Wide Receiver/Tight End
…yes, the Green Bay defense was depleted but the Giants' receiving corps absolutely abused the Packers' secondary. The receivers and tight ends put together their best all-around effort this season to date grading out to a ridiculous combine total of plus 17. In the 11 weeks of this project that has been unheard of for WR/TE. Nicks put together his best game since his monstrous week two performance and after breaking down the tape I would argue that week 11 was his best game despite what the stats indicate.
…Nicks made the Green Bay secondary look silly all night long. He was beating corners off the line of scrimmage on seemingly every route and was dominate over the middle. See his touchdown catch (play number 47) to see a textbook example of how a receiver is supposed to get off the line of scrimmage. Nicks makes a quick head fake and gets off the LOS with ease. He essentially won the play as soon as the ball was snapped. Not to mention he made a great move to extend the ball over the goal line to complete the play for a TD. Another standout Nicks moment came just a few snaps earlier on play 42. Nicks has a deep in route and powers through an arm tackle of a safety for a 30-yard gain. Reminiscent of his Q1 TD last year at Lambeau. Nicks graded out to a +6.
…Cruz and Randle were both excellent as well grading out to a +2, and +3, respectively. Cruz had an early drop but bounced back nicely and had a few key grabs. He ran an excellent route on his TD catch. Randle's +3 was impressive considering he had significantly fewer snaps than Cruz and Nicks. He ran a great route on his TD catch; he got behind the Green Bay defense and made it an easy read and throw for Eli.
…it was nice to see Bennett involved in the passing game once again. His 44 receiving yards were the most since week 7 vs Washington. It's pretty clear that when the Giants offense is clicking Bennett becomes involved. Expect for Bennett to find the end zone soon and perhaps even rip off a hot streak like earlier in the year. Pascoe was excellent in run blocking once again. He had a key block on the Giants' first touchdown run (made two key blocks on the play) and several others that led to big gains. Bennett was decent in run blocking as well and it was nice to see Beckum get some time considering all of the Giants tight ends are healthy.
…let's get right into the Diehl vs Locklear right tackle debate. Funny thing is that both guys played exceptional and graded out at a combined +7 overall from the RT position. Diehl left the game w/ his burner carrying a +3 grade while Locklear came in relief of him and recorded a +4. From watching the tape (and the grades obviously support this) Locklear played slighlty better than 66 and any other Giants OL for that matter. He seemed to be
extra motivated by a second chance to be inserted into the starting RT spot and played with the fire and passion normally reserved for a much younger player. Each player also recorded an elusive +2 on individual plays with outstanding blocks. Diehl's big block came on the Giants 59-yard screen play on the game's 4th snap. Diehl, trying to get out into space to lead the screen, was forced to stick w/ Raji who had read the screen well. Diehl stayed locked up w/ Raji all the way out into open space and allowed Bradshaw to get the wheels spinning and get upfield for the 59-yard gain. Locklear's big block came on Bradshaw's 2nd quarter 13-yard TD run. Locklear began the play firing off the ball and leading a double team block with Snee up to the 2nd level where Locklear broke free and locked onto A.J. Hawk. Locklear drove a flailing Hawk backwards and eventually straight into the ground as Bradshaw cruised behind Locklear's right side for the TD.
…Snee appears to be getting closer to full health and that is a great sign for both the unit and the entire team. A look at his grades in the run game since suffering the injury will give you a better idea of his progression. While he is certainly not there yet his leg drive in the run game is starting to show again, something that has made him one of the league's best guards for a while now. In Week 9 (when he suffered the injury) Snee recorded a -6 overall and in Week 10 he recorded a -5. This week he came in at a -1. Not a Snee type grade (check out his grades from the first eight games of the season for a better idea) but those will be on their way soon, just in time for when the games start to count. I'm willing to bet anyone who is interested that we will see 76 back in the + column in Week 13.
…outside of allowing the 2nd quarter sack, Will Beatty continues to be the Giants' best pass protector, recording all four of his +1 grades in pass blocking. The LT continues to prove that he is on par with anyone in the league in this area. Beatty has now recorded a + grade in 6 out of the 10 games he has played in.
-Peter Grudin (grades) Rich Conforti (analysis)
…a quick look at the -2 grade for Eli this week and one may wonder if we are being a bit too hard on him and that is certainly not the case. The -2 grade could be looked at as a positive considering that the offense played so well and there still may have been some things "left on the table." Eli missed a few passes early on including the easy TD to Hynoski on the Giants' opening drive and a few others. Luckily on most of them Eli and the offense were able to make up for their errors/mistakes. Think of the -2 grade as a reflection of just how great Eli has shown that he can be in a given game. Have a feeling one of those great games is on tap for Monday night.
…Eli's best pass of the game came on his 16-yard TD connection with Reuben Randle who ran a great route and showed great poise in the back of the end zone to pull the ball in and get the feet in for the TD. All this was made possible by some unbelievable pocket presence from Eli (something that he is great at when he is ON) to slide to his left to not only avoid the GB pressure, but also to allow him to get a better throwing lane to drop the pass in to his rookie WR. Take another look at the play here.
…probably time for the general media (ESPN and friends) to look for a new story on the Giants as the Eli "dead arm" Manning issue seems to be a thing of the past, even if it was never a thing of the present. Eli got all of his throws out with good velocity and was able to drive the ball down the field (see any intermediate/deep throw over the middle to Nicks) with the relative ease that he has shown in the past.