Hero, Nero, Zero in Giants' Win Over Ravens

Odell Beckham Jr. got down on one knee and proposed to a kicking net after scoring the deciding touchdown in Sunday’s 27-23 victory over the Ravens, but the player who should have been on his knees giving thanks for the existence of Beckham is Giants tight end Larry Donnell, who was in line to be the goat if the Giants lost.

On the play before Eli Manning and Beckham connected on 4th and 1 with Beckham taking the ball 66 yards to the house, Donnell caught a Manning pass in the flat. All he needed to do was turn up field, lower his shoulder and push through a much smaller defensive back to get the first down. But as Donnell has proven time and again in his three-year career, if the option to avoid a big hit is there, he will take it – diving, flipping or jumping to avoid low hits, losing focus on protecting the ball. And so Donnell juked a bit on the defender and then stepped out of bounds to leave the Giants a yard short of the first down.

The incompetence of his move was quickly eclipsed when Manning hooked up with Beckham; but the Giants should never have been in a 4th and 1, anyway. So, yeah, Beckham should certainly be the Hero in Donnell’s universe today. Now let’s hand out the laurels for Nero and Zero.

Nero: Ben McAdoo.

During the postgame press conference, McAdoo once again played Cliché Coach to the hilt, delivering terse responses to reporters’ questions and trying his best to look like Bill Belichick cross-pollinated with one of the mustachioed cops from “Super Troopers.”

His best response, however, was when he said Beckham had been humbled after his recent travails –- crying on the sideline, attacking the kicking net, saying he wasn’t having fun anymore, etc.

Humbled? I saw a lot of things from Beckham Sunday – eight catches, 222 yards receiving, two long touchdowns, a gritty bounce-back performance after fumbling on the game’s first play. But his humility must have been sent with the advance team for next week’s game in London.

Beckham scored the go-ahead touchdown, immediately took off his helmet and barked something at an official. Then he went and proposed to the kicking net. He was flagged 15 yards for losing his helmet and could easily have been flagged an additional 15 for yelling at the ref. The Giants had to kick from 15 yards deeper on the ensuing kickoff, valuable yardage that contributed to the Ravens having two good shots on throws into the end zone to end the game.

But yeah, Beckham has become more humble. You could see the steam coming out of Bill Cowher’s ears as he discussed Beckham in the postgame show. It’s not impressive coaching when you continue to let your diva wide receiver set the tenor for your team, Officer Farva.

Zero: Running game.

Rashad Jennings returned after missing three games with a wrist injury and the Giants’ ground game picked up right where it left off: 38 yards on 17 carries.

It’s amazing that a team with an offense like this –- where the defense has to respect so many receiving weapons -– can’t establish any kind of consistent rushing attack.

Just dump it altogether. Put Manning in the shotgun and run the hurry-up offense, which worked well against the Ravens and allowed the offense to get into a rhythm. Leave Bobby Rainey or Paul Perkins in the backfield as a check down option, but forget about running consistently between the tackles with this collection of players.

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