Well, it is time for our final 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style game review of the 2010-2011 season. It's always kind of sad when he get to this one, but it's here. I might do a 'K&WW' look back at the entire season, but I have not yet decided on that.
Anyway, on to our review of Sunday's 17-14 victory over the Washington Redskins -- the final 'K&WW' of a season that is ending too soon.
Kudos to ...
John Mara: This is not for deciding to bring Tom Coughlin back as coach, but for being very decisive Sunday in announcing the decision. I wonder why, if he had made the choice before Sunday, he did not announce it. Yet, once he did announce it he left no doubt that the decision-makers within the organization believed this was the right call. Now, we just have to wait and see what changes do get made and how this plays out.
Osi Umenyiora: Umenyiora was tremendous on Sunday. Two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and three tackles, one of which was a tremendous run stop where he ducked inside left tackle Trent Williams to make a play.
Terrell Thomas: Maybe Thomas should be a linebacker (I'm kidding ... sort of). The guy hits harder and tackles better than any linebacker the Giants have. Ten tackles and one pass defensed for Thomas. He isn't a classic shut down defender against the pass and he can be beaten, but I doubt there are more than a couple of corners in the league who play the run any better.
Aaron Ross: Admittedly, I was nervous about Ross having to play in place of Corey Webster. He did a nice job, though. He was physical, he made seven tackles, he seemed to be in good position most of the day and he even had a nice 14-yard punt return that looked for a second as though it might turn into a lot more.
Kevin Boothe: Despite the Giants struggles in the run game once Rich Seubert went down with a dislocated kneecap, an unfortunate injury I hated to see, I have to give it up for Boothe. Forced into playing a position he has little experience at (he is, after all, the Giants fourth center) he played a clean game. No botched exchanges, no off-target shotgun snaps, no penalties. The Giants undoubtedly missed Seubert, but I still think Boothe deserves some credit.
Mario Manningham: I could give Manningham a 'Kwillie' since he did cost Eli Manning an interception with a catchable ball he had go right through his arms and ricochet to Washington's Phillip Buchanon, but I am giving him 'Kudos.' Four catches for 101 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown. Manningham still managed to make plays in the games that Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith missed, and he should get some credit for that.
Derek Hagan: One bad drop that cost the Giants a touchdown, and it seemed like Manning was constantly taking extra time to get Hagan lined up, but Hagan again did just about everything you could have hoped for from a guy the Giants cut before the season started. He finished the game with six catches for 70 yards. If the Giants choose not to keep him in 2011, Hagan has certainly done enough -- 24 catches in seven games -- that you would think he will have a job somewhere in the league next season.
Kevin Boss: Two catches for 29 yards, but I have to give him 'Kudos' simply for the brilliant one-handed 24-yard catch at the goal line that set up Brandon Jacobs' touchdown run. Boss is a gutty, hard-working, unselfish player and if he chooses to leave the Giants (he is a free agent) they will miss him.
- Eli Manning: Became the first Giants quarterback to register back-to-back 4,000-yard passing seasons (yeah, I know, he barely snuck over the mark with 4,002 yards). Manning was good on Sunday, throwing a few absolutely brilliant balls. He still sailed a couple of balls high where he didn't really set his feet, and he had that crazy backward lateral to Ahmad Bradshaw where he should have just taken the sack and not taken a foolish chance, but he played pretty well considering that the Giants' running game offered him almost no help in the second half.
- Rocky Bernard: Made a couple of nice plays in the backfield, and batted down a couple of passes. I keep thinking the Giants should run him out of town, and then he goes and has games like Sunday where he makes just enough plays to make me think he is still a useful space-eater in the middle of the defensive line.
Jonathan Goff: Seven tackles and forced a huge fumble. The Giants have problems at linebacker, but No. 54 really is the least of their concerns at that level of the defense.
- Punt coverage: For crying out loud, guys, make a stinking tackle. I don't want to hear about Matt Dodge 'outkicking his coverage.' When the punt returner is running right by guys and right through huge seams that isn't on the punter. Give Dodge credit for hitting the ball well all day, making one tackle and forcing Brandon Banks out of bounds on another return.
- Deon Grant: I love Grant and he has had a very good season for the Giants. But the Redskins attacked the middle of the field, and quite often they made the 10-year veteran look old and slow as he spent way too much time in chase mode or being faked out of his shoes.
- Antrel Rolle: OK, so give Thomas demerits for not getting a bump on Anthony Armstrong on the 64-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter if you must. But, when you are playing two-deep safeties -- and you are one of them -- you cannot just let a receiver run right past you to the inside. Especially when you are trying to protect a 10-point lead and you know the Redskins will be looking for big chunks of yardage. Did you not learn anything from the Eagles game, Antrel? Rolle does a lot of terrific things, but he isn't exactly Mr. Reliable when it comes to being where he should be in pass coverage all the time.
- Run blocking: To be honest, there wasn't any once Seubert went down in the first quarter. The Giants averaged 13.6 yards per carry while Seubert was in the game, then just 1.41 the rest of the way (thank you, Pat Traina!). That put tremendous pressure on Manning and the Giants receivers, and they got just enough done to secure a victory.
- Michael Boley: I am tired of watching this guy get pushed off the line of scrimmage against the run. He just does not hold up well against the run at the point of attack, and it seems like Washington backs kept running right past him. His forte is supposed to be speed and pass coverage, but I don't remember seeing him do anything in pass coverage except chase down guys who just caught the ball.