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New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Week Nine Game Analysis

November 8th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
By Paul Tierney

'Eli Manning' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ The New York Giants showed signs of their annual November collapse this past weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Blue squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowed Isaac Redman to rush for 146 yards, and failed get a first down in the fourth quarter.  Eli Manning is now 13-17 in the month of November and played perhaps his worst game of the season as the Giants amassed just over 180 yards of total offense. Big Blue was fortunate that every other NFC East team lost in Week nine, but the Giants must play better football if they want to get back on track on the road in Cincinnati. 

Key to Defeat:

Eli Manning and the offense were unable to get into any rhythm. The Giants were two for 10 on third-down and only mustered up three plays of 12-yards or more. The rushing attack gained just 68 yards on 22 attempts and Tom Coughlin still refused to give David Wilson the football. Victor Cruz was bottled up for the majority of the game and Hakeem Nicks was nowhere to be found. 

In short, Sunday was an ugly offensive showing for Big Blue. The defense wasn't stellar, but it gave Eli and Co. and a chance to win the game with under four minutes left. Instead of driving down the field in typical Giants fashion, the offense went three-and-out on their final possession. 

Game Positives:

  • The Giants sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times. The pass rush overwhelmed the Steelers offensive line and was the only reason the Giants were able to stay in this game. Osi Umenyiora's strip of Big Ben in the second quarter resulted in this unit's second defensive touchdown in as many weeks. The Giants will win several more football games if they keep generating turnovers and scoring on defense.
  • Giants' punter Steve Weatherford averaged 47.4 yards per punt, with a long of 55-yards. The Giants punt coverage was sloppy, but Weatherford's kicks were impressive to say the least.

Game Negatives

  • Eli Manning had one of the worst statistical games of his career this past weekend. Big Blue's franchise player completed just 10 passes on 24 attempts for 125 yards. Manning had several miscommunications with his receivers and made some poor decisions with the football. Eli's quarterback rating was a pathetic 41.1, which was the eight lowest of his career. Furthermore, when the game was on the line, Eli was unable to lead the Giants down the field to victory. It was an uncharacteristically poor performance from a player that the Giants will live and die by in the postseason.
  • The rushing attack was nonexistent. 68 yards on 22 carries is unacceptable. Tom Coughlin did not even attempt to provide a spark by giving David Wilson some work. Although the Giants rushing attack has come alive at times this season, it's still wildly inconsistent and does not threaten defenses enough to change the way they cover the Giants' explosive wide receiver core.
  • Hakeem Nicks was only targeted four times on Sunday and came away with just one catch for 10-yards. He has not shown the same physicality and ability to catch in traffic as he has in the past.. Nicks is clearly not 100 percent healthy and needs to get back on track for the Giants to jumpstart their passing attack.
  • The Giants only managed to get into the red zone twice. If not for a personal foul call against the Steelers after a third-down incompletion, the Giants would have failed to score a touchdown on both occasions. The offensive woes in the red zone are haunting this team and are perhaps the only thing holding them back from being a truly dominant unit.
  • The special teams play was horrible. Lawrence Tynes showcased his inconsistent long-range field goal kicking ability, while the kick and punt return teams each gave up a return in excess of 60-yards. This game was somewhat of an anomaly, because the special teams has been a strength for the most part this season. However, the Giants' defense was put in some tough spots in this game.
  • Big Blue allowed ten plays of 12-yards or more on defense. When the pass rush didn't get to the quarterback, the secondary was unable to hold up against a banged up Steelers wide receiver core.
  • Mark Herzlich may be the Giants middle linebacker of the future, but he's not there yet. The second-year player out of Boston College failed to fill his gap on several runs and was relatively ineffective on coverage on short passes over the middle of the field. He's young, athletic and immensely talented, but Chase Blackburn is ahead of him on the depth chart for a reason.

Player of the Game - Jason Pierre-Paul

The Giants star defensive end had eight tackles, including a sack. Furthermore, JPP was injured his knee late in the game and came back to make a huge tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter. JPP was flat-out dominant this weekend and will continue to be a force on the defensive line for years to come.

Game Balls

Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora

Overall Performance

This game was ugly. The Giants were thoroughly outplayed and lost to a team that was just better than them that day. The silver lining that some may take out of this contest was that the Giants played some terrible football, yet still had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. However, a loss is a loss and there is nothing good about losing. Big Blue a better football team than they showed this past weekend and it's imperative that they improve immediately.

Also…

Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Boston College, Chase Blackburn, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz

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19 Responses to “New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Week Nine Game Analysis”

  1.  Krow says:

    This Pittsburgh loss makes the Bengals game very important. It’s too early to make any wild claims, but by season’s end I believe this will emerge as a pivotal contest … one way or the other.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    Demo – my point is Diehl seemed horrible at LG last year. And while he’s been the same at RT so far I have more confidence he can be ok at RT than RG. I assume Lockear will be pretty good at either position though he’s a natural RT.

    •  kujo says:

      Has Locklear ever played guard? I don’t think so.

      Sh*t, why don’t we just put Beatty at RG, since we’re talking about playing people way-the-f*ck out of position.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        It wasn’t a suggestion. I read or heard that as a likelihood from one of the beat guys if Snee doesn’t play.

  3.  BLU-82 says:

    Repost from last thread:

    GeezUp says:
    November 8, 2012 at 3:42 PM
    It’s amazing to me that despite all his nagging injuries Hakeem still manages to practice while Ahmad continues to sit them out. Maybe Antrel needs to make that statement he made last year calling out guys who weren’t All-In by sitting practices out!!! Although I love TC, I’m starting lose a little respect for him regarding these matters. Strahan said Coughlin use to nag Plax constantly over missed practice time even though Plax saved us offensively in games; Ahmad hasn’t done anything of note this last few weeks and still is the feature RB despite Andre looking much better than him. This really hurts me to see us in this state knowing full well how history has doomed us in Nov.

    Reply
    GOAT56 says:
    November 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM
    I think one of Nicks’s issues is he’s been practicing too much. If he’s banged up at least save in for game days. Practicing helps but not if it going to make him less physically ready on game days.

    Reply
    BLU-82 says:
    November 8, 2012 at 4:39 PM
    Bradshaw is one of the toughest players on this Giants team. If he’s not practicing, it’s because he knows it will only only aggravate his injury. Not because he isn’t willing to deal with pain or discomfort. Guy plays on a broken foot half his career and you want him to practice more because you think he’s being a bum?

    Reply

  4.  G-MenFan says:

    FTA:
    “Eli Manning and the offense were unable to get into any rhythm. The Giants were two for 10 on third-down and only mustered up three plays of 12-yards or more.”

    That’s a lot of words for “Gilbride was awful”.

    •  jfunk says:

      Eli was a heck of a lot more responsible than Gilbride.

      I’m one of the biggest Eli apologists out there. I’ve been on his bandwagon since draft day and never wavered (excepting about a 48 hour period following the 2007 Vikings debacle during which I regretfully conceded it was possible he would not be what we hoped he would).

      That being said, I cannot believe that anybody could watch the performances in recent weeks and not see that Eli’s performance has been poor. And I mean poor in general, not poor compared to his usual self. It doesn’t excuse the problems other parts of the team has had, but it IS the single most important key to our success. Eli must get right or nothing else matters, including Gilbride’s play calling.

      Speaking of Gilbride’s play calling, I can only assume some of the long time haters stopped paying attention a few years ago. Have you been completely oblivious to the fact that Eli DOES in fact have virtually full control of the offense at the line like many were screaming for in his early years? Eli changes the play at the line at his whim. Any criticism of the play calling should at least be a 50/50 split between the two.

      •  Dirt says:

        My platform this week has been Eli’s been a bit lazy at times this year. So I agree with my man jfunk that the Giants rise and fall with the right arm of Eli.

        But the play calling is still on Killdrive. One, for never changing pace. Two, for still calling the run and pass play into the huddle that Eli can choose from. Three, for using the personnel packages that he does to run said plays. Four, for not being smart enough to force feed Eli the right calls when they need to be called (like bombs when you’re in field goal range or neeed 1 yard, etc. – regardless of whether it’s Eli or Killdrive, Killdrive bears responsibility to prevent asinine calls). Five, for not force feeding Eli the right calls when the reads he makes are creating tendencies (like last year when they almost exclusively threw out of shotgun and ran under center; I heard Steelers defenders calling run or pass multiple times Sunday).

      •  Dirt says:

        I mean, hell, any time a 2-time Super Bowl MVP goes out and completes only 10 passes in a losing effort in the year 2012, he’s having a rough go at it!

      •  G-MenFan says:

        Of course Eli bears blame. But the Offensive Coordinator has to have the team prepared for what’s coming and armed with an effective game plan that includes match-up advantages. The Giants had none. When I see the Giants go an entire game without ever surprising the opponent by catching them in the wrong defense, I blame the OC. It puts Manning in a position where he has to be absolutely perfect on every opportunity, or the offense doesn’t work at all. And that’s exactly what we saw last game.

  5.  BBWC says:

    The Giants NEED to get Wilson on the field period. He is way too explosive to be sitting on the bench the entire game. Gilbride or TC (or both) need to wake up, get a little creative, and find ways utilize this kids talents.. Wilson’s speed, burst, change of direction, plus good hands catching the ball out of the back field, could be a huge threat to add to the mix. If he plays as well as I believe he can, it would take some of the pressure off of Cruz, Nicks and Eli. He would be another player that defenses would have to game plan for. But we’ll never know if they don’t get him out there! Atleast start working him in a little, give the kid a chance! Gilbride even said in an interview that he don’t believe that we’ve had a back with the type of explosiveness that Wilson pocesses…. So what’s the problem!

    I don’t want to hear, he had a chance and fumbled the ball….. it was ONE fumble on a great play by Sean Lee….Wilson never got a second chance! I could see if he fumbled several times, but that was not the case. Note: Bradshaw had a fumble that same game.
    I also don’t want hear, he has to able to pass protect…. because other teams found ways to get their rookies involved without getting their QB’s killed, ala Doug Martin and Alfred Morris……which I might add, are currently ranked 3rd and 4th in the league in rushing. You could throw in Trent Richardson also, and none of their QB’s are dead that I’m aware of!

    Wilson has done a great job securing the ball and providing spark to this team returning kicks….IMO he deserves a chance! Bradshaw is injured and can’t even practice, give Wilson the Reps this week and lets see what he can do! NO MORE EXCUSES! I want touchdowns and back flips!

    •  Dirt says:

      The only plausible excuse I’ll buy is that this team has aspirations of playing in February and want him FRESH in the playoffs. Imagine a fresh Wilson running past tired vets? I love it! And rookies generally hit a wall, so they’re saving him.

      It’s all I can come up with.

      You mentioned Freeman and Griffen. Not dead. Nor were certain-HOFers Elway and Manning, when they won their first Super Bowls with rookie running backs “executing complex blocking schemes”. Terrell Davis was a SCRUB!

  6.  Dirt says:

    How do I update my avatar?

  7.  TonyMW says:

    This is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever read:

    “The newest Bengal, practice squad center Scott Wedige, practiced five times against the Giants defensive line while he was on New York’s practice squad for nine days in September and is willing to help with any insights.”

    What kind of insight could this guy POSSIBLY offer??

    •  G-MenFan says:

      “When Eli’s top hand is warm to my balls, it means he’s been blowing on it because it’s a pass play.”

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