Emotions ran high during Sunday's game between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, none higher than those of Odell Beckham Jr. Let's look at the "Kudos & Wet Willies" following Sunday's 38-35 last-second loss by the Giants.
Kudos to ...
Rashad Jennings -- Got the Giants' first 100-yard game from a running back this season with 107 yards on 16 carries, and he earned it. Jennings ran hard, earning a healthy amount of his yards after contact by breaking tackles or pushing the pile. Had a 38-yard touchdown run during the Giants' second-half comeback. Should be the primary ballcarrier over the final two games.
Eli Manning -- How different would Sunday's game have been if the Giants don't drop four passes in their first two possessions, including one that would have gone for a 48-yard touchdown to Odell Beckham? How different would the game have been if Hakeem Nicks doesn't fall down in the end zone in the fourth quarter on a pass that ended up as a Charles Tillman interception? Nicks had position to make the play on a 50-50 ball. As it was, Manning finished 26-of-49 for 245 yards and four touchdowns, and Manning engineered four touchdowns in just less than 15 minutes to bring the Giants back from a 28-point deficit.
Offensive line -- Manning was never sacked in 45 pass attempts. The Giants also got their first 100-yard game from a running back this season. While Jennings gets a lot of the credit for hard, determined running, give the line some credit as well. Especially rookie Ereck Flowers, for toughing out another game while playing through a high ankle sprain.
Robert Ayers -- The defensive end had 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and three hits on Cam Newton. Another solid effort from a player who can be a free agent at the end of the season.
Jason Pierre-Paul -- There are tackles Pierre-Paul can't make with that massive club on his damaged right hand. He is, however, still finding ways to make an impact. He got his first sack on Sunday, had a pass defense and a tackle for loss.
Wet Willies to ...
Odell Beckham -- I will give those who want to defend Beckham the fact that Carolina cornerback Josh Norman body-slammed the Giants' wide receiver during the game's first series. Norman, though he would never say it, did that hoping for exactly the reaction he got from Beckham. He baited Beckham into losing his focus, getting him to turn the game into a personal grudge match filled with cheap shots and immature behavior. Take this for what you will, but that behavior may also wind up being a major factor should Tom Coughlin lose his job at the end of the season.
I will also grant you that the officials needed to do a much better job controlling the nonsense from the beginning. By the time they actually started throwing flags -- on Beckham, Norman or anyone -- the whole thing had turned into an embarrassing fiasco.
Beckham has the fire, passion, desire to win -- and incredible talent -- to become a leader for the Giants. To do so, however, he needs to set a better example than he did against the Panthers.
Giants' inability to catch the ball -- Five drops, at least, by the wide receivers. Two from Beckham, one from Will Tye, two from Jerome Cunningham. All in the first half. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropping an interception that would have been a touchdown. Those drops cost the Giants at least 17 points in the first half, which obviously could have made a difference in the game's outcome.
Kwillies to ...
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- Oh, DRC! You could almost see his second-quarter drop of an errant Cam Newton pass unfold. The ball was thrown right to Rodgers-Cromartie, who had clear sailing for what would have been a 40-yard Pick 6 that would have given the Giants the lead, momentum and had MetLife Stadium rocking. Instead, jit was just another in a long line of missed opportunities this season. Rodgers-Cromartie did, though, make a brilliant play to block a field goal during the fourth-quarter comeback. He got off the ball quickly and took a great angle.
Giants' defense -- The Giants did a lot of good things defensively on Sunday. They got three sacks of Cam Newton. They forced punts on four of the first five Carolina possessions. They got four straight stops -- including the blocked field goal and a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. In the end, though, just another game they couldn't finish. The Rodgers-Cromartie dropped interception cost them points. They gave up 100 yards rushing on just eight carries to Newton. They couldn't stop the Panthers' game-winning drive. Overall, this group just doesn't have enough quality players.