As we pick through the wreckage of the New York Giants' 31-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, a debacle that left them 0-4 and probably leaves their playoff hopes in ruins, let's review the carnage in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Kudos To ..
Prince Amukamara -- Considering how easy it is to complete passes virtually everywhere else against the Giants why do teams even bother to throw the ball toward Amukamara anymore? The interception Amukamara made on the slant pass intended Dwayne Bowe Sunday, manhanding the bigger receiver to step in front and make the play, was done as well as it can be. Amukamara was credited with two passes defensed and surrendered zero completions while being targeted four times. Amukamara got a +5.3 grade from Pro Football Focus, best of any Giant on Sunday.
Victor Cruz -- Can we stop debating who the Giants' No. 1 receiver is? I don't care who plays the slot, who plays outside or who plays wherever. The ONLY Giants' receiver consistenty making any plays in Cruz. He had 10 catches Sunday for 164 yards, including his 69-yard touchdown. Cruz has 26 catches on the season.
Spencer Paysinger -- Maybe the Giants do have at least one linebacker who can be part of the team's long-term plans. Paysinger played with physicality, decisiveness and passion Sunday. More importantly, he was productive. He had seven tackles, a sack, a pressure and a fumble recovery. Paysinger was a bit of a mixed bag in pass coverage, but played an excellent game overall.
Damontre Moore -- A partially blocked punt and two nice special teams tackle. Moore ran past Dexter McCluster on the 89-yard punt return for a touchdown, but kept him inside. He just didn't get any help from his teammates.
Trumaine McBride -- Give it up for the veteran, reserve cornerback. When Aaron Ross went out with a back injury McBride stepped in and played well. Targeted four times, he gave up just one completion for 8 yards.
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Wet Willies To ...
Hakeem Nicks -- After the game quarterback Eli Manning said "I thought we had some chances on some plays, just didn't make ‘em." Manning could easily have substituted 'Hakeem' for 'we.' Nicks had three potential big-play passes from Manning in his grasp Sunday and couldn't haul in any of them.
Brandon Myers -- The Giants chose to keep a tight end in to block for much of the game, trying to help their beleaguered and battered offensive line. Unfortunately, the tight end they have -- Myers -- simply can't do that job. PFF graded him at -3.7 Sunday, all for his blocking work. Myers was one of the major culprits on the third-and-one pitch to David Wilson that failed to produce a first down.
Offensive Line -- Not one offensive lineman scored a 'plus' grade from Pro Football Focus. The scores ranged from James Brewer (-2.6) to Kevin Boothe (-1.4). The play of Brewer and rookie right tackle Justin Pugh (-1.5) wasn't bad, no matter what the scores. Pugh held Justin Houston, leading the league with 7.5 sacks entering the game, at bay. The play of left tackle Will Beatty (-2.0), though, is unacceptable. The Giants gave Beatty a five-year, $37.5-million contract during the offseason and that is looking like a mistake. Beatty surrendered five pressures, a hit and a sack Sunday. He also committed another holding penalty.
Jason Pierre-Paul -- I know JPP is still probably not 100 percent physically following back surgery. I am beginning to wonder, though, when we might see the Pierre-Paul of 2011. Or if we will see him, at least this season. Sunday made four games, and Pierre-Paul has yet to be a factor in any of them.
Special Teams -- Let's exempt Damontre Moore from this. Everybody else? Yuck! Josh Brown? The 44-yard miss was the second critical miss in two weeks, both on kicks he has to make. The other was from 38 yards. Steve Weatherford? What happened to the guy who could place the ball pretty much anywhere he wanted and whose punts were rarely returnable? The punt Dexter McCluster returned for an 89-yard score was at least out to the numbers, but still not great. The coverage was worse. Watch the replay and you eight Giants (yes, EIGHT!) with a chance to make a play on McCluster. The Chiefs' return man just leaves a trail of white jerseys in his wake. That was embarrassing.
Eli Manning was credited with four turnovers Sunday, although one was clearly a dropped handoff by Da'Rel Scott. I just don't know what to say about Manning these days. He doesn't have much of an opportunity, and guys aren't making plays, but he also has to be better. He doesn't protect the football well enough, and he's throwing way too many balls up for grabs. There are also so many miscommunications with receivers you have to believe some of them are on Eli.
There were some things to like Sunday. The run defense was better, with Jamaal Charles getting 65 yards on 18 carries (3.6 yards per carry). The play of Amukamara. The passion of Paysinger. The running of David Wilson, who averaged 4.2 yards per carry. The punt return work of Rueben Randle.