The Giants were spanked today. The mistakes they have made all season were on full display. Those mistakes were magnified by a competent opponent (GB) that was more than willing to accept the Giants’ charity.
Eli needed to be large. He was not.
The turnovers needed to stop. They did not.
Fewell needed to use press coverage/no Cover2. He did not.
The sloppiness needed to end. It did not.
The team needed to come out fast and play 4 full quarters. They did not.
Tom Coughlin tried to rally the troops. He failed. In 2009, the hapless Giants had a must-win game vs the Panthers last year and got spanked. In 2010, the improved but inconsistent Giants had another must-win game and got spanked once again.
The game’s early tone was set by the weakness of Perry Fewell. In building a case for why the Giants could play with anybody, we explained that one of the criteria was to see Fewell use less and less passive schemes as the teams they faced got better and better. Aaron Rodgers is a top flight QB and you simply cannot use the off coverage we have railed against all season. Fewell used off coverage liberally in H1, and the Giants were run over. If not for a fortunate two play sequence, it would have been much worse than 21-14 at the half.
OFF COVERAGE. Cover2. Pete called it fool’s gold. You get success vs weaker teams with these schemes, but when you play against the GOOD QBs, it does not work. Aaron Rodgers picked on the off coverage so often (slants, etc..) that he racked up 225 yds in one half. Thomas and Webster were playing on Pluto while Jennings, Jones and Rodgers were playing pitch and catch. By the time the second half came and we began to see a little more press coverage, it was too little too late.
To the untrained observer, the press coverage was equally unsuccessful. That is a completely faulty conclusion. Rodgers and his WRs were forced to make some terrific throws and catches. They did, but at least they earned it. BUT HERE IS THE RUB: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster need to be playing press coverage all the time so that they are fluid and ready to contest every route. Just like they have been capable of in the past. Not this way, where it is sporadic and then thrust into vs Rodgers at QB.
Oh yes, there were the turnovers. Oodles of them. In reality, there were 4 or 5. The final count was 6. Whatever. It was just plain fugly. The Giants are getting beaten badly but here it is they are down 14 and driving. Jacobs has just busted one loose, and then Clay Matthews (LBer LBer LBer?!) makes a great hustle play to cause yet another turnover. MAKE IT STOP! Someone please make it stop.
The sloppiness in this game was a microcosm of the season. How many times this year have we seen the WRs and Eli Manning on a different page? Yes, the absence of Steve Smith exaggerates this problem, but in the NFL, the subs have to be ready. And Mr. Gilbride, if your WRs do not know their route trees, simplify it for them, because they have cost the Giants too many blown drives and turnovers. And Mr. Coughlin, our teflon steward, where are you in all of this when these mistakes keep coming and keep repeating? We are tired of watching the mistakes, hearing you take responsibility, and then witnessing another big game where the mistakes rear their ugly head in full splendor.
I do not want to discuss how the run game disappeared in the past two games. Or how we had no pressure from anyone on the DL except Justin Tuck. Or why Eli serially underthrows his receivers. Or…
What we want to discuss now is why this team underachieves. Even if the Giants were not the better team today, which they were not, we want to know why this team is SEVERELY outplayed when it counts the most. The common denominator has been and will always be Mr. Tom Coughlin. If there are any people out there who want to defend the captain of the gmen football ship, please explain why this is not on the head coach. Because we are tired of watching the steward dodging accountability year after year. This is the third consecutive year (and 4 out of 5) that the team has FAILED down the stretch. Not lost, FAILED.
The Giants still remain in the playoff hunt. We carefully outlined 16 reasons why the Giants could be competitive. But when the mistakes continue, the turnovers continue, the Fewell passiveness continues and the old Eli who cannot play 4Qs continues, it is time to accept that the Giants need a change. The talent is there. The head coach is not. Sure, we can see a scenario where the Giants will beat the hapless Skins and get a couple of cosmic breaks next week. But what will it matter if the mistakes will just show up again in the wild card? THIS GAME WAS THE WILD CARD! This was the game of redemption for last week’s sins. And all the Giants did was sin again.