Earlier this week, retired linebacker Antonio Pierce said the New York Giants looked "mentally drained." However, after their second straight humiliating loss, it's easy to say that they aren't just mentally drained, but have flat out quit. The alternative is that they're just a horrible football team, but they're far too talented across the board for that to be a realistic statement. Perhaps that would be a more satisfying reality than the former, but that's just not the case.
With the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings both winning on Sunday, the Giants went into the game knowing that, although they still controlled their own destiny, alternative paths to the playoffs were being rapidly shut off. The one saving grace was the Dallas Cowboys losing in overtime to the New Orleans Saints, meaning they would play a meaningful game in week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles no matter what.
Alas, their playoff fate is no longer in their own hands. Despite having opportunities in each of the last two weeks to get a better grasp on things, Big Blue now finds themselves in a scenario where they have to win next week, have the Detroit Lions beat the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys in order to make the playoffs. Other scenarios are also possible depending on the result of Sunday night's San Francisco 49ers/Seattle Seahawks game.
- David Wilson – Wilson ran hard, as he usually does, and was the Giants only true burst offensively, save for an early deep ball from Eli Manning to Rueben Randle. He looked explosive on a first half touchdown run, and also had a few solid returns. It's a shame they weren't in a position to use him more.
- Chris Canty – Canty appeared to be a man who wanted to win this afternoon, and came up big with several tackles for a loss. Unfortunately, he left the game with a knee injury and would not return.
- Chris Snee – Snee had perhaps his worst game as a pro. He was abused all afternoon long, and when he did make blocks, they were called back because he was holding (at least in the eyes of the referees).
- Perry Fewell – Fewell went with a 4-4 (4-4-3) defense from the get-go, which really handicapped his defensive line. With 4-on-5's, they were unable to get a lot of pressure, and when they did, Flacco just rolled to the other side. It also left linebackers and safeties with 1-on-1's against wide receivers and tight ends, including Chase Blackburn on Anquan Boldin more than a few times. The concept was to slow down Ray Rice, but that failed and yet the Giants never got away from the 4-4. It made Flacco look like Joe Montana, as he was able to expose miss-matches all game long.
- Kevin Gilbride – You're down 33-7. Why are you calling a shotgun draw?
- Ahmad Bradshaw – It's hard to pin any of this on Bradshaw because he was clearly limited with injuries, but he missed quite a few block that led to some pretty big hits on Manning. It's obvious he was a liability, and fault falls on the coaches for running him out there play after play.
- Corey Webster – Webster will take a lot of heat for poor coverage, but his coverage wasn't really the issue this afternoon. More often than not, Webster had himself in good position, but was unable to locate the ball at the point of attack. He was consistently looking up late, turning the wrong way or just flat-out unaware of where the ball was.
- Offensive line – Manning had next to no protection all game long – similar to the NFC Championship a year ago. At one point he had been hit (not just pressured, but hit) on 10 of 17 dropbacks, and their first third-down conversion didn't come until there were less than 5:00 to go in the third quarter. It was an atrocious effort.
- Missed tackles – The Giants had 18 missed tackles against the Atlanta Falcons a week ago, and at least 6-8 before halftime this week. We would have kept track, but it just got too out of hand. We'll undoubtedly hear the exact number later this week. Warning: it's going to be absurd.
- Penalties – Although some calls were extremely questionable (holding on Chris Snee and PI against Webster), the Giants shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, including handing the Falcons first downs and taking away some from themselves.
- 3rd down defense – Not only did the Ravens convert on 11 out of 16 of their 3rd downs, they converted long third downs (3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-12, 3rd-and-18, 3rd-and-20, etc.). This led to time-consuming drives, often ending in points, and just buried the Giants and any chances they had of a comeback.
- Body language – Players and staff could be seen laughing and joking coming out after halftime and throughout the third quarter. That hardly seems like a team that cares.
- Injuries – In addition to Canty (knee), defensive tackle Marvin Austin (knee), defensive end Adrian Tracy (leg), linebackers Chase Blackburn (ankle) and Jacquian Williams (unknown), and Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) all left the game with injuries.
- Osi Umenyiora – There weren't many players on the field tonight that you could pinpoint and say "they played as hard as they could." Osi was one of the few. Although he wasn't getting much pressure on Joe Flacco, it wasn't for lack of effort. Umenyiora gave this game absolutely everything he had on every single snap. So much so that he needed an IV at halftime.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Snee, Corey Webster, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Perry Fewell
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