The Giants have had their share of disappointments since they exploded out of the gate to an 11-1 start following a magical Super Bowl run in 2007.
They lost their star receiver to a self-inflicted bullet wound, as well as their mojo in 2008. After another dominant start to the 2009 season, the Giants would end up losing eight of their last eleven games. Including their 1-2 start to 2010, the Giants are 4-10 in their last fourteen games.
On Sunday afternoon the Giants showed the flashes that had a variety of experts predicting big things for the Giants in 2010. The offense moved the ball effectively, and the defense contained Chris Johnson for the majority of the day, which accomplished what had to be the Giants’ number one goal for the game.
Since Tom Coughlin succeeded Jim Fassel in 2004, the unsaid top priority heading into all 16 games and each potential post-season contest would be discipline and ball security. Through the first three games, the Giants failed to meet that quota, and they did so spectacularly against the Tennessee Titans.
There were so many errors and goats during Sunday’s contest that it would be silly to analyze this game through paragraphs. Therefore, I’ll present you a blurb on a certain aspect or player of the game that deserves to be recognized.
Ahmad Bradshaw- GOG (Goat of the Game)
Forget the six yards per carry and 88 rushing yards. Ahmad Bradshaw was a major culprit in this loss. I’ve been preaching for the past two years that this guy is not a No. 1 running back. He is a specialty running back. Meaning, give Bradshaw enough touches and he will provide a spark for your offense if implemented in the right situations.
Instill him as the premier back, and he will negate all of the positives he brings to your team. Last year, he squandered a last-ditch drive by placing the ball on the turf at midfield against the Arizona Cardinals. Game over. Then, during the last half of the season, he was a virtual non-factor because of the two broken feet he sustained for being overworked.
On Sunday his two mistakes cost the Giants 16 points. He cost the Giants a huge play to Mario Manningham with an idiotic chop block penalty that erased a long pass, and resulted in a safety to give the Titans a lead they would never relinquish.
One reason the Giants would never recover was because the Titans would drive for a touchdown following the safety.
The next drive, the Giants were able to drive inside the Titans ten yard-line partly due to some impressive runs by Bradshaw. But trailing by nine points, Bradshaw put the ball on the ground for the third time in three games.
He is not a number one back. He is a complementary back. The media and fan base have both clamored for him to have a more prominent role for years, even when Derrick Ward was thriving as Jacobs’ duo partner. This is what Bradshaw is though. The Giants need to find a way to minimize his carries, which I believe should occur with an expanded role for D.J. Ware.
He made one mistake the whole game. A costly one, but one that could be overcome and if it was up to Manning, would have been conquered with ease.
But he didn’t receive any help around him. Tom Coughlin noted in his post-game presser the ridiculous amount of passes that have gotten tipped up and intercepted. This brings me back to the occasions I’m able to watch a Packers game. Aaron Rodgers is a stud, but when he puts the ball in a position where it’s not necessarily a great throw but his receiver has a chance to bring it in, they do just that.
Too frequently Eli has a pass that was thrown high or slightly behind a receiver has the pass been tipped up and promptly intercepted. Eli Manning has six picks this year. Four of them are not his fault. That is ridiculous, and despite the previously noted collective talent of the Giants receiving group, they have to be much more consistent for their quarterback.
He’s overmatched. He had an impressive showing in Indianapolis, displaying the powerful leg that Coughlin has repeatedly stated he sees at practice, then showing the savvy of a veteran by pinning the Colts at the two-yard line on one punt.
But in his two home games, he’s been downright awful. His punts at the New Meadowlands Stadium have predominantly been knuckleballs with little hang time and even less distance.
To top that off, he was guilty of arguably the biggest mental error of the day for the Giants. For one reason or another, he never was cognizant of the play clock and failed to call for the snap on a 38-yard field goal that would have sliced the Titans lead to six.
Instead, the kicking team took the five-yard penalty and Tynes shanked his second kick of the game.
The Giants can’t continue running him out there as a punter. Surely, they have scrolled through other options after Dodge’s struggles on opening day. Now that his problems contributed to a loss, it will be worth noting whether or not Dodge plays next Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.
Every Giant guilty of an unnecessary roughness penalty
All five of them. Five of the Giants eleven penalties came following a whistle that pronounced the play dead. That is unacceptable. Coughlin said it’s one of those parts of the game where the players inevitably try to prove their machoness, but it was a downright joke on Sunday.
It’s hard to measure which one was the dumbest, but the most costly came from Kareem McKenzie. Following an incompletion from Eli Manning, McKenzie inexplicably pushed a Titans defensive lineman to the ground. Instead of third and ten with the game on the line, it was a third and 25.
Right as the yellow flag touched the turf Tom Coughlin grabbed Shawn Andrews and sent him on the field to displace Kareem McKenzie, who the Giants signed in 2005 for his incredible discipline record as well as remarkable consistency. Both of those are no longer strengths, and for this, among other reasons, I think Shawn Andrews will be the Giants starting right tackle when the offense takes the field against the Bears.
Tom Coughlin took the blame for this debacle. He does deserve criticism, but the players need to start doing their jobs. If they lose their third straight games, there is a realistic chance the players will start tuning Coughlin out. From an optimistic standpoint, one would say that the Giants did outplay the Titans today and both of their losses have come against AFC opponents. And given the cloud of mediocrity cast over the NFL right now, it may take only one win to revive a season that is seemingly in a downward spiral.
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