Big Blue Breakdown: Week 14 Recap

Well, that’s a wrap on this season. The New York Giants, who screwed themselves right out of the gate with an 0-6 start, were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday after a 37-14 loss to the Chargers. So what’s next for the team? Many fans want them to lie down for the rest of the year and try to secure a high draft pick, but that’s not the team’s mentality and it’s not the only thing that could help them prepare for next year. Once again, we’ll go through the negatives and positives of this week, and then start to talk about what the rest of the season might look like for the Giants.

Chargers fans mock Eli Manning with an altered image of his face (Denis Poroy/AP Photo)

Chargers fans mock Eli Manning with an altered image of his face (Denis Poroy/AP Photo)

The Rundown:

- Giants lose to Chargers 37-14

- Giants officially eliminated from playoff contention

- Jason Pierre-Paul and Brandon Jacobs may be placed on IR

The Negatives:

Gee, where to begin? The Giants looked worse on Sunday than they have in nearly 10 weeks.  It seemed like every area on the team struggled at one point or another and overall they seemed to have no passion or energy when they played. The offense performed especially horribly, with Eli Manning throwing two picks (one on a desperation throw, one on a questionable pass which was then tipped), Andre Brown fumbling, and the offensive line being completely overwhelmed by the Chargers.  Manning had one of his worst games of the season, but without a doubt the game’s dunce cap goes to James Brewer. Someone needs to tell Jerry Reese that it’s time for Brewer to take his “left tackle feet” somewhere else, because he has failed to give the team any reason why he should be a part of their long-term plans.

It was pretty disheartening to see Andre Brown fumble. Not only was that a key play which contributed to San Diego’s win, but it also marked the first time the running back has ever fumbled in the NFL. All this year the passing offense has been a train wreck and David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, and Peyton Hillis combined for five fumbles, but never Brown.  He definitely needs to spend time going back over ball security this week because the Giants have had as much as they can take of running backs coughing up the football. It’s the last thing they need on top of so many offensive woes. 

On defense, the team just got burned across the board. With the exceptions of a few players,  the Giants defense was just pitiful to watch after being so good these past several weeks. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead were allowed to combine for 229 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 43 touches as they made the linebackers look like fools. In the secondary, meanwhile, Terrell Thomas got burnt several times by Keenan Allen and the receivers. Players like Thomas and Jon Beason did not seem like themselves on Sunday as they were completely overwhelmed by the Chargers.

The Positives:

Well, at least there were a few things the Giants can be happy about from Sunday’s game. Besides his fumble, Andre Brown picked up 81 rushing yards on 16 touches in another solid effort, while Peyton Hillis powered his way into the end zone for a rare red-zone touchdown from the team. In the passing game, Brandon Myers caught his third touchdown in three weeks as further proof that the Giants should seriously consider re-signing him this offseason and the tackles, Will Beatty and Justin Pugh, had decent games. Hakeem Nicks also had one of his few strong performances this year with five catches for 135 yards, including a hail-mary catch just short of the end zone at the end of the first half.

Despite the number of points allowed, the defense had several performances of note. Justin Tuck picked up his 5th and 6th sacks in two weeks as the lone defender to take down Phillip Rivers, and on one of those plays, Cullen Jenkins was able to strip the football away from Rivers and the Giants recovered it. In the secondary, safeties Antrel Rolle and Will Hill further solidified themselves as a rock-solid duo as Rolle made five big stops as a run defender and Hill looked great in pass coverage.

Hakeem Nicks (#88) was one of the only bright spots in an overall abysmal performance (Associated Press)

Hakeem Nicks (#88) was one of the only bright spots in an overall abysmal performance (Associated Press)

Conclusion:

Well, the Giants have missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. However, this season has given the team a lot of insight into what weaknesses must be addressed this offseason, both on the team and on the coaching staff. Hopefully now the team takes the rest of the year to try new things, give playing time to guys like Adrien Robinson and Ryan Nassib, and start assessing how they can change things up for next year They should still try to focus on overcoming the Seahawks, Lions, and Redskins, but at this point it’s also important to start looking forward to next year.

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Geoffrey Morton

An avid New York Giants fan with a passion for sports writing who is proud to be a part of Pro Football Networks!
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