'Kudos & Wet Willies:' Rough day for Giants fans edition

This morning's 'Kudos & Wet Willies' is not exactly fun to do. Sunday's game is one the Giants should have won, it just didn't happen.

The season is hardly over. A lot can happen in seven more games, and I still believe the Giants can be a playoff team. They certainly have no more margin for error, though.

Anyway, on with the 'Kudos & Wet Willies.' I'm sure some of my choices today will generate some disagreement.

'Kudos' to ..
  • Eli Manning: Well, we have a lot to complain about today. The play of Manning is not one of those things, however.
  • The Defensive Line: Big plays from Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Fred Robbins. This group didn't always get to Philip Rivers, but they were in attack mode all day. The Chargers only totaled 34 yards rushing, largely due to improved work by the front four.
  • Terrell Thomas: Nine tackles and what should have been a game-clinching interception.
  • Bruce Johnson: It was nice to see Johnson on the field in passing situations instead of Kevin Dockery, and Johnson paid dividends by breaking up a trio of passes when Rivers and the Chargers tested him.
  • Steve Smith: Eight catches, including one for a touchdown and a few more third-down grabs. Smith continues to be the guy Eli can rely on when he needs to complete a pass.
  • Mario Manningham: Six catches and no drops for Manningham. The Giants really no longer have an issue at wide receiver, and Manningham is a big part of the reason why.
  • Kevin Boss: You just have to love this guy. How much tougher could be be? A brilliant catch early in the game when he got absolutely crushed coming across the middle of the field. I know my first thought was 'concussion.' Yet, there he was making a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to put the Giants ahead. He is, undeniably, one of my favorite Giants.
  • Brandon Jacobs: Once again, Jacobs ran hard and well (11 carries, 67 yards, a 6.1 yards per carry average). Once again, though, probably not enough opportunities. Ahmad Bradshaw (14 carries, 39 yards, 2.8 YPC) wasn't getting it done, and I wish Jacobs had gotten more opportunities.
  • Michael Boley: Seven tackles and a pass defensed in his return from knee surgery. When he has been healthy Boley has shown speed and athleticism the Giants linebacking group sorely needs.
  • Kevin Gilbride: This one will send many of you into an outright uproar, I know that. But, I think the often-vilified offensive coordinator belongs here, anyway. The Giants put together two long, time-consuming drives, albeit we can argue about the wisdom of slamming Bradshaw up the middle on short yardage. KG used screens, play-action, slants, a reverse, a direct snap to Jacobs. Shoot, he even got Danny Ware in the game and got him the ball a couple of times. He pretty much emptied the tank. The conservative red/green zone series at the end is on Coughlin, not KG. That's the kind of game-changing decision that comes from the head coach.
'Wet Willies' to ...
  • Tom Coughlin: The Giants played with heart, taking TC's "one-game season" pronouncement to heart and playing with a lot of emotion. Coughlin, though, is the head coach of a team that has gone seriously off track, and right now he doesn't seem to have the answers. Two questionable Coughlin decisions had a lot to do with Sunday's loss. First, the choice to run the ball up three points in the red zone with more than two minutes to play. Settling for the field goal, instead of trusting your star quarterback and going for the knockout blow, is a bad mistake. I have thought about this one a lot, and as much as I love TC not trusting Eli and going for the knockout blow is inexcusable. Also, don't forget that the Giants passed up a chance to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the San Diego 21 the first time they had the ball. That, of course, resulted in the botched field goal and no points.
  • Corey Webster: We can stop now with the discussion of whether or not Webster should be considered an elite "shut down" corner back. Vincent Jackson (5 catches, 58 yards, 2 TDs) had his way with Webster Sunday. On the game-winning touchdown, Jackson beat Webster badly. C-Web didn't even seem to know the ball was in the air. That's awful. Maybe he should not have been in single coverage, but Webster is supposed to be one of the best cover corners in the league. A guy of his stature simply cannot get torched like that with the game on the line.
  • The Special Teams: Week in and week out, the only thing 'special' about the Giants' special teams is how especially bad they are. As much as anything, horrible special teams play cost the Giants a victory Sunday. A botched field goal in which Lawrence Tynes didn't even try to kick it. Horrible punting by Jeff Feagles that left the Giants defending a short field the entire game, and a non-existent return game. Are we sure Sinorice Moss hasn't stolen Domenik Hixon's uniform? Kevin Dockery had a stupid penalty that handed the Chargers 15 yards. Hey, Kevin, how can you have no clue where the return man is?
  • Bill Sheridan: I thought the defensive coordinator did a lot of good things Sunday. The defensive line was active. The Giants blitzed more, and did not sit back in 'prevent' on the last drive. The run defense was excellent. Having Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse switch responsibilities worked out well. Bruce Johnson played a lot of nickel instead of Kevin Dockery or C.C. Brown. Clint Sintim saw some time at linebacker. The zone blitz, though, a remnant of the Steve Spagnuolo era Sheridan promised to get rid of, has to go. Justin Tuck cannot cover tight ends and should not be asked to. And why was there single coverage in the end zone on the final drive? C'mon, that's just asking for trouble. Which is what the Giants got.
  • The Offensive Line: Argue all you want about the Giants decision to run the ball on third down from the San Diego 14 while leading 17-14. The Giants don't have to make that decision without the killer holding penalty on Chris Snee. The line as a whole did not play well, in my mind. San Diego blitzers ran free much of the game and Eli was sacked five times and ran for his life at least a half-dozen other times. The dirty little secret with the Giants offense is that this offensive line, dominant for so long, is beginning to show some cracks. How can Shawne Merriman -- Merriman, of all people -- get a free, unblocked run at Manning on the final play of the game? In the run game, there were a few holes. But, not consistently.
  • Fans calling for immediate firings: You guys know that isn't going to happen. C'mon, gang! TC is a terrific coach who made a decision that ended up backfiring Sunday. Sheridan did some good things and some bad ones Sunday. As for Gilbride, I'd think people would get tired of calling for his head. The Giants have had a lot of success the past few seasons, and they have hit a rough patch. It happens. No reason to want everybody gone. Think they wouldn't love to have TC and his staff in Washington? Or Oakland? Or a lot of other places?




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