I finally got a chance to watch the game vs Pittsburgh. The inconsistency of this team is probably the single biggest factor when I think about macro issues. The Giants simply have not played 4 quarters of football since the SF game. Did the team put a flag in the ground, declare victory at the Stick, and think they could coast thereafter? The Redskin game needed a miracle 77 yard bomb to Cruz to get a Win. The Dallas game needed a lucky Dez Bryant digit (plus many other gifts) to hold on to a victory. And this Pittsburgh game needed more luck to get the Win. This time the luck ran out. This is what happens when you play with fire. You get burned.
1) Gilbride called a terrible game again. I saw zero screens. I saw zero slants. I saw ONE flare to Hynoski which was very successful and moved the sticks for a first down conversion. Where was the small ball? It was almost non-existant. From my rough calculations, there were as many 11-20 yard pass plays as small ball. And there were also as many 20+ pass plays as there were small ball. Not surprisingly, Eli and the offense lacked rhythm. In Q4, they had 3 3-and-outs. Here is an example of a SUCCESSFUL play which is evidence of the PROBLEM. It is 3rd and 1 early in the game and Gilbride goes for a 16 yard completion. Yes, it worked, but it was a low percentage play and was a perfect example of what was wrong with the playcalling. Do not misunderstand what was happening. Yes, you want to stretch the field and keep a defense honest about the deep pass. And it is FINE to go for a pass for 15 yards every so often on 3rd and 1 to keep defenses off balance. But in this game, where Eli needed rhythm and more time, more short passes were critical. Eli got sacked in this game, but I will defend the OL to a larger degree overall in saying that Gilbride's playcalling enabled the Steelers pass rush to tee off on him. There was such a lack of mix that the job of the Steelers DL was to either stop the run or rush vs the long pass.
2) The Special Teams fiasco was a rollback to 2010. Aaarggh! The Gmen deserved to lose just on all of the transgressions from this one unit.
3) Some critical penalties, including Jayron Hosley lined up in the neutral zone to turn a 4th down FG into a 3rd down conversion for a 1st and Goal, leading to a TD. Ugly.
4) The Giants interior run defense was sickly. Worse, tackling was terrible all day.
5) To watch the Giants with 1 minute remaining in H1 turn a FG opportunity into 0 pts and then watch Pitt get their own in the same minute, was a complete capitulation of effort. That 6 point swing was disgusting. None of us should be surprised that those 6 points would be a significant part of why the team lost.
6) The red zone failures were once again epic. Where is the TE? Where is the slant? Where is the imagination? To watch a great Webster INT set up the Giants at the 34 with only a FG to show for it is a lost opportunity amidst a sea of lost opportunities.
The Giants can beat anyone in the NFL if they play 60 minutes. Gilbride and Quinn need to learn how to make in-game adjustments.