Well, you can forget all that optimistic chatter about maybe getting on a winning streak finally getting a victory last week. Forget the idea that that the New York Giants might become the first NFL team to make the playoffs after starting 0-5, or that they might at least find a way to make an interesting run at that.
What is the biggest lesson we learned on Sunday as the Giants were manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks, 24-7? Well, that the Giants are a bad football team.
Shoot, they were a bad football team when Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall weren’t on IR, and what seems like a gazillion other guys weren’t hurt. Now, they are a bad football with no real chance to play good offense, a defense that tries hard but — with its own injury issues — can’t do everything by itself, and special teams that are anything but special.
What else did we learn? Let’s go over some of it.
Evan Engram is all alone
We really knew this already, but right now Evan Engram is the only play-maker the Giants have on offense. He’s really, really good but he can’t do it alone.
Engram had six catches on 12 targets for 60 yards. He had the Giants’ only touchdown, running a beautiful route for a 5-yard score. He had a 25-yard catch-and-run in which one of his shoes couldn’t keep up with him. He nearly had a 70+ yard catch-and-run in the third quarter, but was called for illegal touching after stepping out of bounds. Oh, and he almost got broken in half by Richard Sherman near the end of the game.
He will get some help when Sterling Shepard returns. He and Eli Manning both sorely need it.
Replacement wide receivers are dreadful
Well, we knew that Roger Lewis Jr., Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph wouldn’t give the Giants what Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Shepard did. Giants fans had to hope, though, that the replacement receivers wouldn’t completely cripple the passing attack. Unfortunately, those hopes appear to be in vain.
A week ago, the Giants got around a game in which the wide receivers caught just two passes. Sunday, they weren’t so fortunate.
Manning was just 5-of-15 throwing to Lewis, King and Rudolph. He was just 1-of-6 targeting Lewis. Twice he hit Rudolph in the numbers and didn’t get completions either time. King’s only catch gained a yard. There were a few throws that looked off target. Maybe they were. It is just as likely, though, that the 14-year veteran quarterback threw the ball where his inexperienced receivers should have been on several of those incompletions.
Manning has just 262 passing yards the past two weeks.
Mike Sullivan is not a miracle worker
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was lauded for his play-calling last week when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos. He did, in fact do a nice job in that game. He stuck with the script, called a conservative game, and helped the Giants get their only win of the season.
In that game, though, the Giants got only 12 first downs, 266 total yards and 16 offensive points.
This time, Sullivan couldn’t work around the weakness of the Giants’ personnel. Seattle held the Giants to 46 yards rushing on 17 attempts (2.7 yards per carry). The Giants couldn’t convert on some third-and-short runs and when they fell behind had nowhere to go with the ball except to Engram.
The return of Shepard to the lineup after the bye will give the Giants a bit of a boost, but even with Shepard the Giants just don’t have the game-breaking players to be a consistently good offensive team. That’s not Sullivan’s fault.
Linebacker is the new wide receiver
I’m kidding. Sorta. The Giants haven’t had the season-ending injuries at linebacker that they have suffered at wide receiver, but they are running out of guys at that position. Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson went out in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Jonathan Casillas (neck) and Calvin Munson (quad) were inactive. Even Cap Capi, a defensive end who could play linebacker in a pinch, left the game with a hamstring injury. That left the Giants with Keenan Robinson, Devon Kennard and Curtis Grant, with newly-acquired Nigel Harris in reserve.
All-out blitzes of Russell Wilson are a bad idea
NYG brought 6 rushers on that SEA TD. From ’15 thru Wk 6, Wilson was 36-62 for 595 yards with 8 TD and 0 INT vs 6 rushers. Counts playoffs.— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) October 22, 2017
Because he and Doug Baldwin make things like this happen.
The move Baldwin put on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is filthy, and the throw by Wilson is gorgeous. Unless you were rooting for the Giants.
We’re talking about catches again
Landon Collins thought he had an interception. Officials ruled the deep ball he and Seattle’s Paul Richardson battled for to be a Seahawks’ touchdown. This is the viewpoint from SB Nation’s Seahawks web site, Field Gulls:
If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.
Here is what referee Tony Corrente said about the play:
Q: It looked like Paul Richardson, on that play with the simultaneous possession, it looked like his leg was out of bounds. What did you see?
A: The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball and at the same time he did, the defender grabbed the ball, also. They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It’s over now. That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it’s still a catch because the defender has a second action. So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they’re tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that’s the touchdown. Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don’t have any clear view of, quote unquote, anything happening after that. So that’s where it stands.
Q: So he landed on top of the defender basically, and they both had the ball and were on the ground, and that’s a touchdown?
A: That’s a touchdown.
Umm ... OK. I guess.
DRC, McAdoo still not on the same page
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was back from his suspension this week, but Ross Cockrell started in the slot. Rodgers-Cromartie told reporters in the locker room that the reason he didn’t start was disciplinary, left over from his suspension. Coach Ben McAdoo apparently said that wasn’t the case.
Whatever the real truth is, the fact that the two parties are telling a different story is not a good look.
You can run 10 plays from the 5-yard line and not score
That is what the Seahawks managed to do at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second on Sunday.
I don’t know what it was exactly. Good defense? Bad offense? Both. The whole mess included penalties on both teams and a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line drop by Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham. It was all pretty ridiculous.