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‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ Review Of Giants’ Loss To Steelers

Let’s look at who deserves praise ... and who doesn’t

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants
Friday night was a rough one for quarterback Josh Johnson.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday, 20-12. Now, for the important stuff — who played well and who didn’t as the Giants look toward constructing a 53-man roster for 2017. Let’s take a look as only we can, with our traditional “Kudos & Wet Willies” review.


Kudos to ...

Landon Collins — Had five tackles (four solo, one for loss) in his two series. He started the game like it was a playoff game and not a preseason one, making tackles on the first two plays. He said after the game that the starting defense wanted to “set the tone.” He made sure that happened.

Jay Bromley — The fourth-year defensive tackle, who has limited impact his first three seasons, has been getting first-team reps of late with Johnathan Hankins off to the Indianapolis Colts. Friday, Bromley was a force, with three solid run tackles in 19 snaps. His best play a third-and-1 stop when he knifed into the backfield to dump running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for a loss.

Darius Powe — Only caught one pass, a 15-yard in-cut on a laser from Geno Smith, but he forced a 33-yard pass interference penalty and had a special teams tackle. Powe also should have a touchdown, if only Josh Johnson has been able to see him.

Calvin Munson — The undrafted free agent is bidding for a spot as a reserve linebacker, and he helped himself Friday. He recovered a fumble and had a tackle on special teams. He wasn’t spectacular on defense, but ended up with four tackles in 29 snaps, making the plays he needed to make.

Dalvin Tomlinson — Pro Football Focus credited the rookie defensive tackle with three run stops in 17 snaps vs. run plays. He also pushed the pocket a couple of times.

Kerry Wynn — The veteran defensive end finds himself having to fight for a roster spot this season. He made a pretty good case Friday. He had three tackles, two for loss, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. His pressure on the play below contributed to an interception thrown by Steelers’ quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

Both placekickersAldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent each made both of their field-goal attempts Friday, Rosas from 27 and 52 yards and Nugent from 30 and 45 yards.

Wet Willies to ...

Josh Johnson — The journeyman quarterback got the start Friday night, but ended up as the clear loser in the competition for the No. 2 job. Johnson seemed unsure of himself, indecisive in the pocket. He got sacked three times, but a good portion of that was his own doing.

Valentino Blake — The veteran cornerback had an interception on an errant throw from Dobbs, but that masked the fact that he had an otherwise horrendous night. He was beaten deep twice by Cobi Hamilton, once for a 28-yard touchdown and once for a 44-yard gain. Blake was also in coverage on an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Xavier Grimble that was nullified by a Steelers’ holding penalty.

Chad Wheeler — There was a lot of excitement during the week when the undrafted free agent left tackle got some first-team reps in place of Ereck Flowers. Friday night, though, Wheeler didn’t look ready for prime time. Veteran linebacker Arthur Moats beat Wheeler twice for fourth-quarter sacks of Smith, and Wheeler surrendered a number of pressures during the course of his 41-snap night.

Roger Lewis Jr. — During training camp Lewis has appeared to lose ground in the competition for a roster spot as a backup wide receiver. The second-year man didn’t help himself Friday night. He cost the Giants a touchdown when he caught what would have been a 3-yard touchdown pass from Johnson had Lewis not gone out of bounds along the back of the end zone first. Later, he couldn’t come up with another Johnson pass in the end zone that would have been a touchdown. Thus, instead of a possible 14 points in those two situations, the Giants settled for six. Coincidentally, they lost by eight.

Donte Deayon — Chris thought the 5-foot-9, 163-pound corner “largely covered well.” I thought there were a couple of plays where Deayon got bailed out by off-target throws from Pittsburgh’s young quarterbacks. And you simply can’t muff a punt that costs your team points when you’re fighting for a roster spot. Asked about Deayon after the coach, coach Ben McAdoo said the muff was “what stood out to me.” Not a good thing.

Kwillies to ...

Geno Smith — If Johnson was the clear loser Friday in the competition for the backup quarterback job, that makes the clear winner. That, though, doesn’t mean he was perfect. There was some good and some bad, as evidenced by these two GIFs.

Smith threw some beautiful passes, but he also made some really poor plays. He had the one interception, where it is possible that Travis Rudolph ran the wrong route but we dont’ know for sure. He got bailed out by a Pittsburgh penalty when he forced a throw to Lewis right before the half that was intercepted. With Smith, there appears to be more potential for good things than with Johnson, but it won’t always be pretty.

Travis Rudolph — The undrafted free agent wide receiver had a catch for 14 yards, ran a reverse for 14 and had a 31-yard kickoff return. He also fumbled a kickoff, appeared to run the wrong route on Smith’s interception, and was penalized for an illegal block.

Davis Webb — There was a lot to feel good about in Webb’s first action as a pro, but he also missed a handful of open receivers. Webb believes he will get better, and I would have to agree. Some of those misfires won’t happen once he becomes more comfortable.