Giants – Bengals: Hits, Misses & Musings
Pop quiz: What do the Giants, Vikings, Seahawks, and Titans all have in common?
Answer: All four of those teams will have their bye week in Week 11.
Why am I mentioning this? Of these four teams, three won by decent margins against their opponents Sunday while one didn’t.
I don’t need to quiz you on who didn’t win their game, and if I do, well, I guess I can’t blame you for wanting to block out Sunday’s disheartening 34-13 loss to the Bengals.
The point here is that anyone who thinks that the Giants are “tired” after going 10 straight games (plus the 4 preseason games), is just looking for an excuse.
You want the reason the Giants lost this game? I’ll let head coach Tom Coughlin explain it.
“Seventeen-six,” he said citing the score when the wheels started to come off the Giants’ wagon. “First and ten, the ball’s at the (Bengals) 27. The quarterback makes an excellent check. We get a full effort out of the runner who gains 11 yards but he gets stripped. The ball comes out.”
While it was still early enough in the third quarter for the Giants to recover, especially since the Bengals didn’t convert on Bradshaw’s turnover, that play set the stage for what would become one of the Giant’s worst losses of the season as the next two Giants plays were interceptions that the Bengals did convert into points, thereby putting the game out of reach.
I’m not trying to take away from the Bengals or their win – they capitalized on the Giants mistakes, which is what a team is supposed to do. I’m just wondering, like perhaps many of you have done, what might have been if the Giants did a better job with ball security, if they won their battles in the pit on both sides of the ball, and if those dropped passes by Martellus Bennett and Victor Cruz had been caught.
It’s a tough pill for them to swallow and one that will linger in their mouths for two weeks. But the season isn’t lost yet, and for those wondering just who this team is, stay tuned as the last six weeks of the season promise to be very interesting.
It’s tough to find a lot of positives in this one given the outcome, but there were a few besides David Carr and James Brewer, both of whom are listed as not having played and thus both of whom didn’t directly contribute to the debacle.
In my opinion, Andre Brown needs to be promoted ahead of Ahmad Bradshaw. He’s much more patient runner and does far less dancing at the line. Line him up behind Henry Hynoski, and usually you have quite a combination there, as Brown seems to feed off of Hynoski’s lead blocks a lot better than Bradshaw, the yardage supporting that chemistry.
While not exactly handling the power rushes the Bengals threw against him, Will Beatty fought the good fight and kept himself between the defender and Eli Manning. Also of interest was the coaching decision to not run to Beatty’s side of the field as the runs going to the opposite direction weren’t yielding much in the way of yardage.
Hakeem Nicks might never be fully healthy this season, but how nice was it to see him be able to generate some production like he did against the Bengals, who were so intent on shutting down Victor Cruz, that Nicks was able to show flashes of his old self. With that said, the foot and knee injuries Nicks has been dealing with have taken their toll on his ability to break away from defenders or shift into that second gear.
If Martellus Bennett is looking for a big time payday at the end of the season, he better start applying his creativity toward figuring out how to resolve all these inconsistencies in his game as both a blocker and as a receiver.
For an example, let’s look at the fourth quarter when on a third-and-four, he ran his route and the ball was thrown his way. Now granted, the ball was a bit off-target, but it was still one he could have caught.
One thing that I’ve always had mixed feelings about is when an athlete tries to play injured. I’m not talking about a minor injury, but rather one that might affect what he or she does. Take for instance Chris Snee. While I admire him for trying to tough it out on a bad ankle, did he really do his team any favors trying to play through it?
Snee did not seem to be as effective as usual. The likely reason behind that was his gimpy ankle, which didn’t allow him to set his base. So again, while it’s great he tried to play through it, his lack of effectiveness didn’t help the situation.
When we look back at this season, a huge topic for debate is going to be the decision to put David Diehl back in the lineup. While I get the idea that a player shouldn’t lose his job due to an injury, Diehl’s play is not what it used to be, perhaps due to age or his knee injury earlier in the season.
And yes, the questions were asked of the coaches. Supposedly, Sean Locklear didn’t “do” anything to earn a demotion. But the fact of the matter is he was demoted with no clear explanation … But while Diehl isn’t solely to blame for the offensive line worse, was he really playing that well before his injury to call for getting his job back? Based on this game, he struggled without pass blocking help, and if a tight end has to stay in to help pass block, is that really a good thing all the time?
Cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta confirm what I thought I saw on that first long touchdown, the play in which Stevie Brown didn’t get over with the deep help, leaving Corey Webster to fend for himself. I noted that it looked like Webster sopped in his tracks almost as though he was in disbelief that there was no deep help. Had he kept going, who knows? Maybe he would have been able to prevent the touchdown.
With that said, I never bought the idea that Eli Manning has a tired arm. As we’ve been pointing out now for three weeks in Inside Football, he’s not making the throws he used to make because opposing defenses have figured out how to shut down his receivers and to screw up their sight adjustments.
While it’s true that Manning has made some stupid throws, some of which have resulted in interceptions, I think part of that could be a result of the pressure he’s getting and perhaps the sudden sense of urgency to get rid of the ball and make plays.
This past week, Manning probably could have been sacked a lot more times than he was, and in trying to make something out of nothing, he reverted back to the season when he tossed 25 interceptions. Manning can’t do it all alone, and while I’m not saying he is blameless in themes of the last three weeks, it’s not all on him.
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I’m sure many people aren’t going to be happy with the Giants not having to report back to the facility until next Monday – the new CBA rules mandate that the players on a bye get Wednesday through Sunday off, and Tuesday is technically a players day off.
The way I see it, there are two sides to this. I’m of the opinion that when things aren’t going well, it’s good to get away and clear your mind for a few days. However, at some point, the self-scouting needs to begin, and I’m wondering just how many players are going to do the self-scouting which they’re away?
Everyone has their own way of self-scouting. Some will watch film, some will think about it, some won’t do anything at all until they return to the practice field next Monday because they self-scout every week. So it will be very interesting to see how the players respond when they report back to work after the extended break.
And who knows? Maybe once the players have a chance to do that, they might realize that their backs are up against a wall.
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I mentioned Bradshaw earlier in this review, and I don’t know what you guys think, but this practicing once a week just isn’t getting it done. Seriously, the intensity of practices have been so scaled back due to the new CBA rules, so it baffles me as to why he can’t increase his reps during the week, even if he’s walking through his plays just so he has a better feel for the blocking, which I suspect he doesn’t have based on his showing?
I asked Jerald Ingram, the running backs coach, about it and he opined that Bradshaw’s a pro whose preparation is good, even if he’s not practicing.
Sorry, but I don’t buy that argument because if all it took was classroom study, then why bother having practice to begin with? If Bradshaw can’t give 100 percent in every aspect—and practice is an aspect of the game–he needs to be shut down until he can, in my opinion.
You see other players who don’t have as many years as Bradshaw but who are still veterans who don’t practice the whole week and who are shut down on game day. What’s the difference here?
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A few more thoughts.
The Giants need to think about sending more than a four-man rush at the quarterback. With the defensive secondary playing a bit better, why not take that chance and force the opponents to block the defensive pass rush differently? Maybe the sacks will start coming in bunches again.
The Giants are missing Mario Manningham. I didn’t think it would be, but that they can’t get consistency from the third receiver spot is hurting them big time.
Jayron Hosley needs to stop gambling so often. Yes, interceptions are nice to have, but I’d be willing to bet the coaches would trade an interception for a pass breakup. And when you talk about players who leave their feet, look no further than Hosley, who because he’s a gambler, tends to go for the big splash instead of the smart play.
Tough break for defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, who appears to have torn his ACL and will likely miss the rest of the season. If you didn’t notice, Kuhn, a rookie seventh rounder, moved ahead of Marvin Austin, a former second-rounder who is playing for the first time this year in three seasons.
Kuhn might have needed a bit more seasoning to handle some of the solo blocks that were giving him fits, but one thing he seemed to do extremely well is get his hands up to knock passes down.