The New York Giants once again stared victory in the face Sunday, said 'nah, no thanks,' looked the other way and gift-wrapped a victory for an opposing team. In a scenario we have seen all too often the past two seasons the Giants defeated themselves in Sunday night's 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
In a clip on ESPN Radio this morning I heard Giants coach Tom Coughlin rip his team's "careless regard for the football that has been going on for probably a year and a half." This team won't be what it should be until it learns that the ball is a prize to be cherished, not a grenade to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible.
Anyway, on to the 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
Kudos to ...
- Justin Tuck: You can blame the Giants loss on a lot of things, but you cannot blame it on their defensive captain. This was one of the best games of Tuck's career with six tackles, three sacks of Michael Vick and two forced fumbles. Not only that, but Tuck smartly played his outside edge, denying screen passes and keeping Vick from getting outside a number of times.
- Terrell Thomas: Ten tackles for Thomas. His run defense was extraordinary, his tackling solid and he was a human blanket on Eagles' receivers much of the night. I can't find any fault in the way he played.
- Shawn Andrews: A pretty darn impressive performance for a guy who didn't practice all week, who knew the Philly crowd was waiting to jeer him and who had to line up one-on-one with extraordinary pass rusher Trent Cole all night. Cole had one tackle on the night, and I can't recall him getting near Eli Manning the entire evening. Two holding calls were the only blemishes on Andrews all night. When David Diehl gets healthy I really don't know how the Giants justify taking Andrews out of the lineup.
- Rich Seubert: Another capable job at center, but this is for Seubert's hustle in recovering two fumbles. The Giants would not have even had a chance in this game if it wasn't for Seubert's effort.
Wet Willies to ...
- "Careless disregard for the football": Love the Coughlin quote. This, sadly, is something that has permeated the entire offense. Interceptions, fumbles, dropped passes, receivers failing to get their feet in bounds, guys running lazy routes and missing first downs. 'Kudos' to TC on the incredibly accurate quote, but a 'Wet Willie' to the Giants as a whole for gift-wrapping another game they should have won.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: Two more fumbles for Bradshaw -- yes, I'm counting the one that was reversed by replay. AB was simply lucky there, even if the call was correct. I love the guy's effort, but he has to learn to value the football. Bradshaw simply has to learn to go to the ground when he's got three guys all over him. Trying to fight for an extra inch when you have multiple defenders ripping at the ball is a recipe for disaster, and Bradshaw's sometimes misguided tenacity bit the Giants again Sunday night. The fact that Bradshaw had just 29 yards on 12 carries didn't help much, either.
- Eli Manning: The whole "careless disregard" thing starts with Manning. Three more interceptions Sunday, though the last one was no big deal since the game was over. The first two, though, are on Eli. He has 16 now, and I'm tired of the 'tipped ball' excuse. Two picks last night were Eli throwing the ball to guys who weren't open. Manning was incredibly lucky on the Mario Manningham pass interference, too, since he just chucked that ball up for grabs. Two fumbles, as well, the last one being an absolute killer after Eli had made a terrific run on fourth down. Slide, Eli, slide. You should know that by now.
- Michael Boley: Lost contain on Michael Vick's first-quarter touchdown run. I can't swear to it, but it sure looked like the 50-yard LeSean McCoy touchdown run was on Boley, too. He was the outside linebacker on that play, and he is lined up way inside the tight end, making it easy for the Eagles to seal him off. He has to know that, other than the cornerback on that side, he is the only player out there.
Kwillies to ...
- Antrel Rolle: Five tackles and lots of pressures on Vick. But, how many times did Rolle have a shot at a big play and whiff on the Eagles quarterback? And, he has to take some blame for the McCoy touchdown along with Boley. What was he thinking, coming up way inside and simply leaping into the backfield without any regard for actually seeing what play Philadelphia was running? That was Rolle's side of the field and when McCoy got outside there was no safety on that side of the field to make a play. NBC's Cris Collinsworth said the Giants lost discipline on that play, and he was talking about Rolle and Boley.
- Hakeem Nicks: Six catches, but a fumble and a really poor lack of awareness on the Giants' opening drive. Caught a brilliant 25-30-yard sideline throw by Manning, but had no idea where he was on the field and stepped out of bounds without making any real effort to get his second foot down. Cost the Giants an opportunity to score points on their first possession.
- Will Blackmon: Love the effort, but you can't pick up a rolling ball on a punt with a defender running full speed right in front of you. The Giants were really fortunate not to lose that one. He did at least have a couple of decent kickoff returns.
- Matt Dodge: Is it nerves, or does the rookie punter just have bad hands? Either way, Dodge dropped his third snap of the season Sunday night. This one didn't hurt, because he picked the ball up and drilled a 60-yard punt, but still. He also had a 67-yard punt, but dropped in a 25-yarder, as well. Typical up-and-down night for Dodge, a 'Kwillie' player if there ever was one.
There are probably other guys I should mention, but that's enough for now. I thought the Giants defense played well other than the McCoy play. Your thoughts?