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Giants-Chargers “Kudos & Wet Willies” Review

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It’s time to dole out some praise, and some criticism

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants
Dwayne Harris played really well Sunday, then got hurt and saw his season end.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for what we do the morning after New York Giants’ games — our “Kudos & Wet Willies” review. This time, we are assessing the carnage of a fifth straight loss, this one a 27-22 crusher to the previously winless Los Angeles Chargers.

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Kudos to ...

Orleans Darkwa — Eight carries, 69 yards, a 23-yard touchdown run. Darkwa also had a 15-yard run. The only thing Darkwa (8.6 yards per rush) didn’t get was enough carries. He had six rushes for 58 yards in the first quarter, but never carried in the second quarter, had two carries at the beginning of the third quarter and then disappeared. Even if he was banged up in the second half, as Ben McAdoo said, there was no reason not to ride him — and the running game before that happened.

Wayne Gallman — Saying that Darkwa didn’t get enough touches isn’t meant to take anything away from Gallman. He had 11 carries for 57 yards and five receptions for 25 more. He is proving to be a good player.

D.J. Fluker — Entered the game on the Giants’ third offensive possession and made an immediate difference in the run blocking. Helped cave in the right side on Darkwa’s 23-yard scoring run and a 15-yard Darkwa run, the first running play with Fluker in the game. Fluker’s pass protection can be shaky, but his physicality in the run game and effort are things the Giants can really use.

Dwayne Harris — It’s a shame when any player gets injured, and Harris will now miss the rest of the season with a fractured foot. That means his Giants’ career may also be over. Sadly for Harris, the injury came in the midst of his best game in two years. Harris had a 17-yard punt return, a 30-yard kickoff return and downed two Brad Wing punts inside the Los Angeles 5-yard line.

Brad Wing — A really nice bounce back game for the Giants’ punter. With help from Harris, he had two punts downed in the 5-yard line and four inside the 20.

Darian Thompson — Another player who had a nice bounce back game. Ended a potential Los Angeles scoring drive with the Giants’ first interception, and also had a diving pass breakup in the end zone to prevent a score. Finished with 11 tackles and, most significantly, did not appear to miss any.

Ereck Flowers — Yes, a “Kudos” for Flowers. He got bowled over by Joey Bosa on one stunt, but otherwise appeared to play pretty well. None of the five sacks of Eli Manning came from the player he was assigned to block. Pro Football Focus graded Flowers as the Giants’ best offensive player on Sunday, for whatever that’s worth.

Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson — I’m lumping the defensive tackles together because they were both really good. The Chargers did average 4.3 yards per rushing attempt, but that didn’t come in the middle. ‘Snacks’ was even credited by Pro Football Focus with four quarterback hurries on 24 pass-rushing snaps.

Wet Willies to ...

InjuriesOdell Beckham Jr. Dwayne Harris. Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard. Four injuries, at least two season-ending ones, same position. Unbelievable. There really isn’t more to say.

Bobby Hart — I was really curious to see how Hart would perform back at right tackle. He had a rough season opening game, but was playing on an injured ankle much of the game. He was awful against the Chargers, though, and there was no injury to use as a crutch. Joey Bosa is a great player, and he abused Hart much of the game.

Punts from inside the Chargers’ 40 — Over his two seasons as head coach, Ben McAdoo has made a habit of turning away field-goal opportunities, instead often going for it on fourth down. Sunday, he turned down two second-quarter scoring opportunities inside the Chargers’ 40-yard line — only this time he chose to punt rather than try 56 and 54-yard field goals. Those are long field goals, obviously, but I hate punting from scoring territory. Why not try to score points? From the 36, Wing’s punt went for a touchback, netting the Giants only 11 yards.

Failure to capitalize on field position — The Giants started first-half drives at their own 37, their own 45 and on the Los Angeles 39. They got zero points out of any of those. You want to point to why they are 0-5 instead of 1-4, and those three failed drives are as big a reason as any.

Abandoning the run — I have harped on the failure to continue to feed Darkwa after an outstanding first quarter. It wasn’t just not feeding Darkwa, though, that bugged me. After Gallman failed on successive runs that turned a second-and-2 into a punt with 11:51 left in the second quarter, the Giants used only three running plays the rest of the second quarter and the third quarter combined. After the punt, their only second-quarter run was by Shane Vereen — not Darkwa or Gallman. Darkwa got two third-quarter carries. Not sticking with something that was working was inexcusable.

Kwillies to ..

A ‘Kwillie,’ remember is a combination of a ‘Kudo” and a “Wet Willie.”

Eli Manning — I thought Manning was really good for much of the game. He failed to connect on a few deep balls early, but eventually hit long touchdown passes to Beckham and Roger Lewis Jr. The Lewis touchdown was a phenomenal throw, and the Beckham TD included some great work in the pocket to sidestep pressure. Unfortunately, Manning coughed up the fumble that ended up setting up LA’s game-winning score. Two hands on the ball. Please.