Somehow, I am not nearly as upset by our New York Giants 24-17 loss Sunday night to the Arizona Cardinals as I might usually be.
I'm sure that has a lot to do with how happy I am this morning that my New York Yankees are back in the World Series. That's one way to take the edge off my aggravation. The other thing about last night is this. I can't point to any one obvious thing that really upset me.
Instead, I think disappointment is the overriding emotion I feel about the Giants this morning. Disappointment in that as I watched last night I kept thinking 'maybe this team simply is not as good as I thought it was.'
The Giants are a good football team. Right now, though, they have some issues to address before they can be considered a championship-caliber one.
Here is head coach Tom Coughlin summarizing the Giants' second straight loss.
"I think anytime you turn the ball over four times you don’t have much of a chance to win and that is what we did tonight. We had far too many drives that ended three and out or with an inability to create any kind of different field position. It seemed like for an entire quarter we started at the twenty or inside the twenty. We never moved it ourselves, we never got it up off that mark. Our inability to overcome that was a major factor I thought," Coughlin said. "I thought our defense played hard, they were put in a lot of bad situations. We continue to have our red zone issues, as you know. Our return game wasn’t as strong as it was the week before; obviously they had worked very hard against that. They have a good, strong kicking game. The punter didn’t really give us a lot to work with and neither did (Neil) Rackers. I don’t have a whole lot to say at this point in time. I think we have, obviously, a lot of work to do."
All of that said, let's get on with the 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
Kudos to ...
- Terrell Thomas: Just in case there was still any doubt, there is no way Aaron Ross pushes Thomas back to the bench if he ever returns this season. Thomas had an interception, seven tackles and broke up four other passes. He was matched up against Larry Fitzgerald more often than I thought he would be, and he was outstanding all night regardless of who he was covering.
- Danny Clark: OK, so maybe this is a bad sign that Clark is on this list. I mean, he is never a 'Kudos' recipient. Clark was noticeably active last night, though, and did come up with one of the Giants two sacks of Kurt Warner.
- William Beatty: Making his first start in place of the injured Kareem McKenzie, the second-round draft pick held up very nicely. No penalties I can recall, no noticeably blown assignments and he did his job without the Giants having to swing extra help in his direction. The Giants might have themselves a player here.
- C.C. Brown: Yeah, it's odd to see 'Bad, Bad C.C. Brown' on this list after the amount of time we spent shredding him last week. But, the guy made 11 tackles and forced a fumble. The guy can play the run, he can hit people and he is a good tackler. I have to give him credit for those things. Of course, if Fitzgerald hadn't dropped that ball when Brown got sucked in by a run fake with the Cardinals in the 'Wildcat' I might be so kind to C.C. this morning.
- Brandon Jacobs: The Beast ran as hard as he has all season, barreling through defenders for a 4-yard and breaking off runs of 25 and 17 yards. The Giants could not run the ball consistently, but Jacobs had his moments.
- Justin Tuck: I thought Tuck made some nice plays, and was around Warner a lot even though he did not register a sack. For that matter, I thought Mathias Kiwanuka (one sack) and Osi Umenyiora were active and at least brought some pressure even if they did not compile big numbers.
Wet Willies to ...
- Jeff Feagles: Who the heck was the imposter wearing No. 18 last night? Feagles had quite possibly his worst night as a Giant Sunday, and maybe one of the worst nights of his career. A 34-yard average on seven punts, including at least three horribly struck punts. The Giants had lousy field position all night, and the Cardinals offense worked with a short field. Mostly, that was on Feagles.
- Eli Manning: Three picks, including the one that sealed the Giants' fate in the closing minute. Truthfully, in my mind, that was Eli's only really badly thrown ball. The other two picks came on a tip and on a fabulous play by Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. I can't complain about those. Eli looked out of sorts, though, as he tried to figure out the Arizona defense. Give the Cardinals credit, but Eli never seemed to get a full grasp on where the Arizona defenders were coming from and what they were doing.
- The run defense: The Cardinals came into the game last in the league in rushing offense. They still are, but Beanie Wells (14 carries, 67 yards) managed to gash the Giants for a handful of big gains right up the middle. Antonio Pierce made 10 tackles, but that is largely because the Cardinals simply ran right at him, and he did not always hold up. Neither did the Giants defensive tackles, a spot where I think the Giants have a problem. Somebody put out an APB for Chris Canty, please.
- Mario Manningham: Four catches, but a bad drop of a a ball that should have been a touchdown and some bad pass routes -- including one where he basically just went down the field and ran himself right out of bounds. Manningham is a flashy, exciting talent. But, he is also an inconsistent, unpolished young player.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: Could not get started last night, and his fumble in the fourth quarter killed a promising drive. It was a terrific effort play by AB, but you can't forget to protect the ball.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I know there will be lots of gnashing of teeth this morning over offensive play calls by Kevin Gilbride and what are seen as the shortcoming of defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. I am not putting this loss on either of them, though. Offensively, if teams are going to give the Giants shots down the field they have to take them. The wide receivers simply have to start winning some of those balls, so teams will back off the line of scrimmage. There is no way the Giants can run consistently staring at nine-man fronts. Defensively, the Giants did OK. Sheridan brought more pressure than he did against New Orleans. The defense was simply in a situation where the Cardinals had a short field most of the night, and they have too many weapons not to take advantage of some of those.