Dottino: Giant Stumble
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By Paul Dottino
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So maybe the Giants’ three-game winning streak was a mirage after all.
Or maybe Sunday’s sloppy 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks should have been expected because the Giants (3-2) simply are not good enough to go on a significant run.
The answer likely is somewhere in between. But there’s no doubt that Tom Coughlin’s team should have learned by now that it cannot afford to stumble and bumble its way through a game and expect to come out on top – no matter who the opponent.
The statistical summary from this game was full of contradictions – the Giants posted 464 total yards, but Eli Manning was forced to throw for 420; the Giants created three turnovers but also lost five; they held Seattle to 4-of-15 on third down, but went 1-of-12 themselves.
And yet, the Giants were in position to win the game until a pass intended for Victor Cruz deflected into the hands of Brandon Browner, who raced 94 yards for the clinching TD with 1:08 to play.
So let’s get to our weekly review:
Offense – QB Eli Manning. So the third time was not a charm. Manning stood in and faced relentless pressure through the game and kept the Giants in it, actually twice giving them leads in the fourth quarter.
Cruz slipped while making his cut on the critical turnover, but the throw still was good enough to allow the receiver to get a hand on it. The drive started with Manning going 3-of-4 for 75 yards as he brought the offense to the Seattle 5, but Will Beatty was called for a false start and the 1st-and-goal pass was intercepted.
Manning finished 24-of-39 with three TDs and three INTs (two deflections and a garbage-time pick).
Defense- DE Jason Pierre-Paul. The best part about watching him play is projecting where his ceiling might be. He put up another 2.5-sack effort, with six tackles, four quarterback hits, two tackles for a loss and batted down a pass.
Even he would admit that he’s only starting to learn the pro game, but his natural ability allows him to show flashes of dominance. However, he needs to get stronger and, thus, become more consistent for the entire game.
Special teams-P Steve Weatherford. He punted seven times for a 49-yard average with a net of 39.1. With the Giants down by seven in the second quarter, the Giants were twice backed up inside their own 20 and he delivered punts of 57 and 50 yards to give the defense a sporting chance to keep Seattle off the board – it did and the Giants got a late TD to enter the half tied at 14.
Offense – Offensive line. For the second straight week, this group needs to be held accountable for an inexplicable performance. Forgetting about the three sacks, they allowed Manning to be harassed all day.
The line almost looked as though it was asleep – guys did not get off the line quick enough and rarely did they push any defenders backward. Ironically, the line wasn’t responsible for the blown assignments on the third-quarter safety taken by running back Danny Ware.
Tight end Jake Ballard and fullback Henry Hynoski failed to get a hand on defensive end Anthony Hargrove, whose play put Seattle on top, 16-14.
Defense – Defense. No, this is not a typo. We’ll just spread blame to all 11 who were on the field when backup Charlie Whitehurst hit a wide-open Doug Baldwin (he was marked by Antrel Rolle in the left slot) for a 27-yard TD with 2:37 remaining to take a 29-25 lead.
It appeared the defense hesitated when Osi Umenyiora jumped offside with 2:45 to play. Although Corey Webster said he didn’t hear a whistle, he admitted the unit made a serious mistake by not playing through the end of the play.
They paid a steep price for it and the NFL doesn’t give refunds.
Special teams- CB Aaron Ross. This is a tough one to hand out because he was limited to two returns for 12 yards. But the Giants started at or inside their 20 on 13 of their 17 possessions, so somebody needed to do something to prevent the Seahawks from tilting the field.
Ross has wanted to return punts since he was a rookie, but he’s got a long of only 18 (a key return vs. the Cardinals) since he took over during the second game of the season.
Are the Giants good, bad or somewhere in between? Sound off in the comments below…