Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants celebrates sacking Rex Grossman #8 of the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It is time to review Sunday's latest New York Giants debacle, a 23-10 potentially season-killing loss to the Washington Redskins, in our usual 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style. You might already be able to guess, but it's going to short list of 'Kudos' and a long -- maybe very long -- list of 'Wet Willies.'
So, let's get started.
Kudos To ...
- Jason Pierre-Paul: Sixteen tackles, a sack and a tip that nearly turned into a blocked field goal. There was that weird play where he could have tackled Dorrell Young except he didn't know who had the ball, but the guys is very clearly a dominating defensive player. He played with energy, with passion and with force. If only the Giants could clone the guy.
Wet Willies To ...
Pretty much everybody on the Giants sideline not wearing No. 90 could or should be on this list following the latest shameful effort by the Giants. We have seen this sort of lifeless, sleepwalking, mistake-filled performance all too often from the Giants in recent seasons. I don't know the reason for it, or who is to blame for it. What I do know is that for a team that considers itself to be a contender to play so poorly so often is simply not acceptable.
Now, on to the individual 'Wet Willies.'
Antrel Rolle: Can someone please find the mute button on this guy? ESPN's Dan Graziano called Rolle's rambling post-game comments in which he threw some of his teammates under the bus for not practicing with injuries, took what can be considered a cheap shot at the offense and continued to insist that the 7-7 Giants "have it" a "weird diatribe."
Rolle needs to stop talking. First of all, pointing fingers at teammates like Justin Tuck -- who played pretty well despite being limited by a myriad of physical ailments -- does not help. Questioning an offense, albeit in a veiled manner, that has carried a porous defense all season is uncalled for.
Thirdly, Rolle's own play has been and continues to be part of the problem. He was directly responsible for Washington's first touchdown, failing to make a tackle on third-and-17 that would have forced a punt and instead allowed the Redskins to gain nine extra yards, convert a fourth-and-one and go on to score. He also had Darrel Young run right through him on the Redskins second touchdown, which made the score 17-0. And we haven't even talked about his problems in pass coverage, where he has been a liability all season.
- Hakeem Nicks: One of the best receivers the Giants franchise has ever had, but had a horrible game Sunday. He dropped two touchdown passes, a potential 54-yarder early that completely changed the feeling of the game and the crowd at MetLife Stadium, and one from inside the 10-yard line late on a drive where the Giants got to the two-yard line and failed to score.
- Tom Coughlin: When your time continues to play poorly in big games against teams it should defeat the head coach has to take a hit. This keeps happening to Coughlin's teams, as do the ridiculously poor second halves of seasons. The lack of fight that we see all too often has to be an indictment of the guy at the top.
- Perry Fewell: More of the same for the Giants defense. Communication breakdowns in the secondary, soft or non-existent pass coverage at other times, lack of pass rush from anyone other than Pierre-Paul and run defense that simply is not good enough. The Giants have sustained a lot of injuries on defense, but I continue to believe there is enough talent left for this group to be better than it is.
Prince Amukamara: I saw some comments on Sunday labeling the Giants' first-round pick a "bust." To do that is blatantly unfair. The guy had no off-season, broke his foot in his second practice, missed more than half the season, is apparently still not 100 percent physically and is struggling to understand coverage schemes that even his veteran teammates keep screwing up. Give the kid a real chance and I believe he will be a good player for the Giants for years to come.
That said, Prince was terrible on Sunday. He admitted that he screwed up the coverage on the 20-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss that gave the Redskins a 10-0 lead. Thing is, watch the replay and you see Amukamara was never in position where he had any chance to cover Moss on a break to the outside, anyway. His failure to tackle Jabar Gaffney on a third-and-10 completion in the red zone led directly to Washington's second touchdown.
The Giants were right to bench him in the second half. Washington was targeting Amukamara, and he was basically helpless to do anything about it.
- Mario Manningham: In his fourth year in the league, and his fourth season working with Eli Manning, you would think the guy would be able to run the correct pass routes. As he has so often, though, Manningham cost the Giants Sunday by breaking off a fade route that caused a Manning interception and pretty much killed any hopes of a second-half comeback. The incredulous look on Manning's face said it all. Rather than the 'Manning Face,' I may start calling it the 'Manningham Face.' Manningham can be a free agent at the end of the season, and I wonder how hard the Giants will try to keep him.
- David Diehl: Hard to single out one offensive lineman on a day when Manning was under pressure and was sacked three times. Diehl, though, had a devastating holding penalty that took a touchdown off the board.
You will notice that Eli Manning is not on my list of 'Wet Willies.' Considering the dropped touchdown passes, messed-up routes and penalties that negated Giants' touchdowns I find it hard to give Manning a 'WW.' He underthrew the ball ever so slightly on two of his interceptions, but credit the Redskins with great plays on both of those. The guy has been magical all season, and I'm not going to kill him for one game where he couldn't rise above the stench of what was going on around him.
I also have to note that FOX commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were all over the fact that the Giants appeared to be lifeless and in trouble very early in the game. Buck, particularly, nailed that observation. Also credit Aikman on the Moss touchdown. He, obviously, learned from the Rolle-Cris Collinsworth brouhaha and , fidgeting a little uncomfortably, did not place specific blame on Amukamara or Kenny Phillips for the play, rather noted there was a noticeable breakdown.