The New York Giants are among a dwindling number of teams who are yet to get a win in the 2016 season. They did snap their streak of games without scoring more than 20 points, but the good news is scarce.
As with every game there are winners and losers, although this game came close to testing that hypothesis. In the end I was able to come up with one of each.
Winner - The Giants’ Receivers
The Giants finally got to see something of what they envisioned with the trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall. The Giants’ passing game was quick and efficient, taking advantage of soft zones and a “pick your poison” dilemma for the defense. Marshall finally proved to be a reliable target for Eli Manning, serving as the big possession receiver they envisioned when signing him.
It finally exploded in the fourth quarter, with two fantastic touchdowns in less than two minutes by Beckham. Beckham did get flagged for his first touchdown celebration, but as I said with Evan Engram last week: with this offense, at least he scored the touchdown to draw the penalty. Shepard followed Beckham up with a long (77-yard) catch and run for a touchdown after failing twice to get a TD to stick on the scoreboard in the first half.
Manning benefited from the warp-speed offense, completing 35 of 47 passes (74.5 percent) for 366 yards and three touchdowns (and a pair of interceptions).
The Eagles have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, and they didn’t manage to get a single sack, while the Giants’ notched three. There were some strides on offense, and they came from the passing game.
That was the good news.
Loser - The New York Giants
The bad news? Everything else.
The Giants thoroughly earned this loss. It happened in a particularly heart-breaking fashion, with a historically long field goal by a rookie with one second left on the clock, but weird and bad things happen to the Giants in Philly. But this loss is the end result of so much more than a last second kick.
Every single member of the New York Giants earned this loss. From Ben McAdoo’s poor decisions as a play caller, such as a toss play on a third-and-1 in the first quarter, to the predictable play design that lead to Manning’s second interception, to the Giants’ undisciplined play (10 penalties for 137 yards).
The Giants’ running game needs a shot of steroids if it it wants to get to “pathetic,” mustering a scant seven (7!) yards in the first half of football, and the running backs getting hit in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage seemingly every run.
The utter uselessness of the Giants’ running game forced Manning to carry the entire offense on his right arm. Because the offensive line struggled to pass protect as well as run block, the offensive play calling was severly limited to whatever they could do to get the ball out of Manning’s hand in under two seconds. That is as much on Jerry Reese and his off-season decisions. Those are in the past, and now the Giants need to figure out some way to get some semblance of balance on their offense.
But the Giants’ brass weren’t the ones on defense failing to make crucial tackles, or having mental breakdowns to allow the Eagles to get into range, with time, to win the game or to kill their own drives.
The New York Giants lost this game as a team. At 0-3, 0-2 in the division, they now have about a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they’re going to pull off something that hasn’t been done in almost 20 years, they’re going to have to do it as a team, from the top down, players coaches, and front office.