Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Giants Team Grades: Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, September 30 2012
Final Score: New York Giants: 17 Philadelphia Eagles: 19
Giants Team Grades

The Giants were once again unable to put together a full game against the Eagles, resulting in yet another heartbreaking loss to them.  The Giants have lost nine of the last 10 games against the Eagles including the playoffs.  Some questionable decisions and poor execution led to the Giants dropping to 0-2 in the NFC East and 2-2 overall.

Passing Offense Grade: C+

Eli Manning’s stats look good on the game, throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns and having the Giants in a position to win at the end of the game.  Manning was hit a few times, but the offensive line protected him enough to not give up any sacks.  Victor Cruz stepped up in the absence of Hakeem Nicks and his replacement Domenik Hixon was huge. 

If the whole game went like that, the grade would be much higher; sadly it did not.  Manning threw a back-breaking interception to start the fourth quarter with the Giants knocking on the Eagles goal line.  He also mad a poor decision on the offensive pass interference called on Ramses Barden, putting Barden in a tough spot and ultimately taking the Giants out of field goal range. 

Barden had drawn two pass interference calls earlier in the drive, but Manning went to the well one too many times.  It was a rare lack of judgment and decision making by Manning, who is usually lights out in the fourth quarter.  Manning does deserve credit though for the drive he orchestrated that staked the Giants a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter, going 83 yards on five plays ending with a touchdown to Bear Pascoe.

Rushing Offense Grade: D

Ahmad Bradshaw returned to the lineup after hurting his neck against Tampa Bay but had no impact; the Giants run game was shut down once again.  Bradshaw was only able to gain 39 yards on 13 carries, too often looking outside on plays drawn to run up between the tackles.

Overnight sensation Andre Brown only got five carries on the night for 14 yards.  The Giants were never able to get the ground game going and abandoned it, putting the game on Manning’s shoulders.  Brown needs more touches in the coming games as the run game has not been effective with Bradshaw feature in it for over a season.

Pass Defense Grade: B+

The Giants suffered another devastating injury in the secondary, this time to Kenny Phillips.  Phillips is the best player in the defensive backfield and losing him is a huge blow to an already decimated secondary. 

Even with the injury to Phillips, the Giants were still able to contain the Eagles passing game, limiting Vick to 241 yards and one touchdown.  They were not able to get enough pressure on Vick though, as they only hit him three times and sacked him twice, one coming when Vick slide at the end of the Eagles game winning field goal drive. 

Prince Amukamara had a strong game covering Jeremy Maclin, limiting him to only one catch for seven yards.  DeSean Jackson had a strong game though, catching six balls for 99 yards and a touchdown.  Brent Celek also hurt the Giants some, catching a few passes that resulted in first downs.

Rush Defense Grade: D

At the start of the game, the Giants run defense was outstanding.  LeSean McCoy was held to just two yards at halftime and Vick had no rushing yards in the same time.  Disappointingly for the Giants, the second half was a polar opposite.

McCoy shredded the Giants for 121 yards in the second half and allowed 49 to Vick.  McCoy and Vick were able to take advantage of the aggressive Giant defensive line, continuously exposing them and beating them to the corner to the sidelines for big gains. 

The Giant defenders, specifically Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul, were not staying home and allowing the Eagles big plays on cut back runs.  Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul were not staying home and holding contain, something head coach Tom Coughlin is going to rip into them for.

The Giants were able to make a huge stand from the two-yard line, but were unable to stop the run any other time.  The time of possession edge the Eagles held, 33:21 to 26:39, is evidence that the Eagles were running over the Giants and put the Giants in a tough spot.

Special Teams: B+

Lawrence Tynes missed the game winning field goal from 54 yards but never should have been put in that situation.  It was a yard past his career high of 53 yards and only happened because of poor management.  Tynes did knock in his other field goal attempt of the game, from 25 yards out. 

Steve Weatherford had a net of only 38.5 yards on five punts, but the Eagles were only able to return one of the punts for three yards.  That is solid from Weatherford, as he continuously put the Eagles deep in their own end of the field and did not allow anything crazy to happen, something Giants and Eagles fans are used to in these match-ups.

David Wilson was the star of the special teams Sunday night, showing explosiveness and giving the Giants great field position all night.  Wilson had six returns for 217 yards, having returns of 53 and 45 yards in the second half.  Wilson looked like he could take any kickoff back to the house on multiple occasions, giving the Giants a weapon they have lacked in recent seasons.  It is nice to see Wilson have an impact on the game in other aspects than the offense, as he is still struggling there but excelling on special teams.

Coaching Grade: B

The defense struggled at times to contain McCoy and Vick on the ground, but otherwise did a solid job given the predicament of losing yet another starter in the secondary.  The run game needs to get figured out, as the coaching staff should look to give Brown some more touches and possible working Wilson in some more after his electric performance on special teams. 

Playing for a field goal on the last drive is something that will be raised all week, as the Giants were well within Tynes’ range when the offensive pass interference occurred.  Even so, the Giants were in the game and almost stole a game in a very hostile environment but the Giants are beyond morale victories.

Coughlin and his staff are going to have to make sure the Giants stay focused on the task ahead in the Cleveland Browns, as this is a typical trap game.  The Giants have the Browns at home this weekend before playing at San Francisco the following week.  The Giants need to handle business this week before moving onto the 49ers.

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