Xs & Os: A review of the Giants by Position
QUARTERBACKS Miscommunication between Eli Manning and C Shaun O'Hara allowed a snap to hit an unsuspecting Manning in the right leg early in the fourth quarter. LDE Charles Grant recovered the ball at the Giants' 24 and the Saints went ahead 30-7 four plays later on a 38-yard FG by John Carney. Manning completed his first six passes of the game, but other than a 55-yard touchdown to WR Plaxico Burress the five completions accounted for only five yards combined. He then threw five consecutive incompletions. Bottom Line: Manning looked lost and defeated, even before the Saints began dominating. RUNNING BACKS Tiki Barber's production was balanced (nine carries for 38 yards in the first half, seven carries for 33 in the second), but he didn't have a run longer than 11 yards. Barber also missed a block on blitzing LOLB Scott Fujita, who dropped Manning for a six-yard sack, which backed the Giants into a third-and-10 situation early in the third quarter. Bottom Line: Barber deserved better in his final home game. WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS Wide-open TE Jeremy Shockey dropped a perfect pass from Manning on a fourth-and-two play from midfield with less than a minute left in the first half. Burress' fake inside, near New Orleans' 20-yard line, helped him elude FS Josh Bullocks. After getting outside, his stiff-arm of RCB Fred Thomas enabled him to dive toward the pylon for a 55-yard score just 2:17 into the game. Thomas nearly fell down near midfield, which allowed Burress to get wide open on the play. Bottom Line: They didn't give a struggling Manning much help. OFFENSIVE LINE LT Bob Whitfield was whistled for another idiotic personal foul midway through the third quarter. His head-butt of Fujita cost the Giants 15 yards and backed them into a third-and-18 situation from their own 25. C Shaun O'Hara somehow compounded matters on the very next play, flinging RCB Jason Craft to the ground for another 15-yard personal foul. Bottom Line: Manning was sacked twice and hurried five times. DEFENSIVE LINE LDE Michael Strahan disengaged from a block to leap and bat away a Drew Brees pass intended for WR Marques Colston on a third-and-goal play from the Giants' 2 just before halftime. LDE Mathias Kiwanuka tipped two Brees passes on third-down plays in the first quarter, causing incompletions. Bottom Line: The front four didn't pressure Brees nearly enough. LINEBACKERS RT Jon Stinchcomb sealed off WLB Brandon Short at the line of scrimmage, which allowed RB Reggie Bush to run around right end for an 18-yard gain that moved New Orleans to the Giants' 11. Bush's run set up Deuce McAllister's 9-yard touchdown two plays later, with 14:06 left in the game. Bottom Line: They were largely responsible for the Saints' 236 rushing yards. DEFENSIVE BACKS Nickel back R.W. McQuarters sought safety help deep and allowed WR Terrance Copper to beat him for a 40-yard connection down the Saints' sideline. The long gain got the Saints to the Giants' 2 and set up a 1-yard TD by Bush that helped give New Orleans a 20-7 lead with 7:55 to play in the third quarter. FS Will Demps used his right arm to break up what would've been a first-down connection from Brees to Copper on a third-and-six play from the Giants' 14 early in the first quarter. The Saints settled for a field goal. Bottom Line: Demps played well again, but didn't get much help here. SPECIAL TEAMS LS Ryan Kuehl barely brushed his hand across the back of a falling Bush's calf to spare the Giants from yielding an embarrassing punt return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. Without a Saint in his face, Chad Morton allowed a punt to bounce off his shoulder pad early in the first quarter. WR Jamal Jones recovered Morton's muff at the Giants' 18 and K John Carney got the Saints within four points (7-3) with a 32-yard FG four plays later. Bottom Line: Moss must show he's their return man with the mediocre Morton out. COACHING If ever there was evidence that this team's play-calling is unacceptable, it was this – the Giants did not run a single play in New Orleans' territory the ENTIRE GAME. And Burress didn't catch another pass after his 55-yard score early in the first quarter. This team did not look like it was prepared to play on emotional or mental levels, either, and that reflects a coaching staff that has lost its players. Bottom Line: They've lost six of their last seven games and four straight at home.