Pros and Cons Week 11: Giants Beat Themselves Edition
It would be easy for me to throw out my usual template and rag on the Giants and everything they did wrong against the Eagles. The real challenge is finding some glimmers of hope from that performance. I will do my best, but no promises!
Overall, this performance was pretty typical of the Giants in recent years. A game in the second half of the season, one that could have playoff implications, against the Eagles generally means the Giants will make no effort to win. They play with no sense of urgency. In fact, they seem to give the impression that they don’t even want to play. The only difference here is this is not week 16, where the Giants are out of chances to turn things around after two consecutive losses. There is still time to save the season and hold onto playoff hopes. See that? I found a pro already. Now let’s break this one down.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over, but expecting different results. So how is it possible that the Giants defense did not feel the need to cover the middle of the field after repeatedly getting burned in that area? The worst part is this feat was performed by Vince Young, a guy who hadn’t started a regular season game in 364 days, with help from Riley Cooper, who caught five passes for 75 yards, his first receptions of the season. The worst part is you can’t just blame the secondary, because the line put no pressure on Young, who got very comfortable in the pocket and was able to hang around until someone opened up for as long as he needed. They only managed one sack all game, which is simply not acceptable against any team, let alone a division rival.
Despite their considerable woes on defense, they were able to pick off Vince Young three times. Aaron Ross and Kenny Philips each added to their season totals, but the most exciting moment came from Prince Amukamara. It’s a big deal that the 2011 first round draft pick hauled in an interception in his first game of the season, coming off an injury that was preceded by a shortened preseason, especially given that the Giants went on to lose and the defense wasn’t able to hold its own in the second half. It gives hope that Amukamara is an important addition to a hurting and underachieving secondary, not only for his athletic ability but that he has likely taken his job of studying the playbook and opponents’ defenses seriously. I am excited to see what the Prince has in store for us the rest of the season, mostly because right now we all need to hold onto positive things.
I guess it’s safe to say the running game will not improve this season. When all was said and done, the Giants managed to gain 29 yards on 17 attempts. Just pathetic, there is no other word for it. You can’t even blame the fact that Bradshaw is hurt, because Jacobs is a former starter for this team. And let’s face it, these numbers were not much better with AB in the game. It’s not just the running backs that are to blame, this entire unit gets completely overpowered on every rushing attempt. It’s not too early in my mind to start looking at the free agency and draft options to help rebuild the line for next year. This has to be a priority, plain and simple, because you aren’t going to win too many games gaining only 29 yards in the rushing game.
I think the goat of the game award, however, goes to Jake Ballard. What exactly happened there? I lost count of the number of drops he had. And they were all drops, right in his hands, catchable balls that ended up on the ground. Normally Ballard is reliable, which is why Eli kept going back to him, so I have to imagine this was a fluke game for him. But if he had just played his normal game I really think the outcome would have been different in this one.
Despite that awful interception and heartbreaking lost fumble, Eli had a good game overall. He continues to be consistent in his good decision making and precision throws. His numbers should have been much better, but Ballard made sure that didn’t happen. The best part of the offense, however was once again Victor Cruz. Six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown, and it’s just another day at the office for this guy. The best part is he is young, and that has to give fans hope for the future.
Why oh why did Steve Weatherford kick to DeSean Jackson? I almost had a heart attack when he caught that one ball, and lost my mind when he ripped off 51 yards. One of the main reasons Weatherford is a Giant today is because his predecessor kicked to Jackson at the worst possible moment. It’s rare I beat up on Weatherford, because I think he is a great punter, but there are certain guys you just shouldn’t kick to, and Jackson is one of them.
Despite all that, Weatherford had a good game, including that booming 61 yard punt. But I give a special shout out to Lawrence Tynes, who netted his longest field goal of the season so far from 48 yards. I don’t always have faith in him and his accuracy, but that was a crucial field goal and he delivered.
Needless to say I am still carrying around a fair amount of anger over this game. I just hope the Giants are too. This team needs to show some fire against the Saints on Monday night, because if they come out of the gate flat like they have the last couple of weeks, there is no chance that one will even be close.