John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Where do we start this morning? With the non-existent running game? The poor tackling? The lack of hustle – or speed? Or with the overall shoddy execution? It’s a tough choice.
The Giants felt they had a chance to beat the Broncos – a Super Bowl favorite over in the AFC – yesterday at MetLife, but they underestimated the speed and aggressiveness needed to actually win an NFL contest.
The Broncos did not, and easily pushed the Giants around en route to a 41-23 victory. But for some reason, the Giants were still hanging around in the third quarter. It appeared the officials were calling a one-sided game, slapping the Broncos with 13 penalties – many for over-aggressiveness.
The fact was, the Broncos were playing their regular game while the Giants were basically going through the motions. It just appeared as if Denver was playing at a higher level. In reality, the Giants had no fight or fire in their bellies. They also may have finally run aground when it comes to having equitable talent throughout their roster.
They have a saving grace in the arm of Eli Manning and his talented receivers. Their exploits keep the Giants in games they have no business being in. The truth is, the Giants aren’t very good right now when it comes to hat-on-hat, X’s and O’s football. In fact, they’re pretty bad.
The Tom Coughlin Era is smattered with inexplicable games such as this one where the Giants simply forget to show up. They only seem to play well when they absolutely have to. But this season, the problems could run deeper than just apathy.
Their offensive line, once a league staple, is flagging. Injury and age are taking their toll. They cannot run the ball despite having two players with world-class speed and Brandon Jacobs. The defense is better, but they did not sack Peyton Manning at all yesterday and looked flatfooted on two long TD runs by Knowshon Moreno. Their penchant for allowing big plays is still a glaring problem.
There are better backs in the league than Moreno, with all due respect, and they will exploit the Giants’ inability to seal off the edges. With the offense not driving the ball, and turning it over with regularity, the defense will wear down in games just like they did yesterday.
Last night, Coughlin had the look of a coach who was out of answers:
“I can stand up here and be fiery, if that’s what everybody wants. There’s a little bit of a hole in my stomach, too. I am very disappointed. What can I tell you?……They made some plays, no doubt, but we made some plays, too. We kept a very high-powered offense under control. If we would’ve had some consistency over four quarters on offense, even if it were kicking field goals, it would’ve been a decision that we made in the fourth quarter. We’re disappointed, frustrated, and I can understand how some of the players feel. The whole point is, we have to hang in there. We have 14 games to go, we’ve been 0-2 before, we’ve dug ourselves into a hole before, and been able to fight our way out of it, and we did it with ‘team.’ But the performance level has to come up…”
It can’t get much lower, Tom.