Our New York Giants probably would have been better off if the lights at New Meadowlands Stadium had never come back on Sunday night. Sunday's 33-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was an ugly, forgettable game. Whether we want to to go through them or not, though, the 'Kudos & Wet Willies' must go on. So, let's deal with the pain and move on.
Kudos to ...
- Eli Manning: Eli put up great numbers (33-of-48, 373 yards, two TDs, two picks). I am not killing him for either interception. It has been established that the pick six was Hakeem Nicks' fault. I can't blame him for the second interception, either. The Giants were running out of time, he had little choice but to try and make a play, Mario Manningham appeared wide open when Eli let the ball go and Alan Ball of the Cowboys made a great play. I feel the same way about Eli's fumble after the bad shotgun snap. Should he have just fallen on it? Sure, but the Giants were in desperation mode at that point and when you get to that point bad things happen.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: When Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who spent his career handing the ball to Emmitt Smith, says Bradshaw is a guy he would have liked to play with, you know how much respect the Giants' running back has gained around the league. Bradshaw gained 73 yards on 20 carries, and he did much of that on his own since the revamped offensive line didn't give him much to work with. He also caught six passes for 62 yards.
- Shawn Andrews: I thought Andrews did a spectacular job at left tackle, where he was matched up most of the game against Dallas' premier defensive end DeMarcus Ware. I tried to watch Andrews pretty closely, and I don't believe I noticed him beaten in pass protection all night. I have to watch the tape to have a better idea about the run blocking, but I thought Andrews was terrific.
- Will Blackmon: A 42-yard kickoff return. Hallelujah! He figured out a way to break the invisible force field causing Giants kickoff returners (ahem, Darius Reynaud) to automatically fall down when reaching the 20-yard line.
Ramses Barden: Three catches for 34 yards for the second-year wide receiver from Cal Poly. Unfortunately, he hurt an ankle in the first half and will likely miss a week or two. Also, unfortunately, that left Duke Calhoun in the game. Calhoun did recover a fumble. About the only other noticeable thing he did was slam into Manning and almost knock him over while trying to figure out where to line up on a second-half play. Ugh!
Wet Willies to ...
- The Entire Giants Defense: I will give out plenty of individual 'Wet Willies,' but the entire defense deserves a collective one for the stinker they came up with Sunday. The Giants never got anywhere near veteran statue, er quarterback, Jon Kitna, allowing him to throw for 327 yards. They had no answer for Dez Bryant, or any of the Cowboy wideouts. They couldn't stop the run when Dallas wanted to do that. They could not make any plays on third-and-long. I am no expert on defensive schemes, but I did not see any in-game adjustments from defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Being kind, all I can say is this did not look like one of the best defenses in the NFL Justin Tuck was right when he said "Maybe this is that wake up call we can use. Maybe this is a chance for us to kind of look at ourselves and say that we aren't as good as we thought we were."
- Terrell Thomas: All I can say about the game TT played Sunday is "terrible, terrible." Sure, his eight tackles look nice, but Dez Bryant and Roy Williams abused Thomas all game long. He was absolutely over matched against Bryant, although you do have to wonder why it seemed like the safety help was never there on time.
- Corey Webster: On the opposite side from Thomas, CWeb wasn't putting up much resistance, either. Hey, Corey, try covering Miles Austin instead of just letting him run down the field and do what he wants.
- Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck: The most amazing thing I found when I looked at the game stats is that Umenyiora had five tackles and a sack, and Tuck actually had three tackles. Aside from one batted down pass by Osi, I could have sworn both of the Giants vaunted defensive ends thought this was a bye week. Osi got a 'sack' when he touched Kitna after he covered up after tripping over one of his own linemen.
- Will Beatty: C'mon, Will! The Giants waited eight weeks after you broke your foot to watch you come in and play like that? A failure to report penalty. A false start that cost the Giants a touchdown, and led to Bryan McCann's pick six. An illegal formation penalty for not lining up properly. All of that in the first half, too! I have to go back and look at the tape, but I think Tom Coughlin was so sick of watching Beatty screw up that he didn't get in the game in the second half. If he did, it wasn't very much.
- Kevin Boothe: Eight games on the PUP list and he can't make it through two series without going out temporarily with an injury. Then, when he got back in he really didn't play well. His awful fourth-quarter holding penalty negated a 48-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks. The real shame of that play was that Eli Manning had already released the ball when the holding occurred.
- Perry Fewell: His defense got torched for 427 yards and 26 points by a 1-7 team playing a backup quarterback, and the best Fewell could do is a sideline shouting match with Coughlin. No blitzes that I could see, even though the Giants couldn't get anywhere near Kitna while rushing four, not enough help on the outside for his over-matched corners. Fewell deserves a lot of credit for what the Giants have accomplished defensively this year. He has to take a hit for Sunday, though. With a patchwork offense Fewell's unit needed to dominate. Instead it got run over, run past and run through.
- Matt Dodge: Yuck! I thought we had gotten past this version of the Giants' rookie punter. A 42.3-yard average on the evening, but two of his punts were awful. At least Bryant could not return either of them.
- Chris Snee: With fourth-and-one and needing a first down to realistically have a chance to come back the Giants dialed up a play with 265-pound running back Brandon Jacobs following Snee, their best lineman. Snee completely whiffed on the block, allowing Bradie James to stop Jacobs short and effectively kill the Giants shot at a comeback. Snee had a couple of other breakdowns during the game, but this one was a killer. When you trust your best players and they don't get the job done you lose games.
- New Meadowlands Stadium: This is what you get for $1.6 billion? An embarrassing power outage? Not good, even if you are trying to blame it on the New Jersey Sports Authority. Considering the game's end result, though, maybe the 'Wet Willie' should go to the stadium workers who got power restored.
Kwillies to ...
- Kevin Boss: I know a lot of you spent Sunday night screaming that Boss was being held on the potential touchdown he dropped. I am not buying it. The ball was perfectly thrown and it went right through his hands. You can't drop that. Yes, Boss had five catches including a leaping 19-yarder and a 35-yarder, but you have to make that play in the end zone. Missed opportunities lead to losses, and that cost the Giants four points.
Hakeem Nicks: Five catches for 82 yards, and one 48-yard score wiped away by penalty, but Nicks had a couple of huge miscues. Failing to complete his route on that aborted slant pass was a 10-14-point swing in the game, and ultimately probably the play that hurt the Giants the most Sunday. He also dropped a perfect throw from Manning that would have gone for a 25-30-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Incidentally, two plays later is when the Giants failed to convert on fourth-and-one.
Mario Manningham: Ended up with 10 catches for 91 yards and made some terrific plays. Twice, though, he cut off routes too short on third downs and wound up failing to convert in second-half situations where the Giants could not afford wasted opportunities. And what was with that sideline catch where he grabbed the ball, started running backwards and ended up losing five yards?