QUARTERBACK: Eli Manning couldn’t best Michael Vick in the fantasy football universe or in real life, as he was outplayed by the more efficient Vick. Manning’s numbers [20-of-33, 147 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions with a fumble] were arguably his worst of the season, and his four turnovers ultimately doomed the Giants. Manning, who had a crucial fumble with 2:51 remaining, has been a major reason why New York has now lost two straight, as his play of late has been very uneven.
RUNNING BACKS: Ahmad Bradshaw [29 yards] and Brandon Jacobs [10 yards] came into the game as the most effective rushing duo in the league and left Philadelphia barely outrushing Vick [34 yards and a touchdown]. Bradshaw also fumbled twice, losing one, bringing his total to a league-leading six lost fumbles. Bradshaw’s greatest asset – his manic running style – is also what gets him in trouble, as he seemingly loses focus on ball protection when busting through the line.
WIDE RECEIVERS: The loss of Steve Smith has crippled New York’s wideout depth, as there has yet to be a suitable replacement in the slot. Hakeem Nicks [six catches for 65 yards] was average and Mario Manningham [three catches for 24 yards] was non-existent. Overall, the Giants’ receiving corps was unproductive. Only backup tight end Travis Beckum and retread Derek Hagan reached the end zone – and that’s not good enough. And now that Nicks will be out for a few weeks with a lower leg injury, the aforementioned will really need to step up.
O-LINE: The makeshift lineup finally caught up to Big Blue. Center Shaun O’Hara and left tackle David Diehl were both out. Shawn Andrews took Diehl’s spot, while usual left guard Rich Seubert started at center. Kevin Boothe, who was starting just his second game of the season after coming off the PUP list [physically unable to perform], took over Seubert’s slot. Since only right guard Chris Snee and right tackle Kareem McKenzie were in their usual positions, New York’s running game was severely right-handed, showing little to no faith in the reworked left side. Philadelphia simply loaded the right side of the Giants’ line, effectively taking away the running game, and making the offense one-dimensional.
D-LINE & LINEBACKERS: Defense wasn’t the reason why the Giants loss. The 10-point differential wasn’t indicative of any Eagle dominance, as New York’s defense certainly played well enough to win. Defensive end Justin Tuck had all three of New York’s sacks, including two forced fumbles. The front seven hit Vick enough times to slow him down and actually made him get up slowly on more than a handful of plays. Prior to a pair of 40-plus yard runs by Eagles running back LeSean McCoy late in the game, New York held him to 13 yards on nine carries. They also held the mobile Vick to less than 40 yards on the ground.
SECONDARY: If not for a couple of seemingly sure-handed touchdowns that were flubbed by Eagle receivers, Big Blue’s performance in the secondary would’ve been much worse looking in the stat book. By the numbers, they didn’t allow a touchdown to be caught on them, so they had that going for them. Otherwise Philly receivers did get by behind the secondary all night. And if not for a case of Philadelphia dropsies, the grade would be significantly lower.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Rookie punter Matt Dodge didn’t embarrass himself, as he posted a stellar average of 52 yards per punt – including a 67-yard boomer. His one awful moment came on his first punt – a 25-yard shank – but other than that, he acquitted himself nicely. Return specialist Will Blackmon, who took over the duties from the pedestrian Darius Reynaud, wasn’t as efficient. His measly kick return [15.3] and punt return [5.3] numbers didn’t strike fear in Philadelphia’s coverage team and will continue to be a problem going forward.
OVERALL: The loss itself isn’t what makes this an average grade but it’s how they lost. Once again turnovers ruined what should have been a gritty performance on both sides of the ball. The Giants temporarily lost control of the NFC East but the bigger worry should be ball security and decision-making in clutch moments. The star quarterback can’t fumble with no one even touching him and receivers can’t run third-down routes a full two yards in front of the first down markers. As long as the turnovers keep rearing its head, as they did Sunday night, there will continue to be talk of another late-season meltdown.
- Photos: Women's March In New York City30 Pictures
- PHOTOS: 16 Betty White quotes to brighten your day17 Pictures