The New York Giants spent a lot of time during the week leading up to Sunday's game talking about doing their part to help the community recover, at least emotionally, from the mess left behind by Superstorm Sandy. Before the game they honored New York and New Jersey first responders who have been dealing with the hurricane's after-effects, and service men and women as part of the team's 'Salute to Service' game.
The stage was set for the Giants to play an emotional game, to turn Sunday into a joyous occasion for many who really needed something to celebrate after a miserable week.
Instead, the Giants were physically mauled by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- The Steelers held the ball for more than 35 minutes.
After the game, radio analyst Carl Banks took to Twitter to point out just how awful the Giants' defense was on Sunday -- and to remind everyone that this is not exactly unusual. Banks tweeted:
#TRENDINGBAD How this for a bad def @Giants trend.. Phil 191yds rush, dal400+pass, wash248 rush,Pitt 158 rush.. #yallbetterthanthat!
The defense wasn't the only issue. In fact, it probably wasn't the biggest issue.
The special teams surrendered three returns (two kickoffs, one punt) of 50 yards or more.
The biggest issue of all, though, had to be the offense. The Giants totaled only 182 yards for the game, and did not get a first down in the fourth quarter. They were only 2-for-10 in third-down situations.
There are those who will blame everything on the Giants' decision to return David Diehl to the starting lineup. Whether Diehl was good or bad, that isn't fair. It's not even close to fair.
Eli Manning played what might be the worst game we have seen him play in a couple of seasons (10-for-24, 125 yards, one interception). He made some horrid decisions, and some awful throws. In Manning's defense, he was under constant pressure from a variety of angles. There were also mis-communications with receivers.
There was no running game to speak of. A few weeks ago it looked as if the Giants had solved what had been a problem last season when they were the worst rushing team in the league. Now, this is three straight weeks during which they have not run the ball well enough.
On a day that could have been a celebration the Giants simply couldn't deliver. Pittsburgh stormed into MetLife Stadium and, for lack of a better way to put it, punched the Giants in the mouth over and over. The Giants weren't tough enough to respond.
That cost them a win on Sunday. Now we have to find out if it costs them more than that down the road.