Un-focused and un-disciplined, Big Blue did not display the talent or desire to win on the road, instead allowing the words “Rex Grossman era” to be spoken seriously; that should be enough to make any Giant fan shudder with disgust.
The Giants showed some ability to move the ball in the first half, as Eli Manning got used to Manningham, Nicks and Hixon now being his top targets. Going with the passing game first did seem to create more running opportunities for Bradshaw and Jacobs as the defense could not stack the box when Eli was on a roll throwing the ball – I hope this one revelation was appreciated by the coaching staff and is utilized as opposed to going smashmouth style running first and repeatedly.
Sad to say it was a “classic” performance by Manning in which he showed a glaring inability to take care of the football, then almost bailed the team out with the odd brilliant pass play. Case in point in the third quarter when the Giants were backed up deep in their own end and Manning’s easily batted pass into the teeth of the Redskins pass rush donated a touchdown to Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan. Moments later that was Manning again firing a 41-yard strike down the middle of the field to his new tight end Ballard, and you were almost ready to forgive Eli because he stil can change momentum with one guided missile strike.
But the Giants drive fell flat and they were shut out in the second half completely.
If you want a villain, look at the horrible drive-extending penalty in the fourth quarter by Antrell Rolle. On a third and nine play, Skins TE Fred Davis caught the ball but was sprawled on the ground with nowhere to go, needing only to be touched to be down and for the Jints to get the ball back. Instead of “tag your it” Rolle lowered his head to deliver an inexplicable helmet-to-helmet blow on the grounded Davis. What a huge lack of discipline that play displayed; I don’t understand how he can do that when the guy is already down and there’s absolutely nothing to gain (and possibly he entire game to be lost) by delivering the easily whistled head blow.
Can you blame this lack of discipline on bad coaching? Perhaps. You can debate whether that brain freeze was a temporary lapse by Rolle or a product of Coughlin not having the team mentally ready, but ultimately both share a collective responsibility for this embarrassing moment.
Only one Giant stood out for having a huge positive impact on the game and that is Jason Pierre-Paul, effectively pass rushing all day and picking up two sacks and a key forced fumble on Grossman that had great potential to turn the game around (if others had been able to contribute accordingly, which they didn’t).
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Written by Mark Reichman