Eli Manning of the New York Giants is hit by Antoine Bethea of the Indianapolis Colts during the Colts 38-14 victory Sunday night. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
How many different ways can you think of to say the New York Giants were completely embarrassed and outclassed by the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night? Come up with whatever adjectives, explanations or theories that you want, but it comes down to this.
The Giants got embarrassed and outclassed by a Super Bowl caliber team that was way, way better than they were. Shockingly better, as far as I was concerned.
All those good feelings generated by the season-opening victory over Carolina vanished into the Indianapolis night. Peyton Manning toyed with the helpless Giants defense, and the Giants offense simply got manhandled by the Colts defensive unit.
'Simms-McConkey' said Sunday night he was looking for 'hope and perspective' from me this morning. Here is what I will give you on a day when I'm not at all happy about what I watched Sunday night.
- The Giants are 1-1. Be honest with yourself, and you have to know that when the schedule came out months ago that is exactly the record you figured the Giants would have after two games. Beat Carolina, lose to Indy. Start the season 1-1, and go from there.
- The Dallas Cowboys are 0-2. So are the Minnesota Vikings. The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are 1-1. The season is not lost.
- Even going back to the Jim Fassel years, and maybe beyond, pretty much every Giants season I can remember has included a couple of devastating losses in which the Giants looked like a first-year expansion team. It is the way of the world with this franchise. Don't jump off the bridge. Let's just see where it goes from here.
- Peyton Manning and the Colts laid out the blueprint for how to handle the Giants defense Sunday night. First, go quickly so they can't substitute freely. Second, run when they put their three- safety package in the game and throw when they go base. Teams will try to copy it, but none of them has Peyton Manning. So, I doubt it can get worse than that for this revamped defense.
- Eli Manning survived. I thought the offensive line was going to get him killed, but he is still in one piece. Embarrassed about the lopsided loss, probably, but in one piece.
Anyway, on with the traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies'. I'm certain you can guess that the 'kudos' won't take long.
Kudos to ...
Special Teams -- This tell you precisely how bad a night it was for the Giants. The first 'kudo' I could think to hand out had to go to the usually awful special teams. Rookie punter Matt Dodge struck the ball well all night, hitting a 62-yard punt and dropping one inside the 5-yard line. An outstanding play by D.J. Johnson to down a Dodge punt at the two-yard line. Hey, even better kickoff coverage, including a beautiful tackle inside the 20 by Gerris Wilkinson.
Ahmad Bradshaw -- Eighty-nine yards on 17 carries for Bradshaw, pretty much every last one of those yards entirely on his own. He got zero help from the offensive line, or alleged blocking fullback Madison Hedgecock. You just have to love this guy's ability, and even more than that the effort he puts forth every time he touches the ball.
Mario Manningham -- Four catches for 75 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown when it still mattered. At least, sort of still mattered.
Eli Manning -- He survived. Four sacks and probably a dozen hit a dozen more times. I don't care about his numbers. He's still upright, and we are not staring at Sage Rosenfels as the starting quarterback. As for the game, he forced one deep ball into triple coverage to Steve Smith. Otherwise, can't fault him for any of Sunday night's misery.
Wet Willies to ...
The Coaching Staff -- God, I hate to sound like Jeremy Shockey, but the Giants absolutely did not look ready to play Sunday night. It's as disturbed as I've ever been watching a Tom Coughlin team. In a game I thought set up well to give the Giants a chance at what would have been an upset, it was obvious from the opening drive that they had no chance. A lot of that is on TC, who you guys know I believe is a terrific coach. I have no idea what the Giants were thinking, or trying to accomplish, Sunday night.
What was going on with Perry Fewell's defense? I understood the plan -- which was play pass first and use your front four to contain whatever running the usually pass-happy Colts tried to do. But, Perry, when you are getting absolutely gashed on the ground you have to adjust. Fewell stayed with the two-linebacker set until the third quarter, when it was way too late. The first real 'chess match' challenge for the Giants new defensive coordinator, and he flunked. Miserably.
While I'm blasting coaches, can't excuse everybody's favorite whipping boy, Kevin Gilbride. Hey Kevin, did you watch any film last week? Did you realize that the Houston Texans shredded the Indianapolis defense by RUNNING THE FOOTBALL. Did you or TC ever stop to think that maybe keeping Peyton off the field by chewing up the clock and RUNNING THE FOOTBALL might be a good idea. I often defend Gilbride, because he is a much better offensive coordinator than many around here give him credit for. Once or twice every season, though, the Giants come out with an offensive game plan that leaves me wanting to rip out what's left of my hair. Sunday night was one of those nights.
Brandon Jacobs -- C'mon, Brandon. Throwing your helmet into the stands? That's real mature, and I hope it lands you with a suspension -- either from the league or the Giants. At the very least it landed you in Coughlin's doghouse, right where you belong. A late-hit penalty, too? Oh, and I'm pretty tired of watching you run. Trying to get your Barry Sanders (or your Bradshaw) on when there is a hole right in front of you? Give me a break! Maybe you should sit for a weeks and watch Bradshaw and D.J. Ware run.
Pass Defense -- Terrible night for Terrell Thomas. A flashback to the awful safety play of 2009 when Michael Johnson, in for Kenny Phillips, bit on a play fake when he had deep responsibility, hung Aaron Ross out to dry and allowed a 50-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie. Can we please get Johnson off the team? He's awful.
Defensive Line -- Zero pass rush. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis spent the night dominating the Giants offensive line, while Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora never got near Peyton Manning. On top of which, I don't care about Tuck's seven tackles (or even liebacker Michael Boley's 15). They don't matter when you are getting pushed five or 10 yards down the field before you make them.
David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie -- Awful, awful, awful. Last night showed you why the Giants wanted so badly for Will Beatty to step up and earn the left tackle job. The two Giants tackles were exposed as old and slow in pass protection. Oh, and going back to the coaches and the plan for a second. Hey, umm, how about some help for these guys? A running back? A tight end? Somebody? Anybody? Or maybe you just wanted to see how much punishment Eli could take.