By Paul Dottino
It was another week, another late-game meltdown and another loss.
A 36-21 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles leaves the Giants at 0-5 for the first time since the 1987 strike-tainted season. And while we’re at it, we ought to remind you that no 0-5 team has ever rebounded to qualify for the NFL postseason.
Let’s keep this simple and get right to this week’s review.
Offense: WR Hakeem Nicks. He had his most productive game of the season, catching nine passes (on 12 targets) for 142 yards. Although Nicks has still yet to find the end zone this season, Sunday was his first 100-yard day since the opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He gets rewarded despite a confusing play with about seven minutes to play. Nicks either stopped on a route or ran the wrong route on an Eli Manning interception.
Defense: S Will Hill. The Giants had to wait for Hill’s four-game league suspension to expire before getting him on the field to practice. After only getting in three days of work, he easily was the team’s best player on the field, logging 11 solo tackles, including one for a loss. He hit like a linebacker, ran sideline to sideline like a safety and closed on ball carriers like a cornerback.
Special teams: P Steve Weatherford. Wow. He was outstanding. He had a 42-yard net with one touchback on seven punts (gross avg. of 48.3). Weatherford nearly had a punt downed at the 1, but Trumaine McBride was unable to keep the ball out of the end zone.
Offense: QB Eli Manning. How many times do we have to tell you that Manning is the victim of collateral damage? He didn’t help himself this time, throwing interceptions on three consecutive fourth-quarter possessions as the Eagles broke open a 22-21 game. To that point, Manning had played well. He finished 24-of-52 for 334 yards with two TDs and three INTs. So is he trying to do too much? He was hit in the head (no flag was thrown) and knocked a bit off-balance on the first interception. Should he have tucked the ball away? He forced a throw to a covered Victor Cruz, and a diving Brandon Boykin made a great play to wrestle the ball away. And the third interception appeared to be a misread between Manning and NIcks, but the game was already a bit out of control.
Defense: S Ryan Mundy. We’re only going here because it was a pivotal play, one snap after Manning’s first interception. Leading 22-21, Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles threw a 25-yard TD strike to TE Brent Celek, who outran Mundy to the right corner for the catch. The reception and extra point put the Eagles up, 29-21, but, more importantly, sucked the life out of the stadium and out of the Giants. … The Giants’ three defensive ends — Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka — combined for a 1/2 sack, but got a respectable total of six hits on the quarterback.
Special teams: KOR Jerrel Jernigan. He came in to handle second-half kickoff returns after RB David Wilson left with a neck injury and logged less-than-adequate returns of 22 and 19 yards.
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