We knew we were going to find out if the Giants were real today. 6 games of ugliness were followed by 4 games of hope. The hope had an asterisk of having played against 4 pretend QBs. What would happen when the Giants finally faced a real QB?
They came up short.
The Giants fought valiantly and at times made us very proud. They worked hard enough for their opportunity just to get to today. They showed up and they played. But they also made some mistakes and showed some of the same weaknesses from the first 6 games. We saw the difference of "new" players like Andre Brown, Jon Beason and Will Hill. We also saw the poor OL and the meek pass rush of JPP.
How do you fault Victor Cruz, a mostly reliable ball carrier who was stripped of a ball when forward progress was finished? That fumble/TD was a killer. The Giants were behind on tempo the rest of the game and never recovered. The best they could do was supply a great effort in Q4 to tie the game with 4 mins to go, but Dallas sealed it with clutch 3rd down conversions and a FG to win the game.
I am so tired of Gilbride. I want a change. I want to see Eli with a new Offensive Coordinator. (1) If I have to watch one more WR route that is run incorrectly, I am going to scream. When there are habitual infractions from Randle (who played a solid game in place of Nicks), Jernigan and Murphy it is obvious that there is something structurally wrong with the playbook. Route tree or no route tree, you cannot have wrong routes being run seemingly every game and think this is on the players for not knowing their playbook. Either the coach has to simplify the playbook or make some kind of adaptation to make it work and remove the systemic errors. (2) If I have to watch one more screen pass run pathetically, I am going to scream. We talked about how critical it was to practice these plays over and over during preseason with a blog post here in July. But there is never any improvement. In fact, it is worse than ever. (3) If I have to watch any more red zone failures, I am going to scream. The team was 1 for 3 today, and is 26th in the league in this very important statistic. As I understand it, Carl Banks and Bob Papa were as exasperated as we were.
There was one play that stuck out in my mind that goes to the root cause of red zone failure. We tweeted it pretty much as soon as it happened. It is so fundamental, that it makes it very clear that the Offensive Coordinator really does not understand why he continues to fail. It took place in the very first attempt in the red zone. The Giants had the ball, 1st and Goal at the 9 yard line. The ball was thrown out into the flat to the TE, Myers caught the ball and there was no gain. Okay football fans- what was wrong with this playcall? After all, Gilbride seemingly gave us what we wanted, a throw to the TE in the red zone- shouldn't we have been happy? The answer is that you must throw the ball to the TE in the END ZONE (/new first down), not at the line of scrimmage. This is fundamental. In the cramped quarters of the red zone, where a defense has an advantage of an end line to help them defend, crispness and succinctness are at a premium. Yards after catch are not going to happen easily. The advantage of the pass to the TE is that it is 9 yards (into the end zone) and a cloud of dust. You throw it to that WIDE BODY point blank in the end zone, he catches the ball, falls down, TD, end of story. ZERO YARDS AFTER CATCH. Dan Marino threw so many TDs to his no name TE (Holly?, that's the point, I don't know his name) in the END ZONE. Reception, TD, end of story. Throwing the ball to the TE in the flat at the 9 yard line is a wasted play. Unless the TE can break a tackle (possible, but doubtful, especially considering he has no forward momentum at that moment and is a sitting duck), it is a wasted down. And you cannot waste anything in the red zone. Gilbride is thinking of making it 2nd and Goal at the ~3 with a 6 yard pickup. But that is for a RB or a WR to break a tackle, not the TE. The TE is not going to reliably get yards after the catch in the red zone.
Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, later on in the game when Dallas was up 14-6, they were in the red zone and did the same thing on first down- a pass in the flat to Witten, for almost no gain. Same error! And just to juxtapose the correct red zone use of the TE, on 3rd down they went back to Witten, this time in the end zone, and the result was the simple reception and a TD.
This game is not entirely Gilbride's fault. He was not Mathias Kiwanuka or Antrel Rolle, who collectively had 3 personal foul gifts furnished to the Boys. He was not Damontre Moore, whose stupid hit called back a nice specials run. He is not Will Beatty, who is good for seemingly one penalty and one turnstile pass block every game. He is not the Giants LBers, who are undressed in pass coverage as soon as we face a real QB and a real coordinator who is smart enough to expose this weakness (6 passes to RB for 63 yards).
With 4 sacks and 17 pts allowed, the defensive effort overall should have been good enough for a win. It was not. They could not stop Dez Bryant when it counted most.
Let's celebrate Andre Brown. Let's also applaud Brandon Jacobs. Without Sean Lee in the middle, this was the Giants' chance to win a game. They were both very good and did what they had to do to put the team in a position to win.
The Giants had 11 penalties for 81 yards. That is unacceptable. That Dallas also had 11 penalties for 85 yards means the Giants simply had an opportunity to cash in on an opponent's mistakes and they made enough of their own to say 'no thank you.'
The Giants are 4-7. I for one never let my feet get off the ground with too much optimism once the hole was dug back in September and October. We all knew that the past 4 games needed to be validated. Unfortunately the Cowboys made enough plays and the Giants made enough mistakes to block the validation.
We hear that RGIII threw (some, all of?) his teammates under the bus. That means the Giants could be able to collect wins vs the Skins in their 2 contests. And Detroit's wheels are coming off- they are the best team in that division but they keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. SD and SEA are problematic. So realistically, the Giants chances now for a playoff appearance are very slim. When your star defensive player, JPP, cannot get to the QB, and your OL is in tatters, you should be 4-7.
The Giants will be good enough for something like ~6 wins and a middling draft pick. If we don't see some coaching changes, the mediocrity will be tougher to accept.
I'm not saying all you Gilbride haters don't have a point. All I'm saying is that you may overestimate what coaching can do when the OL talent is inferior. Remember, the guys on the other side of the line are pretty good too.
The Giants defense is ranked 10th in the league in points allowed (with the defense on the field, not a pick 6 or specials gaf), so this abysmal team play is not on Fewell and his defense. If Gilbride could do something different than what he and Eli have been doing since week 1, then they wouldn't be 4-7. Gilbride seems disengaged from the game itself, and more focused on what play to pull out of his most sacrosanct of books. The Giants were running the ball down the Cowboys' throats, yet Gilbride doesn't make Dallas stop the run, he stops the run... especially in the red zone! The O-line was smiling and the running backs were smiling and the fans were smiling as they piled up 200+ yards on the ground... and then start chucking the ball around, just to give the Dallas D a break. I've read that the offense is Coughlin's design, not Gilbride's, and that Coughlin won't allow it to be tinkered with. Ok, if that's the case, then easy fix... send Coughlin on his way and promote Gilbride to head coach to take control of the offense away from both of them. Because I agree with you Andy... blaming the receivers and Eli after 11 weeks for still not figuring out which aspect of the sacrosanct route tree they're to execute is beyond laughable, it's sad. It doesn't work. Change it.
It probably wouldn't have mattered who was on who on the last drive because the Cowboys went at Rolle successfully with three different receivers. And Dez is such a beast (although a high maintenance one) that he probably wins the battle one on one against anybody the Giants have back there. It was predictable and should have brought more pressure on Romo. Fewell should have made the in-game adjustment.
I guess I'm in the minority, but I don't think Gilbride is the problem. The offense has been very effective when the O-line was good, but the O-line now has a ways to go to be mediocre. The Giants think they can turn anyone into a good lineman, but if they don't draft one or two interior lineman early next April I will scream. Even so, they didn't play badly on Sunday and if Eli sees a few things and extends drives they win anyway. Jerry Reese recently said facetiously that Eli didn't forget to play QB. I love the guy but I'm not so sure of that.
Once Fewell decided to use a four-man pass rush on that final drive, our fate was sealed. Such a helpless feeling sitting at home watching that, along with Gilbride failing to call for passes up the middle.
I was so excited all week because I knew I was going to the game. The crowd was pumped and there wasn't as many Cowboy fans there as we are accustomed to seeing when these two teams play. The disappointment was that even though the Giants talked tough before the game and they even tried to break up the Cowboys huddle before kickoff, they fell miserably short in how they played. They played undisciplined uninspired football. We were up top and we could see the whole field. Gilbride's play calling is so poor it is comical. Without Lee at MLB you would think the seam pass to the TE would be a big part of the offense. I kept looking for it. Cruz & Randle were being bracketed on the outside almost the entire game. The middle was left open and of course because the run blocking allowed Brown & Jacobs to get to the second level, ( Cowboys missed Lee ) we gashed them for runs all day that seemed to go for 10-12 yards a pop. You would think that that would open up the play action pass. We were all screaming for the seam pass to Meyers which never ever materialized. The wind was difficult but that pass is thrown on a hard line and wouldn't be affected. IT WAS THERE ALL DAY AND NEVER USED!!! I am sick of Kevin Killdrive and the way he thinks he can outsmart everyone else, when all he does is outsmart himself. The Red Zone inefficiency absolutely killed us and we knew early that it would be hard to recover from. Got to give Romo credit for seeking out Rolle on the final drive. So that's where I have an issue with Perry " I'm out of" Fewell. Why didn't he blitz at all on that final drive and make Romo throw it before he wanted to? The 4 man rush wasn't getting the job done. And JPP, shut up and play the game. I don't think I heard your number called once. Listen, we knew it was going to be a tall order after an 0-6 start. Jerry Reese doesn't get a pass here because he went into the season with an injured OL and let them get old. I contend he doesn't think LB is an important position on the team, and were fortunate that Beason was acquired, but obviously he can't cover at all. Just a poorly constructed team that has a poor OC & DC. ( Not to mention Tom Quinn either ) I would hope they become part of the fallout, but I doubt it. This has to come from Coughlin. I just think he sometimes has blinders on regarding his coordinators. I hope that he will finally cut ties with them. I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers here. It's been a long time when our season is over before Thanksgiving arrives. To John Mara, you always want meaningful games in December. Well, not this season.....Time to reevaluate.
I hated all the 'trash talk' before this game too. You would think a 4-6 team would have enough sense to not do that. Now that there chances of making the playoffs are pretty much nil, I will be interested to see how this group of players react. There will be a lot of new faces next year.
Reading this article and the comments so far - I agree with all the sentiment. The worst result of this season would be to do just well enough that the coaching staff stays intact and we are stuck with more years of mediocre football. The two Superbowl wins cover up a multitude of mediocre football. Depending on your age, you have seen, like me, a lot of mediocre to bad football in the Giants past. My fear is that the Giants get stuck back in that mode.
Like many of you - I have just had it with Gilbride. There is plenty of other blame to go around, but when I see other offenses in action around the league it makes me realize how antiquated and predictable Gilbride's approach is. When the Giants win, it seems to be in SPITE of Gilbride, not because of some good approach he takes to a game.
Looking at the schedule I predict 6-10 for a finish. Is that bad enough to cost Gilbride his job? My fear is that it is just good enough for him to stay.
The NFL offensive scheme has passed KG bye. I want the Giants to lose out the rest of the season so management will be FORCED to make coaching changes. I am ok with TC staying but KG must go. TC needs to bring in a younger OC with new ideas and a new strength/conditioning coach to address all these injuries the Giants have been experiencing the past few years.
The stupid penalties I think are a direct result of a "kinder" TC. He would have fined the heck out of anyone who made a stupid penalty "back in the day" but he doesn't want to "lose his team" by reverting back to a tough disciplinarian. However, he's going to lose his team (and possibly his job) if he doesn't.
I agree with the criticism of the play calling, but I think the Giants should have won anyway. Eli is not playing at a high level. An example is when he had Randle open had he lofted the pass, but he put it on a line and it was broken up. That play alone would have put the offense in position to score. Some of the problem has to be a leaky offensive line, and some of it is not being in sync with his receivers, but if Eli was elite they would have won the game, pure and simple.
Fewell got blatantly outcoached on the last drive. Romo has poise and will wait until something develops, so a three man rush is not going to get it done. Also, why was Rolle on Dez? Even if he lines up in the slot, at that point in the game it seems to me you have to check him with your best corner.
It's frustrating because there are no dominant teams in the NFC and the Giants could have been contenders, but their record doesn't lie.
All solid points, but the post is actually too easy on Gilbride. For me the killer play was the second trip to the red zone, calling a draw on 3d and goal from the 10. What did he expect to happen on that play? This is even worse than the throw to Myers because at least that was 1d. You're right that there cannot be wasted downs in the red zone, but it's pretty obvious that you can't waste 3d and goal.
I wonder how much of this had to do with Nicks's absence. Was Gilbride surprised by his failure to play? Did he ever consider simplifying the offense for the two young receivers? Did Nicks's absence wipe out his options for throwing into the end zone?
I disagree with Dungy that Dallas dominated the game. The Giants had (slightly) more total offense and time of possession than Dallas, and matched them in first downs and takeaways. They ran for 200 yards. (Gilbride gets credit for running so effectively) Red zone failures and the defense's failure to stop Dallas on the last drive lost the game. (Rolle beaten for 3 first downs. Why was he playing Bryant?)
There is plenty of blame to go around in this lost season, but Gilbride stands out.
How many times do we need to see a 30 yard sideline throw on 3rd and 2?
How many designed 2 yard patterns in the red zone?
How many botched screens?
How many busted up route trees?
Enough is enough Gilbride.
I HATED the D strategy on the last drive too. 3 man rush most plays. Felt almost like prevent D... while tied.
Dungy just said "Cowboys dominated the game, then let it get away before pulling it out.". Bull. Both teams are bad and the Giants just gifted them that lead.
Biggest thing though..Eli needs a new coordinator in 2014. Enough is ****ing enough.
@pdmeyerh I for one don't think I am overestimating how much talent or lack of a coach can overcome. Why is it that the Patriots almost never ever get blow out. Even why they lose they are still in the game. While not everyone can be as good a coach as belichick we can at least be somewhat better than we have been. As buljos pointed out in his comment, "Gilbride doesn't make Dallas stop the run, he stops the run... "
@buljos I agree with your post except the killdrive as HC. God forbid.
@buljos I threw up my breakfast when I read that you'd promote Killdrive to HC. He already proved he's an even worse HC than an OC when he was the Chargers HC. If it's TC's offensive scheme, then he needs to be fired as well.
@buljos I would rather have "shingles" for an entire football season then to see Gilbride the HC of the Giants!!!!
@pdmeyerh You hit it... bring more pressure on Romo instead of rushing 4 and asking Rolle to cover Dez. That won't work on a closing drive. One of the problems I have with these coaches is they're ultra conservative. Fewell should have brought the big heat with complex blitz schemes and thrown caution to the wind. We certainly don't have LT on the roster, but that doesn't mean send nobody when a field goal wins the game. Laying back and giving Romo time is not the answer... and he proved it. Typical Giants coaching.
@pdmeyerh Problem is, when the O-line is not playing well you can do some things (screens and such) that can help them out but killdrive never ever does that. He is the in the flesh definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome.
@RussWellen1 And what makes it even more amazing is that while they were dropping 7 or 8 into coverage, Dez still ended up 1 on 1 on an island almost every play...
@I Bleed Blue Great post! Yours is one of the best comments I have read all week.
You would hope that having meaningless games in December (and half empty stadium?) would prompt Mara to make changes. I have this sinking feeling its not going to happen though. The Giants will do just enough so that no one loses their job. I am also interested to see how these players perform when they have no shot at the playoffs.
@jfoster "The two Superbowl wins cover up a multitude of mediocre football."
@mkdrep TC needs to watch Belichick. When a Pats player loses it as demonstrated by personal foul and shoving matches, Belichick doesn't yell or scream. The player sits until he gets his head back on straight. It's often difficult to tell if it's Gilbride's ineptitude as a play calling OC, or as others have asserted TC's stubborn adherence to his variable tree route read design that he refuses to let Gilbride stray away from, or JR's too-little-too-late acquisition of real no-BS O-line talent when it was obvious to everyone that Diehl, Baas, and Snee were riddled with injuries and unable to perform at the top of their games anymore. I'm thinking a combination of all the above, and more. TC and Gilbride committing to "balance" is great as a general principal, but when you've racked up 200+ yards pounding the rock with no sign that the Dallas D sans Lee at MLB with Cruz and Randel doubled is concerned with stopping the run, you don't stop pounding the friggin' rock until the D commits additional defenders to the box! It was a waiting game, and the Dallas coaches were prepared to let the Giants run the ball all day... Cruz and Randel were not going to beat them, and they knew the Giants weren't of a mind to let Eli-to-Myers over the middle take over the game. Well, the Cowboys' coaches were right... the Giants would beat themselves. I have little doubt that the Giants could have piled up 300 yards rushing and Myers could have had 10+ over-the-middle move-the-chains receptions, keeping Romo and Dez on the bench. Instead, Gilbride has Eli take 5 step drops when everyone knows the O-line can't sustain those blocks and the Giants are incapable of executing a screen pass to take advantage of over aggressive D lines. Dallas couldn't stop the Giants' running game, so TC and Gilbride did... with the season on the line. Pathetic. Giants coaches play as if it doesn't matter who's on the field or what the opposition's doing... the plays are the plays, and they all work regardless of the talent or what the opposition's doing. That's absurd. Just as great players enable coaches to design plays to take advantage of their talents, the opposite is true. The coaches lost that game.
@mkdrep Now that they're truly out of contention, it's hard to argue with that even though during a game I can never root against the team.
Gilbride MUST go. I still think TC is a good (but far from perfect) coach; they won't get rid of him this year anyway unless he leaves on his own. But Gilbride MUST be replaced. It HAS to happen.
I don't know about the penalties. I maybe misremembering but the team hasn't been TOO heavily penalized this year. I think blaming that on TC is reading into it something that's not there.
I think Fewell needs to go as well. He's done an okay job this year, but that last drive was an absolutely unforgivable trainwreck. That one's almost completely on him, not on the players.
@pdmeyerh I thought Rolle did a fine job. You can't defend the perfect throw and Romo made a few on that last drive. Heck, Rolle was all over him and still Dez made the catch. Remember, the other guys are pro athletes too and I think that gets forgotten sometimes.
On CBS today Banks said that Rolle had Bryant in the slot because the coaches don't have confidence in Hosley. Hindsight is pretty clear that Amukamara would have been a better choice on 3d, even without Hosley and McBride. Banks emphasized that Hosley needs to gain the trust of the coaches, and apparently hasn't done so. This goes back to our observation that winning championships depends on having the younger guys step into the breach when needed. And vice versa.
Banks also got on Gilbride for not throwing over the middle; he thought that Dallas couldn't defend there and didn't do so when the Giants went there. He said they were sticking too much to their game plan to force downfield passes when the middle was there for the taking
@pdmeyerh I agree that Eli has not played at a high level. It seems like it started on the first play of the first game where he threw a pick 6 to the Cowboys offensive lineman on a draw play. He seems to have lost his confidence in any receiver not named Nicks or Cruz. No running game (at least until Brown came back) hasn't helped him either. Defenses are just loading the box with 9 guys and daring Eli to throw....which has led to too many picks....He needs some new coaches with some new ideas to make the game more interesting to him. I think he's way too board with the same game plan, week after week.....
@capt george @buljos Yeah... thought I'd get a rise out of everyone with that off-the-wall suggestion. And it makes no sense taken out of context. I criticized Gilbride for clutching to his sacrosanct playbook and not sticking with the run for no darn good reason, and then said if (as I've read elsewhere) it's not Gilbride's scheme but Coughlin's, and TC won't let Gilbride do his own thing, then in order to get somebody else running the offense get rid of TC and remove Gilbride from that playbook... there's more than one way to fire somebody... the other's promoting them to a position that removes them from doing much harm. Gilbride can walk the sidelines, yell at the refs, throw the little red flag, clap, etc. like other HCs. I've seen him do it in San Diego. But don't let him near the offensive or defensive playbooks and game plans. That was the context... absent the context of course "Gilbride to HC" makes zero sense.
@jfoster @I Bleed Blue you'll see the players perform like their jobs depend upon their performance... if the coaches are smart enough to get those who desperately need regular season reps on the field. They have something to prove, and they stand to learn the most, from these remaining 5 games. Sending Diehl out there will tell us that these coaches are not as interested in developing their bench strength as they are in saving their miserable hides by turning in something other than a 4-12 or 5-10 season. If they really truly cared about the Giants, they'd send in Moore, Robinson, Taylor, James, Cox, Mosley, Kuhn, Herzlich, Bradford, Donnell, Jernigan, Murphy, and yes... Nassib onto the field as much as possible. Keeping the starters out there for the final 5 games gets them what, other than coaches trying to salvage their jobs? Sending the aforementioned guys onto the field provides them with ~250 reps of learning experience and game tape for them to learn from. Now, which puts the Giants in a better position in 2014? I for one don't even see how it's a tough decision to make.
@buljos @mkdrep While we were watching the game I told him I wish they would take Vince Lombardi's motto regarding runnning the ball "we'll run it again and again until they stop it". Too often Killdrive trys to "outsmart" the defense when the situation doesn't call for it. Just keep on doing what works.... We need a new HC and coaches that have the balls to do that...TC has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn't believe in the strenght of the NYG running game. It used to be we ran the ball to set up the pass, now we pass the ball and hope to run it once in awhile....
@mkdrep I don't think Mara will ever fire T.C. Winning 2 Super Bowls allows Tom to walk away on his own terms. More importantly, remember that Coughlin was Wellington's last hire.
@I Bleed Blue the game has passed KG bye....no doubt about it in my mind. As I've stated before, if the Giants had not went on the incredible run they did and won the SB at the end of 2011 season the coaches would have been fired then or certainly after last year. It's time for the Mara's to bite the bullett and fire TC and his staff.
Quote...."Gilbride can walk the sidelines, yell at the refs, throw the little red flag, clap, etc. like other HCs. I've seen him do it in San Diego"
My answer to that....how many Super Bowls did he win in San Diego?
I rest my case!!!
@I Bleed Blue LOL