Sunday, December 8, 2013
Halftime thoughts: September Giants redux
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
SAN DIEGO -- The New York Giants trail the San Diego Chargers 24-0 at halftime here at Qualcomm Stadium. This is significant because the Giants have exceeded 24 points in only two games this year. So while a comeback isn't impossible, obviously, it's quite difficult to imagine.
This is the worst the Giants have looked since September, when they were in the middle of a season-opening six-game losing streak and weren't even in some of their games. They have turned the ball over twice. They cannot protect quarterback Eli Manning. They have been flagged for three penalties, including one that gave Chargers kicker Nick Novak a second try after he missed a 41-yard field-goal try. (He made it from 36.) Chargers running backs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead have combined for 77 rushing yards on 17 carries, which eats at something the Giants actually have done well this year. The Giants also are struggling in coverage in the secondary, especially with Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who has two touchdown catches and may have done more damage if he hadn't had to miss a large chunk of the first half due to a shoulder injury. He caught one touchdown pass before the injury and one since.
The turnovers are Manning's 19th interception of the season and Andre Brown's first fumble, and obviously they have made a difference, as the Chargers scored touchdowns on the drives that resulted from each. They're not getting enough pressure on Rivers, who is 16-for-21 for 177 yards and three touchdowns. San Diego had the ball for 19:27 of the first half to the Giants' 10:33. They seem as though they believe they can beat the Chargers deep, and Hakeem Nicks of all people had a 51-yard catch early in the game. But the offense doesn't have any consistency, and it's mainly because Manning doesn't have enough time. The interior of the Giants' offensive line has been a problem all year, and reserve left guard James Brewer has had an especially bad game so far.
If it reads as though I'm just listing things the Giants have done poorly, it's because there's not a lot more to say. This Giants' season has been over since September, and even though it's been a while since they've looked this bad, it was unreasonable to expect them not to have another stinker before it was all over. Assuming they don't come back and they fly home with a 5-8 record, the Giants could be eliminated from contention for the postseason with a 49ers victory over Seattle this afternoon.