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Giants fall to Jets, "Kudos & Wet Willies" review

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Who deserves praise, and who deserves criticism?

Eli Manning after his fourth-quarter interception
Eli Manning after his fourth-quarter interception
Al Bello/Getty Images

Let's look back at Sunday's disastrous loss to the New York Jets by the New York Giants in our traditional "Kudos & Wet Willies" style.

Kudos to ...

Dwayne Harris -- When Harris returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter he became the first Giants to have a kickoff and punt return touchdown in the same season since Jimmy Patton did so in 1955. Harris nearly won the game for the Giants all by himself. After the Jets had taken the lead in overtime, Harris nearly broke the return, taking the kickoff back to the 42-yard line. That should have set the Giants up to at least tie the game.

Robert Ayers -- The guy was all over the field. He had two sacks, two quarterback hits, five hurries and a pass defensed. Ayers created pressure on nine of 45 pass-rush snaps. His pass-rush productivity score of 15.8 was best in the league among 4-3 DEs, and his +5.8 Pro Football Focus score led the Giants' defense.

Bobby Hart -- The rookie showed promise in his first NFL start. His PFF score was just -2.2, and he was credited with allowing a sack and three hurries. Whatever, the kid held up reasonably well. Remember also that he was at right tackle, which the Giants don't see as his long-term position. When they drafted him they expected him to end up moving to guard, which may yet be his best position.

Odell Beckham Jr. -- Six catches for 149 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown and another spectacular one-hander. It looked from the press box as though Beckham dropped a critical pass at the Jets' 20-yard line in overtime, but PFF did not credit the play as a drop, so neither will I. Beckham now has 169 career receptions, most ever by a player in the first two seasons of his career.

Wet Willies to ...

Eli Manning -- The Giants needed their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to come up big on Sunday. He did not. The numbers say Manning completed 18-of-34 passes for 297 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 80.1. He was off target much of the day. If Manning puts the ball on a wide open Rueben Randle at the Jets' 4-yard line in the fourth quarter rather than make him dive for an errant throw Randle at least gets a first down, might score, and the Giants never face that fateful fourth-down decision. I don't know if it's fair to fault Eli on the goal-line interception. It was fourth down, nobody was open and you have to throw the ball somewhere. Whether it was because guys weren't open I don't know, but Manning seemed to hesitate in the pocket a few times and hold the ball too long, perhaps contributing to a couple of sacks. However you look at it, the Giants needed a big game from Manning and he didn't deliver.

Josh Brown -- I hate doing this. The guy has been brilliant for the past two seasons, he's a stand-up guy who spoke honestly to the media after the game, and teammate after teammate refused to blame Brown for his overtime miss. Brown had to miss some time after making 29 straight, and I disagree vehemently with Chris's assertion that the 48-yard attempt was "relatively easy." Still, it's obviously makable and was an awful time for Brown to miss.

Rueben Randle -- Two catches in six targets for Randle, one the heels of one catch in six targets against the Redskins. What, exactly, was Randle doing on the goal-line interception? Yes, it's clear that the Jets anticipated the pick route that the Giants ran. It's also clear that Randle changes his route away from where Manning expected him to be. I'm not sure if the images below show it clearly, but Randle was coming straight across the blue line used by television, then adjusted to go vertically toward the end zone.

randle1

randle2

Goal-line play-calling -- Let's talk about another aspect of Sunday's debatable fourth-down decision. The Jets say they knew what was coming on the fourth-and-2 play where Rontez Miles came up with a game-changing interception. I'm hardly surprised by that at all. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has fallen in love with the pick play the Giants ran, and everybody knows it. The Patriots knew it and defended it when the Giants tried to run it three weeks ago. The Jets knew it as soon as the Giants lined up on Sunday. The Giants also failed miserably on a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the second quarter, trying to run up the gut with Andre Williams against the league's best run defense. With Williams in the game. that's also a play everybody knew was coming. You simply have to be more creative than that.