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My oh my what a game it turned out to be in the Meadowlands on Sunday. A lot of Giants fans I'm sure had a feeling of anxiousness and enthusiasm to see how their beloved Big Blue would respond since getting trounced last Sunday in Philadelphia. The answer is simply that they did indeed lose another game to push their losing streak to four straight. The positive part of this loss, if there is any positive in losing is that the Giants seemed to play three and a half quarters of football. With that said, obviously three and a half quarters is not near enough to get a win in the National Football League and the Giants experienced that first hand Sunday.
Looking at the problems that the Giants have faced during this stretch, their offense seemed to produce solid numbers today. Eli Manning and company managed to out gain San Diego by a count of 304-266. Manning seemed solid in completing 25 of 33 passes for a total of 215 yards and two touchdowns. Notice there was no mention of an interception in that stat line. So what went wrong? First and foremost the Giants are still not letting the run become established. The ability to pound the football has ever so magically vacated this team's repertoire and it is a major concern. Brandon Jacobs finished the game with 11 carries and 67 yards. That is a 6.1 yard per carry ratio and the guy only touches the rock 11 times? Not very logical on the offensive coordinators part. Jacob's running mate, Ahmad Bradshaw got the ball handed his way 14 times and managed 39 yards. Now simply put, the player with the most running yards and seems to be more effective runs less. That in a sense is hurting the New York Giants.
With the ability to stick to the run and establish it early, opens passing lanes for Manning and his receivers to work more freely. Instead, there were countless times today when the offense is still launching passes down field and not connecting on first and ten. Then, on a second and ten they are predicted to run the ball and prove so more than half of the time. This can force some bad third down situations for the offense and kind of give the make or break type of feel in the offensive flow. That break in the offensive flow came inside the four yard line after a Terrell Thomas interception and return. The Giants were in business in the red zone with four opportunities and yet again, failed. Run, pass or what have you, a winning team needs to find ways to get seven instead of three in that situation.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants played solid and held LaDanian Tomlinson to just 22 yards. That is stellar! They forced Phillip Rivers into two interceptions, so there are your turnovers. The only known fact and ailing complication the Giants face is the ability to create that ever so important pass rush. Again, Rivers was hit late if at all and was sacked just twice. After playing well as a collective unit for three and a half quarters, the moment of truth suddenly became the moment to forget. Rivers was able to move the ball 80 yards on the Chargers' final drive of the game and throw the game winning touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson.
But wait, the Giants were supposed to win. According to the players and personnel they had a great week of practice and preparation. The mood in the locker room was upbeat and enthusiastic to be playing at home with a chance of ending this so called, "misery." That was the supposed action plan. The reality of it all is that the Giants sit at 5-4 heading into their buy week with the likes of Dallas now 6-2 after their win tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are 5-3 and the Giants are in third place looking up. Big Blue faces a very tough road the rest of the way, starting with hosting the Atlanta Falcons two weeks from now. The true test of this 2007 champion will be turning around this dismal streak they have inevitably put together.
Photos Courtesy of: Giants.com