The New York Giants haven't made the 2013 season enjoyable for their fans.
The Giants saw a 21-19 lead evaporate thanks to three consecutive fourth-quarter turnovers by quarterback Eli Manning that were converted into 14 points as the Eagles knocked the winless Giants deeper into the NFC East cellar.
Sound remotely familiar? It should, because the Giants’ inability to finish games in the fourth quarter is one of their biggest issues, as opponents have outscored the Giants 61-21 this year.
Their five-game losing streak is also their longest since they lost eight in a row in 2004, and they are the third team in NFL history to allow at least 30 points in each of their first five games, joining the 1954 Cardinals and the 2012 Titans, per ESPN Stats.
There were countless issues with the Giants' play this week, which in addition to those already described, also include:
- A minus-four turnover ratio.
- Fifty-three rushing yards, their fifth consecutive game with less than 100.
- Fifty-two pass attempts—the Giants are 1-19 in the 20 games in which they throw at least 50 passes.
- A total of 140 rushing yards given up by the Giants defense, 79 of which were gained by Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick.
- Twelve penalties for 136 yards, their highest totals this season.
The list of flaws in this Giants team seem endless, but what's even of greater concern is that the coaches have no idea how to fix it.
The roster is what it is, and while the team does have some talented individuals on the roster, a small handful of consistent players just isn't enough to save what's turning into a disastrous 2013 season.
Let's look at how each unit graded out.
Eli Manning: B-
That fellow wearing jersey No. 10 for the Giants—surely, it can't be two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning, right?
Sadly, it is, as Manning once again threw more interceptions (three), than he did touchdown passes (two). He now has 12 interceptions to his eight touchdown passes and is sporting a very pedestrian-looking 65.8 quarterback rating after five games.
He also had three intentional grounding penalties called against him, though not all of those were his fault.
On one, Manning was being blitzed and threw the ball to where the receiver was supposed to be. The problem is the receiver was off somewhere else.
On the last penalty, Manning tried to make something out of nothing despite the fact that there was a jail break against the offensive line and he never had a chance to turn a negative play into a positive one.
As for his interceptions, it looked like on the first one, Manning was hit in the head, yet no penalty flag was thrown.
On the second one, Manning tried to make something happen, but ended up putting the ball in a tight spot, the gamble failing. Finally on the third interception, it looked like receiver Hakeem Nicks didn’t run the correct route, the result being the ball was thrown to a spot where the receiver was supposed to be, but wasn’t.
To summarize, then, Manning wasn’t perfect. However, when a quarterback is victimized by poor pass protection and receivers who aren’t where they’re supposed to be, that’s a problem.
Manning finished the game completing 24 of 52 passes (46.1 percent) for 334 yards and was sacked once, the passing yardage a solid showing.
His final passer rating was 56.1, not an elite number, but he didn't get much in the way of help from his supporting cast.
David Wilson: C
If there was ever a week for the coaches to try to get David Wilson going, this would have been it, as coming into this game, the Eagles were giving up an average of 121.8 rushing yards per game to opponents.
So what do the Giants do? They try to run Wilson behind lead blocker Bear Pascoe, who has proved time and again that he's not a fullback, while the one true and healthy fullback the Giants have on the team, John Conner, sat on the bench.
However, it’s not all on the coaches, as Wilson, who left the game with a neck injury, has to take his share of the blame.
After scoring a five-yard touchdown on the team’s opening possession, Wilson, whose pass blocking continues to be a concern, panicked on a first-quarter run from his own five and showed no instincts of patience for what was happening in front of him.
As a result, he ran back into the end zone and was fortunate not to be called for a safety.
Wilson not only ends up with six carries for 16 yards, but on his final run of the game, which came in the first half, he was scrambling for his life following a jail break up front in which he was chased back into his end zone, though the officials didn't call the safety.
Brandon Jacobs: D
Brandon Jacobs didn't fare that much better, as he ran 11 times for 37 yards. In addition, his pass protection wasn’t sharp, nor was his fumble in the second quarter that set up an Eagles scoring drive ending in a 29-yard field goal by kicker Alex Henery.
Overall Grade: D+
This unit might have had just 17 carries and yes, the run blocking was poor. However, in five games this season, the Giants rushing game has yet to run for 100 yards, and part of that blame does need to go to the runners when they don't follow those rare blocks that they do get up front, when they panic and run up the backs of their lockers, or when they turn the ball over or drop passes out of the backfield.
Hakeem Nicks: C+
Hakeem Nicks led the receivers with nine catches for 142 yards.
Imagine what his numbers might have been had he not dropped an easy fade pass or if he and his quarterback had been on the same page regarding one of the intentional grounding penalties.
Still, give credit to Nicks for taking advantage of the fact that the defense was playing off him, thereby allowing the underneath stuff.
Rueben Randle: C
Rueben Randle, the team's third receiver, had the most targets, connecting with his quarterback six out of 13 times. The Giants used Randle for mostly the underneath stuff, and in fact both of his touchdowns came on a slant over the middle.
However, he too had a dropped pass that was right in his hands, a ball that was thrown over the middle on the first possession. Randle also didn’t run as crisp of a route in the first half as he could have, which is why a few more of the balls sent his way didn’t make it into his hands.
Victor Cruz: B
Victor Cruz had the worst day statistically of the three receivers, finishing with five receptions for 48 yards, but he also was the one who drew the most attention in coverage, which left Nicks and Randle to go against single coverage.
The Eagles defense seemed intent on taking away the deep pass, which of course is one of Cruz’s strengths. When he attempted to go deep, he was bracketed in coverage, and there just wasn’t anything there. Still, give Cruz credit for trying to shake the extra coverage and get himself open.
Overall Grade: C+
The Giants' top three receivers had a combined 20 receptions for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but there are still to many plays being left on the field by this group and too many mistakes that are being made than should be at this point in the season.
Brandon Myers: D
With the receivers having so much success, the tight ends weren't really targeted much in the passing game—Brandon Myers was the only one of the three Manning threw to, and of the five passes sent his way, he caught two of them for 35 yards.
With that said, Myers had little success threatening the Eagles defense and was kept under wraps most of the day by a linebacker or a safety.
Had he maybe been a little more successful in beating his coverage, that might have drawn the safety assigned to help bracket receiver Cruz deep, but it was not meant to be.
From a blocking perspective, it was the same old song. Myers just cannot sustain a block on the edge as he gets tossed around like a rag doll.
Bear Pascoe: C-
Pascoe lined up most of the game at fullback, which baffles considering that the Giants have Conner sitting on the bench ready and willing to help with the run blocking and anything else that needs to be done.
Larry Donnell: C
Larry Donnell had a good, but not great day as a blocker, at times diving into his blocks with gusto and at others looking completely unsure of what to do. When he did throw a block, he was physical, but unfortunately, he didn't get a chance to throw too many good ones this week.
Overall Grade: D+
The Giants tight ends have become a liability in the running game, but when members of the unit who are known for their receiving skills can't get the best of a linebacker, then you know the team has it bad.
RT Justin Pugh: B
Justin Pugh had the best day out of the bunch, never giving up in his one-on-one battles and making sure to move his man out of the way to help keep Manning's pocket clean.
There were very few pressures allowed by this rookie whose foot speed allows him to keep up with the fastest of defensive linemen.
LT Will Beatty: D
Will Beatty continues to have a disappointing campaign in that he's not clicking with left guard Kevin Boothe, especially in the running game where at times it looked unorganized.
Beatty wasn't all that much better against outside linebacker Trent Cole on passing downs, and as such, he was given some chip help. When left alone to handle Cole, Beatty had trouble keeping Cole off the edge.
LG Kevin Boothe: C+
Boothe didn't have a spotless game, but how much of his issues resulted from communication breakdowns with Beatty and Cordle is a question to which we might never know the answer unless someone reveals the lien calls for the plays in question,
Too often it looked like Boothe was giving up early on his blocks, but in reality, he was handing off a man to either Beatty or Jim Cordle, and neither of them responded.
C Jim Cordle: D
Cordle gives everything he has, but unfortunately, it's just not enough. Against the run, he's forever, it seems, falling to the ground, which suggests either poor balance or poor leverage.
An offensive lineman who is on the ground during a running play is going to allow penetration through his gap every time, and that was the case.
Cordle was also the culprit who allowed the lone sack this week on a rush up the gut that he failed to identify and block.
RG David Diehl: C
David Diehl, making his first start of the new season, played a younger game, but at this point in his career, he just doesn't have the speed to keep up with the younger defenders he saw this week or will be seeing down the line.
Overall Grade: C+
The unit gave up one sack and did a much better job of keeping the pocket clean for quarterback Eli Manning. However, the running game problems still linger as with the Giants on yet another new offensive line communication, this unit just cannot establish any continuity.
Justin Tuck: C-
The defensive ends continue to be a problem, and that starts with Justin Tuck, who barely survives in the trenches. He rarely threatens the edges anymore, and when he does try to rush the passer, he’s stunted, sometimes too easily.
Tuck finished with three tackles, two of which were assists, and had little success rushing the passer from his defensive tackle spot.
Jason Pierre-Paul: B-
Jason Pierre-Paul was probably the best of the defensive ends, as he was about as active as he’s been in the first five weeks of the season.
Working mostly against Jason Peters, Pierre-Paul played edge contain well against LeSean McCoy, but not so much so when Michael Vick decided to run.
Pierre-Paul finished with one tackle, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Mathias Kiwanuka: D
Mathias Kiwanuka, who was part of the rotation, had little success against Peters, showing no power in his bull rushes. He has become so one-dimensional of late that opponents no longer have to really scheme around him.
Damontre Moore: Incomplete
Damontre Moore was given a handful of snaps and showed why the coaches have been reluctant to put him out there with the rotation.
Specifically, he was indecisive with his rushes and angles, and thus did nothing to contribute to the defense, coming up empty on the stat sheet.
Overall Grade: C-
Here’s a number for you: 21. That’s 21 combined tackles made by safeties Ryan Mundy and Will Hill. What does that have to do with the defensive ends?
When there are that many tackles being made by members of the defensive secondary, that means ball-carriers are getting past the defensive linemen and linebackers to the second level, which is not what you want to see.
Shaun Rogers: B+
His pass rush might not be anything to write home about, but when it comes to playing the run, Shaun Rogers usually gets the job done by clogging up the cutback lanes.
His lone gaffe occurred when he over-ran a read option by McCoy, but otherwise, Rogers finished with three total tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Cullen Jenkins: A
Fighting off knee and Achilles injuries, Jenkins recorded a half sack that was shared with Kiwanuka on a play that Jenkins’ effort initiated.
It came on a 3rd-and-10 deep in Giants territory. Jenkins timed the snap perfectly and beat his man inside to collapse the pocket against quarterback Nick Foles, who was sacked.
That play forced the Eagles to settle for a field goal, which gave the Eagles the 22-21 lead. Jenkins' night included two tackles, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit.
Mike Patterson: A
Starting for Linval Joseph, Mike Patterson’s one tackle doesn’t begin to define his play against his former teammates. He was around the ball and helped contribute to limiting McCoy to 46 rushing yards by staying on his feet and plugging holes.
Johnathan Hankins: A
Making his NFL debut, the Giants’ second-rounder finished with five solo tackles thanks to some very solid and smart play.
Johnathan Hankins did a lot of the dirty work inside, so he really doesn’t have much to show for it in terms of measurables, but what he did show was an ability to finish off plays, solid technique in tackling and great hustle.
Overall Grade: A-
The one thing you never want to see is defensive tackles falling to the ground.
Credit the Giants group for managing to stay on their feet so they could surf the line of scrimmage and create congestion as needed.
WLB Spencer Paysinger: B+
As usual, Spencer Paysinger was the most solid and most consistent of the bunch, especially in pass coverage.
Though he doesn't have ideal speed—this was most evident on the 24-yard reception by tight end Zach Ertz against whom Paysinger gave too much of a cushion—Paysinger held his own, finishing third on the team in tackles with nine.
MLB Mark Herzlich: Incomplete
Mark Herzlich wasn't on the field much this week as the Giants rarely went to their base defense, a wise move considering the speed of the Eagles offense vs. the speed of Herzlich in coverage.
SLB Keith Rivers: C-
Keith Rivers was given numerous snaps as part of the nickel, this no doubt due to injury concerns surrounding Williams' knee.
However, Rivers' recognition and reaction left much to be desired as he was simply too slow to react to a handful of plays that came in his direction.
Overall Grade: C
The linebackers were partially responsible for allowing ball-carriers to work their way into the second level, where the tackles were made by the safeties. They were also guilty of leaving the middle of the field wide open for quarterback Michael Vick to exploit.
Trumaine McBride: B-
With the cornerbacks banged up—Corey Webster and Jayron Hosley were inactive and Aaron Ross was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week—Trumaine McBride was called upon to start.
Oddly enough, it was McBride, and not Prince Amukamara, who was assigned to cover DeSean Jackson for most of the first half.
By the end of the half, Jackson had three receptions for 83 yards, but one of those receptions, a 56-yarder, stuck out the most as McBride failed in his timing to break up the pass. He did, however, finish with two pass breakups.
Prince Amukamara: B-
Amukamara mostly drew Jackson in the second half and had his struggles. He was called for a third-quarter pass interference penalty against Jackson, who had beaten the defender deep down the field along the right sideline.
Instead of an incomplete pass, the Eagles picked up 27 yards on the penalty, the ball moving from their 20 to their 47 on a drive that would ultimately end in a 41-yard Henery field goal that gave the Eagles the lead for good.
Terrell Thomas: Incomplete
Terrell Thomas didn't see many snaps due to the game plan's use of the three-safety set.
Overall Grade: B-
The Giants cornerbacks are only going to be as good as the pass rush; however, when challenged by the Eagles this week, the corners more than held their own against the Eagles' speed.
Will Hill (No. 25)
Antrel Rolle: C
Antrel Rolle lost his cool during the game and ripped the helmet off of an Eagles player, the action drawing a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call in the first quarter.
Fortunately for the Giants, the Eagles ended up punting on the play, but still, any foul occurring after the whistle is a foolish one that only ends up hurting the team.
Otherwise, Rolle wasnt' targeted much during the day; when he was targeted on a handful of plays, all he could muster was one assisted tackle
Ryan Mundy: B
Mundy had an active day with a team-leading 10 tackles, including two for a loss.
However, as has been the case since Week 1, the Giants linebackers and safeties have their share of troubles with covering tight ends.
Mundy was guilty of that this week as twice he allowed Brent Celek too much room underneath to maneuver.
Will Hill: B
In his first game back following a four-game, league-imposed suspension, Hill contributed to the “stupid penalty” brigade on the Eagles first scoring drive of the game when he was called for unnecessary roughness on Henery’s first field goal of the day, a 40-yarder.
Otherwise, he brought a level of physical play that this defense sorely needed, and he finished second on the team with 11 tackles, all solo, and one tackle for a loss.
Overall Grade: B-
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell whipped out the three-safety look for much of the game, using a combination of Rolle, Mundy and Hill. What was odd about this approach is that in most cases, Rolle was lined up in the slot, a position that’s not really his strength.
P Steve Weatherford: B+
Special teams wasn’t a problem this week, but it didn’t exactly help the Giants in the field-position battle considering the Giants’ average starting field position was their 22-yard line.
The good news is that no punts were returned for touchdowns this week, as Steve Weatherford did a much better job with his directional kicking.
Weatherford might have been helped out by his coverage if gunner Trumaine McBride had managed to down a punt at the 1-yard line instead of letting it slip through his hands for the touchback.
K Josh Brown: A
Josh Brown's place-kicking was also not a problem this week as he made his only PAT, had no field goals to try and sent all four of his kickoffs deep into the end zone for touchbacks.
KR David Wilson: Incomplete
Wilson's lone attempt generated just 16 yards thanks to shoddy blocking up front.
KR: Jerrel Jernigan: C
Jerrel Jernigan didn't have much success either on his two attempts, and in fact, he made an error when he attempted to bring out his second kickoff despite being about four yards deep in the end zone.
He didn't make it to the 20-yard line, and his team ended up losing six yards on the play when Jernigan was stopped at his 14.
PR Rueben Randle: B-
Randle only managed one punt return and caught a big break when his fair catch signal was acknowledged by the officials, who flagged the Eagles for interfering.
However, it was somewhat troublesome to see Randle reluctant to step up to properly field the ball against the rush, even after signaling for a fair catch, because it looked like he was reluctant to risk getting hit.
Overall Grade: B
Special teams wasn’t as big of a problem this week as it had been in weeks past, but it didn’t exactly help sway the field-position battle considering the Giants’ average starting field position was their 22-yard line.