The New York Giants showed signs of their annual November collapse this past weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Blue squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowed Isaac Redman to rush for 146 yards, and failed get a first down in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning is now 13-17 in the month of November and played perhaps his worst game of the season as the Giants amassed just over 180 yards of total offense. Big Blue was fortunate that every other NFC East team lost in Week nine, but the Giants must play better football if they want to get back on track on the road in Cincinnati.
Key to Defeat:
Eli Manning and the offense were unable to get into any rhythm. The Giants were two for 10 on third-down and only mustered up three plays of 12-yards or more. The rushing attack gained just 68 yards on 22 attempts and Tom Coughlin still refused to give David Wilson the football. Victor Cruz was bottled up for the majority of the game and Hakeem Nicks was nowhere to be found.
In short, Sunday was an ugly offensive showing for Big Blue. The defense wasn't stellar, but it gave Eli and Co. and a chance to win the game with under four minutes left. Instead of driving down the field in typical Giants fashion, the offense went three-and-out on their final possession.
- The Giants sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times. The pass rush overwhelmed the Steelers offensive line and was the only reason the Giants were able to stay in this game. Osi Umenyiora's strip of Big Ben in the second quarter resulted in this unit's second defensive touchdown in as many weeks. The Giants will win several more football games if they keep generating turnovers and scoring on defense.
- Giants' punter Steve Weatherford averaged 47.4 yards per punt, with a long of 55-yards. The Giants punt coverage was sloppy, but Weatherford's kicks were impressive to say the least.
- Eli Manning had one of the worst statistical games of his career this past weekend. Big Blue's franchise player completed just 10 passes on 24 attempts for 125 yards. Manning had several miscommunications with his receivers and made some poor decisions with the football. Eli's quarterback rating was a pathetic 41.1, which was the eight lowest of his career. Furthermore, when the game was on the line, Eli was unable to lead the Giants down the field to victory. It was an uncharacteristically poor performance from a player that the Giants will live and die by in the postseason.
- The rushing attack was nonexistent. 68 yards on 22 carries is unacceptable. Tom Coughlin did not even attempt to provide a spark by giving David Wilson some work. Although the Giants rushing attack has come alive at times this season, it's still wildly inconsistent and does not threaten defenses enough to change the way they cover the Giants' explosive wide receiver core.
- Hakeem Nicks was only targeted four times on Sunday and came away with just one catch for 10-yards. He has not shown the same physicality and ability to catch in traffic as he has in the past.. Nicks is clearly not 100 percent healthy and needs to get back on track for the Giants to jumpstart their passing attack.
- The Giants only managed to get into the red zone twice. If not for a personal foul call against the Steelers after a third-down incompletion, the Giants would have failed to score a touchdown on both occasions. The offensive woes in the red zone are haunting this team and are perhaps the only thing holding them back from being a truly dominant unit.
- The special teams play was horrible. Lawrence Tynes showcased his inconsistent long-range field goal kicking ability, while the kick and punt return teams each gave up a return in excess of 60-yards. This game was somewhat of an anomaly, because the special teams has been a strength for the most part this season. However, the Giants' defense was put in some tough spots in this game.
- Big Blue allowed ten plays of 12-yards or more on defense. When the pass rush didn't get to the quarterback, the secondary was unable to hold up against a banged up Steelers wide receiver core.
- Mark Herzlich may be the Giants middle linebacker of the future, but he's not there yet. The second-year player out of Boston College failed to fill his gap on several runs and was relatively ineffective on coverage on short passes over the middle of the field. He's young, athletic and immensely talented, but Chase Blackburn is ahead of him on the depth chart for a reason.
Player of the Game - Jason Pierre-Paul
The Giants star defensive end had eight tackles, including a sack. Furthermore, JPP was injured his knee late in the game and came back to make a huge tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter. JPP was flat-out dominant this weekend and will continue to be a force on the defensive line for years to come.
Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora
This game was ugly. The Giants were thoroughly outplayed and lost to a team that was just better than them that day. The silver lining that some may take out of this contest was that the Giants played some terrible football, yet still had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. However, a loss is a loss and there is nothing good about losing. Big Blue a better football team than they showed this past weekend and it's imperative that they improve immediately.
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