Giants vs. Ravens: Final Player Grades for New York

Kevin Boilard@@KevinBoilardCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2012

Giants vs. Ravens: Final Player Grades for New York

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    After falling to the Baltimore Ravens (10-5) by a score of 33-14, the New York Giants’ (8-7) playoff hopes got a whole lot slimmer.  The Giants have now dropped five of their last seven contests, completely losing their grip on the division lead in the process.

    Coming into the game, New York controlled its playoff destiny.  The message was simple: win two and you’re in.

    However, after back-to-back blowout losses, a postseason berth now seems like a far-off concept for Giants fans.  Mathematically, the team is still in the hunt, but New York needs some help to extend its season beyond Week 17.

    Click through the slideshow to view game grades for each positional unit from Sunday’s drubbing in Baltimore.

Quarterback – B

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    Statistically, quarterback Eli Manning played one of his least impressive games of the season.  He threw 28 passes, completing only half of them for 150 yards and one touchdown.

    However, that stat-line does not accurately depict his performance.  He consistently placed the ball well, allowing his receivers to go up and make plays.  Unfortunately for Manning, the New York receivers had a crippling case of the “dropsies” in Week 16.

    Manning was also forced to work with spotty protection.  Play after play, Manning had defenders in his face.  It was a minor miracle that he escaped the game after being sacked only three times.

    Overall Grade: B

Running Back – C-

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    The Giants were not bad on the ground, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.  That average comes from a small sample size, though, as New York only handed the ball off 14 times as it fought back from an early deficit.

    Ahmad Bradshaw led the charge with 39 yards on the ground, hogging the rushing workload with a whopping nine carries.  Rookie David Wilson collected three handoffs and managed to take one in for a 14-yard score.

    Even fullback Henry Hynoski recorded a carry, which he converted into a three-yard gain.  Overall, the Giants didn’t have much of a chance to develop the ground game.

    Overall Grade: C-

Wide Receiver – D

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    The Giants wide receiver corps did not do much to assist its struggling quarterback.  No receiver broke five catches or fifty yards.

    Rookie Rueben Randle came the closest, as he was able to haul in one 43-yarder early in the game.  Randle’s role did not expand much after his big catch, and he failed to hold on to his next three targets.

    Domenik Hixon and Victor Cruz each grabbed three catches, and the former found himself on the receiving end of a fourth quarter touchdown toss.

    Hakeem Nicks was the biggest disappointment of the night, as the fourth-year standout failed to secure any of his three targets in Week 16.

    Overall Grade: D

Tight End – D

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    Martellus Bennett’s role in New York’s offense is growing more and more baffling by the week.  Against the Falcons in Week 15, Bennett only caught one pass.  One week later, he was Manning’s most-targeted pass-catcher.

    Bennett finished the game with four catches for 27 yards.  The first year Giant let a couple opportunities pass him by, as he—just like the rest of New York’s receivers—had trouble hanging on to Manning’s passes.

    Backup tight end Bear Pascoe was only targeted once in an extremely limited role.

    Overall Grade: D

Offensive Line – F

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    New York’s offensive line was downright atrocious against the Ravens in Week 16.  The Giants’ linemen were completely overpowered at the line of scrimmage, allowing consistent pressure to get in the face of Manning.

    Center David Baas and guard Chris Snee came into the game nursing injuries, and the effects were noticeable.  The duo spent most of the night chasing the Ravens’ defensive linemen into the offensive backfield.

    Guard Kevin Boothe and tackles Will Beatty and David Diehl were completely overmatched as well.  As a unit, the offensive line was manhandled at the point of attack, preventing the Giants’ offense from gaining any momentum all game.

    Overall Grade: F

Defensive Line – D

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    I’m being relatively generous by giving the Giants’ defensive line a D, but comparatively speaking, the D-linemen were the only members of the Giants’ defense that were at least quasi-effective.

    In fact, defensive tackle Chris Canty’s performance alone should save the Giants’ defensive line from a failing grade.  He recorded six tackles (five solo, two for a loss) in the Giants’ Week 16 loss.  A knee injury pulled him from the action early.

    With Justin Tuck inactive, defensive ends Osi Umenyiora (five tackles, four solo) and Jason Pierre-Paul (four tackles, two solo) were forced to pick up the slack.  They each recorded a tackle for a loss but neither had a sack.

    Overall Grade: D

Linebacker – F

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    The linebackers are most to blame for the Giants’ terrible performance against the run.  New York gave up 224 yards on the ground, including a 78-yard gash by Baltimore’s rookie running back Bernard Pierce.

    Mark Herzlich (seven tackles, six solo), Chase Blackburn (seven tackles, three solo), Michael Boley (five tackles, three solo), Keith Rivers (five tackles, three solo), Mathias Kiwanuka (four tackles, two solo) and Spencer Paysinger (three tackles, two solo) all saw extensive playing time at linebacker.  Not one of them was particularly effective in the Week 16 loss.

    At times, the Giants employed a four-linebacker look in an attempt to slow down the Ravens’ ground game.  The unit was so ineffective that New York would have been better off fielding as few linebackers as possible.

    Overall Grade: F

Secondary – F

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    Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had struggled in the games leading up to his Week 16 match-up with the Giants, but on Sunday, the New York secondary made him look like an All-Pro.

    Flacco picked on Giants cornerback Corey Webster all day, totaling 309 yards and two touchdowns while completing 25 of his 36 pass attempts.  Safeties Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Will Hill each struggled in coverage as well.

    One player who didn’t have his name called was cornerback Prince Amukamara.  He did not record a single tackle, as Flacco did not test his side of the field nearly as much.

    Even if he was able to take his man out of the Ravens’ offensive equation, it clearly did not have a huge impact on Baltimore’s aerial attack.  Flacco still had a career day.

    Overall Grade: F

Special Teams – B+

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    The Giants did not lose the game due to the performance of their special teams.  I would say that it kept them in the game, but the Giants were never in the game to begin with.

    Kicker Lawrence Tynes was not offered a field goal attempt, but punter Steve Weatherford played pretty well.  He punted eight times, placing three inside the 20-yard line while maintaining an average of 52 yards per punt.

    David Wilson averaged upwards of 23 yards per kick return, and Baltimore return man Jacoby Jones was kept in check, despite being given multiple opportunities.

    Overall, it was a pretty solid outing for the New York special teams units.

    Overall Grade: B+

Coaching – F

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    The coaching was the most disappointing aspect of the Giants’ Week 16 loss.  In a way, Giants fans should feel deceived by this current coaching staff.

    After “flipping the switch” in years past, New Yorkers placed their trust in the Giants coaching staff, hoping that the squad would turn it on when the going got tough.  Instead, the team buckled under pressure.

    On Sunday, the Giants were absolutely dismantled for the second game in a row. New York did not turn the ball over once and committed fewer penalties than the Ravens, yet the team was completely torn apart by Baltimore.

    Ultimately, a game’s outcome is a direct result of the on-field performance, but the Giants lack the mental toughness that they used to hang their hats on.  The coaching staff needs to shoulder most of the blame for that.

    Overall Grade: F