The Giants lost 28-18 to the Jets on Saturday in the annual MetLife Bowl, and there were plenty of good, bad and ugly things on display by the G-men. Let’s highlight the most glaring examples of each.
GOOD: None of the Giants starters suffered a season-ending injury during the game. Sure, you can choose to focus on the nice outing from Eli Manning – 12 of 16 for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns (though one of them was thrown to Antonio Cromartie on a pick-six); the impressive line play from rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers, who kept Manning from getting killed by the Jets’ fine defensive line; or the decent game from Odell Beckham Jr. – five catches, including another ridiculously impressive one-handed grab (though he was out of bounds) – in his first game since the announcement he was supplanting Troy Polamalu as a spokesman for Head and Shoulders. But I’d prefer to focus on the fact that Manning, Flowers and Beckham all made it through the third preseason game without getting injured.
Considering all the injuries across the NFL – including the Jets’ own Leonard Williams, the impressive rookie defensive lineman who suffered a knee injury in last night’s game – just surviving an NFL game is an accomplishment in itself. Sometimes just warming up for a game can be hazardous, as evidenced by Giants defensive lineman Robert Ayers, who busted his ankle just minutes before the team finished pregame warmups against the Jets.
I really hope Tom Coughlin just puts the starters in bubble wrap until the first regular-season game against the Cowboys.
BAD: The Giants’ defensive line. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who somehow wasn’t good enough to keep his job with the Texans – what with their rich tradition of All-Pro quarterbacks – played a good game against the Giants, going 9 of 14 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He was basically sitting in a recliner as he played, as the Giants put no pressure on him. Meanwhile, they allowed plenty of running room for Zac Stacy (13 carries for 60 yards) and Chris Ivory (6 totes for 38 yards).
Obviously the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul is a factor, and word is he might be ready to go in week one. Hopefully he’ll steer clear of Robert Ayers during warmups.
UGLY: Special teams. A few years ago, the NFL moved up kickoffs to the 35-yard line in a bid to make the game safer, as more kickoffs would ostensibly end up as touchbacks and fewer players would collide with each other after running down the field at full speed.
A way for players to counteract this safety measure is to run offsides on a kickoff, thus raising the odds that the kick will be done over. This was what the Giants’ Geremy Davis did against the Jets right after the Giants had tied the score, 7-7, in the second quarter. Sure, Davis made up for it on the subsequent kickoff by making the tackle. But how ticked were his teammates to run that far and slam into other players only to have to do it again? Being offsides on a kickoff has to rank right up there with the dumbest ways to annoy a whole lot of teammates with one play.
Meanwhile, the Giant also allowed a 54-yard punt return touchdown. Davis was onsides on that one.