Although the Giants lost on Monday night, there is a silver lining. The Redskins (4-2) and the Cowboys (4-2) both lost. Thus, despite not even forcing a punt against the Browns, the Giants (4-1) remain in first place in the NFC East.
However, it must be said Monday night was a pitiful performance by the defending Super Bowl Champions in almost every facet.
The Giants did not look like Super Bowl Champions on Monday night. They did not look like the team that just battered the Seahawks 44-6. Instead, the Giants defense looked lethargic, allowing the Browns to commit numerous penalties and still convert on 2nd and 3rd and long.
On the other side of the ball, Eli Manning did his best impersonation of his 2006 self, throwing three interceptions against the lowly Browns defense.
Although both Eli and the defense played their worst football since Minnesota last year, perhaps most disappointing were the Giants coaching and play calling.
Offensively, Kevin Gilbride decided to force the passing game even though the rushing attack was averaging well over five yards per carry. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) the Giants must find a way to get Ahmad Bradshaw more touches on offense.
After all, Bradshaw played an integral part of the Giants historic run to Super Bowl XLII.
Furthermore, it has to be questioned why with eight minutes left to play, inside the red zone, and a chance to cut the Browns lead to seven, Gilbride decided to keep passing. The Browns could not stop Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward who combined for 168 rushing yards and a touchdown on the night.
On the defensive side, the Giants front four could not generate any pressure on Derek Anderson and he made them pay time after time. This begs the question, why did Steve Spagnuolo not dial up more safety and corner blitzes?
Having said all of that, I am confident that Monday night was just a slip up for a team (including the coaches) that has been excellent for the past eight weeks dating back to last season.
So, Giants fans needn’t worry, it’s better to lose a game now and correct the mistakes. If you don’t think so, just ask the Patriots if they would trade in that perfect regular season for a Super Bowl ring.
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