The New Orleans Saints embarrassed the New York Football Giants on Monday Night Football. Scoring 49 points on the Giants, the Saints made it look so easy, the Big Easy. Coming off of their bye week, the Saints were well prepared and played outstanding football. On the other hand, this Giants team looked pathetic, especially on defense. And this is going to be the focus.
After the game, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin exclaimed, “We just weren’t able to cover them.” Yes, Tom. Your defense was awful. No pressure on Brees. The Giants did not record a sack. With no pressure, open passing lanes for Bress, and off coverage, Saints quarterback Drew Brees put up sensational numbers. Brees was 24/38 for 363 yards and FOUR touchdowns. He also ran for a TD. Besides not being able to COVER the Saints receivers, the Giants allowed a whopping 205 yards on the ground. This Giants defense could not do anything right. Here is the breakdown of the Saints 11 possessions: Downs, TD, punt, TD, TD, TD, TD, punt, TD, Downs, TD. With a defense that has talent, how could they be this horrible? Look at this defensive roster. Ross, Phillips, Rolle, JPP, Prince, and Kiwi are first round selections. Osi, Webster, Joseph, and Grant are second round picks. And star DE Justin Tuck is a 3rd round pick. When you have enough talent and play this poorly, clearly, it is on the coaching. The Giants are underachieving.
Without a doubt, this game is on defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Fewell is the Goat. Inexplicably, he continues to use his Tampa 2 zone coverage. When you see Moore gash the Giants for 20 yards, when you see Graham gash the Giants for 23 yards, both are in zone and Brees is having his way. This NY Giants blog has been over this time and again: the Tampa 2 does not work for the Giants. In January of this year, Andy wrote the following: What were the Cornerbacks and Safeties being taught to do in Giants training camp this past summer by Perry Fewell? They were specifically told to watch the eyes of the opposing QB. This is what I unapologetically call: BUILT TO FAIL. The methodology preys on the weaker QBs who are unskilled and telegraph their intentions. Add Cover 2 with some zone, stir, mix, and the result is more than a few interceptions. But we know that when the Giants faced the better QBs, the opposing QB’s decisions would be faster, with timed routes and knowledgeable awareness of poaching. This was why Pete unaffectionately called the INTs vs the weaker QBs “fool’s gold.” Additionally, Pete has been on record stating, the Giants personnel does not fit this scheme. Earlier this season journeyman Rex Grossman threw for over 300 yards against the Giants. Grossman is not a top notch quarterback. On Monday Night Football, an elite Drew Brees carved up Fewell’s Tampa 2. Like Andy mentioned, we have a defense BUILT TO FAIL.
The turning point of this game was at the end of the second quarter. The Saints were leading the Giants 14-3. With 1:09 seconds left in the first half, the Saints had the ball on their 12 yard line. Although the ball was deep in their own territory, the Saints did have all of their timeouts. But the Giants defense needed to make a stand here. And they did not. Brees hit a wide open Marques Colston for an 11 yard pass. Then Colston scampered down the sideline for 39 yards. With the catch and run, this back-breaking play netted 50 yards. In an instant, the Saints are in position for mpre points. Subsequently, five plays and 34 seconds later, the Saints scored another touchdown. Instead of being down by 11 at the half, the Giants trailed by 18 points. Saints 21 and Giants 3. Without question, this score put this game out of reach.
JPP was the star of this game for the Giants. He hustled his tail off the entire game. His tackle on the fake FG was an impressive play. He ran the width of the field to bring down Jimmy Graham short of a first down. He led the Giants in tackles with 5. Batted down a pass. Even at the end, he did not quit. On rookie Mark Ingram’s touchdown run, it was JPP booking down the field. New Orleans Times Picayune Jeff Duncan remarked via Twitter about JPP’s effort: I’ll say this, if Drew Brees is the best player on the field tonight, Jason Pierre-Paul might be second. Dude is a monster.
Eli Manning had a superb night. At one point he completed 21 consecutive passes. Despite his team’s inability to run the ball, Manning threw for 406 yards and two touchdowns. If it was not for his effort, this game would have been much worse.
Victor Cruz: This guy continues to emerge as a star in the making. He makes plays. Cruz caught 9 passes for 157 yards and TWO touchdowns. One of his TD grabs was a 72 yard bomb. Some of these numbers were padded in garbage time, but make no mistake, he is a force.
TE Jake Ballard. On their first possession, the Giants appeared ready to strike first in this game. On the ninth play of this impressive drive, the Giants had a first and 10 on the Saints 18 yard line. Eli’s pass to Ballard in the end zone was slightly underthrown. And Saints’ linebacker Will Herring wrestled the ball away from Ballard. Herring’s interception took the air out of the Giants. Either Ballard has to fight for that ball or punch it out of Herring’s arms. As a rookie, Ballard learned the hard way that in that situation, he needed to play defensive back and break up the pass. Instead of the Giants getting points on this drive, they turned the ball over in the red zone. Even in his post game presser, Coughlin was upset the Giants did not get any points on this drive.
Perry Fewell- The last time the Giants played the Saints in New Orleans was 2009. The hapless Bill Sheridan was the defensive coordinator. And on that day, the Giants allowed 48 points. Last night, the Giants gave up 49 points. This is the most points a Giants defense has given up since 1999. In 1999, the Giants gave up 50 to the Redskins.
Few notes: Justin Tuck is playing injured. He was not much of a factor in this game. And last week on WFAN with Mike Francesa, Tuck talked about his problems with lingering injuries.
DE Osi Umenyiora left the game early with an ankle injury. He did not return. At this time, the extent and severity of his injury is unknown.
Three weeks ago, the Giants were 6-2 and in first place in the NFC East. Things were looking good in Giants’ land. Even Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo wrote a piece about Giants GM Jerry Reese being vindicated for sticking to his plan. Then the second half of the season began. With three consecutive losses to San Francisco, Philadelphia, and now New Orleans, the Giants are 6-5.
So here we are. 6-5, trailing the hated Cowboys by one game in the NFC East. Right now, it seems we have to win the NFC East in order to make the playoffs. But before we can talk playoffs, the Giants appear to be headed for another second half swoon. This has been a disturbing trend with Coughlin’s Giants. Yesterday, Coughlin bristled at reporters when asked about his team’s poor second halves of seasons. “It’s not going to be the history, believe me. I know that this is something fanatically involved with all of you but each team is a new team and each team is a new year.” Yes. Coughlin is correct. This is a new year. The Giants have five games left. They can reverse this trend by winning four out of their next five games. Can they do it? Or was Monday’s woeful performance an indication the Giants are spiraling downward? Your thoughts.