Well, let's leave out the fact that very few members of the New York Giants played with real pride Sunday in a 49-17 thrashing by the Minnesota Vikings in front of a national TV audience. Let's leave out the fact that the Giants left coach Tom Coughlin despondent, and may have sealed the end of his coaching career. What else did we learn Sunday night?
Here is a look at 10 things we learned. Well, maybe we knew some of them already, but they were confirmed by the way Sunday unfolded.
Without Odell Beckham Jr., Giants have NOTHING at wide receiver
Rueben Randle made one play, hauling in a pass from Eli Manning for a 72-yard touchdown on a broken play. Myles White made a nifty grab for a 25-yard touchdown on a pass from Ryan Nassib. Other than that, the Giants got zilch from their wide receivers. There was a lot of pre-game gnashing of teeth when the Giants left sixth-round pick Geremy Davis inactive. If Davis wasn't good enough to play with that group of wide receivers that's quite an indictment.
The Giants really need safety help
I hate to pick on a guy who suffered a concussion on Sunday night, but Craig Dahl is just not an NFL-caliber free safety. Putrid safety play is something we have become accustomed to watching the Giants, but Dahl takes that to a new level. He is valuable to the Giants because of his experience with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is two other NFL stops, but the guy should not be starting for an NFL team. I have no idea what he was doing on the 28-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. He pretty much just ran alongside him like a spectator trying to make sure he got a better view, never really making any effort to stop Rudolph or play the ball in the air.
Brandon Meriweather isn't any better. Maybe the answer is somewhere in the wreckage of the injured Cooper Taylor, Bennett Jackson, Nat Berhe and Mykkele Thompson, but the giants have got to get better at that spot next season.
Watching Adrian Peterson is a lot of fun
Incredible cuts, great vision, power, speed. Whatever you think of Adrian Peterson as a person, you have to admit he is pretty much everything a running back is supposed to be.
This roster just isn't good enough
Wide receiver. Offensive line. Defensive line. Linebacker. Safety. Maybe cornerback, running back and tight end. The Giants need talent upgrades at all of those spots. Which adds up to the fact that they just don't have enough talent. Not nearly enough.
Rashad Jennings is making the Giants look silly
We spent weeks and weeks begging the Giants to abandon the running back by committee approach, or, at least, to pare it down. In the past three weeks, the Giants finally have allowed Jennings to be the workhorse back he wanted to be. The result? Over those three games, Jennings has carried 51 times for 248 yards (4.8 yards per carry). Too little, too late for the Giants' running game. He had 14 carries for 74 yards Sunday, nd added two receptions for 62 more.
Landon Collins is improving rapidly
Earlier this season, Collins was struggling in coverage, unsure of himself and surprisingly inconsistent as a tackler. since dropping an interception that would have sealed a victory over the New England Patriots, though, the rookie second-round pick has really come on. He was excellent Sunday with eight tackles, one for loss, and a handful in the open field. Whether the Giants use him as a box safety, a hybrid safety/linebacker in a 4-2-5 type of alignment or whatever, they just need a real free safety to pair with him.
Robert Ayers is earning a new contract
Somebody needs to tell Ayers that doing sack dances when you are behind by two scores, not to mention on a losing team that isn't making the playoffs, is downright embarrassing. Also, though, somebody needs to tell Jerry Reese -- or whoever ends up making personnel decisions -- that Ayers should be part of the Giants' plans going forward. The free-agent to be had 1.5 sacks, six tackles (one for loss) and three quarterback hits Sunday. He has a career-high eight sacks this season. On a defense that doesn't have enough playmakers, Ayers is a guy the Giants really need to keep.
Eli was out of sorts
Between the pressure he was under from the Minnesota pass rush, the fact that he got no help from his wide receivers and the fact that the Giants seemed to forget about throwing the ball to Wil Tye or Shane Vereen until it was too late on Sunday, Eli Manning just looked unsure of himself all night. Personally, I was glad the Giants finally got him out of the game before he got broken in half.
The offensive line didn't play well
Manning was sacked four times and hit seven others in 33 dropbacks, per NFL GSIS. That means he was hit on one-third of his attempts on Sunday.
A few rookies got their feet wet
Tight end Matt LaCosse (three receptions, 22 yards), wide receiver Ben Edwards (one catch, nine yards, one kickoff return, 20 yards) and defensive end Brad Bars (one special teams tackle) made their NFL debuts. LaCosse, in particular, is a player who could become a factor for the Giants in 2016.