By Curt Macysyn
On a night when the New York Football Giants franchise honored Hall of Fame player Michael Strahan, the team once again showed that they have few high quality NFL players on the current roster, let alone future Hall of Famers. The defense had some new wrinkles that, at times, confused Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, but for the most part, talent beats scheme, so Big Blue tumbled to their third straight loss 40-24 at MetLife Stadium.
The G-men succeeded in doing something that most thought was impossible, but in fact they did get Jon Gruden to say some uncomplimentary things about Giants’ players.
On defense, losing cornerback Prince Amukamara early in the game put the Giants in a difficult position against the Indianapolis Colts’ talented receiving corps, but moral victories mean absolutely nothing at this point in the season. The contest was summed up by T.Y. Hilton’s leaping grab of a third quarter touchdown when he outfought Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the jump ball, despite giving up considerable size to the Giants’ cornerback.
Apparently the New York Giants’ receiving corps were not made aware of Tom Coughlin’s plea to make plays. The team could make a highlight (actually lowlight) reel on how not to play the wide receiver position. Bad route running and bad hands equal poor receiver play. Despite what general manager Jerry Reese says about his quarterback, the film don’t lie. This team is in desparate need of speed on offense. In the meantime, maybe Eli Manning should summon his inner Tom Brady and get into the face of some of these inept receivers.
Odell Beckham, Jr. continues to get comfortable in the team’s offense, and he had eight catches for 156 yards on the evening. Beckham represents the only ray of hope for Eli Manning and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Running back Andre Williams had a nice 24-yard catch and run on third down that ultimately led to his two-yard touchdown plunge that brought the Giants back to 23-10. But Williams does not have the speed to run to daylight, thus an inferior 1.8 yards per carry average. Tight end Larry Donnell was invisble until an inconsequential fourth quarter touchdown.
The offensive line was offensive once again, as they could not even handle a deplated Colts’ front seven. This line has no personality of its own, and it fails to protect its quarterback or open holes for its running backs. Guard Weston Richburg went down with an ankle injury, and Adam Snyder saw his first prolomged action with the G-men. Further, the Indianapolis secondary was in the hip pocket of the Giants’ receivers all night.
Running back Peyton Hillis has been more productive of late than Williams, but the Giants continue to feed to Boston College back, which is a head scratcher. Hillis had five catches for 50 yards out of the backfield, in addition to 20 yards on four rushing attempts. Corey Washington caught his first NFL TD pass, and perhaps the coaching staff will shelve Preston Parker after his inept outing, in favor of giving Washington a longer look.
There were some bright spots on defense, as Robert Ayers did get pressure on Andrew Luck that forced some the Indy QB to release the ball early. Zack Bowman stepped in at cornerback for the injured Prince Amukamara and once again performed admirably.
Does anyone think that Rueben Randle would have competed like T.Y. Hilton did against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Hilton’s third quarter touchdown had the roles been reversed? But that plays sums up why the Colts are playoff bound, and the Giants are destined for a third straight non-playoff season. The Giants brought DRC here to make plays, and so far the team has not gotten mcuh return on its investment.
Jacquan Williams is supposed to be the Giants’ top coverage linebacker, but the Colts’ tight end tandem of Colby Fleener and Dwayne Allen had their way with him all night. Good thing for Jayron Hosley that he was a Jerry Reese draft pick, what else could explain his continued presence on this roster? What Reggie Wayne did to Hosley on his 40-yard touchdown catch is illegal in several states.
As Indianapolis built its lead in the third quarter, ex-Giant Ahmad Bradshaw got to show his former employers what they were missing. Bradshaw had seven rushes for 50 yards for a healthy 7.1 yards per carry average. Giving up 443 total yards to your opponent at home sends the message of inferiority from the bowels of MetLife Stadium.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Punter Steve Weatherford was given another workout with eight punts for a 44.1 yard average. Weatherford’s ankle injury may be falring up on him, as he was not as proficient as he normally is. Colts’ return artist Grif Whalen returned five of the punts for a 7.6 yard average.
Kicker Josh Brown remained perfect on field goal attempts this season by booting a 38-yard field goal. Brown had eight field goals on eight attempts this year. Return man Michale Cox was busy last night, he had four kickoff returns for 88 yards, including a 33 yard return.
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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 aExaminer.com.