Sunday, September 14, 2014

Don't Blame Eli for This One, Giants D and Specials Stink it Up


The Giants are back in a very dark place right now; a place they are all too familiar with after last season's 7-9 disaster, which began with a hideous 0-6 start.

Once again the Giants are wondering when they will ever win a game. This year's Giants are now 0-2 after losing inexplicably to the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium. Those ready to throw Eli Manning under the bus as if he were the Big Blue version of Mark Sanchez better hold off. This loss is not because of Manning, it has everything to do with the guys around him. The receivers who can't hold onto the football; the defense that can't avoid holding penalties if their lives depended on it, and a special teams unit that couldn't run down a turtle, let alone Ted Ginn Jr.

The Giants lost this game as a team, not because of one man.

Manning put the Giants in position to win this game many times over, and each time his teammates failed him.

Starting with the defense, they allowed a back-up quarterback in Drew Stanton to have his way in leading the Cardinals offense up and down the field routinely throughout the afternoon.

As soon as Big Blue found out that it would Stanton, not Carson Palmer leading Arizona, they allowed Arizona to score immediately on the opening drive of the game. Two huge penalties on Big Blue certainly helped as Jameel McClain was called for roughing the passer and Dominque Rodgers-Cromarie was called for illegal contact to move the ball to the Giants four-yard line. Jonathan Dwyer caped off the drive, plunging in from one-yard out to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.

Soon Eli Manning did everything he could to try to get his team back in the game. He led an inspired 13 play, 90-yard drive for a touchdown to get the Giants back into the game, trailing only 10-7. He completed five of six passes on the drive, hit Victor Cruz three different times on the drive, before dropping a dime into the hands of a waiting Ruben Randall for the score.

Finally in the third quarter, Manning started finding his usually invisible tight ends. He connected with Larry Donnell twice, one for 11 yards another for 13 more. Manning then found Rashad Jennings for 15 more down the sideline, and Victor Cruz down the middle to push New York to the Arizona 26. The connection with Cruz forced a pass interference call on Patrick Peterson setting the Giants up at the one-yard line where Manning connected with Dan Fells for the score to put New York up 14-10.

From that point on it got extremely ugly for the Giants.

On Arizona's next drive the Giants were flagged three times for illegal contact and holding, which extended a Cardinal drive that would have ended a long time ago, because there was nothing that Drew Stanton was doing to beat the Giants. Instead Big Blue beat themselves, and it put the Cards in position to kick a field goal to get within 14-13.

Finally all Hell broke loose on an unassuming punt to Ted Ginn Jr. at the Arizona 29. The speedster stutter-stepped a couple of Giants, broke containment and beat out the Giants punter for a long 71-yard touchdown return to put Arizona up 19-14.

The buffoonery didn't stop there. On the kick-off the Giants fumbled the football right back to the Cardinals, who iced the game with a field goal to make it 22-14.

To make matters worse, Manning actually got the Giants into position to score a touchdown to get back into the thing, but Jennings cost the Giants dearly when he fumbled the football at the Cardinals 17-yard line, killing both the drive and the Giants chances on the afternoon.

So those who have been wanting the head of Eli Manning, you have no leg to stand on. Sunday's epic collapse to the Cardinals was a classic example of a bad football team double pumping the break too much on the way to a potential victory. This was a game that the Giants needed. This was a game the Giants should have won. Yet they didn't, and because of it they are now 0-2 and starring at a very uncertain future for the organization moving forward.

Tom Coughlin can do headstands in the meeting and film rooms, it's not going to change this clubs lack of fundamental football.

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