Saints vs. Giants: Final Player Grades for New York

Steven GoldsteinContributor IDecember 9, 2012

Saints vs. Giants: Final Player Grades for New York

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    We're final at MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants topped the New Orleans Saints by a 52-27 mark. Eli Manning overcame an early "pick six" to throw four touchdowns, while rookie tailback David Wilson set a club record with 327 all-purpose yards.

    The G-Men improve to 8-5 and take a full-game lead over the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East. The Giants executed on all fronts and churned out one of their most complete wins of the year, intercepting Saints quarterback Drew Brees twice and not allowing a single sack on Manning.

    Check out a full postgame report card with game grades for key Giants.

Quarterbacks

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    Eli Manning: A-

    Manning was nearly intercepted by Saints cornerback Jabari Greer on the game's first possession, and was later taken to the house by Elbert Mack after throwing behind wideout Ramses Barden on third down.

    Yet despite a rough first quarter, Eli finished with one of his best performances of the season, totaling four touchdowns and rolling for 259 passing yards. Manning spread the offense, with each of his scores going to a different receiver, and his vertical game looked sharp as ever.

    Manning's in-pocket reads were suspect at times, but he still saw his quarterback rating inch toward triple-digits. Eli's chemistry with wideout Victor Cruz and tight end Martellus Bennett is encouraging.

Running Backs

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    David Wilson: A+

    Dubbed by many as Wilson's "coming out party," the rookie tailback exploded for two rushing touchdowns and 100 yards on just 13 carries. Wilson found holes easily and flashed some serious speed, hitting the second level on countless occasions.

    With Ahmad Bradshaw hobbled and Andre Brown on injured reserve, give the rookie his props for carrying the ground game.

    Henry Hynoski: A+

    Hynoski took a carry for five yards, caught two passes and paved the way for David Wilson in the backfield.

    Ahmad Bradshaw: D

    Chalk it up to rainy conditions or a lingering knee injury, but Bradshaw lost a step Sunday. He averaged just three yards a carry and was overshadowed by David Wilson.

Wide Receivers

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    Victor Cruz: A+

    Cruz was brilliant Sunday, leading Big Blue with eight receptions for 121 yards and coming away with a fourth-quarter touchdown. He torched the Saints on the outside all game long, and caught all but one of his targeted passes.

    Cruz got open easily against New Orleans' paltry pass defense.

    Hakeem Nicks: A

    Nicks is certainly not the deep threat that Cruz is, but he notched his third touchdown catch of the year in the second half. With four receptions and a couple key first downs, Nicks is slowly returning back to 2011 form.

    Domenik Hixon: A

    The Giants rediscovered the third wideout they've been searching for all season. Hixon made an athletic, leaping grab in the corner of the end-zone for his first touchdown of 2012.

Tight Ends

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    Martellus Bennett: A+

    With five catches and a first-quarter touchdown, New York's outspoken tight end stayed busy Sunday. He snuck behind New Orleans' linebackers all game long.

    Bear Pascoe: A

    Pascoe continues to be a strong blocker, and sprang David Wilson for one of his long kick returns. It's been a quiet but very successful year for New York's No. 2 tight end.

Offensive Line

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    Will Beatty: A+

    Beatty sealed the edge the entire game, and pulled with Kevin Boothe to open David Wilson's 52-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter. Manning had a clean pocket all game long.

    Kevin Boothe: A

    Boothe sprang Wilson and opened the inside. It's been a bounce-back effort for a guard once plagued with inconsistency against the blitz.

    Chris Snee: A

    The interior run wasn't going anywhere Sunday, but Snee did all he could to open holes and give Manning time under center.

    David Baas: A

    New Orleans wasn't creative up front, and Baas didn't have much to do Sunday. New York didn't allow a single sack, and this offensive line is really coming together nicely.

    David Diehl: A-

    Diehl was responsible for a few quarterback hurries, but we're nit-picking at this point. New York's success up front propelled them to victory here.

Defensive Line

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    Osi Umenyiora: A+

    Umenyiora was responsible for the game's only sack, a fourth-quarter takedown of Drew Brees. Osi now has six sacks on the season and 75 in his career.

    Linval Joseph: A

    Joseph came away with a fumble recovey after safety Antrel Rolle poked the ball loose from fullback Jed Collins. He clogged the middle against New Orleans tailback Mark Ingram and finished with three tackles. 

    Jason Pierre-Paul: A-

    "JPP" notched six tackles, looked good in run defense and broke the pocket a few times. Though his sack totals are lower this year, Pierre-Paul has still had a busy 2012.

    Justin Tuck: A-

    Tuck was ostensibly held all game long, but still came in on five tackles.

    Chris Canty: C

    Canty was pulled when the Giants only rushed three late in the second half, and didn't do much while he was on the field.

Linebackers

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    Michael Boley: A+

    It seems that Boley leads this defense in tackles every week now. With 10 stops, Boley was everywhere Sunday.

    Chase Blackburn: A-

    Blackburn's eight tackles are impressive, but he did over-pursue on a few Darren Sproles runs.

    Mark Herzlich: A-

    Herzlich looked good in his reps at middle linebacker. He came in on four tackles and stretched from sideline to sideline.

    Jacquian Williams: B+

    Williams made five tackles but failed to reach Drew Brees on blitzes.

    Keith Rivers: B

    Rivers didn't do much Sunday, coming in on a few runs.

Defensive Backs

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    Stevie Brown: A+

    Brown's been this team's most pleasant surprise thus far, and the safety added two more interceptions to his impressive 2012 stat line.

    Brown jumped Pro Bowl safety Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter, deflected two passes and recorded eight tackles. He seemed to be wherever the ball was, and locked down on Graham for much of the game.

    Totaling 91 interception return yards, Brown was the defensive MVP of Sunday's action. 

    Corey Webster: A+

    Webster spent time on Marques Colston, holding him to his second-lowest reception total of the season. Webster saved a touchdown from a wide-open Devery Henderson when he got his fingers on an under-thrown Drew Brees pass, and stayed pressed in coverage all game.

    Prince Amukamara: A-

    'Muk was locked down on Devery Henderson, and although he dropped a potential interception, he certainly turned in a solid game.

    Will Hill: A-

    Hill allowed a few catches but made seven tackles and forced a fumble on the Saints' first drive.

    Antrel Rolle: B+

    Rolle nearly let the Saints back in the game, lapsing in coverage and getting lost in space on Joe Morgan's two huge bombs.

    However, Rolle added a pass deflection, seven tackles, a fumble recovery and shed a block to stuff Darren Sproles on a third-and-one in the red zone. Rolle's been hit-or-miss all game, and Sunday was no exception.

Special Teams

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    David Wilson: A+

    Is an A++ possible?

    Wilson busted New York's first return touchdown in two years, and averaged an absurd 56.8 yards per return. Wilson's special teams efforts set the stage for a busy offensive day. He found holes and stayed shifty in his runbacks.

    Steve Weatherford: A

    Another solid day from Big Blue's reliable punter. Weatherford maxed out at 56 yards and pinned the Saints inside their own 20 yard line three times.

    Domenik Hixon: B+

    Hixon averaged nearly 10 yards a punt return, taking over for Rueben Randle Sunday.

    Lawrence Tynes: C

    Tynes' kickoffs were deep, and he drilled seven extra points. Still, he was just 1-of-2 on field goal attempts, missing a make-able 36-yarder. 

Coaching

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    Overall Game Grade: A+

    Tom Coughlin and Co. deployed creative red zone play-calling, avoided a second-half collapse and executed their pass-heavy game plan to perfection. The Giants picked up an important home win and remain atop the NFC East for another week.