NY Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York
It was a case of a different week, same problems for the Giants, who continue to struggle to have any continuity on offense, and whose special teams unit, for the second week in a row, gave up a big play.
The Giants, whose only points in the game came on a 69-yard touchdown reception from Eli Manning to receiver Victor Cruz, broke a scoreless streak that spanned a little over five quarters of play.
However, as has been the case for the Giants, whose 0-4 record puts them in the NFC East's cellar, after battling to keep the score 10-7 at the half, the fabric unraveled.
There were a few good things to come out of the game, however. For starters, running back David Wilson ran for 55 yards on 13 carries, a 4.2 average.
That's ten yards fewer than Chiefs leading rusher Jamaal Charles, and in fact, the Giants rushing game finished with 98 yards, while the Giants' run defense held Charles and company to 102 yards, the lowest rushing output by the Chiefs this season.
New York's defense also managed to force three turnovers, the first ones of the year for the Chiefs. The mistakes included two interceptions, one each by safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Prince Amukamara, and an aborted snap lost by center Rodney Hudson.
In the end, however, the Giants ineptness on offense—they went 1-of-14 on third-down conversions— and their breakdowns on special teams, which included a punt return for a Kansas City touchdown, were simply too much to overcome.
The Giants are off to their worst start in a non-strike year since 1979, a season they began 0-5 en route to a 6-10 finish.
This week's loss at Kansas City was also New York's seventh straight on the road.
Eli Manning: B-
Manning's lone interception of the game seemed to be more of a result of receiver Rueben Randle not running his route to the spot where Manning expected him to be.
It also didn't help Manning's final stat line—18 of 37 for 217 yards—that there were several instances in which his receivers failed to catch a pass that was on the money.
Manning will probably tell reporters this week that he needs to play better, make better throws, make better reads, make better sandwiches—whatever.
However this week's loss should not be placed solely on his shoulders, as his supporting cast seems to have head coach Tom Coughlin fooled into thinking that the effort is there when the results indicate otherwise.
David Wilson: B
Wilson quietly had his second straight productive game this season, finishing with 55 yards on 13 carries.
To put those numbers into perspective, Chiefs leading rusher Jamaal Charles finished with 65 yards on 18 carries, a per-carry average of 3.65 to Wilson's 4.2.
The coaches simply must find a way to give Wilson more touches in a game, even when they fall behind, because this kid has playmaking potential written all over him.
Da'Rel Scott: D
Scott failed to find the handle on a fourth-quarter handoff on 3rd-and-5, a fumble that was credited to quarterback Eli Manning, but on first blush looked like was more Scott's fault.
In addition, Scott’s pass protection still leaves much to be desired, as he seems to be almost reluctant to really throw his body around out there.
Brandon Jacobs: Incomplete
Jacobs had one carry from scrimmage for five yards and one reception, also for five yards, neither of which made an impact on the game.
Interestingly, Jacobs seems to have fallen behind Scott—at least for the game against the Chiefs.
FB John Conner: Incomplete
The Giants’ new lead blocker saw his snaps limited to special teams during this week, probably because the coaches do their game planning on Tuesday, and they didn't learn that they would have Conner until Wednesday.
Hakeem Nicks: F
Nicks wanted the ball thrown more his way, and he got his wish, as Manning targeted him nine times.
Nicks ended up making just three receptions for 33 yards. What was particularly frustrating is that a couple of passes fell right through his hands.
In addition, Nicks tried to make too many one-handed catches, with one incomplete pass in particular that, had he used two hands, he would have caught.
Also worth noting, according to ProFotballReference.com, is that Nicks has yet to record a receiving touchdown in the Giants' four games, the first time that has ever happened in his career.
Victor Cruz: A
The lone bright spot of the receivers, Cruz caught 10 of the 16 passes thrown his way for 164 yards and one touchdown, coming on a 69-yard fly pattern down the right sideline.
Cruz has recorded a 100-yard game in three of the Giants' first four weeks of this season and has five 100-yard showings in his last nine games, dating back to the second half of 2012.
Rueben Randle: F
The high expectations the Giants coaching staff had for Randle this year seem to have come crashing down around him, as he continues to fail to take advantage of his opportunities. Also, he's still not on the same page with his quarterback.
On Manning's interception, it was Randle who cut short his route, leaving no one but Kansas City safety Quintin Demps in the vicinity where ball eventually came down.
Brandon Myers: C
Myers was targeted just one time, failing to come up with a reception, as the coaches kept the tight ends in this week to help provide extra protection against Kansas City's very physical front seven.
The problem, though, is that Myers is not a blocker, never has been a blocker and probably never will be a blocker. Look no further than the failed 3rd-and-1 run in the third quarter by David Wilson that was stuffed.
For whatever the reason, the coaches thought it would be a good idea to give right tackle Justin Pugh blocking help on the play, and they picked Myers to deliver help that he wasn't equipped to give.
Myers battles out there and deserves credit for trying, which is why he doesn’t get a lower grade this week. That his blocking technique hasn't really shown any signs of improvement is a concern, however.
Bear Pascoe: D
Pascoe handled most of the fullback duties this week, as newcomer John Conner, signed on Wednesday, was limited to special teams. Still, Pascoe didn't appear to have much of an impact on things.
In fact, Pascoe had a rough day at the office, as his lead blocks packed no punch, and he seemed outmatched all afternoon long. Like Myers as a blocker, Pascoe as a fullback is not the best use of whatever skills he has.
Unfortunately, until Conner comes up to speed, the Giants will have no choice but to keep things the way they are.
Larry Donnell: C+
Donnell appeared to have the best day out of all of the tight ends as far as the blocking went, but that doesn’t mean that he was spotless.
He still isn't knocking guys back at the point of attack, though his work done in space makes one wonder if perhaps he might be a better option at fullback until Conner comes up to speed.
The problem, though, is that Donnell hasn’t had many snaps at fullback since the summer, plus he’s still trying to absorb the finer points of the team’s playbook.
RT Justin Pugh: A
The offensive line's best player, Pugh surprisingly wasn't given much in the way of blocking help, not that he needed it.
He didn't appear to allow any pressures from his assignments, and he blocked well in the running game, keeping his feet moving and showing good, alert play against a very aggressive Chiefs defense.
RG James Brewer: B
Filling in for Chris Snee, there's no question that right guard is Brewer's best position—he played both tackle spots during the preseason.
Brewer moved his feet and stayed with his man, but his play against the run needs to be more physical.
As a pass-blocker, his play was solid, as he used his massive body to form a one-man wall. With more reps, he should become more comfortable out there.
C Jim Cordle: D
Cordle gives it everything he has, but the sad truth is that he doesn't appear to have much to give right now.
He was beaten several times, especially when the Chiefs threw something unexpected at him. He appeared too slow to recognize and adjust.
He allowed at least two hits against Manning and looked to be the guilty party on the second sack of the game. Working with Boothe on a combo block, Cordle just stood watching, as the Allen Bailey, the pass-rusher whom Boothe was handing off to center, went by Cordle and teed off on Manning.
LG Kevin Boothe: C+
Boothe did well on his pass-blocking, though it was clear that he was having some communication problems with Cordle, next to whom he was working for the first time in weeks.
Their biggest gaffe was the aforementioned sack the two gave up to defensive tackle Allen Bailey.
LT William Beatty: D
After last week's poor showing, the game plan apparently was to provide help for the Giant's blindside protector. Sure enough, during those few times when he was left to his own accord, Beatty struggled.
He was called for a hold against Tamba Hali and his run-blocking wasn’t as effective as it needed to be.
Justin Tuck: D
There once was a time when, if Tuck was moved inside to defensive tackle, he could almost always be counted on to create heavy pressure, often times getting a sack in the process.
These days, however, that’s not the case.
This week, Tuck managed just one pressure, this on an inside stunt while in a two-point stance. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get the sack, as quarterback Alex Smith quickly threw the ball to a receiver.
Tuck, who suffered a neck injury, has also lost something in his ability to defend the run. He’s now so easily handled out there that it's at times painful to watch.
Jason Pierre-Paul: D
Remember the good old days when a healthy Pierre-Paul used to draw double-teams?
Those days have long gone, as the young pass-rusher continues to play in first gear, almost reluctant to try to switch to another level.
This is no doubt due to concerns about his surgically repaired back. Pierre-Paul might say he’s healthy, but perhaps he’s still subconsciously worrying about a relapse when he goes out there.
The defensive end recorded one lonely tackle this week, as he struggled to shed solo blocking to make any plays.
He also has just one sack through four games, his worst start since his rookie year in 2010, when in the first few weeks of that season he was a rotational player.
Mathias Kiwanuka: C
Although Kiwanuka, who mostly subbed for Tuck, managed to create a hit on quarterback Alex Smith and forced Smith to throw away a pass, he was still unable to hit pay dirt in the sack department. The Chiefs offensive line seemed to have no trouble handling any of the Giants defensive ends.
Linval Joseph: A
Joseph continued to be a strong performer, especially against the run, as he’s part of a defensive interior that has reclaimed the inside cutback lanes that were so frequent last year.
Cullen Jenkins: C
Jenkins is as active as any of the defensive tackles, but he’s not having any success getting to the quarterback, despite his ability to push the pocket.
In fact, Jenkins was part of the reason why Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith had some success rushing the ball (37 yards on seven carries).
Jenkins failed to consistently contain on the inside, and Smith took advantage of this when his downfield options were covered.
Shaun Rogers: B
Rogers not only put a hit on Smith in the first half, he did a nice job against the run, save for Jamaal Charles’ 24-yard cutback run late in the game on which Rogers was pushed out of the way.
Mike Patterson: B
Patterson led the defensive tackles with three tackles in what was a quiet yet effective game for him.
He did a nice job maintaining his gap control, though he was burned for one late-game 24-yard run by Charles when a Chiefs blocker cut his feet out from under him.
Spencer Paysinger: B+
The best of the bunch, Paysinger's sound reads against the run were a large reason why the Giants were able to hold running back Jamaal Charles to just 65 rushing yards.
While not yet as effective in coverage—he was beaten by tight end Sean McGrath on a 23-yard pass—Paysinger's showing this week was perhaps his best of the season.
Mark Herzlich: C+
Herzlich had a solid showing against the run, correctly attacking the proper gaps and wrapping up the ball-carrier. He also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
However, where he again came up short was in coverage, where his lack of foot speed keeps him from getting the job done. He continues to bite on play-action, and was a no-show against tight ends down the seam.
As a side concern, Herzlich was seen in a walking boot after the game. The boot was protecting a toe on his right foot.
According to The Star-Ledger, the X-rays were negative, but Herzlich was to have follow-up tests this week.
Keith Rivers: C+
Rivers came up empty on the stat sheet, but that doesn't mean that he wasn’t active out there.
He played a strong contain game, controlling the edges against the run.
Jacquian Williams: C
Limited this week in practice by a knee injury, Williams’ most notable moment was his hit on Sean McGrath that appeared to have injured the Kansas City TE's knee.
Aaron Ross: C
Before having to leave the game early, Ross was having a mixed showing, as Smith and the Chiefs mostly went after him.
Ross gave up a pass to Dwayne Bowe, against whom he was playing too far off. On the next play, Ross played tighter against receiver Donnie Avery.
Ross was then beaten on a double move by Bowe, whom he held, and he was later beaten by tight end Sean McGrath
One of Ross’ final plays before he left with a bad back was a pass breakup of another throw intended for Bowe.
Prince Amukamara: A
Targeted early in the game, Amukamara was right on top of things, whether it was defending the short stuff or the deep ball.
The third-year cornerback was also solid in run support. He then managed to cap off his solid day with an interception on a slant pass intended for Dwayne Bowe.
Terrell Thomas: C+
Thomas, who wasn’t targeted much downfield, looked no worse for wear, considering his practice reps were managed during this past week.
Thomas stopped Dexter McCluster short of a first down after the receiver made a reception over the middle. Finishing with three tackles, the only noticeable glitches in Thomas’ game was a missed tackle on Jamaal Charles and getting beaten by Dwayne Bowe on a 34-yard TD, a play on which Bowe ran through Thomas' attempted tackle.
Trumaine McBride: B+
Subbing for Ross, McBride was targeted immediately with success as a short pass underneath was completed.
From that point on, however, McBride stepped up to break up two passes, including a deep throw along the sideline intended for Dwayne Bowe, with whom McBride stayed step for step.
Ryan Mundy: C+
With the Chiefs not taking many shots down the field, the Giants safeties really weren't tested all that much.
Where Mundy made his mark was underneath and in the seam, such as the jarring tackle he made on tight end Sean McGrath.
In the negative column, Mundy whiffed on a run by Jamaal Charles, who went right up the gut for a significant gain.
Antrel Rolle: C-
It was a mixed bag of a performance for Rolle, whose positive plays included a third-quarter interception on a ball that bounced off Mark Herzlich's foot, and a solid tackle against tight end Sean McGrath in the flat.
However, Rolle was also victimized by McGrath on the TE's second-quarter touchdown reception.
On that play, the McGrath ran an in-route, and Rolle looked to be frozen in zone coverage.
Kicker Josh Brown: F
For the second week in a row, Brown missed a field goal that he's supposed to make, this one a 44-yard attempt.
Of his two kickoffs, one went for a touchback and the other was returned 22 yards by Quintin Demps.
Brown’s struggles on field goal attempts—he missed one attempt last week as well—is concerning. However, the Giants might not have any choice but to ride things out with Brown, given that as of Sunday night, they have just $60,066 of salary cap space left.
The Giants will soon need to find salary cap space if they plan to add safety Will Hill, whose four-game suspension ends this week.
Punter Steve Weatherford: C-
It wasn't one of the best performances by the Giants' veteran punter, as his 30.8 net average would indicate, but he did have two touchbacks, one of which should have been downed inside of the 5-yard line, except Jerrel Jernigan reacted too late to make a play.
Weatherford's biggest punt, the one leading to Dexter McCluster's 89-yard touchdown return, wasn't sent down the middle of the field, though Weatherford may have outkicked his coverage.
However, it didn't help that at least three Giants were blocked out of the play while three others either fell down or took a poor angle in their quest to make a tackle.
KOR David Wilson: C+
Wilson returned two of three returnable kickoffs; the third kickoff was returned 13 yards by running back Michael Cox.
Wilson looked a bit unsure of himself on both of his returns. The first one was a 31-yard return that might have been even longer, except Wilson didn't seem to trust his speed in keeping things to the outside. Instead he veered back toward the middle of the field right into the coverage.
On the second kickoff return, which went for a touchback, Wilson looked ready to bring the ball out, except teammate Brandon Jacobs, who was back deep with him, wisely told the second-year player to take a knee.
PR Rueben Randle: B
Randle actually had his best day as a punt returner, averaging 8.8 yards per return.
He would have had a bigger day had Justin Trattou not been called for an illegal block on a 43-yard, first-quarter return.