The Manning Bowl III is in the books, but for the New York Giants, who fell to the Denver Broncos 41-23, the problems that have dogged Big Blue, such as third-down conversions, red-zone play and the running game, were still very much alive and well in this week's contest.
"Quite frankly, to not be able to run the ball, to have so few attempts at rushing the ball, it's just not our style," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "We haven't had a lot of success with it, and to see that ball thrown that many times, and some of the results, are very difficult to explain."
How bad was it? The Giants converted just one of 11 third-down attempts and were 1-of-3 in the red zone.
Their rushing game, meanwhile, consisted of 19 carries for 23 yards, a paltry 1.2 average, as New York ended up passing the ball 49 times in this game.
Meanwhile on defense, the Giants pass rush failed to record a single sack of Peyton Manning, who completed 69.7 percent of his pass attempts for 307 yards and two touchdowns, the Giants defense only managing two hits on the future Hall of Famer.
"It's hard to rush Peyton Manning," said defensive end Justin Tuck. "I think we got pressure in spots, but he does a good job getting the ball out of his hands. I would doubt that we had a lot of times where he held the ball more than three seconds. That's frustrating because after a while you start thinking, let me try to get my hand on a batted ball. You almost stop rushing a little bit. It's frustrating. It's hard to get to him, but obviously we have to do better than that, too."
Let's take a look at the play of the individuals this week.
Eli Manning: D
When Eli Manning is good, he's very good—and so too is the rest of the offense. But when Eli is bad, well, he lays a stink bomb in style.
This week, he added four more interceptions to raise his season total to seven. For as good as Peyton Manning was, that's how poor little brother Eli was this week. If he keeps this rate up, he'll more than double his career-high 25 interceptions thrown in 2010.
What's particularly frustrating about Manning's performance is that he admitted that on two of his four picks this week, they were a result of him making a poor decision.
For example, take his interception thrown at the end of the first half. "Just a bad decision by me. I was really just trying to kind of trying to throw the ball away (and not) get an intentional grounding. It was unfortunate that I threw it in a spot where their guy could make a play."
And what about his final interception in a pass intended for receiver Rueben Randle? "The last one was on me. Rueben did the right thing; he ran the right route and I threw the wrong route."
So what did head coach Tom Coughlin have to say about all this?
"Somehow, someway, we've got to stop the interceptions."
Gee, ya think?
David Wilson: C
Wilson was only given seven carries, but hey, no fumbles, so that has to count for something, right?
"I don't count the carries," he said. "I just got out there and, when I'm asked to make a play, execute."
He didn't get much help from his blockers, as his longest run went for six yards. But again, after last week's horror show, that he had no fumbles is a plus, as was his improved hip blocking.
Da'Rel Scott: D
Given some garbage-time snaps, Scott ran five times for two yards. Where he made more of a contribution was in the passing game, where his 23-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter helped turn a 38-16 Denver lead into a 38-23 affair.
As a blocker, though, Scott was inconsistent, allowing a blitzing safety to hit Eli Manning. Scott also doesn't always follow his blockers; if he did, he might have had a better statistical showing than his final numbers.
Brandon Jacobs: B
The big guy brought passion and fire to the huddle and played a physical game. Considering this was his first live action in almost a year, he acquitted himself quite well, though his final stats, seven carries for four yards, are nothing to write home about.
Henry Hynoski (FB): B
Hynoski didn't get many snaps, given that the Giants had to abandon the running game, in part because of the score and in part because the running game just can't seem to get started up. While Hynoski was much better than he was last week against Dallas, he looked to have a missed block on the edge.
Brandon Myers: A-
Myers finished second on the team with six catches (out of 10 throws) for 74 yards. In the process, he took quite a physical beating, especially to his chest, where it will be interesting to see how flexible he is with his arms this coming week given the pounding he took. Credit Myers for finding a way to get open to make plays in the passing game, as he's starting to look comfortable in the offense.
Bear Pascoe: B
Pascoe's snaps have been limited in the first two games, not due to any injury but because of the scheme. This week, he caught both passes thrown his way for 12 yards, but his blocking on the move, which isn't a strength, left something to be desired.
Larry Donnell: B+
Given some garbage-time snaps, Donnell not only caught all three passes thrown his way, but he also did a decent job at blocking. A versatile type who can play the H-back and fullback spots in addition to tight end, the Giants might just have something there with this young man.
Hakeem Nicks: B
He came up with four catches for 83 yards, looking no worse for the wear when he suffered a dislocated finger. He did have a drop in the first half on a third-down conversion that was uncharacteristic of him, but otherwise, he did as best he could against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Victor Cruz: A
Logging his second straight 100-yard receiving game (118), Cruz was one of the bright spots on the Giants offense this week.
Rueben Randle: F
Tough night for the Giants' third receiver, who caught just three of the nine passes thrown his way and who was involved in one of Eli Manning's interceptions. He also fumbled the ball at the goal line in the first quarter. the Giants need a better game from this valuable part of the offense.
LT Will Beatty: A
Beatty was perhaps the only offensive lineman to have a solid night, especially in terms of pass protection.
LG Kevin Boothe: C
For some reason, the coaches have been asking Boothe to do some pulling, which is not his strength. His pass blocking was solid, but as a run-blocker, he's not getting push, nor is he getting to the holes quickly enough when asked to pull.
C David Baas: F
I stopped counting the number of mistakes Baas made in this one, such as not picking up a blitz on the first play of the second half. Maybe his knee isn't 100 percent, but if he is out there playing, the effort has to be better than it was, such as when he allowed a defensive tackle into the backfield to blow up a running play.
RG Chris Snee: D
There's little question that Snee is done. He's simply a shell of his former self, a man who can no longer move as well as he did when he was in his prime. He's also not holding his ground on many one-on-one blocks, and while his pass blocking was passable, he had some issues with center David Baas, who was back in the lineup after missing several weeks due to a knee problem.
RT Justin Pugh: C
He struggled against speed, especially in the running game where he was beaten so badly twice that the runs were blown up. Otherwise, he competed well and showed some fine athleticism in getting to the second level.
Justin Tuck: D
Though Tuck played a stout game against the run, he was part of a pass-rushing effort that was invisible. Peyton Manning is a pocket passer, and that the Giants defensive ends were unable to get much of any pressure on him is completely mind-boggling.
Mathias Kiwanuka: D
Another player whose pass rush was mostly invisible, Kiwanuka was also flagged for a neutral-zone infraction.
Jason Pierre-Paul: D
It's clear Pierre-Paul is still not back to 100 percent, as he looked lethargic and, at times, disinterested, especially in the first half. Competing against Ryan Clady, Pierre-Paul had no answers, instead looking like a shell of the dynamic player from 2011 who captured the hearts of Giants fans every where. Perhaps in time, Pierre-Paul will shake off this remaining rust, but until he does, he's become painful at times to watch.
Cullen Jenkins: A
In addition to forcing the first-quarter fumble the Giants failed to convert into a touchdown, Jenkins managed to get consistent pressure on the pocket and held up well against the run in what was another solid showing.
Linval Joseph: B
Doing a solid job of plugging up running lanes between the tackles, Joseph was stymied on some of his power rushes. He also overran a fourth-quarter Broncos run that went for nine yards, though he later came back with a three-yard loss on a running attempt inside of the 10-yard line.
Shaun Rogers: B
Rogers' athleticism for a man of his size remains a sight to behold, but he failed to wrap up Peyton Manning for a sack despite getting into position to do so. Instead, Manning completed the pass for a first down. Rogers did make a handful of several smaller plays such as collapsing the pocket to force Manning to hurry his throw and blowing up a running play in what was an acceptable night.
Keith Rivers: D
Rivers didn't see the field much, and when he did, he didn't do much with his time. He was unable to protect the edge against a tight end who blocked him on a run. He did mange to get one penetration, but it didn't matter that much, as Peyton Manning worked himself out of harm's way to complete his pass.
Mark Herzlich: C
Currently the starting middle linebacker until further notice, Herzlich's biggest gaffe of the day was failing to cover up the third-quarter fumble that the Broncos recovered. There's nothing wrong with Herzlich's effort, but he always seems to be a step too slow or too late in getting to a pile.
Spencer Paysinger: C+
Paysinger started out strong, but by the end of the game, his play started to get sloppy, perhaps due to the high number of snaps he was asked to take as part of the nickel package.
In the fourth quarter, he failed to wrap up on several running downs, was the invisible contain on Moreno's second touchdown run, and was beaten in single coverage by tight end Julius Thomas for a second-half touchdown despite being in position to break up the play.
Jacquian Williams: C-
Williams struggled in zone coverage in that he simply doesn't know how to take proper angles. As a result, when a man enters his assigned zone, there is often lots of space for that man to exploit.
Corey Webster: A
Webster has played well so far this season. While not really challenged much this week, when he was targeted, he did a nice job of running with receivers and limiting the damage.
Prince Amukamara: B+
Although he wasn't tested deep—Denver didn't really try many deep balls this week—Amukamara did stay with Eric Decker on one of the rare deep balls, knocking the pass away. Amukamara held Decker to 87 yards on nine catches in what was a solid showing.
Terrell Thomas: B+
Working against the slot, Thomas was not afraid to get physical with receiver Wes Welker, who finished with three receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown. Thomas' tight coverage might have been a factor in Welker having some dropped passes as well. Regardless, credit Thomas for looking like his pre-injury self thanks to his aggressive play and his intelligence in not biting on fakes.
Antrel Rolle: B
It wasn't a poor showing from the defense's co-captain, but with that said, he seemed to be a little further off the point of attack than usual for some reason to where he could have been involved in more than just the three solo tackles he logged this week.
Ryan Mundy: A
Finishing second on the team with eight tackles (six solo), Mundy did a good job of coming up to fill a hole, which limited the opposing runner from finding daylight. Mundy didn't get many opportunities against the pass, but when he did, he held his own. He also came up with a big first-half fumble recovery in his end zone for the touchback, though the offense was unable to convert it into a touchdown.
K Josh Brown: A
Brown hit all three field-goal attempts, including a long of 41 yards, and made all of his extra points. Of his six kickoffs, only two were returned by Trindon Holliday, who managed just 34 total return yards (17.0 avg).
P Steve Weatherford: F
Hands down, one of the vivacious Weatherford's worst punting efforts for the simple reason that all of his punts were line drives and right down the middle of the field to dangerous returner Trindon Holliday, who had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown when a directional punt struck the side of Weatherford's foot and took a favorable flight right into Holliday's waiting arms.
The coverage didn't help the situation, but neither did Weatherford kicking the ball right to Holliday.
KOR David Wilson: B
Solid effort by Wilson, who returned to his old job (what with Michael Cox inactive). Wilson finished with five returns for 121 yards, including a long of 30. No, the numbers weren't Wilson-like, but his blocking was suspect.
PR Rueben Randle: B
Randle did well on his two opportunities despite a couple of curious decisions, such as fielding a punt at his 4-yard line instead of letting it bounce into the end zone for a touchback or his premature call for a fair catch on a punt in which he looked to have running room.