The New York Giants’ 2018 season is in tatters. At 1-5 and completely non-competitive Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, yet another Giants’ team has shown us it isn’t good enough to be taken seriously.
On to your “Kudos & Wet Willies” review. Let’s just get this over with.
Kudos to ...
Saquon Barkley — At least somebody on the Giants’ offense showed up. Barkley was incredible, finishing one receiving yard shy of becoming the first player in Giants’ history to have 100 yards receiving and rushing in the game game. He finished with 130 rushing rushing yards on 13 carries (10.0 yards per carry) and 9 receptions for 99 yards. He had a 55-yard pass reception and runs of 50 and 46 yards. Barkley joined Kareem Hunt (7) as the only players to gain 100 or more yards in their first six NFL games.
Per the Giants, Barkley is the first Giants player with a 50-yard run and a 50-yard reception in the same game since Oct. 10, 2004, when Tiki Barber had a 58-yard run and a 55-yard reception in a victory in Dallas.
Barkley’s nine receptions increased his season total to 40. That is a Giants record for a rookie running back. The former mark of 37 was set by Bobby Duhon in 1968. Barkley needed just six games to break the record. Barkley is on pace to finish with 106 catches, which would obliterate the rookie running back record of88, set by New Orleans’ Reggie Bush in 2006.
Olivier Vernon — In his first game of the season, the defensive end showed what the Giants have been missing. He had a sack, two quarterback hits and after disrupting some early plays he quickly drew double-team blocking from the Eagles.
Jawill Davis — Maybe I’m reaching for a “Kudos” here, but the rookie undrafted free agent averaged 29.0 yards on two kickoff returns and had a terrific special teams tackle on a Philadelphia punt return.
Wet Willies to ...
Offensive line — Many months ago we asked whether the rebuild Giants’ offensive line would be better than it’s predecessor, or just different. Well, it’s just different.
Eli Manning was sacked four times. He was hit 13 times. That’s 17 of 47 drop backs, 36.2 percent. He was under duress on several other occasions. Manning’s mobility and over-reliance on quick check downs might be issues, but no offense can truly be successful with a quarterback under that kind of duress. Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Manning had time to take some shots down the field. Thursday, he took lots of shots. In the mouth. The chest. The legs. He spent too much of the game trying only to unload the ball before he took yet another sack.
Nate Solder, the $62 million left tackle, gave up two sacks. The best thing he did all night was recover a Manning fumble after Michael Bennett, the guy he was supposed to block, blew past him for a strip sack at the Giants’ 1-yard line.
Right guard Patrick Omameh actually made you pine for the days of John Jerry. Omameh seemed to spend much of his night chasing Eagles’ defenders from behind after he had failed miserably in efforts to block them.
Eli Manning — The quarterback spent far too much time on his back. I tweeted this last night — you just can’t play effective, consistent offense with your quarterback under the kind of duress Manning was last night.
Still, this was an awful game for Manning. It started with an interception on pass he tried to squeeze in to third-string tight end Scott Simonson. Albeit it was tipped and Manning said Simonson was his first read on the play, but an awful start to an awful night.
The quarterback who challenged the Carolina Panthers on Sunday was nowhere to be found Thursday night.
On the Giants first seven drives Eli Manning’s longest completed pass went for 2.09 air yards.— Kevin Patra (@kpatra) October 12, 2018
(Halftime chart first; first 7 drives 2nd) pic.twitter.com/ajxw5OHwbB
Many of his short throws were simply check downs because he was under duress. Some of them seemed to be by design. Thursday, though, Manning just wasn’t good enough.
In his post-game press conference, coach Pat Shurmur said he is “not concerned about Eli.” This, though, might indicate that he is frustrated:
Shurmur not feeling the checkdowns. Looks like “Throw the ball” to me. pic.twitter.com/2Vpckys7zq— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 12, 2018
Shurmur also complementing Carson Wentz’ ability to make plays “off schedule” could be considered frustration with Manning’s lack of mobility.
There were some forced throws and other off-target ones. Manning targeted Odell Beckham Jr. 10 times, completing six, but seemed to spend much of the night not even looking in Beckham’s direction.
Manning needs more help than he got from his offensive line, and playing without tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison didn’t help. Still, what we saw Thursday wasn’t good enough.
Odell Beckham Jr. — I can hear the screaming now. And I know Beckham can’t make plays if the quarterback doesn’t get him the ball. Or if the head coach doesn’t find some way to design plays that can put his $95 million wide receiver in a position to make an impact despite a constant double team. Still, while Barkley was running over, around and through Eagles defenders and trying to single-handedly keep the Giants in the game, Beckham was a non-factor.
His night included a muffed punt, a loss of 8 yards on a punt return with less than two minutes remaining that he shouldn’t have been on the field for, and more drama. A second straight week where he left the sideline early — again apparently for an IV — and head-butting a cooling fan in what he said was an effort to motivate himself.
The defense — This group, simply, isn’t very good. The Eagles, averaging 20.6 points per game coming into Thursday night, posted 34 points. That’s three straight games in which the Giants have given up 30 or more points. The Eagles had the ball for 32:30. They went 9-of-16 on third down. Beginning in the second quarter, the Eagles scored on four of five possessions, missing a 42-yard field goal on one possession. The Giants couldn’t take advantage of a Philly offensive line that been struggling, couldn’t create turnovers, and couldn’t get stops at key times.
I could probably go on here, but you get the point. Barkley did more Barkley Things and continues to prove he’s special. Vernon showed that he’s an impact player. There is really nothing else to feel good about.