Maybe you just can’t take talking about it, reading about or discussing the New York Giants’ 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings any more. It is, though, time to review the game in our traditional “Kudos & Wet Willies” style, so let’s look back at the game one more way.
Kudos to ...
Giants’ running backs — Rashad Jennings? Shane Vereen? The Giants did just fine without them. Orleans Darkwa had 12 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, with a long run of 17 yards. Bobby Rainey had four carries for 22 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and seven receptions for 43 yards while filling the Vereen role. Paul Perkins got hsi feet wet and excited everyone with the play of the night for the Giants, a 67-yard run with a screen pass.
Olivier Vernon — The defensive end had a hit on Sam Bradford, five hurries and made three tackles, one for loss. He didn’t get a sack of Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford, but Vernon a force all night. He earned a grade 87.8 from Pro Football Focus, highest of the night for any Giants’ defender.
Giants’ offensive line — Quarterback Eli Manning was never sacked ad was hit only twice. Of course, the fact that Manning got rid of the ball on some plays so quickly you thought it might be about to explode helped, but the line played well. Minnesota came in with a league-leading 15 sacks and never really got close to adding to that total. The Giants also averaged 4.3 yards per carry rushing the ball. Oh, and how about the incredible downfield efforts of Weston Richburg and John Jerry on the 67-yard screen pass to Perkins? Ereck Flowers was penalized a couple of times, but that was Everson Griffen he was lined up against.
Brad Wing — Wing had struggled through the first three games to knock the ball dead inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Not Monday. His first punt was downed at the 1-yard line, and he ended the night with thee punts downed inside the 20 and just one touchback. He had a 41.2 yard net average on six punts.
Wet Willies to ...
Discipline and poise — Those apparently didn’t make the trip from New Jersey to Minnesota with the Giants. Eight accepted penalties against the Giants, two that wrecked a scoring opportunity on their opening drive. That’s 19 accepted penalties in two games. Two more turnovers. Another Odell Beckham emotional outburst. Poor clock management at the end of the first half that cost them a couple of chances at a momentum-changing touchdown. Head coach Ben McAdoo always talks about those things, but they certainly haven’t been showing up.
Trevin Wade — The Vikings were merciless Monday night in the way they went after Wade, playing because Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie weren’t. If not in primary coverage, Wade at least partially responsible on Minnesota pass completions of 40 and 30 yards. He had a pass interference penalty that gave the Vikings a first down. He was victimized for a 7-yard touchdown by Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph. Wade also probably got away with a pass interference when he was beaten on a deep ball by Adam Thielen.
Paul Perkins’ blocking — The rookie excited with a terrific 67-yard run with a screen pass. He also, though, showed why his playing has been and will continue to be limited with two poor efforts in pass protection. Minnesota’s Anthony Barr knocked him over on one pass rush. On a second, with the Giants facing fourth down on their final drive, Perkins whiffed on Barr, who tipped Manning’s pass. My question — why was Perkins in the game on that play to pass protect instead of Orleans Darkwa?
Odell Beckham — We can argue all week about what happened on the sideline that led to Beckham’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Yes, Xavier Rhodes hit him out of bounds and should have been flagged. But Beckham, after everything that had gone down and knowing the eagle eye the NFL has trained on him, still hasn’t learned to just walk away. He did go back at Rhodes. He did, accidentally, bump an official. He did go out of his way to create contact with Rhodes out of bounds ON THE VERY NEXT PLAY. He did require the attention of several players and coaches on the sideline to calm him down. He did say some things post game that won’t do him any favors with the league. Eli Manning was absolutely right after the game when he said that Beckham “brought that on himself.”
He also, with some help from the Vikings and possibly from the play-calling, had the worst game of his NFL career, with just three just in nine targets for a career-worst 23 yards.
Eli Manning — Yes, the Minnesota pass rush is fearsome. Yes, the Giants’ game plan was obviously to get the ball out quickly. But, to my eyes, there were too many occasions Monday where it looked like Manning’s priority was self-preservation. There were also some off-target throws when there were plays to be made. Manning has four touchdown passes and four interceptions through four games, and that isn’t going to get it done. Manning and the Giants, with the weapons they have, need to find a way to get more plays made down the field.
Kwillies to ...
Dwayne Harris — Started the game with a brilliant 44-yard kickoff return, and then downed a Wing punt at the Minnesota 1-yard line. His ensuing muffed punt, though, set up Minnesota’s first touchdown. Harris is a terrific return man, but that is his fourth fumble in 38 punt returns with the Giants, one every 9.5 returns. That’s too many.