Steelers vs. Giants: Final Report Cards, Player Grades for New York
With emotions running high at MetLife Stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers knocked off the New York Giants by a 24-20 mark Sunday. Running back Isaac Redman churned out a career-high 147 yards and a touchdown, while the Pittsburgh secondary held Big Blue quarterback Eli Manning to just 125 passing yards on 10 completions.
Sunday's action was a welcomed diversion for the Eastern Seaboard, which continues to reel in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The Giants fall to 6-3, but remain atop the NFC East for another week. Check out the full analysis and report card grades for key G-Men.
Eli Manning: D-
There's no other way to do it justice: Manning was plain awful Sunday.
Eli completed less than 42 percent of his passes, tossed out a first-quarter interception and struggled in the red zone. Manning's timing with wideouts Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks was nowhere to be found, and the veteran QB failed to spread the ball out, targeting Cruz on nearly half of his passes and calling Nicks' number just four times.
Eli's 124 passing yards are a season low. He also fumbled in the fourth quarter, and despite only being sacked two times, Manning looked as uncomfortable as ever in the pocket.
Henry Hynoski: B+
Hynoksi continues to enjoy a monstrous 2012, but the Giants' running game was stalled all afternoon. "The Hynocerous" finished with an eight-yard reception and helped open a few runs.
Andre Brown: C-
Brown put the Giants on the board with a one-yard touchdown dive, but finished Sunday with a paltry 2.9 yards-per-carry average. Brown maxed out at eight yards, and failed to find any open space.
Ahmad Bradshaw: D
Bradshaw took 15 carries for 48 yards, and never really reached the second level. He failed to pick up a blitzing Lawrence Timmons in the fourth quarter, leading to a crucial Eli Manning sack.
Victor Cruz: B-
Cruz' 67 receiving yards led the Giants, but his route running and timing with Eli Manning was off Sunday. Moreover, Cruz only hauled in five of his 11 targeted passes, and on one play lost a first down by scrambling backward.
Against Pittsburgh's No. 1 ranked pass defense, Cruz failed to make an impact in vertical passing.
Hakeem Nicks: D
The only other Giants WR to haul in a pass Sunday, Nicks finished with just 10 receiving yards. He drew a few pass interference calls and was guarded closely all game, but New York was killed by his lack of production.
Nicks is still the Giants' go-to read on possession plays and third downs. When he disappears, New York's offensive consistency goes with it. Nicks is clearly still hampered by his foot injury, and will need to get back on track next week against Cincinnati.
Martellus Bennett: B-
With Bear Pascoe hushed all game, Bennett was the lone producer from the tight end spot. He recorded 40 receiving yards on three catches and looked solid in run blocking.
With New York's receivers shut out, Bennett failed to compensate and now continues a month-long slump. Still, you can't ask for a whole lot more from a tight end here.
Will Beatty: A-
Beatty was blown up on a minus-one-yard run from Ahmad Bradshaw but kept the edge pretty clean Sunday. He continues to be a pleasant surprise for Big Blue.
Sean Locklear: A-
True, Locklear had minimal competition going against Pittsburgh's ends, but he got the job done. The outside was protected well for most of the game, and when linebackers crashed, problems could be pegged on the guards.
Chris Snee: B-
Snee struggled to open the inside running game and fell back with Bradshaw on the Lawrence Timmons sack.
David Baas: C+
Going against NT Casey Hampton, Baas was beat in the middle Sunday. He didn't allow a sack, but his work in run blocking was certainly spotty in this one.
Kevin Boothe: C
Boothe failed to slide on a LaMarr Woodley sack, and the inside running game was nowhere to be found Sunday.
David Diehl: D
Diehl was switched along the edge Sunday, and had a rough outing in his first substantial reps since Week 2. Diehl was charged with a false start, and struggled against Woodley. With Locklear and Beatty playing well, the Giants need to find a more suitable use for their veteran flex tackle.
Justin Tuck: A+
After compiling just one sack in the Giants' first eight games, Tuck exploded Sunday, torching rookie tackle Mike Adams and attacking the edge all afternoon. He finished with a healthy stat line of five tackles, two sacks and a first-quarter pass deflection.
Jason Pierre-Paul: A+
Another Sunday, another huge game for "J.P.P."
Pierre-Paul came through on eight tackles and a sack, staying busy in run and screen defense.
Linval Joseph: A
Joseph did a good job clogging the middle, and came away with seven tackles. Joseph was matched by physical center Maurkice Pouncey for much of the game, but still made an impact.
Osi Umenyiora: A+
All three of the Giants' standout ends came away with a sack in this one. Osi sacked Ben Roethlisberger, forced a fumble and notched seven tackles. He still looks fast on the edge, but he missed a crucial 3rd-and-2 tackle on Isaac Redman in the fourth.
Rocky Bernard: B
Bernard took limited reps and finished with four tackles. With Canty still not 100 percent, his production was much-needed here.
Chris Canty: B-
Canty didn't break the pocket much, and finished with just one tackle. He was knocked over on a few runs up the middle as well, and was the clear-cut weakest member of the D-line Sunday.
Michael Boley: A+
Boley struggled against Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller, but finished with a team-high 10 tackles. He also continues to show a knack for the big play, scooping up a Ben Roethlisberger fumble in the second quarter and taking it 70 yards to paydirt.
Mark Herzlich: B+
Herzlich did a stellar job replacing starting middle 'backer Chase Blackburn, although he could stand to improve in zone pass defense.
Herzlich had eight tackles and was beat on a few gut runs. Still, he was seen stretching the field and certainly churned out a good effort Sunday.
Mathias Kiwanuka: D
Kiwanuka over-pursued runs all game, was flagged for a penalty and recorded just one tackle.
Corey Webster: A+
Webster shut out star receiver Mike Wallace for three quarters and came away with the Giants' lone interception. Wallace's 51-yard touchdown in the fourth can be chalked up to Jayron Hosley and Antrel Rolle.
After a rough first half of 2012, Webster stepped up Sunday. Wallace saw just five targets.
Stevie Brown: A
Brown had nine tackles and did a good job playing over the top. He and Herzlich were important fill-ins Sunday.
Antrel Rolle: A-
Rolle's nine tackles and first-quarter pass deflection are indicative of his busy playing style, while he came away with a huge 3rd-and-1 trip-up on a goal-line Isaac Redman screen. Still, Rolle's grade suffers from taking the wrong angle on Mike Wallace's open-field scamper.
Jayron Hosley: B
Hosley forced a fumble on Pittsburgh's first possession, but allowed a few catches to Emmanuel Sanders and was lost in space on the Wallace touchdown.
Prince Amukamara: B-
Amukamara held Jericho Cotchery to 50 yards on four receptions and prevented the big play. It was a fairly quiet afternoon for the second-year corner.
Steve Weatherford: A+
Weatherford made a clutch tackle on Emmanuel Sanders' 63-yard punt return in the fourth, and pinned Pittsburgh at its own two-yard line in the first. Weatherford's been nothing short of a special teams superstar thus far.
Lawrence Tynes: B+
Tynes' kickoffs fell a bit short Sunday, while he just missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt. Still, Tynes was good on two of his three attempts and converted from 50 yards out.
David Wilson: B
Wilson averaged a pedestrian 25 yards per return Sunday. With him and fellow rookie Rueben Randle held in check in the return game, the Giants lost the field-position battle Sunday.
Overall Game Grade: D
Where to begin?
The offensive play-calling was unoriginal to say the least, as offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride continues to dial up inside runs in goal-line situations. The Giants were woeful in the red zone, keeping in line with a year-long trend.
Defensively, New York collapsed in the fourth, and looked uninspired after Pittsburgh's back-to-back touchdowns. The Giants failed to respond late in the game with three straight three-and-outs, and there were no mid-game adjustments to combat the Steelers' formidable pass defense.
In a sloppy loss, blame the coaching staff for a lot of the miscommunications Sunday.