If you watched last night's 27-25 loss by our New York Giants to the New York Jets you should be able to guess that today's 'Kudos & Wet Willies' will be dominated by two things.
- Discussion of wide receivers, both good and bad.
- How easily you can be misled by simply looking at the box score.
So, with that little preamble out of the way let's get to the good stuff. And, since we like good news before bad we will hand out 'Kudos' first.
Kudos to ...
- Hakeem Nicks: Unquestionably the star of the game for the Giants. Just about the time you thought a Giants' wide receiver was NEVER going to make a play, the No. 1 draft pick showed up. He hauled in fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 22 yards (an amazing diving, left-handed grab in the back of the end zone while well covered), and 71 yards from David Carr. He made four other catches and finished his night with six grabs for 144 yards. Nicks' numbers don't lie -- he had a terrific game.
David Carr: Carr has not had a great pre-season, but he looked solid Saturday night. Twelve-for-21 for 181 yards and two TDs, including an impressive late scoring drive. He also ran for a pair of first downs. Carr, most impressively to me, fought his instincts to bail out of the pocket, stayed in there and made some plays. After that performance I feel better about him.
- Eli Manning: Look at his numbers (9-for-21, 91 yards, one touchdown, one interception, a 51.9 rating) and you would think I was nuts putting him here. If you watched the game you know better. His day looks a lot different if Steve Smith doesn't drop a 90-yard touchdown pass, and Domenik Hixon hangs on to an easy catch that turned into a game-changing interception. Even Eli's misses were thrown properly, out of the reach of defenders. He threw the ball well. His receivers, though, didn't catch it well.
- Lawrence Tynes: Made a 38-yard field goal and missed just short from 51. Can't kill him for a miss from tha distance. Tynes gets 'kudos,' primarily for his kickoffs, though. I don't remember any that weren't inside the 5-yard line, and he did get at least one kickoff into the end zone. Hopefully, he can continue that.
Danny Ware: This kid is a player. He had nine carries for 43 yards, a lot of that gained on his own, The most impressive thing he did all night was a great fourth-quarter blitz pickup to save Carr from annihilation. Don't know who Ware picked up, but he stopped the guy in his tracks.
Ahmad Bradshaw: The guy just looks dangerous. He had eight carries for 47 yards, including a 27-yarder.
Mathias Kiwanuka: His sack of Mark Sanchez was a thing of beauty, chasing him down from behind and swallowing him up like a certain No. 56 used to do. Kiwi will have a huge season spelling Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck.
Jonathan Goff: Five solo tackles for the second-year middle linebacker. That is two impressive games in a row for him.
- Kevin Dockery: Played well starting at right corner for the injured Aaron Ross. Three tackles for Dockery and two passes defensed.
- Derek Hagan: Two catches, both on wide receiver screens. Hagan showed the ability to get some yards after catch on both plays, ending up with 25 yards. He also worked hard to get out of bounds on one catch as the Giants were trying to rally for a late score. Finally, Hagan flashed a little of what he has been showing during practice in a real game.
- Fred Robbins: Four tackles for the big defensive tackle, who looks like he is rounding into form nicely after micro-fracture knee surgery in the off season.
- The first-team offensive line: Good work by that group, keeping Manning protected and opening some running lanes. Nice to see Rich Seubert and Chris Snee back on the field.
OK, now that we have gone through the good we have to get to the bad. If you watched the game, you know there was plenty of ugly stuff. Let's get to it.
Wet Willies to ...
- Steve Smith: Steve, I luv ya baby, but you cannot drop perfectly thrown potential 90-yard touchdown passes when you are two steps beyond the defense. Especially not when you have been clamoring for chances to get out of the slot, and be given the opportunity to run some deep routes. Smith has shown great hands for two seasons now, but I saw him drop a couple of deep balls during camp at UAlbany. Steve, if you want the opportunity to run those routes when it counts you have to make those plays.
- Domenik Hixon: A bad drop on a quick in that turned into an interception deep in Giants' territory and led to a Jets' touchdown. The miscues by the two starting receivers turned what should have been a 14-0 Giants' lead into a 7-7 tie.
Mario Manningham: I have said it before, but he has a split personality. Manningham did have four catches for 41 yards, ran some nice routes and made some nice plays. But he dropped a beautiful pass from Carr that hit him right in the numbers and should have been a 30-40-yard gain, and nearly misjudged a punt he had to make an awkward catch. Mario seems to be a 'kwillie,' player -- a thrill-a-minute guy who can keep both teams in the game at the same time.
C.C. Brown: Can we please, please, PRETTY PLEASE Uncle Coughlin, find a way to get this guy off the team? For the love of good defense. And my blood pressure! This guy is AWFUL! Sure, he had five tackles. If he had made all the tackles he should have, however, he would have had eight or nine. On top of which, he is clueless in pass coverage. Brown was waaayyy out of position on Mark Sanchez' 31-yard touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey, leaving him wide open. Then, of course, missing the tackle when he finally did get there. Paging Sha'reef Rashad. Or Vince Anderson. Or anyone else, for that matter.
- DeAndre Wright: The rookie sixth-round pick got himself all turned around, then fell on the field in a heap on Erik Ainge 70-yard touchdown pass to Aundrae Allison late in the fourth quarter. Probably appropriate, though, since I think Wright's chance to make the team crashed to the ground as soon as he did.
- Sinorice Moss: I don't remember him doing anything well. I do remember him failing to catch a punt at the 20-yard line that ended up rolling dead at the 1.