New York Giants Report Card: Grading the Week 11 Performance vs. Eagles

Louis MustoContributor IIINovember 21, 2011

New York Giants Report Card: Grading the Week 11 Performance vs. Eagles

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    In a must-win game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants lost their second straight contest inside MetLife Stadium, 17-10. The Giants appeared to be mounting a late-game comeback when an Eli Manning fumble handed the ball back to the Eagles with just over a minute remaining in the game.

    For the Giants, the loss is a painful one, with the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL and a game forthcoming against the high-powered New Orleans Saints (7-3) in Week 12. With murmurs of another second-half collapse for the Giants under head coach Tom Coughlin already arising among the media, this loss to the Eagles could be an unpleasant foreshadowing of the impending disappointments to come for Big Blue.

    The Giants struggled on both sides of the ball and, despite the Eagles being without star players Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin, made the Eagles’ offensive unit look like the “Dream Team” they were projected to be before the season—coincidentally led at quarterback by the man who deemed them as such, Vince Young.

    Young had not started an NFL game in a year and had only attempted one pass coming into the Eagles' Week 11 matchup with the Giants.

    The loss now puts the Giants in a tie atop the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys at 6-4. With two games remaining between the Giants and Cowboys and the Cowboys having a much easier schedule in front of them, the Giants dropped a game they needed to win and have put themselves in a tough position in the battle for the division title.

    Going forward, the Giants have not presented a promising look into the rest of the season with the play they left out on the field in Week 11. Let’s see how each unit performed for Big Blue in their disappointing loss to the Eagles.

Eli Manning

1 of 7

    It isn’t easy to be Eli Manning this week.

    After posting an MVP-caliber season through nine games for the season, Manning laid an egg at home against the Eagles in the worst way. Manning struggled to hit receivers all game and threw an ugly interception in the middle of the first quarter across the middle.

    To be fair, Manning faced a lot of pressure and did not have the time in the pocket he needed to have to make the best throws he could. He hit Victor Cruz on a few beautiful passes, including a great touchdown in the corner of the end zone, and hooked up with Hakeem Nicks on a couple of nice balls as well.

    As was the story against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10, the Giants’ receivers dropped a handful of passes from Manning—tight end Jake Ballard dropped three, two of which were very easy catches for big yardage.

    Still, Manning’s play was not pretty and his fumble at the end of the game cut down the Giants’ march toward a comeback against the Eagles.

    Grade: C+

Running Backs

2 of 7

    If Giants fans were hoping Brandon Jacobs would finally back up all that complaining he did a few weeks ago, they were sadly disappointed—again.

    Jacobs continued to run as he has for two seasons now, tip-toeing to the line and falling at the slightest contact. He hit holes—what little there were of them—with minimal burst and did not contribute to any good in the Giants’ loss to the Eagles. He finished the game with 12 carries for just 21 yards.

    After DJ Ware went out with a concussion, Da’Rel Scott carried the ball once in the third quarter and picked up eight yards on the run. Unfortunately, that was the last time we’d see Scott in the game.

    With Ware and Ahmad Bradshaw both injured and Jacobs completely inept in the running game, the Giants would be smart to give some more carries to Scott in the coming weeks. Right now though, the Giants do not have a ground game and as long as that continues, the Giants will not win football games against good competition.

    Grade: F

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    Sooner or later, Big Blue’s receivers must limit the drops they have in every game. Victor Cruz had a big drop at the end of the second quarter and relegated the Giants to just a field goal as the first half closed, and tight end Jake Ballard had three big drops in the game.

    With Eli Manning finding little time in the pocket, the Giants receivers need to make the most of every opportunity they get and in recent weeks, they have failed to do so and it’s cost the Giants. To top that, the receivers did a poor job getting open against the Eagles secondary and did not aid Manning at all for much of the game in that regard.

    Cruz did have six receptions for 128 yards and the Giants’ lone touchdown of the evening—capped off by some salsa—and Hakeem Nicks added 69 yards on three receptions. Outside of those two men, the Giants accomplished less than needed to get the job done against the Eagles.

    Grade: C+

Offensive Line

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    Sooner or later, Big Blue’s receivers must limit the drops they have in every game. Victor Cruz had a big drop at the end of the second quarter and relegated the Giants to just a field goal as the first half closed, and tight end Jake Ballard had three big drops in the game.

    With Eli Manning finding little time in the pocket, the Giants receivers need to make the most of every opportunity they get and in recent weeks, they have failed to do so and it’s cost the Giants. To top that, the receivers did a poor job getting open against the Eagles secondary and did not aid Manning at all for much of the game in that regard.

    Cruz did have six receptions for 128 yards and the Giants’ lone touchdown of the evening—capped off by some salsa—and Hakeem Nicks added 69 yards on three receptions. Outside of those two men, the Giants accomplished less than needed to get the job done against the Eagles.

    Grade: D

Defense

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    Do not let the three interceptions fool you, the Giants defense had a terrible night against Vince Young and the Eagles at MetLife Stadium. With Michael Vick out, the defense was supposed to have an easier time, but quite the opposite happened.

    Young threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns, while DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Brent Celek each had their way with the Giants pass defense. LeSean McCoy added 113 on the ground, but the Giants did manage to silence the number two rusher in the NFL—60 rushing yards came on the Eagles’ final play of the game.

    Big Blue’s defense had a tough time against the Eagles and their offensive line, failing to get in Vince Young’s face like they needed to. They managed to sack the former Texas Longhorn just once.

    In the fourth quarter, the Giants allowed the Eagles to hold the ball for the majority of the quarter, venturing on an 18-play drive that took over nine minutes and ended in what would be the game-winning touchdown reception by Riley Cooper.

    On the drive, the Giants allowed the Eagles to convert on six third downs—the Eagles were 9-of-17 on third downs for the game. In the end, it was the Giants’ inability to stop Young and the Eagles that limited Eli Manning and his opportunities to put points on the board.

    Grade: C

Special Teams

6 of 7

    The special teams did fairly well for the amount of time they saw the field. The return game continues to be less-than-impressive, but has not been detrimental to the Giants’ play.

    Lawrence Tynes connected on his only field goal attempt of the night—a 48-yarder to close the first half.

    Punter Steve Weatherford saw the most work, unfortunately for the Giants. He was great for them, punting the ball nine times for an average of 44.4 yards per punt, four of which were inside the 20-yard line.

    The Giants made one mistake when punting the ball for Desean Jackson as Jackson nearly gave Tom Coughlin flashbacks to “The Miracle at the New Meadowlands II” on a 51-yard punt return that would have been a touchdown had Jackson have not stepped out of bounds.

    Grade: B

Coaching

7 of 7

    The coaching within the Giants organization right now is terrible.

    While Tom Coughlin continues to stand on the sideline with his trademark befuddled look on his face every time the Giants are called for holding, false start, or pass interference, Perry Fewell’s defensive schemes appear to be able to do nothing but churn out turnovers.

    Turnovers are nice, but when you can’t stop the opposing offense 99 percent of the time and you allow them to have nine-minute drives on you, the turnovers prove useless.

    This becomes especially true when your offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, continues to live up to his nickname of “Kill Drive”. Gilbride’s play-calling against the Eagles was poor at best. On too many third downs, Gilbride drew up plays that did not make it to the first down marker and as a result, the Giants had to punt the ball nine times.

    The Giants did not run the ball as much as they tried to against the 49ers in Week 10, but Gilbride still tried to force it with Brandon Jacobs and wasted drives because of it. Sooner or later, he will have to accept that running it on first and second down every drive isn’t going to work at any point in the game—Jacobs just isn’t that good and neither is the blocking he’s getting up front.

    The Giants continue to be one of the worst teams in the NFL when it comes to penalties—they had five—and were highly responsible for the offense’s early struggles against the Eagles. Penalties are a sign of discipline and that falls back on the coaching staff, ironically led by a so-called “disciplinarian” in Tom Coughlin.

    Grade: F