Steelers 24 Giants 17

Mixed bag for the Giants in a preseason loss last night.

Everything has to be balanced by the fact that this is just preseason.  There were good and bad things, but overall the Giants performance left a lot to be desired. 

The Good
1) Corey Webster INT.
2) More than a few defensive plays that blew up runs in the backfield for losses.  Osi looked good on two of them.  
3) Justin Tuck is arguably the best player on the team.  This guy consistently makes impact plays.  Blew up a run in the backfield while being blocked in the back and had a part in a sack.  A pleasure to watch.  Hoping he can finally have a healthy season.
4) Ahmad Bradshaw improvises.  He weaves gold from straw. 
5) Victor Cruz, fumbled punt excluded, continues to demonstrate that he is not only going to make the team but possibly do much much more.
6) Linval Joseph can push the pile.  Being a DT in the NFL means a tremendous physical and mental maturation process (i.e. don’t expect a lot immediately), but he looks like he has the right stuff. 
7) Steve Smith had a really nice adjustment on a 45 yard pass play.
8) Bulluck and Phillips got their feet wet.

The Bad
1) The run defense was bad.  Rolle and Grant led the team at halftime in tackles, which means the Giants first string LBers were not doing their jobs. 
2) Special teams were mostly awful, excepting a nice punt return by Aaron Ross.  Dodge’s punts were again inconsistent. 
3) Rhett Bomar telegraphs to the side he is throwing and he zones in on the particular player he is intending to pass to.  NO NO NO!  We have been big supporters of nurturing this 5th round lottery ticket, so this is how you bring him along: you tell him he is going to KILL the GIANTS and be out of a job if he does not look off his defenders.  He was lucky he did not have at least FOUR INTs as a result of this.
4) Rhett Bomar’s timing with Mario Manningham was bad all of the first half.  The tipped ball which then resulted in an INT was the cherry on the cake for the ugliness these two had out there.  Yes, Manninham had a nice catch and run for a first down early in the game, but beyond that it was very sloppy.
5) Rhett Bomar is going to get himself killed if he does not start sliding when he scrambles.
6) Overall, the pass rush was not good, and the Giants pass protection was better than last game but not that much better.
7) Jacobs hurt again?!
8) Why do we not see Bradshaw in space?  Practice now makes perfect later.  The lack of leverage of this talented player in this capacity is why we continue to ask questions about Gilbride, preseason or not. 
9) DJ Ware continues to show that he is brittle.  Another injury, this time a concussion.

The Ugly
1) There are no uglies in preseason*.  There would be plenty if this game were the regular season, but being that it is getting the rust out and evaluating players, you take things with a grain of salt and look for improvement.

Summary: Just like the score of last week’s win vs the Jets did not tell the story, neither did the (only) 7 point loss to the Steelers.  The Giants were sloppy.  The Steelers are left stranded at the 1 yard line as time expires in H1, so stop imagining that the Giants were only a TD away from being competitive in this contest.  It was 24-7, could have been much worse, but near the end the Giants put some points together to make it closer than it was.  With Eli Manning, Chris Snee, Rich Seubert, Brandon Jacobs and Hakeem Nicks (who was thrown out on the first play from scrimmage) not playing, it is always going to be hard to get the offense moving.  So we understand that you cannot read too much into anything.  Tuck, Bradshaw, Osi, Joseph, Webster, Smith, Rolle and Cruz are upbeat items that give us optimism.  We will need to see more consistency next week. 

* except season-ending/costly injuries, which were not disclosed by the Giants at the time of this posting 

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