Cue the tabloids: the New York Giants may have just started their annual mid-season Swoon, after yesterday's 24-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers dropped Big Blue to 6-3.
Eli Manning and the offense did just about nothing as the Giants let a 10-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter. The defense had its own problems, but the passing game's disappearing act has left a sour taste in our mouth (the pathetic attempt to establish a ground game the coinciding pounding headache) and is an ominous cloud hanging over a Giants team that's about to hit the hard part of the schedule.
The post-game debate devolved into a blame game: Whose fault was this horrible loss, the offense or the defense?
Let's do our best to exercise the pain in our gut from an awful, awful offensive showing. Get ready, this is going to be long:
Eli Manning's offense came out flat and ended the day totally flat. Ahmad Bradshaw ran 15 times for a whopping 48 yards, Hakeem Nicks had one catch for ten yards and Eli Manning went 10/24 for 125 yards and an interception. Yikes.
The box score is bad enough to look at, but let's get anecdotal on this mother: the red zone offense continues to be among the worst in the league (the only time they were able to punch it came after a questionable personal foul that extended the drive at the goal line); Eli Manning killed another drive with an awful interception and appeared on different pages with his wideouts on several plays; bad decision-making on 3rd-and-9 at the outskirts of field goal range at the end of the half (reminiscent of the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles) not only resulted in Lawrence Tynes missing a 51-yarder, but in the Steelers getting a field goal of their own.
Instead of 17-7, they went into the half 14-10. By the end of the third quarter the Giants had inched the lead back up to 10 anyway, so no worries right? Wrong.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants had the ball three times, losing twelve yards, picking up three yards and then gaining one yard. Three 3-and-outs in their territory, three punts. The Steelers scored 14 unanswered, game-winning points.
Okay, so the defense is not exactly off the hook, although they were pretty good in the first half.
Isaac Redman, like most every other running back has done this year, gashed a defense that just couldn't bring him down. Mike Wallace took a quick pass on 3rd-and-5 from around midfield and just ran by the entire secondary for a touchdown, a blow to the gut they never seemed to recover from. Sure, the defense didn't do its job in the second half…but they played a good first half, scored as many touchdowns as the offense did and were totally hung out to dry in the fourth.
The Giants offense has actually been showing cracks the last few weeks, with Victor Cruz' 77-yard game-winner against the Washington Redskins covering up a barely mediocre day and the thrilling victory in Dallas rose-coloring a day that in reality was a marginally better version of yesterday's catastrophe.
With offensive power houses like the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons on the upcoming schedule, the offense is going to need to wake up quickly…or this hangover will turn into a bender.
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