This game was just about everything that Giants fans feared it would be, suffering a 49-24 thrashing at the hands of the Saints. Last week, the offense had trouble putting up points. This week, the defense was the unit who struggled the most, giving up the second most yards in team history and looking flat and confused for the entire game.
The Giants are now 6-5 on the season and two games out of the NFC East lead. Still, the season still has potential to be salvaged with two huge games against the Cowboys looming after undefeated Green Bay comes into town next week.
Some observations from the game:
-I don’t know if Kevin Boothe and Stacy Andrews really make that much of a difference but the offensive line looked much better overall against the Saints. Unlike last week against the Eagles, Eli Manning had enough time to throw and the whole offense looked better as a result. The running game still didn’t look very strong but at least they gave Jacobs some holes to work with this week. It’s also worth noting that the o-line did not commit any costly holding penalties for what felt like the first time this year. Those have hindered the Giants all season. Need I remind everyone of the one that killed a New York drive in the San Francisco game?
-Hakeem Nicks looked like his old self for the first time in weeks. Look at the screen pass he caught on the Giants’ last drive of the first half, where he shook two defenders in order to get a first down. It would appear as if he is finally 100% healthy. So of course he sustained a bruised rib
-I cannot for the life of understand why Kevin Gilbride thinks it’s a good idea to try and get Brandon Jacobs to run wide. He may not be the Jacobs of 2008 but he’s still somewhat effective when he’s putting his shoulder down, plowing people over and getting going downhill, as he did on the touchdown run.
-The Giants’ struggles in most aspects have been pretty well-documented but one area where they’ve been weak but hasn’t been talked about much is punt and kick returns. They haven’t had much success in gaining a lot of positive yardage after the catch, no matter who is returning punts and kicks. But it looks as if Da’Rell Scott has changed that. Several times he was one broken tackle away from breaking loose.
-After last week’s game against the Eagles, Giants fans were understandably nervous about the linebackers defending passes up the middle. Well that concern wound up taking the back seat. Big plays absolutely killed the Giants all night. It felt like that gave up more big plays in this game alone than the rest of the season combined.
-Where oh where has the Giants pass rush gone? They’ve led the league in sacks for a good part of the year but for the second week in a row, they’ve gotten minimal pressure on the opposing quarterback. And when the defensive front isn’t applying pressure, it really exposes the weakness in New York’s secondary, which leads to them giving up the aforementioned big plays.
-For the first time in 23 games, New York did not have a defensive takeaway.
-Giants fans have many reasons to be grateful for Victor Cruz and this game showed why. He (along with Manning) continued to play hard, even when it was clear that the game was out of the Giants’ hands. Those are the kind of guys you want on your team. He also showed good awareness by not doing his famous salsa dance celebration after either of his two touchdown catches. Both of those two little things demonstrated that he’s a character guy and I’ll take that any day of the week. He’s only 43 yards away from crossing the 1000 yards receiving mark. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t drafted, huh?
He still needs to work on his dropped passes though.
-I’m sorry but the Da’Rel Scott fumble was bogus. His elbow and forearm were clearly down before the ball came loose. I don’t know what they refs were looking at on that review. It should’ve been overturned. I have no other complaints about the officiating in the game otherwise but the Giants losing that challenge stung.