Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of a game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Big Blue Ups & Downs: Giants fall to 0-2 to start the season after 41-23 loss to the Denver Broncos

Another game, another sloppy performance by the New York Giants. The GMEN fell to 0-2 to open the season after getting obliterated at home by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 41-23.

This was just one of those games that isn’t fun to recap the next day, but I’ll try to find three positives for you all to chew on. Even harder might be limiting the negatives to just three.

Three Up

  • Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) runs past Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Victor Cruz – As I wrote last week in my Big Blue Ups & Downs review, Cruz is worth every dollar of his contract extension. He is a dynamic play-maker, who is not just a slot receiver.  The defense has to pay special attention to him since he is a deep threat on any given play. Cruz led the Giants with 8 receptions for 118 yards on 11 targets. At least one Giants player came to play yesterday.

  • Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, & Green Bay Packers - Giants’ fans need to thank all of these teams for knocking off the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins for them yesterday. Unfortunately, the Giants were unable to take advantage.
  • Aug 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Giants kicker Josh Brown (3) kicks a forty seven yard field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The New York Giants won 18-13. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Josh Brown – As frustrating as it is to see the Giants’ offense constantly get stalled in the redzone, at least Brown is hitting his field goals. He was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts (36, 24, & 41 yards) and made both of his extra point attempts. So far, he has been an adequate replacement of Lawrence Tynes.

Three Down

  • Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts after an incomplete pass against the Denver Broncos during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Eli Manning – Maybe it’s just me, but Eli has yet to look right this season. He has put up a lot of yards (812), but this has mostly been after the Giants are down and defenses start to play softer coverage. His league leading seven interceptions are very disturbing. What really worries me is he is making terrible decisions, ones that a guy in his tenth season with two Super Bowl MVP’s should be able to avoid. The interception he threw at the end of the first half was a game changer. The Giants could have gone into halftime with a lead and momentum. We have seen stretches like this from Eli at other points in his career, and I just hope he can turn it around and be more careful with his decisions, but if he doesn’t do it soon the Giants’ season is going to be over before it even gets started.

  • Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back David Wilson (22) runs past Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (45) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Giants running game – Of the thirty teams who already played their second game, the Giants are dead last in rushing yards with 73. Against the Broncos, the Giants had a pathetic 23 rushing yards on 19 attempts (1.2 yards per carry!). You aren’t going to win many games in the NFL with 23 yards on the ground. This is an issue that really worries me because a big reason the rushing attack has faltered so far is the lack of blocking. Quite frankly, the Giants’ offensive line has been horrible in run blocking. Chris Snee looks absolutely shot, David Bass is a revolving door, and Kevin Boothe is clogging up more holes than he is opening. I just don’t see the line getting better as the season goes on unless they make some personnel changes. Lastly, I know David Wilson put the ball on the ground twice last week, but the fact that he had less snaps (24) than Da’Rel Scott (39), is ridiculous. At some point they need to get Wilson’s confidence back because they need his explosiveness in their offense if they want to get the run game going again. The Giants used a first round pick on the kid and he should be on the field.

  • Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws a pass against the New York Giants during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

    Giants pass rush – So far, the Giants pass rush has been anemic. They had zero sacks against the Broncos and barely put any pressure on Peyton Manning throughout the game. Jason Pierre-Paul is clearly still not healthy, only playing around half the defensive snaps, and looking like a shell of himself when he is on the field. Mathias Kiwanuka has been invisible. Hopefully, rookie Damontre Moore can get some playing time and offer a much-needed boost of speed and youth to the defensive front. The Giants are usually known for their pass rushing attack, and their Super Bowl teams were ferocious at getting to the quarterback. For big blue to be successful, they are going to have to fix their issues on the defensive front and hope it re-emerges.

Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts after a Denver Broncos touchdown during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts after a Denver Broncos touchdown during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After last week’s game, I was still optimistic about this season for the New York Giants. However, after seeing the offensive line look as bad as it did, the continued red-zone failures, the 1-for-11 third down conversions, careless interceptions by Eli, and the coaching staff’s refusal to use David Wilson, I am deeply troubled by the direction this team is heading in. I don’t believe any team has made the playoffs after starting 0-2 since the Giants did so in 2007 (and won the Super Bowl). A lot of people are trying to draw comparisons between this team and that ’07 team. I am not at all convinced that this team has the roster, ability, and mental will to step up their performance over the next fourteen games of the season. I know we are only two games into the season, but this is sure looking like a sub-par season for the Giants. Luckily, with the way the rest of the NFC East has performed, a 9-7 record just might be enough to win the division.

Frustrated by the Giants performance yesterday? Think I am out of my mind and the Giants will be just fine? Let me hear it in the comments below!

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