The New York Giants are a maddeningly inconsistent team. Even within Sunday's seemingly lopsided 52-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints there was some good, some great, some bad and some really, really ugly. The Giants pretty much ran the gamut. They showed both what they are capable of when they play well, and why they have lost five games and are still in a position where they might not make the playoffs at all.
Here is your 'Kudos & Wet Willies' review.
Kudos to ...
David 'Flip' Wilson: In fact, 'Flip' gets double not-so-secret 'Kudos.' He gets one for his work on kickoff returns -- 227 yards including a 97-yard return for a touchdown as the Giants set a franchise single-game record with 287 kickoff return yards. He gets another for his 13-carry, 100-yard performance. My guess is you guys are oohing and aahing over the 52-yard scoring run at the end of the game. That was nice, but I was more impressed by Wilson's 6-yard scoring run. That was an off-tackle play, a power run where he bulldozed his way into the end zone.
Wilson became the first player in NFL history with at least 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game. His 327 yards of total offense broke Domenik Hixon's record of 303, which he set at New Orleans on Nov. 18, 2009.
Antrel Rolle: Some of you aren't going to like this statement, but Rolle might now be the most important player on this defense. With apologies to Justin Tuck -- the defensive captain -- it is Rolle who generally speaks the truth and gets to the heart of what is going on. He has now done that two years in a row. He backed up his calls for the Giants to play harder Sunday with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a tipped pass that turned into a Stevie Brown interception.
Stevie Brown: With Kenny Phillips again sidelined, Brown was spectacular. He had two interceptions, a forced fumble and two passes defensed. Art Stapleton of The Record tweeted during the game that Brown is "the best CF in NY." I'm not arguing. The play he made on his second interception early in the fourth qaurter was a thing of beauty. With Jimmy Graham running down the seam and appearing to be open inside the 10-yard line Brown, in the end zone, broke on the ball and beat Graham to the spot. That, combined with the 70-yard return, was a game-changing play. It led to a Lawrence Tynes' field goal that made the score 45-27 with 10:23 remaining.
Eli Manning: Threw two interceptions, but largely had things going. He finished 22-of-35 for 259 yards and four touchdowns -- something that might have barely been noticed in a game that looked a lot like Arena Football.
Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks -- I have to put them together, partially because they deserve it and partially because this is getting looooooong. Cruz had eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown, and now has back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Nicks had four catches for 67 yards and a score, and looked more like himself than he has since early in the season.
Jacquian Williams and Will Hill -- Willians returned to action just in time with Phillips sidelined. He and Hill did an outstanding job covering Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham. Williams also matched up with Saints' running back Darren Sproles on occasion. Both players ended up with five tackles. Williams had two passes defensed and Hill one.
Here's an observation. As much as the Giants love Phillips, with Brown playing so well and Williams and Hill showing this kind of ability you have to believe the Giants might be very hesitant to give Phillips -- a free agent after this year -- big money.
Offensive line: Manning was never sacked and the Giants averaged 5.0 yards per rushing play.
Jason Pierre-Paul: Even though he never sacked Drew Brees I thought JPP was disruptive at time during the game. He finished with six tackles.
The Giants' organization: For saying yes to my credential request for the first time. My seat at the table, meaning the MetLife Stadium press box, is something that has been years in the making. It's a big step forward for the credibility of Big Blue View, and I hope the Giants understand how much I appreciate it.
Kwillies to ...
Jerrel Jernigan: Muffed his first kickoff return attempt when the Saints finally started kicking away from Wilson. The Giants, fortunately, recovered. The second time he made the Saints pay, returning a kickoff 60 yards to set up a 10-yard Manning to Cruz touchdown pass that made the score 42-27.
Wet Willies to ...
Ramses Barden: He played all of four plays on offense. The only time he was even noticed in the game was when he was called for an offensive pass interference that negated a 23-yard pass to Wilson. Sometimes you wonder why the Giants even put him on the field at all.