Seattle Seahawks vs. NY Giants: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York
This week, it was all on the Giants offense, which mustered just 181 total yards, including 25 yards on the ground.
The hapless Giants offense gave the ball away five times, all on interceptions by Eli Manning, who with 169 career turnovers, has passed Charley Conerly as the Giants' franchise leader.
After the game, head coach Tom Coughlin didn’t mince any words in sharing his observations, calling the performance of the offense “pathetic.”
“I told the players who prepared and gave great effort that I appreciated what they did, and I told those that were obvious they had not, that I felt sorry for them because they’re missing the whole point,” said the disgusted Coughlin.
While defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle insisted that the blame shouldn’t be on the head coach, the fact remains that with the Giants (5-9) out of the playoffs and guaranteed of having their first losing season under Coughlin since 2004, the coach's message is apparently not reaching some of the players.
Hard as it might be, here’s a look at the grades earned by each unit.
Yes, his protection stunk. Yes, his receivers didn’t always fight for the ball or get open.
Still, quarterback Eli Manning, who after throwing 25 interceptions in 2010 famously declared that he’s “not a 25-interception quarterback” needs to take some of the blame for this week's shutout, as he continues to struggle with inaccuracy and poor decision-making.
Manning was specifically asked after the game about his interceptions, and as he’s done all season long when the topic has come up, he has difficulty in coming up with an explanation:
“I don’t feel any differently on my throws, so I don’t think that’s a reason for some of the interceptions.”
So then what is the reason for all the interceptions?
“As they say, each one has its own story and sometimes it’s a bad decision or a bad throw, or today it just seemed like their guys made plays,” he said. “They went up and grabbed some balls and took it away from our guys.”
Whatever the reason—and on a quick glance it looks like some of his throwing mechanics aren't quite where they need to be—Manning has tied his single-season high for interceptions.
An improved offensive line and more reliable receivers might help him in the future, but for this week at least, Manning was very much a part of the problem on offense.
Unit Grade: C-
The numbers tell the story: 25 yards on 14 carries (1.8 yards per carry).
In what was perhaps his worst game as a pro, Andre Brown's inability to stay on his feet and break tackles was very concerning given that he normally displays fine balance and power on his rushes.
He also whiffed on two pass-blocking opportunities that led to his quarterback being sacked.
In the second half, Brown was replaced by Peyton Hillis, but Hillis' playing time was cut short when he had to leave the game with a concussion.
Unit Grade: D
Although Brandon Myers had three receptions for 37 yards, including his 150th career catch, he didn't always get open for Manning to consider as an option.
As for his blocking, it was once again ineffective, as, for whatever the reason, the coaches continue to call runs to his side of the formation despite the fact that he can't execute an effective seal block with any consistency.
To make matters worse, Myers let his frustration bubble via Twitter with a couple of very revealing tweets:
If ppl on this team wanna take shots at me an say I have no passion they are mistaken. I give everything I have each an every week—Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
Getting cussed out for encouraging ppl am telling them they did a good job is mind blowing.—Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
Myers later cooled down a bit a short time after his tweets, saying:
My emotions got the best of me. I just want to win. All focus and energy will be on that.—Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
Granted, tempers flared given the loss, but this public display still was rather surprising considering that the Giants have historically refrained from airing their dirty laundry in public.
As for the other tight ends, Bear Pascoe caught both passes thrown his way for 12 yards total. Meanwhile, Larry Donnell was used only as a blocker this week.
Unit Grade: C-
Victor Cruz caught two of the seven passes thrown his way for just 25 yards, but he had a couple of painful misses.
The first was a rare dropped pass in the first quarter after he beat cornerback Byron Maxwell. The ball was on the money, but Cruz couldn't hold onto it.
The other painful miss came on the play in which he suffered a knee injury and a possible concussion that could end his season. Cruz appeared to have made the reception, but the play was challenged and reversed.
Despite his numbers, Cruz put forth a solid effort in trying to get open.
Rueben Randle was targeted twice, but didn't come up with any receptions, as he was unable to get open against the Seahawks' aggressive coverage.
Hakeem Nicks came up with one reception out of five targets for five yards, but more alarmingly, he didn't seem to put up much of a fight for the ball on some of his targets.
Nicks appeared to be the guilty party on at least one of Manning's interceptions, specifically the one that occurred a few plays after Antrel Rolle picked off Russell Wilson. Nicks failed to come back for the Manning pass, allowing Maxwell to step in front of him. The rest was history.
Jerrel Jernigan led the team with seven catches for 67 yards in a positive effort that included a couple of receptions over the middle. What was especially impressive was how he hung onto the ball after getting hit by Seattle safety Cam Chancellor.
Unit Grade: D
For the sixth week in a row, and the 10th time this season, the Giants offensive line allowed multiple sacks in a game, as this week, the unit had no answers for the Seattle defensive front.
In addition to giving up the four sacks this week, the offensive line allowed six tackles for a loss and six quarterback hits.
Also, the running game finished with its second-lowest output of the year, 25 yards on 14 carries, as the line had trouble opening holes in the ground attack.
Left tackle William Beatty, who has come under fire this season, had a mostly positive game until the fourth quarter, when the Giants had to almost exclusively turn to the passing game. Right tackle Justin Pugh had a good first half pass-blocking but eventually yielded a sack to defensive end Michael Bennett on a 3rd-and-14. The run-blocking aspect of his game was a different story, as he struggled throughout to sustain his blocks.
The weak link of the starting unit was left guard James Brewer, who came out of the game in the second half due to an ankle injury.
Brewer always seemed to be a step too late in getting to where he needed to be, and, at times, had trouble with keeping his balance.
Right guard David Diehl will battle his man to the end, but he doesn't always win those battles. This week, he was pushed back into the pocket on a handful of dropbacks. His run-blocking was, for the most part, satisfactory.
Center Kevin Boothe, who's been solid in the middle, had his share of struggles against Seattle, as he was pushed back into the pocket. This was especially the case on one run-blocking play in which he was beaten cleanly by a defender who dropped Andre Brown for a four-yard loss.
Brandon Mosley replaced Brewer in the second half, but his hesitant play indicates that he is still very much a work in progress. He also missed one blitz pickup, a play in which he looked as though he was caught off-guard.
Unit Grade: D
Finishing with six tackles, Justin Tuck had another productive game. He was credited with a half-sack and came close on couple of other pressures, including one in which quarterback Russell Wilson stiff-armed him.
Tuck also flew to the ball on running plays and fought off blocks with a tenacity that was hard to miss. He was a big reason why Marshawn Lynch was held to just 47 yards rushing.
Although Mathias Kiwanuka delivers a solid effort, he's no longer able to beat his man around the edge. He finished with four tackles, two solo, and might have had more against the run had he been able to shed some blocks.
Damontre Moore might not be the complete package yet, but in his most extensive snaps to date, he continues to show some very encouraging flashes.
The rookie, who finished with two solo tackles this week, goes after his man with an intensity that this defense sorely needs.
Unit Grade: B-
Cullen Jenkins continued to be a disruptive inside force this week, splitting a sack with Justin Tuck, and then forcing another of the Giants four sacks this week.
Jenkins did well to quickly get into his gaps and take away any cutback lanes for Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch. Not surprisingly, Jenkins contributed one tackle for a loss and collapsed the pocket enough to record two hits on Russell Wilson.
Much of the same can be said about the effort of Linval Joseph, who ended with five tackles, one red-zone sack, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit. Joseph was particularly stubborn in surfing the line of scrimmage to fill holes and force Lynch to the outside.
Markus Kuhn earned some snaps on defense this week, his first playing time of the year, and his relentlessness earned him one tackle. Mike Patterson didn't make it onto the stat sheet this week, but he was still part of a run defense that helped limit Lynch.
Johnathan Hankins appears to be developing a comfort level as part of the defensive rotation, as he played his gaps well and pushed the pocket on a handful of pass-attempt opportunities. He rarely loses his balance and does an effective job of moving along the line of scrimmage and pushing the pocket.
Unit Grade: B+
With the Giants going predominantly with their run defense package, Spencer Paysinger got on the field a lot, and finished as the team leader with eight tackles (six solo).
Paysinger consistently delivers a smart game consisting of very few mental mistakes and a lot of aggressive, yet disciplined play.
Jon Beason, who finished third with seven (five solo), did a nice job of filling holes and moving from sideline to sideline to stop Marshawn Lynch from gashing the Giants on the ground.
Beason also went after quarterback Russell Wilson on one of his scrambles, and kept the athletic signal caller from breaking a run up the field.
Keith Rivers only recorded two tackles, one solo, but held his ground against Seattle's very physical running game.
Jacquian Williams didn't get many snaps this week given the focus on stopping the run, but he was involved in a second-half blitz that forced an incomplete pass.
Mark Herzlich, who has been quietly playing well in the goal line and short yardage defenses, stopped Lynch just short of the plane after making a solid read on the play.
Unit Grade: B
Prince Amukamara, who earlier in the week missed practice due to illness, was apparently still battling his bug, as he had to come out of the game to gather himself.
This could have been why Amukamara wasn’t as aggressive as usual. In playing too far off receiver Golden Tate, who caught a seam pass in front of him, Amukamara looked like he was gassed a little this week.
Amukamara was also the recipient of a stiff-arm by running back Marshawn Lynch, who simply pushed him out of the way with ease.
Terrell Thomas has been an inspirational story this season, but the last couple of weeks, he’s had slip-ups in coverage that have led to big plays.
This week, it came against Doug Baldwin on an inside slant as Thomas gave up the inside to the receiver who then waltzed right into the end zone for the 12-yard touchdown.
Trumaine McBride was the most solid of the corners, getting his hands on the receivers and wrapping up his tackle attempts well. He finished with five tackles, all solo.
Unit Grade: B-
Antrel Rolle, who finished second on the team with seven tackles, and who also had a tackle for a loss, a pass breakup and the defense’s lone interception, was a one-man wrecking crew this week.
His interception in particular was a thing of beauty as he showed great hustle to come from his center-field spot to pick off a pass.
Ryan Mundy saw a good number of snaps this week as part of the strategy to deal with the physical style of Marshawn Lynch and finished with six tackles, including a nice goal-line stand and two tackles for a loss of yardage.
Mundy also came on a couple of blitzes, one of which he failed to take down quarterback Russell Wilson, who connected with Lynch in the flat.
On his second blitz, Mundy was successful, recording his first career sack for minus four yards.
Will Hill finished with six tackles as he wasn’t given the deep responsibilities this week. He managed to get a few hits on Lynch, limiting the big back’s yards after contact.
Unit Grade: B+
Special teams were the least of the Giants' worries this week.
Kicker Josh Brown's lone kickoff went for a touchback.
Punter Steve Weatherford had eight punts that resulted in a 38.4 net average, the longest of which was returned 22 yards by Golden Tate.
Jerrel Jernigan was back on kickoff returns, and finished with a 24.7 average, including a long of 31.
Rueben Randle was limited to one return for four yards as Seattle managed to down three other punts while one went for a touchback.
Unit Grade: B+