Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants yells after a penalty during a game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday. Coughlin has every right to be disturbed by what he saw from the Giants. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
What else could I call today's 'Kudos & Wet Willies' following the way the New York Giants embarrassed themselves Sunday against the Tennessee Titans? When have you ever seen an NFL team take five -- yes, five -- unsportsmanlike conduct penalties?
Well, actually there are a few other things I could have chosen.
- The 'Hey, Eli you're not left-handed' edition.
- The 'Hey, Matt Dodge it's been nice to know you -- maybe not' edition.
- The 'Hey, Ahmad you do remember you play for the Giants, don't you?' edition.
- The 'Hey, Kareem McKenzie, what the heck were you doing?' edition.
So, yeah, there are lots of choices. But, I'll stick with my first instinct -- the 'unsportsmanlike conduct edition.' I have been watching NFL games for 40 years, and I don't think I have ever seen an unprofessional display like that one.
The Giants embarrassed their old stadium in their final game their last season. It took them all of two home games to embarrass the new building.
The 'Kudos & Wet Willies' are after the jump.
Wet Willies to ...
Yes, I'm starting with the WWs today. It was that kind of performance from the 1-2 Giants.
- Kareem McKenzie: I want McKenzie's backside benched next Sunday against the Chicago Bears. His frontside, too. In fact, after that incredibly immature and unprofessional effort from a guy who has been in the league 10 years and knows better I honestly would not mind seeing McKenzie cut this week. I really don't care who plays right tackle next Sunday. Tom Coughlin talked a lot Sunday night about how his players know better, and how the message has been delivered again and again. Maybe it's time to send it a little louder -- by showing somebody the door.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: I really don't care about the 88 yards on 15 carries, or the five passes caught. Bradshaw cost the Giants at least five, and probably nine points on Sunday. I love the guy's effort with the ball in his hands, but he has to learn to protect it. He's so busy juking and jiving and trying to get six more inches he forgets about the ball. And the penalty in the end zone was just awful. At first glance the call upset me. The more I thought about it, though, he went for the guy's knees, which is a no-no. The fact that he did it in the end zone, and then admitted that's exactly what he was trying to do, made it even worse.
Eli Manning: Again, I really don't give a hoot about the nice-looking 34-for-48 for 386 yards. I care about the absolute stupidity of a guy who has been in the league seven years throwing a ball with his opposite hand INTO TRIPLE coverage while falling down. Take the sack, and the three points, for crying out loud. Geez, Rhett Bomar could have done that, Eli.
- Hakeem Nicks: Seven catches, but c'mon Hakeem. When you have both feet planted on the ground and you get two hands on the ball you HAVE TO MAKE THAT CATCH. That's not the first easily catchable ball Nicks has turned into an interception this season. It cost the Giants points, and stuff like that has to stop.
- David Diehl: Spent the day getting abused off the edge in pass protection. He also took one of the Giants unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, ripping the helmet off a Tennessee defender. Way to go, Dave. Not bad enough the Giants had just turned the ball over, you have to be Mr. Macho, rip a guy's helmet off and bail the Titans out of a situation where they would have been backed up near their own end zone.
- Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster: Vince Young only completed 10 passes, but I have a question. When is one of these supposed top-tier cornerbacks actually going to make a play? I'm deeply disappointed by the play of both guys so far this season. At least they didn't join the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty party.
Matt Dodge: Absolutely inexcusable to take a delay of game penalty on a field-goal attempt , and that is entirely on Dodge. As Coughlin said "The young holder needs to get us going." On top of that, Dodge hit a horrible ball after the safety caused by Bradshaw's bad penalty. Jeepers, I can kick like that.
Antrel Rolle: Nice 'leadership,' Antrel. All the talking Rolle did last week, and he goes out Sunday and takes a foolish, immature unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Then, in my mind, he makes it worse by saying he saw nothing wrong with what he did.
"I got struck twice, and I struck back. There was no explanation about it. I'm a ballplayer, and that means I'm fiery. He struck me twice, and I definitely struck him back. I wasn't ejected, but the coaches pulled me out probably to calm me down. I understand that. It's a game of emotions. That guy took two strikes at me, and I made sure I struck him back."
You're kidding me, right Antrel? "I made sure I struck him back." Are you serious? You think this is a macho street fight between gangs or something?
Rolle even added this beauty that did not make it into the transcripts in a conversation with reporters.
"It’s a penalty. I wasn’t ejected," Rolle said. "It’s a penalty, a personal foul. Whoop-dee-doo. It’s not the end of the world."
Sorry to say, but those actions and that attitude toward hurting his team sours me on the Giants' biggest offseason free-agent acquisition. Get a clue, Antrel!
Coughlin had this to say about all the dumb penalties and immature behavior, and I agree with him completely.
"They've been told that they do not have the freedom to hurt our football team, to take actions which hurt our team. Penalties lose games - they know that, they've been told that, they all know it - what the repercussions are of losing the turnover battle - they all understand that...against a team that had seven turnovers a week ago and had none today," Coughlin said.
He also fell on his sword, trying to shift blame away from the players.
"It is frustrating, but it's my fault, it's my responsibility, put it on me," he said. "We gave a game away that we should have won and I'll take the responsibility for that."
'Kudos' for the professionalism, Tom, and for doing your best to at least outwardly defend a team that had no right to expect you to go to bat for them after that abysmal performance.
This one is not on you, though. It is squarely on the shoulders of the guys wearing the shoulder pads.
Now, on with a couple of 'Kudos.'
Kudos to ...
- Mario Manningham: This guy has become scary good. He had six catches for 78 yards, and Bradshaw's penalty wiped out a seventh catch that would have been good for 40 yards and quite possibly have helped the Giants swing the game back in their direction.
- The run defense: Give that group credit. They beat Tennessee superstar Chris Johnson up all day long. Yes, he ended up with 125 yards on 32 carries, but he got 42 of those on one play once it was already obvious the game was lost. He averaged less than four yards per carry, and the Giants can be proud of how well they handled him.
- Kevin Boss: Three catches for 88 yards, including a 54-yarder. He got a little of Mark Bavaro on at one point, too, dragging a handful of Titans defenders for some extra yards. Love this guy, let's just hope he can stop getting hit in the head.
- Mathias Kiwanuka: Had the Giants only sack of the day and was in the backfield a handful of other times.
- Adam Koets: Aside from one false start penalty where Koets seemed to have messed up the snap count, he actually played fairly well replacing Shaun O'Hara in his first career start. No complaints from me about Koets' performance.