Monday, December 23, 2013
Upon Further Review: Giants Week 16
By Dan Graziano
DETROIT -- An examination of four hot issues from the New York Giants' 23-20 overtime victory against the Detroit Lions:
Prince on Megatron: The Giants assigned top cornerback Prince Amukamara to cover superstar Lions receiver Calvin Johnson wherever he lined up Sunday except in the slot. Amukamara said it was the first time he'd had such an assignment (as opposed to "splitting the field" with another cornerback) and that it made him "feel special." Johnson was targeted just four times and had three catches for 43 yards and no touchdowns. He also was dealing with a knee injury that made him a game-time decision to play, per Adam Schefter, and he spent a fair amount of time on the sideline. Amukamara said Johnson didn't seem injured to him when he was on the field -- that he looked "very explosive off the line, but there were series where he had to go out of the game, so I kind of figured he must be injured."
Jernigan shows toughness: Playing the slot receiver position in place of the injured Victor Cruz, Jerrel Jernigan had a very Cruz-like stat line -- six catches for 80 yards and his first NFL touchdown. "I see his game elevate and get better year after year after year out there on the practice field," fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said of Jernigan. "He's the next guy up with Victor out, and he's obviously up to the task." Jernigan's 15-yard catch on fourth-and-seven in the overtime period kept alive the winning drive and moved the Giants into position for Josh Brown's game-winning field goal. Jernigan is taking advantage of a chance to prove himself a useful NFL player.
Protection remains an issue: Down to third- and fourth-stringers at the guard positions, the Giants struggled mightily to protect quarterback Eli Manning from the rushing Detroit defensive line. With some inside handoffs to Andre Brown and some rollouts by Manning in the first half, they were able to keep the defense off him enough to build a 13-3 lead. But in the second half, they had no time to do anything on offense, and Manning was sacked in the end zone for a safety that was part of Detroit's 17 straight points. Manning surely will play Sunday and extend his streak to 151 consecutive games, but the Giants will have to work hard to keep Redskins pass-rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan from terrorizing him.
The whole story: The Giants turned the ball over twice. The Lions turned the ball over three times. That makes it the fourth game this season in which the Giants have had a positive turnover differential. They are 4-0 in those games, 1-2 in games in which it's even and 1-7 when they turn the ball over more than their opponent does. That's your Giants season in a nutshell, right there.