Sorry for the delay in grades this week. Game Rewind hadn't released the All-22 until Wednesday AM.
...welp. That certainly set the group back. Collectively. The effort didn't seem to be there. Or at least let's hope that was the case. Give it to Philly though, they played fast and aggressive and looked a step faster then the Giants front five all night. On a lot of plays (as you will see in the play-by-play notes) a player was docked in grading for deciding it was time to stop the block. This happened several times as Eagles d-linemen crawled towards Eli's legs. Just what the Giants want. The run game once again was stagnant. This was a product of several factors, a major one being some poor blocking up front. Remember, all it takes is one bad block to ruin four other good ones and that seemed to happen a lot on Sunday night. It will certainly raise an eyebrow if the group doesn't respond this week against Cleveland. No matter what the Niners await in two weeks.
...Kevin Boothe stood out for the group as the low scorer, coming in with a -12 on the game. Beat too many times in both the run and pass. Lost the LOS, let LBs slip at the 2nd level, missing rushers in pass pro, you name it. A game to forget in the young career of Boothe. This is not an attempt to hang him out to dry. He has shown he has what it takes to be a starting G in the NFL. For whatever reason, he didn't bring that to Philadelphia. He was outclassed in what was a disappointing effort for him against a solid defensive front, but surely no better than several the Giants will see down the road.
...Beatty got bull rushed by Trent Cole a few times in this one. He held his ground for the most part but it was troubling to see the smaller Cole go THROUGH him several times. Cole is one of the best at playing wtih leverage and using his hands to deliver a blow.
...yes there is no way to know what type of pain David Baas' right hand was in during Sunday's game. But I do know that it was good enough to get most of his snaps there. He had two bad ones at two VERY bad points in the game. He had to receive -2 on those plays. Lucky for him Eli dealt with both of them but let's hope that is something that stays in Phialdelphia (it can be a real problem....ask our Dallas friends about Andre Gurode). Other then that Baas played a solid game and was up to the task that the Eagles presented.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
...after a stagnant first half, the Giants' short passing game came alive in the second half. Victor Cruz is virtually unstoppable when he is allowed to "do his thing" getting free in the middle of the field. This was highlighted on his 14-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Cruz was lined up in the slot to the right of Eli Manning in the red zone. The Eagles knew exactly what was coming so they shaded a linebacker to Cruz’s side to undercut the route and cause and incompletion or an interception. However, a perfectly time pass from Eli zipped right pass the linebacker and the corner and Cruz split the defenders for a quick six. These types of plays may not be as exciting as Cruz’s 80-yard catch and runs but they are what he is consistently best at and what makes him one of the best at the position.
...Domenik Hixon was the fourth 100-yard receiver for the Giants through four games. When healthy Hixon has shown signs of being an impact player and someone who is a gamer. Hixon did a great job coming back to Eli when he was flushed out of the pocket and faced pressure.
...Ramses Barden had an up and down game that was completely over shadowed by a terrible play on the Giants final drive. It was a frustrating play to say the least but one that Barden cannot shoulder all of the blame for. If there is something to pin on him it is the drop on on the 25 yard line just three plays earlier that would have had the Giants a 1st and 10 on the 25 with just short of 60 seconds to play. Different game.
...The Black Unicorn had a relatively quite game only hauling in one pass for two yards but he made a great play on a catch and run that was ultimately called back for holding. Tough break. Eli was picking apart the outside with in the short to intermediate passing game so Bennett didn’t really get many looks in the passing game in the middle of the field. Once again, Bennett was up and down in protection. He looks great on some run blocking plays so we know he has it in him. But also tends to release or give up on his block early in the play far too often. Pascoe did a fine job blocking and also caught a clutch touchdown pass.
...George pointed out the heavy workload the Giants gave JPP in this one. He sat out just 9 of 68 snaps. This is not to say that he can't handle the workload. But as we know this unit has been at their best when they have had depth. Last season that depth came in the way Dave Tollefson as a utility pass rusher, lining up inside, outside and standing up. Kiwanuka also spelled one of the three DEs on a regular basis. There is no Tollefson this year. Yes there is an outside chance that Ojomo provides a few quality snaps this year. Not something to rely on though. This is something that needs to be addressed. Ralph Vacchiano hits the nail on the head with this thought...
"There was a time a few years ago, before he hurt his neck, when Mathias Kiwanuka – even after his switch to an unfamiliar position – was starting to look like one of the Giants’ best defensive players. He’s not that anymore, but he’s still effective as a linebacker and I think has the quickness and ability to be an effective pass rusher if the Giants ever turned him loose. So why are the Giants barely using him? ....This is a passing league now, which forces the Giants into many sets with two linebackers on the field (some with one) and it puts a premium on their ability to cover. That hurts Kiwanuka’s value, since at his core he’s still a converted defensive end. I just with the Giants would find better and more creative ways to use him. Whatever happened to NASCAR, for example? With the pass rush struggling, why not line him up a little more at defensive end and see what offensive line can handle four of them? He’s a good player who can make plays, but he’s not getting much of a chance anymore."
...perhaps with the potential return of Keith Rivers and a flash of strong play from Herzlich, the Giants will be inclined to return Kiwanuka back to his natural position on a more regular basis.
...if it looked like Justin Tuck had a strong first half it was because he did, grading out at a 2. It also seemed that along with others on the DL and the defense, Tuck was gassed as the second half wore on. He recorded a -2 in the second half. People are again starting to wonder if there is something wrong with Tuck physically. Vacchiano addressed this in his game review also.
"You know what the Giants defense looked like in the second half? Like they were worn down. In the first half they did a great job of stretching from sideline to sideline, so whenever McCoy or Michael Vick tried to move outside there was someone there. Then in the second half suddenly the Eagles were consistently beating them to the edge."