The Big Blue Blame Game

David GellerAnalyst IOctober 14, 2008

Last night’s drubbing by a supposedly inferior team has Giants fans around the league pulling their hair out and reverting to post-Vikings-game form. If you don’t believe me, the Geico caveman and I would advise you to take a gander at the uh—Giants message boards.

In reality, the Giants lost to a talent-laden team that was desperate for revenge, positive exposure, and a win. But it’s New York! It’s been over nine months since the last Giants defeat, so let’s put the microscope on those that screwed up the most on Monday night.

Eli Manning

He wasn't awful, but his three interceptions were. It was clear that after Manning got buried by Mt. St. Rogers that he was very rattled. He was throwing more on his back foot when pressure was in his face, which was a habit that defined old-Eli.

New-Eli played so well because pressure never fazed him. Apparently this shot from Rogers is hurting Eli, and he’s currently under-going an array of tests for his chest by team doctors.

He looked confused by the Browns' schemes last night and was forcing the ball to Burress. Was it because he wanted to keep the big guy happy? Or that he is just enamored with Plax’s physical ability and wants to keep throwing it to him? Regardless, he has other viable weapons that can make catches, and he needs to throw to them more.

Steve Smith had nine catches last night; he was really the only other guy that Manning threw it to. There was a sequence of drives in the second and third quarter that Eli just heaved it to Burress when he was one on one and it resulted in two interceptions and a couple of stalled drives. I think this cools down the Eli>Peyton talks, huh?

Steve Spagnuola

Regardless of how his career turns out as Giants defensive coordinator, he’ll always have a special place in Giants hearts for devising schemes that baffled the greatest offense in NFL history.

However, in the unforgiving world of writing, I can say with a clear conscious that much of the blame for last night’s debacle should be placed on Spags. They’re picking up the blitz from every corner and are beating your corners one-on-one. Why are you continuing to blitz?

The Browns' O was clearly in the zone last night, but Spags’s insistence to send waves of blitzers gave the Giants no chance. It will be interesting to see how Spags adjusts during games when his blitzes aren’t reaching the quarterback. He had a similar problem against the Bengals in the fourth quarter, where Palmer was shredding the Giants defense as he was being protected from the Giants' blitz packages.

If there is a blueprint to beat the Giants, it’s keeping two extra blockers to stop the Giants rush and sending three receivers out. It’s pretty clear that the Giants have a soft spot in their secondary when their corners are left on an island, and I think teams are going to try and take advantage of that. Let’s see how Spags covers that one up in the upcoming weeks.

Aaron Ross

It’s very rare to see his name on a list of this sort, but he was dreadful last night. Braylon Edwards and Derek Anderson hooked up for multiple big games on him, including a touchdown and a 70-yard pass. He’s usually money in coverage but like the rest of the Giants defense, he was very ineffective.

Ross’s supporting cast was partly to blame, but the fact the ball was subsequently thrown over his head gets him on the list. He’ll bounce back though. He’s a stud.

Romeo Crenell

Mike Tirico was right; their penalties aren’t even at a high-school level. As infuriated as Browns fans must be with the prevalence of penalties this season, Giants fans were even more enraged. By the middle of the third quarter, the Big Blue fanbase had been teased with so much false hope. It was very irritating and further proves how horrid the Giants' defense played last night.

The Giants play the 49ers this Sunday, hoping to improve their record to 5-1. After being brought down to earth on Monday, we'll see how this Giants bunch responds.

And if you think someone else is to blame, feel free to relay your thoughts on who it is and why.