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Team Grades: Giants' Miscues Hand Cardinals Victory At MetLife

By Curt Macysyn

At face value, when you are at home, facing a team without its starting quarterback, the odds are in your favor. Unfortunately, the 2014 edition of the New York Giants seem incapable of handling their own affairs, so any advantage they receive, will likely be squandered away. Quarterback Eli Manning threw two more interceptions, and the special teams were not very special on Sunday, as the Giants handed the visiting Cardinals a 25-14 victory. The loss dropped the Giants to 0-2 on the young season, where they sit alone in the NFC East basement.


Statistically, the Giants were better than the Cardinals in most offensive categories, except yards rushing. The running game averaged 3.0 yards per carry, and tailback Rashad Jennings had a costly unforced fumble. Quarterback Eli Manning threw two more interceptions, and wide receiver Victor Cruz failed to back up his words this week by dropping two fourth quarter passes, including an important third down target. Cruz was targeted ten times, and he caught five passes for 60 yards.

Once again, tight end Larry Donnell was the leading receiver for Big Blue with seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Manning also threw a nice fade pattern to Rueben Randle for a touchdown, so there are some signs of life. But the team cannot afford mistakes, and there are too many mistakes on the offensive side of the ball at this point. The offense ran 68 plays, which is pretty close to the target of 70, set by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo in the preseason. McAdoo will start feeling more heat if the offensive mistakes are not rectified, but in reality, plays like the Rashad Jennings' fumble are inexplicable, so there is nothing McAdoo or anyone else can do about it.

The offensive line play was spotty at best, as the G-men had nine penalties for 70 yards.


The good news was that the Giants did have four sacks of Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton, including 1.5 by Jason Pierre-Paul, so maybe there is some life in the pass rush. Middle linebacker Jon Beason may have injured the same toe that kept him out of training camp, and he was replaced by Mark Herzlich. Herzlich is a fine special teams player but a downgrade as an every down player. Beason will receive an MRI on Monday and any extended loss by Beason will severely impact the defense.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond II injured his pectoral muscle and did not return. Thurmond's status for next week is uncertain at this point. Prince Amukamara continues his strong play with nine tackles and a pass defense to his credit. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a much better game than last week against the Detroit Lions. Robert Ayers, Jr. had his first sack as a Giant, and Johnathan Hankins was solid at defensive tackle.


Some of the players may have changed, but the results are eerily like last season. Zack Bowman whiffed on his attempted tackle of punt returner Ted Ginn, Jr., and that miscue resulted in a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown for Ginn. The play brought back flashbacks to the 80-yard punt return by Trindon Holliday against the Denver Broncos last year. The Giants lack of speed and athleticism really hampers their special teams play, as once Ginn broke Bowman's attempted tackle, he was gone.

After the deflating punt return touchdown, kick returner Quintin Demps made a bad situation worse by fumbling the ensuing kickoff. The Giants brought Demps in to solidify their meager return game, and he has been disappointing thus far.

Punting with a bum ankle, Steve Weatherford was able to average 44.3 yards on four punts. All-in-all, there is nothing special about the Giants' special teams.

For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.

Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on

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