Rams vs. Giants: 5 Things We Learned from Giants 28-16 Win
The first two touchdowns the Giants scored were off bone-headed turnovers by the Rams, and the offense struggled to get moving until late in the first half.
You've heard the saying "A win is a win," which is true, but what remains clear is the Giants are not going to compete for a playoff spot unless they take care of their issues.
Here are five things we learned from the Giants win over the Rams.
The Offensive Line Is Struggling To Run Block
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Although the Giants offensive line did open some nice holes for the running backs on occasion, for most of the game, they were pretty bad.
Especially in the second half, the Rams front seven were constantly in the backfield blowing up running plays, which is something the Giants better fix.
If the running game is not at least marginally effective, it usually takes a toll on Eli Manning when trying to move the ball, although he actually played better in the second half when the running game was somewhat ineffective.
Still, the Giants are a power running, smash-mouth team that has to get back to what they do best.
Eli Manning Showed Some Resiliency
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After starting 2-of-11 and the Giants starting 0-of-5 on third down, Eli Manning improved drastically in the second half, which had a lot to do with the play-calling from Kevin Gilbride.
Eli finished 18-of-29 for 200 yards, two TDs and one interception, amounting to a 91.2 QB rating (meaning he finished the game 16-of-18 after that terrible start).
The Giants had built a strong lead in the first half, and after scoring to go ahead 28-9, the offense was not relied upon to do more than milk the clock, and that's exactly what Eli and Co. did.
After a horrible start, it was nice to see Eli get his act together.
Domenik Hixon Deserves the Slot Receiver Job
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Sure, Hixon didn't light up the stat sheet, but from what we saw, he deserves to be Eli Manning's slot receiver, at least until Brandon Stokley gets comfortable with the offense.
He made an absolutely spectacular catch to put the Giants ahead 21-6 just before halftime. The game was pretty much out of reach at that point with the way the red-zone defense was playing.
If Hixon's knee injury is not serious, the man deserves more playing time.
Aaron Ross Is Not the Player He Once Was
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Despite making a great play to force a field goal, Aaron Ross has proved that he does not deserve to be in the starting lineup. In the first half, the Rams carved him up and moved the ball at will, and when Michael Coe was inserted in to the lineup for most of the second half, the defense played much better.
Ross is just not the same player we saw in 2008, a guy who was improving and looked like one of the next good corners in the NFL. He just hasn't recovered from the injuries that plagued him during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
He's a good player to have as a backup, but Michael Coe should be the starter at least until Prince Amukamara returns.
The Defensive Front Is Better Than Expected
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Despite losing 2010 starting linebackers Jonathan Goff and Keith Bulluck and Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora (for a couple weeks) and Barry Cofield (to free agency), the Giants defensive front has played much better than expected.
Greg Jones, who is getting the start at middle linebacker after Goff tore his ACL, made a great stop on the Rams' first drive that ultimately led to a Rams field goal. The red-zone defense was the story tonight.
The defensive line has been dominant despite those losses mentioned above and were even good in the loss last week without captain Justin Tuck.
The defense is playing much better than anyone could have expected, despite the fact that they've given up 300 yards passing in consecutive weeks. With the injuries they've sustained, we should have expected some growing pains.
If Perry Fewell can somehow figure out his secondary, this defense can still be a great unit.