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Giants-Patriots ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review

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Who deserves praise? Who deserves criticism?

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots
Jon Hilliman fumbles on Thursday night.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants put up a better than expected fight against the New England Patriots on Thursday, staying within one score until midway through the final quarter before losing, 35-14. Let’s review in our traditional ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style.

Kudos to ...

David Mayo — The Giants might have found something with the 26-year-old linebacker, a 2015 fifth-round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers who never got a full chance there on defense.

For the third straight week, Mayo played with energy and aggression and kept finding his way to the football. He had a career-high 12 tackles, tying Alec Ogletree for the team lead on Thursday. He also got credit for a half-sack and a quarterback hit. Tackles are never the bet way to judge a defender, but Mayo has 29 of them in three weeks and has had a surprisingly positive impact.

Alec Ogletree — I’m not a big Ogletree fan, to be honest, but I have to give him his due. He was really good Thursday night, and it wasn’t just the 12 tackles. He had 2 tackles for loss and impacted the pass rush with a sack and 2 hits on Tom Brady.

Markus Golden — A half-sack and a scoop and score for a touchdown. The Giants were hoping Golden could be an impact EDGE player for them when they signed him to a one-year “prove it” contract. With a team-high 5.0 sacks thus far, he has been just that.

Lorenzo Carter — The Giants have been waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for Carter to make a real impact. Thursday night he did with a strip sack of Brady that ended with Golden in the end zone. It was really just one play, but it was an Osi Umenyiora-type moment for Carter because it changed the scoreboard.

Golden Tate — This was the kind of effort the Giants are paying Tate for. He had six catches for 102 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown.

Wet Willies to ...

Nate Stupar — When the sole reason for your presence on an NFL roster is because of your ability as a special teams player you simply cannot make devastatingly bad special teams plays. Especially ones that cost your team a touchdown. That’s what happened to Stupar when, blocking on a punt, he got pushed so far back that Riley Dixon punted the ball off Stupar’s back. Chase Winovich of New England returned the blocked kick 6 yards for a New England touchdown.

Jon Hilliman — The rookie running back’s fumble with 8:43 left killed the Giants’ upset hopes. Kyle Van Noy ran the fumble back 22 yards for a touchdown that made the score 28-14. I kind of hate giving the kid a ‘WW’ since he really shouldn’t be playing. He is, though, and his bare minimum responsibility is to not give the ball away. This is Hilliman’s second fumble in as many weeks.

Daniel Jones — I know, I know, I know, I know. Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman and Sterling Shepard all did not play. I know. I’m aware of the ridiculous number of tight-window throws Jones had to make Thursday night. I’m aware that some of you are going to scream at me for putting the rookie quarterback on this list when the offense was so under-manned.

What it came down to was this — if Eli Manning had put up that stat line it wouldn’t have mattered who played or didn’t play, I think you would expect me to put him on the ‘WW’ list. If that’s the case, Jones has to be here.

He threw three picks. All three could have been avoided. The first was an off target throw, the second a play where he got his arm hit while throwing because he held the ball too long and the third was a bad read/decision. Jones is a rookie. He’s going to make mistakes. He didn’t have most of his top play makers. He will learn from this, and it is certainly not unexpected that under the circumstances he would struggle against a defense as good as New England’s. Jones had a couple of terrific moments, like the 64-yard touchdown pass to Tate. He just had more bad ones.

Kwillies to ...

Janoris Jenkins — Jackrabbit had an interception he returned 62 yards and a pair of passes defended, but ... yes, there is a but. The interception was really about the worst ball you will ever see Brady throw, missing an open Julian Edelman by about 5 yards and throwing the ball right to Jenkins. Jackrabbit also had a defensive holding penalty that negated a stop by the defense on a fourth-and-7, and gave up New England’s longest play of the night, a 36-yard pass to Edelman.