and some of the other young QBs in this league, I don’t see elite.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-More on Landon Collins, as I think this will be one of the most important personnel decisions on the team among players who are currently on the roster. I have seen a lot of Vikings game in recent years and the one standout of that defense is Harrison Smith. He does everything and maybe more against the run that Collins does, but is head and shoulders above him in coverage. Smith’s cap number is $10 million. With a growing cap each year, I still don’t think Collins’ number can be within $2 million of that. On a team with holes all over the place, I am leaning more and more towards letting him walk or maybe a franchise tag, as the funds may not be needed in 2019, especially if Manning is off the books.

-I hear this from people I respect all the time. “By Thanksgiving, real football is being played because teams have now established their identity”. Here we are, entering week 13 and I truly think Pat Shurmur has yet to establish the identity of this team, namely on offense. They have an elite back who takes care of the ball as well as anyone. He can be effective inside, outside, rushing, receiving. Yet they just can’t seem to get him the ball enough even though each week he states they need to get him more touches. Taking a few weeks to get that going, I get it. 12 weeks in and it still isn’t set up? That’s on you coach.

-The weekly debate will be when to start a new QB over Eli Manning. It is going to get annoying to listen to but as much as I like Manning and believe he has gotten the short end of the stick, Lauletta needs to get 3+ starts. This team has 5 games left. You can’t make the sentimental-based decision here with Manning. He’s been paid very well, he’s been starting for a decade and a half. It’s time to get a better idea how to best approach the 2019 offseason because I’m not sure how much the NYG fan base can handle this low-level product.

Nov 252018
 
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Jake Elliott, Phildelphia Eagles (November 25, 2018)

So Predictable – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 25 – NEW YORK GIANTS 22…
After trailing 19-3, the Philadelphia Eagles came back to defeat the New York Giants 25-22 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Giants fell to 3-8 overall on the season.

The Giants received the football to start the game and put together an impressive 9-play, 75-yard opening drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to running back Saquon Barkley. The Eagles were flagged with a penalty on the touchdown and Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for the 2-point conversion, which failed. The Giants led 6-0.

The Eagles picked up one first down on their first drive, but punted. The Giants then drove 87 yards in 10 plays, but could get no closer than the 7-yard yard line and settled for a 25-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The Giants now led 9-0.

The Eagles picked up one first down on their second drive, but once more were forced to punt. Again the Giants responded with points as New York drove 54 yards in 10 plays to set up a 51-yard field goal by Rosas. Giants 12 – Eagles 0.

Philadelphia finally got on the board on their third possession as they moved the ball 46 yards in seven plays to set up a 42-yard field goal. The Giants quickly charged back with tight end Rhett Ellison gaining 20 yards on a reception, Barkley picking up four yards, and then Barkley breaking off a spectacular 51-yard touchdown run. With just over four minutes to go before the half, the Giants led 19-3.

The final four minutes of the half proved critical however. First, the Eagles scored a touchdown quickly by driving 75 yards in six plays, with the possession culminating with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz. The Eagles also converted the 2-point conversion to cut the Giants lead to 19-11. The Giants then wasted a 46-yard kickoff return by wideout Corey Coleman when Manning foolishly threw to a well-covered wide receiver Odell Beckham at the Eagles 2-yard line. The pass was picked off, ending the scoring threat, and the chance for at least another field goal.

The third quarter began with both teams exchanging punts but the Eagles winning the field position battle in the exchange. Philadelphia began their second drive of the half in Giants’ territory, which led to a 29-yard field goal. Giants 19 – Eagles 14.

After Barkley gained 94 yards rushing and 37 yards receiving with two touchdowns in the first half, the Giants inexplicably went away from calling his number. Barkley only carried the ball four times in the second half of the game, and caught one more pass. Not surprisingly, the Giants punted again on their next two possessions..

The Eagles went ahead in the 4th quarter on a 7-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run and another successful 2-point conversion. Philadelphia now led 22-19 with 10 minutes left in the game.

New York finally scored their first (but unfortunately only) points of the second half by responding with an 8-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal. With 5:49 left, the game was tied 22-22.

The ensuing game-winning drive by the Eagles was predictable. Philadelphia drove 50 yards in 10 plays, eating 5:27 off of the clock. The defense had a chance to stop them on 4th-and-1, but the Eagles easily converted with a 12-yard pass completion over the middle.

The Eagles kicked the game-winning field goal with 22 seconds left on the clock. The last three plays by the Giants only resulted in seven yards. Game over.

Manning finished 26-of-37 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His leading targets were Barkley (7 catches for 41 yards and one touchdown) and Beckham (5 catches for 85 yards). Barkley gained 101 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.

Defensively, the Giants did not force a turnover. They did have three sacks, with one each by linebacker Alec Ogletree, linebacker Tae Davis, and defensive lineman Mario Edwards.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, wide receiver Jawill Davis, center Evan Brown, nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Tight end Evan Engram injured his hamstring during pre-game warm-ups and did not play.

Wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson left the game with a fractured shoulder and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Nov 232018
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (September 24, 2017)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, November 25, 2018

THE STORYLINE:
December 2016 was the last time the Giants won two games in a row. And it seems like it was longer ago than even that. With much justification, critics will charge that the victories came against two bad football teams. But given that the Giants have been one of the very worst teams in football the past two seasons, this is measurable progress. Now comes the ultimate litmus test for the New York Giants – their long-time nemesis, the team that has treated them like little bitches since 2007.

In last week’s preview, I raised the following five questions:

  1. Is Pat Shurmur the right coach to turn this thing around?
  2. Is Dave Gettleman the right general manager?
  3. Who will quarterback this team in 2019?
  4. How do we improve the pass rush?
  5. Is the team getting better?

The jury is still out on Shurmur. To his credit, the team has not quit on him and what had been a pathetic offense has showed some signs of life the past two weeks. However, each week there seems to be in-game coaching issues, and that bears watching.

Dave Gettleman’s initial free agent period with the Giants was a disaster, while his draft class appears strong. Gettleman was roundly criticized for taking Saquon Barkley, but thus far, Barkley has lived up to the hype. Gettleman has also done a nice job in picking up a couple of players in-season that were cut loose by other teams such as Jamon Brown and Corey Coleman. This roster needs a ton of work however.

Just when many were ready to bury him for good, Eli Manning plays two strong, back-to-back games. These are the kind of games many of us expected from Eli entering the 2018 season. Can he keep it up? His loyal advocates continue to assert that if you give Eli time, he will play well. (That is true of most viable NFL quarterbacks). But he also may be at the stage of his career when he does better limiting his passing attempts (only 18 last week). Regardless, after a very rough first-half of the season, it is a safe bet that if Manning finishes 2018 on a high note, John Mara and Dave Gettleman are far more likely to hitch their wagon to him for another season.

The Giants continue to average a sack per game. This is a major problem that simply must be addressed in the offseason.

It feels like the team is getting better. Winning – even against bad teams – does that for you. The offense is clearly improving as the Giants have broken the 27 offensive point mark the past two games. The defense feels like a patch job holding on for dear life. Again, the truer litmus test will be on Sunday. Will the team regress back to its old form or will they begin to get that green monkey off of their back?

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • DE Kerry Wynn (concussion – out)

Even counting the players on Injured Reserve, this is the healthiest the Giants have been in memory.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

The last time these two teams played in October, the Giants only scored 13 points, the touchdown coming when the game was already out-of-hand at 31-6. Once again, the Eagles’ defensive front abused the Giants’ offensive line. Saquon Barkley played well with 130 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards. But Eli Manning was terrible and threw a killer interception right off the bat. Odell Beckham was limited to 44 yards and Sterling Shepard to 37 yards.

The Eagles secondary is a mess with their top five corners are nursing injuries. On paper, Beckham and Shepard should eat this group alive. However, the primary issue remains. The Giants’ offensive front can’t seem to block the Eagles. Nate Solder, Chad Wheeler, John Greco (now benched), and Patrick Omameh (since cut) struggled in October. Hopefully, the presence of Jamon Brown will continue to improve the line, but both tackles need to play far better against the Eagles’ outside pass rushers.

So the key question here is do the Giants get away from worked so well against Tampa Bay and start throwing the ball more to take advantage of the Eagles’ secondary, while at the same time exposing Eli to hits and negative plays? Or do they minimize the passing attempts and rely on Saquon Barkley to carry the load?

Right or wrong, my guess is Pat Shurmur will be too tempted to throw the football more than he did last week. I hope he at least keeps some degree of balance because the Giants and Eli have gotten into trouble most times they start winging the ball all over the place. At this stage of his career, and during a season where he has already been sacked 36 times, relying on the run seems to settle Eli down.

The Eagles will undoubtedly double Odell. Sterling Shepard may be primed for a big game.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

As Sy’56 discussed in his last game review, the Giants’ run defense has clearly deteriorated since the team traded away Damon Harrison. And covering anyone over the middle of the field continues to be a major problem. As discussed above, the Giants simply are unable to rush the passer with any degree of consistency.

The Eagles are struggling to run the football this year, falling to 25th in the NFL. They are 14th in passing. What remains interesting with them is their passing game appears almost exclusively focused on tight end Zach Ertz (an incredible 77 receptions, 5 touchdowns), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (46 catches, 1 touchdown), and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (37 catches, 4 touchdowns). No other target has more than 18 catches.

As much as Jeffery and Agholor can cause issues, most fans recognize that Ertz and fellow tight end Dallas Goedert (3 touchdowns) are the two most likely to feast on the Giants’ piss poor pass defense over the middle. The team also can’t ignore the backs despite the fact they haven’t been a major factor in the Philly pass attack in 2018.

The Giants need a good game by Janoris Jenkins from start to finish against Jeffery, and hope that B.W. Webb has another solid performance. Landon Collins did not play well the last time these two teams met.

The weaknesses are obvious. Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing offensive coordinator. He knows the Giants safeties and linebackers can’t cover. And the Giants can’t get any heat on the quarterback. Ertz has to be salivating.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Giants gave up a 23-yard punt return to the Eagles in October that helped to set up a touchdown. Aldrick Rosas had his only miss on the season too, from 52 yards out.

THE FINAL WORD:
The Eagles are most likely going to score more than 20 points against the Giants’ defense. So the Giants’ offense is going to have to keep up, and score touchdowns in the red zone. We are about to get a much better read on Eli Manning. He’s got to accept the fact that he is going to get hit in the mouth, and still make plays for his team to win.

Oct 152018
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (October 11, 2018)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – New York Giants 13

QUICK RECAP

The Giants were put on the national spotlight at home against the defending World Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams entered this game feeling they had been underachieving throughout the first third of the season. One of them was right, one of them was wrong.

This had a do-or-die feel to it for NYG. Win this game and they are in the thick of things for the NFC East title. Lose and what many have perceived to be the inevitable “season was over before halfway” would come true. NYG had its destiny in their own hands.

With that said, on the second play from scrimmage, Eli Manning threw an interception on a pass into traffic intended for Scott Simonson. PHI began their first possession in the red zone and it took them just 3 plays to put 7 points on the board via a Carson Wentz-to-Alshon Jeffery touchdown pass on a broken play.

NYG took the punch in stride, putting together a 7-play drive tha resulted in a 33 yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. NYG gained 60 yards on those 7 plays, 57 of which were by Saquon Barkley in what would prove to be the rookie’s most impressive game of the young season. The division rivals then traded possessions before the Eagles began another possession in NYG territory. Six plays later, Corey Clement punched his way into the end zone to make it a 14-3 lead for the road team.

The score remained 14-3 for the first half of the second quarter, as NYG continued to perform like a bottom tier offense on third down. For an offensive system that talks all week about establishing and sticking to the run, NYG sure had a hard time sticking to the plan in this one yet again. The prime example of this misnomer Pat Shurmur has created was when NYG had a 1st and goal from the 4 yard line. They gave one rush to Barkley before throwing, something they continue to struggle to do, two times in a row. The second of which was a pass intended for the third string tight end Simonson. NYG did get 3 points on the board to make it 14-6, but it was an opportunity that was badly missed by this staff.

It took under 1:30 of game clock for PHI to put more points on the board, many thanks to Eli Apple losing track of Nelson Agholor, who gained 58 yards. Wentz then hit Zach Ertz for a 10 yard touchdown on the next play. After another 3 and out by the NYG offense, PHI padded their lead to 24-6 and NYG entered halftime down 18 at home, a place they had won just 2 of their last 10 games.

PHI came out hot in the second half, looking like their 2017 selves. It was 31-6 before the NYG offense got the ball back via another touchdown pass from Wentz to Jeffery. There was one more shot of energy put into the Giants, however. Barkley took a handoff 50 yards to pay dirt, showing a burst through the PHI defense that you just don’t see often in this league. Even if it was false hope, it was a positive to see. PHI put together a 13-play drive that netted another 3 points. With at least some energy in the stadium, Wentz hit Jordan Matthews for a first down on 3rd and 14 on a simple slant. It was a subtle but powerful reminder how bad this team is when something big is needed.

The score was 34-13 towards the beginning of the 4th quarter and the look on everyone’s faces said it all. This season is over just 6 weeks in. The offense is broken on all levels. There is no leadership or accountability in the organization. There is no identity on either side of the ball. And lastly, one of the most storied franchises in the NFL is now in some of the darkest times of its history.

Eagles win 34-13.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 24/43 – 281 yards – 0 TD/1 INT. In arguably the biggest game of the year to date, Manning had his worst performance of the season. Starting the night off with a terrible interception was such a blow to the stomach. It really took the wind out of the sails initially and even though he has always made a habit out of bouncing back, there was a strong feeling it was going to be one of those nights literally just seconds into the first quarter. Manning’s downfield passing was off all night, his footwork in the pocket was horrid, and he is showing that even though the situation around him is less than ideal, he isn’t making things happen on his own.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att / 130 yards – 1 TD – 9 rec / 99 yards. The start to Barkley’s career just keeps getting better and better. He is already in rare territory for a rookie and when it comes to production-per-touch, he is scratching the surface of league leader-territory. He was responsible for all three of NYG’s longest plays (55, 50, 46 yards) where the vision, balance, reaction, and burst were all on display. What I like to see the most here is Barkley does lower his shoulder and get the dirty yards when needed. I can still see some slight hesitation to his game but for a kid who is literally just 6 games into his career, things couldn’t be off to a better start.

-Wayne Gallman saw 17 snaps, 26% of the offensive plays. He gained 42 total yards on 6 touches with an impressive 3rd and long conversion on a play where he gained most of the yards after the catch. This is, and will be, Barkley’s backfield but having the right compliment behind him is important. Gallman has the burst and versatile skill set to be that guy for a long time and the rest of the season will be a long term tryout for him.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 6 rec / 44 yards. After a slightly discouraging PR week for Beckham, whom has been fined by the team for comments made to the media and was forced to apologize to teammates in a team meeting, a big game paired with a win could have made that situation disappear but the complete opposite happened. Beckham never got into the flow, was missed deep a couple times, and only impacted the game via the short passing game a few times. Something I noticed about Beckham from the All-22 is a lack of separation as a route runner. I don’t think anything is physically wrong, as the elite burst is still there. However Beckham is doing way too much dancing at the point of attack. He is taking way too long to get into his actual route, and time is something Manning doesn’t have when he drops back. The timing of these two is completely off. There is a very uneasy feeling with Beckham right now when it comes to his relationship with the team.

-Cody Latimer made his first real impact of the season, catching 3 passes for 52 yards, including one that went for 39. The newly signed veteran who was supposed to be a balancing act to the Beckham/Shepard duo only played half the snaps, as he appeared to still be a little banged up. Latimer was thrown a deep ball into the end zone where he didn’t track it well and mightily slowed down as the ball had a touchdown written all over it. Not sure what happened there but NYG can’t afford those mistakes.

-Sterling Shepard was held to 37 yards on 3 catches. He was the victim of a couple missed penalties that could have resulted in big plays.

TIGHT ENDS

With both Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison out, Scott Simonson got the start. He was in for all but 2 offensive snaps and performed well as a blocker. He did allow 1 pressure, but he was a difference maker on a few of the positive runs NYG had. He is a very limited athlete, as seen on a couple of the throws that went his way. He doesn’t adjust well to the ball and his reactions are delayed. He is a third stringer for a reason.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-It’s been 6 weeks since Nate Solder has taken over the starting left tackle job and it is fair to say he has been one of the more eye opening disappointments of the season. He allowed a sack that nearly resulted in a safety on a play where he barely even touched Michael Bennett. In addition, he allowed 2 pressures and failed to make an impact as a run blocker. His man was often leaking into the backfield and when it comes to grades, Solder hasn’t been much better than Flowers was last year. That’s pretty scary.

-Chad Wheeler allowed 3 pressures, more of the same from him. A young kid who competes hard and will make plenty of hustle-blocks, but the separation in talent between him and a good DE is significant.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-Patrick Omameh took a big step back and I am seeing more and more similarities between him and John Jerry when it comes to the inconsistency. He was overmatched by Fletcher Cox on multiple occasions, allowing 2 pressures and a sack all in the second half. His lack of urgency off the snap often puts him at a point of initial disadvantage position-wise.

-Will Hernandez allowed a sack as well, along with a pressure. However he had some of the most key blocks on Barkley’s big plays. He has improved as an adjustment-blocker, meaning he is putting less movement into initial reads and showing more balance and patience when reacting to the defense. This is exactly what you want to see out of a rookie lineman.

-John Greco continues to worsen each week. He was being pushed back on a routine basis and missing blocks at the second level. He also had an inexcusable false start penalty in the 2nd quarter when NYG started to gain momentum.

EDGE

-Olivier Vernon finally returned from injury was one of the bright spots for NYG in this game. The pass rush has been bottom tier all season, but Vernon came back and recorded a sack in addition to 2 pressures. He made All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters look silly at times. He didn’t impact the run game at all, however. He has been a very all-or-nothing type player since signing with NYG but he does help this defense a lot when he is on the field.

-Kerry Wynn had another solid game with 6 tackles, 2 of which for a loss, along with a pressure.

-The trio of Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin, and Connor Barwin was near non-existent for most of the game. Martin got to Wentz a couple times early to impact his throws, but for the most part these three were completely neutralized.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

The starting trio of Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and BJ Hill continued to play solid football. PH averaged just over 3 yards per carry, which can strongly be attributed to these three. Something of note here is that Harrison played less than 50% of the defensive snaps despite PHI running the ball so much. There seemed to be less pop in his game at the point of attack. With Tomlinson clearly showing he is not nearly on the same level as a nose tackle, this could present a major problem.

-Josh Mauro and Mario Edwards played sparingly and failed to make an impact.

LINEBACKERS

-Alec Ogletree had an active game, recording 8 tackles, 1 of which was for a loss. He also had a pressure and a personal foul penalty when the game started to get out of hand. He did miss 2 tackles on the night and allowed 2 catches over the middle.

-Ray-Ray Armstrong, whom has won the starting gig next to Ogletree, was injured in the second half. BJ Goodson stepped in and actually had a really strong showing. He had 6 tackles, a few of which were impressive combinations of rangy and physical, to go with 2 pressures. Goodson has always been known for his ability to blitz, and I expect to see more of it if Armstrong is out for any time.

CORNERBACKS

-Eli Apple is in the midst of his best stretch of football since being drafted in 2016. He had another productive night, breaking up 3 passes. However the mental lapses that we have grown used to with him reappeared on a couple of occasions. His situational awareness is still a weakness when it comes to plays that are breaking down and on third down. The talent is there and it shows up on tape, but he doesn’t show the feel that good corners have. He also missed 2 tackles on the night.

-Janoris Jenkins was challenged downfield often. He did a fine job other than a pass interference penalty, but there seems to be something missing from his game. He isn’t forecasting well like he usually has in the past, and there isn’t as much aggression to his game underneath. BW Webb continues to be a bend-don’t break type slot corner.

SAFETIES

-Landon Collins led the team with 10 tackles, no surprise there. But the trend continues with him. He is an important player who can make things happen, but he simply gets beat too often. He missed 2 tackles and was responsible for at least one of the touchdown passes thrown by Wentz. Nobody can expect perfection out of him or anyone, but I feel there are just too many plays allowed by Collins weekly. Something to think about as his FA days are coming.

-Curtis Riley made 6 tackles with 1 miss. This actually was one of his better games. He cut off a few deep routes that it appeared Wentz was looking for. He also made two really physical tackles. Riley is one of just a few defenders that I never see take a play off.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/3 (Made 33,21 and Missed 52). Rosas had been perfect until that long miss, where he came up just a few yards short. It looked like the quad injury limited him on that a tad.

-P Riley Dixon: 5 Punts – 50.6 avg / 41.1 net. There have been a handful of big punt returns this year by the opposition. Dixon can be partially to blame, as the hang time falls into the bottom-half-tier in the NFL.

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, EDGE Olivier Vernon, EDGE Kerry Wynn

3 DUDS

-QB Eli Manning, OT Nate Solder, OG Patrick Omameh

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

-Prior to the season, I projected 11-12 wins for the defending Super Bowl champs no matter how long Wentz was going to be out. After a rough start, I expect that projection to live on and play out. This team is loaded on both sides of the ball and Wentz looks like he is hitting the stride that he couldn’t grasp because of how long he was out during preseason.

-The PHI defensive line is as deep as any in the league. Fletcher Cox is the star of the group, but you could really see how important it was to have fresh bodies in there running around in the second half. The strategy of building as much depth within the DL as possible has always been a solid, winning strategy. PHI has 3 of their own drafted first rounders and signed 2 former 1st rounders in free agency. Something to think about as this hole-filled NYG franchise rebuilds.

-The one Achilles heel to this PHI team resides on the health of their offensive tackles. 36 year old Jason Peters looks like a shell of his former self and Lane Johnson seems to be limping off the field weekly. If one or both of these guys does down, it is going to really hurt this offense that is reliant on lengthy pass protections.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-Now that the season appears to be all but over, the end-of-month trade deadline looms. There is talent on this team that can help a winner, but should NYG be shopping any of their players for future draft picks? I am all about going into the draft with a surplus of selections, as it is the best way to build a long-term winner. Two names I would be throwing out there? Landon Collins and Sterling Shepard. Two popular names, but two players who I think can be replaced quickly and net the Giants an extra day 2 pick.

-One of the worst parts to this roster situation overall is the lack of assurance that someone on the bench could come in and out-perform some of the current underachievers. While I would love to see a new OC/RG combination at some point, nobody is good enough to give even a little hope of improvement. Same can be said at safety. It’s gonna be a tough thing to watch for 10 more weeks.

-When will Eli Manning be benched in favor Kyle Lauletta? If this team is mathematically out of it with 4-5 weeks left, you have to think it will happen at some point. I’m not sure it will make a heavy impact ton how NYG approaches the draft, but you never know. This regime drafted Lauletta and they likely want to see him in NFL game action at least a few times so they can throw that into the decision process next spring.