Sunday, September 15, 2013
Halftime report: Broncos 10, Giants 9
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- I've been trying my best, but I can't come up with one single thing the first half of this New York Giants-Denver Broncos game has shown us that might help us predict who's going to win it.
Battle of the Brothers? Fizzle. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has 200 yards on 18-for-29 passing. And the Giants' Eli Manning is 11-for-21 for 180. But no one can cash anything in. Denver's impressive opening drive should have been a touchdown, but rookie running back Montee Ball fumbled going across the goal line. The Giants' best chance to get into the end zone flamed out when tight end Brandon Myers tripped over his own feet in the open field. Denver receiver Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas have had a few weird drops. Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks had a terrible wide-open drop on which he dislocated a finger. (He came back into the game.)
The run games? Meh. Denver's touchdown came on a well-blocked 20-yard touchdown run by Knowshon Moreno, but the Broncos only have 14 yards on their other 10 carries. The Giants have 19 total rushing yards on 10 carries. A huge third-down catch by Nicks and a pass interference penalty got Eli Manning and the Giants in position to score in the final minute, and but Eli threw an interception in the end zone with nine seconds left on the clock.
You get the point, right? Some good stuff, a lot of bad stuff and no real rhythm to the game. No one seems in sync. The interception looked like a case of miscommunication between Nicks and Eli Manning, and I'm sure everybody has a lot to talk to each other about at the half. The Giants will get the ball back to start the second half down 10-9.
Some more specific thoughts:
Second straight impressive game for Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, who missed the past two seasons due to reconstructive knee surgeries and is playing the slot cornerback position. Thomas is tackling very well, as he did last Sunday when matched up against Miles Austin in the slot, and he's a big part of the reason Peyton Manning hasn't been able to operate over the middle as well as he'd like to. The Giants also are limiting Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, with the help of linebacker Jacquian Williams.
Running back David Wilson, who was pulled after two fumbles Sunday night and assigned to a remedial ball-carrying class all week in practice, has been working as the kick returner, as he did last year. He's got 17 yards on six carries in the run game, and it appears as though the Giants have decided they need to continue to give him the ball. Brandon Jacobs wasn't picking up yards when they were handing him the ball early in the game, and Wilson is doing better work inside, looking a couple of times as though he might be about to break a big one.
Myers was Eli Manning's most targeted receiver last week, and he is so far Sunday as well, with seven targets in the first half to Nicks' five and Cruz's four. No other Giant has been targeted more than once.
The Giants are 1-for-7 so far on third downs. That's... you know... not good.