By Curt Macysyn
After five weeks, the New York Giants are still winless, a fact that not many would have expected before the 2013 season started. Yet after each game, similar themes seem to emerge, themes that usually lead to New York’s demise. Once again a poor rushing attack, penalties and turnovers continually stymied New York against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the G-men dropped further into the NFC east cellar with a 36-21 defeat to their bitter rivals.
This week, the Giants rushed for a paltry 53 yards, had 136 yards in penalties and turned the ball over four times, all contributing factors in the loss.
Statistics usually do not lie, and the fact that New York has given up 182 points this season, has to grate on head coach Tom Coughlin’s nerves. After five weeks, if your team gives up an average of 36.4 points per game, then a 0-5 record should not be a surprising result. And even when Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick went down with a hamstring pull, the Giants defense could not contain Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles, who rallied the Birds with two fourth quarter touchdown passes.
The Giants actually took the lead in this game, when David Wilson ran the ball in from five yards out to give New York a 7-0 lead. Wilson promptly injured his neck and was held out of the game for precautionary reasons, thus limiting the Giants running attack.
The Eagles moved the ball, but had to settle for four first half field goals by Alex Henery. Those 12 points, as well as a one-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy catapulted Philadelphia to a 19-7 halftime lead.
But the Giants showed some life in the third quarter, or specifically Rueben Randle did, catching two Eli Manning touchdown passes in the frame to give New York a 21-19 lead with 3:46 left. But New York could not hold the lead and another Henery field goal, this one from 41 yards out, handed the lead back to Philadelphia by a 22-21 margin with a minute left in the third.
New York started the fourth quarter with high hopes, but those hopes faded when Mychal Kendricks intercepted Manning at the Giants 41 and returned it to the New York 25-yard line. On the first play after the interception, Foles hit tight end Brent Celek with a 25-yard scoring strike and the Birds went up 29-21. Later in the frame, Manning threw another pick, this time to Brandon Boykin, and the Eagles again capitalized as Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a five-yard TD catch and providing the final 36-21 margin.
Offense Grade: C-
On the positive side, Hakeem Nicks had nine catches for 142 yards receiving, and Rueben Randle was just short of 100 yards receiving with two touchdown grabs. The Eagles game plan was to take Victor Cruz out the game, but Cruz still had five catches for 48 yards.
The fact that Eli Manning could only complete 24 of 52 passes he attempted, ought to raise red flags to the offensive coaches. Despite the inconsistent performance that Manning had, the fact of the matter is that New York still had a shot at a comeback until three more fourth quarter interceptions by Manning sealed their fate. The David Wilson injury does not seem to be serious, so Wilson could see action against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
The Eagles came into this contest giving up the most yards from scrimmage in the NFL, and yet the Giants could not put up big numbers against the maligned unit.
Defense Grade: C
Giant killer “Shady” McCoy had only 46 yards rushing on 20 attempts for a 2.3 yard per carry average, and Bryce Brown fared little better with 11 yards on five carries. But the defense continued to give up big plays like Michael Vick’s 34-yard scramble, a 25-yard TD catch by Brent Celek, and a 28-yard completion to DeSean Jackson.
New York only had one sack on the afternoon, against the less mobile Nick Foles, which was shared by ex-Eagle Cullen Jenkins and Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka has been the most consistent defensive lineman for New York this year.
It can never be a positive when safeties are the leading tacklers, but Ryan Mundy had 15 tackles and Will Hill had 11. Rookie defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins got his first action of the season and contributed five tackles. Reserve cornerback Trumaine McBride was credited with five tackles and two passes defended, but McBride also let a sure interception slip through his hands that proved costly for the Giants.
Special Teams Grade: C
Kicker Josh Brown made all three points after touchdowns, and did not attempt a field goal. Steve Weatherford punted seven times for a 48.3-yard average, and the punt team gave up an 18-yard return by Damaris Johnson. Overall the entire special teams unit did not play poorly, but they did not provide a lift for New York either.
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Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.