There aren’t a whole lot of good things to say in the wake of the New York Giants’ 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday. Other than that I have a nice hotel room and I get to go home in a couple of hours.
Anyway, let’s get to the traditional “Kudos & Wet Willies” review. There is a lot of carnage, and a lot of stuff scribbled in my notebook I will try to remember to add. If I forget anything, though, be gentle. Watching Monday’s debacle was punishment enough.
Kudos to ...
Evan Engram — The 18-yard touchdown catch, his first and the Giants first and only TD of 2017, is what the Giants drafted him for. He broke out of the backfield off play action and straight down the seam, getting behind the defense for an easy score. Finished with four catches for 49 yards, including a 17-yard catch and run.
Calvin Munson — With B.J. Goodson inactive due to a shin injury, Munson started and played every defensive snap. He was beaten early for a 17-yard pass completion to tight end Eric Ebron, but played a nice game. Munson finished with seven tackles (six solo), one tackle for loss, a sack and a quarterback hit. Between Goodson and Munson, is it actually possible the Giants have found two young linebackers in the same season?
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — With Janoris Jenkins out, DRC played every snap. He also led the Giants in tackles with 11, and tackling is not really something Rodgers-Cromartie likes to do. Eight of those tackles were solos.
Olivier Vernon — The defensive end absolutely bullied Detroit left tackle Greg Robinson. He ended up, per Pro Football Focus, forcing five quarterback hurries and two holding penalties. The blemish, though, was never actually getting a sack. Still, a good night.
Wet Willies to ...
This could be a long list. So, settle in. It might take a while.
Ereck Flowers — Of course, we have to start here. Ezekiel Ansah had three sacks, two in the first half, three more hits on Eli Manning and six tackles overall. There have already been so many words used to describe Flowers’ struggles, I’m not sure I have any more. Insert your own. You just can’t function on offense when one of your linemen simply isn’t up to the job. So far, GM Jerry Reese’s gamble on staying with the status quo on the offensive line looks like a bad one.
Ben McAdoo — It isn’t often that I put coaches in the “K&WW.” McAdoo, though, said “put this game on me” after Monday’s loss. So, let’s do that. This is his offense, plain and simple, and it’s not good enough. Right now, it is in fact embarrassingly bad. It was embarrassingly bad a year ago, but the defense provided enough cover for McAdoo not to really feel the heat, propelling the Giants to an 11-5 mark without much help. That isn’t happening so far this season. There is nothing about the offense that is functioning well enough to win right now, and since that part of the Giants is his baby that is squarely on him.
Oh, and whether he was right about what he said or not, you simply do not do this to your quarterback in a post-game press conference:
Ben McAdoo straight up threw Eli under the bus. Wow. pic.twitter.com/hIsVN6RnYy— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 19, 2017
Eli Manning — I wrote after the game that the veteran quarterback “has become part of the mess.” There are so many things malfunctioning on the offense right now that it’s hard to accurately judge the quarterback. The game looks a lot different if Brandon Marshall catches a wide open deep ball, if Shane Vereen runs a 3-yard route instead of a 2-yard route on fourth-and-3, if Engram hangs on to a beautifully thrown deep ball, if the Giants could run the ball, or if perhaps Manning didn’t spend so much time on his back.
Still, Manning missed Engram badly on the short pass that turned into a tipped ball and an interception. And you can’t take a delay of game on fourth-and goal at the 2-yard line — even if that penalty actually did the Giants a favor since they should have been kicking the field goal, anyway.
Third-down defense — The Giants are struggling to get off the field. Detroit’s first scoring drive included conversion on third-and-9 and third-and-12. The Lions’ second touchdown, a 7-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Eric Ebron, came on a third-and-6. On a third-and-12 from their own 48-yard line right before the half, the Giants gave up 10 yards — just enough for Matt Prater to kick a 56-yard field goal that clanked off the upright and barely bounced over. In the third quarter, the Giants committed back-to-back 5-yard penalties, giving the Lions three shots at converting a third-and-23. They failed, but still.
To this point in the season the defense has been good. It just hasn’t been great, and it looks like that is what the Giants need. Again.
The lack of carries for Orleans Darkwa — I would like to give Darkwa a “Kudos,” but he had only three carries for 17 yards. Instead, I have to give the Giants a “WW” as a coaching staff for their continued refusal to hand the keys to the running game to Darkwa. His first carry came with 8:43 left in the second quarter — yes, that late into the game — and went for 11 yards. He didn’t get another first-half carry, and only got two more in the second half. Meanwhile, Paul Perkins was completely ineffective again with seven carries for 10 yards.
Perkins now has 14 carries for 26 yards, an average of 1.9 yards per carry. Darkwa has six carries for 31 yards, an average of 5.2 per attempt. Let’s not turn Darkwa into Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch in their primes, but he’s obviously been the best the Giants have. Why they won’t recognize it is beyond me.
Paul Perkins — For all of the aforementioned numbers. Hey, at least Perkins made at least one tackler miss Monday night. He turned what would have been a 4-yard loss into a 1-yard loss by ducking under a defender who had a clean shot at him. So, there’s that.
Punt coverage — Allowed a game-breaking 88-yard touchdown run during which Jamal Agnew zigged and zagged his way through helpless defenders. Terrible.
Eli Apple — After two games, it has become obvious that when opposing teams want to take a shot against the Giants, the second-year corner is the player they are targeting. It happened twice in the first quarter Monday, and the second play ended in a 27-yard touchdown for Marvin Jones. Apple had good position but failed to get his head around and find the ball, allowing the touchdown catch.
Brandon Marshall — One catch in five targets and now only two catches on nine targets for 27 yards over two games. Marshall’s fourth-quarter drop of a perfectly thrown deep ball from Manning was ultimately the play that led to the Giants’ undoing. The score was 17-10 at the time and if Marshall hangs on the Giants have the ball around midfield. Instead, they punted, and Agnew went 88 yards to give the Lions a two-touchdown lead and put the game out of reach of the struggling Giants offense.