Sunday, September 22, 2013
Halftime thoughts: Giants look just awful
By Dan Graziano
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The New York Giants didn't look great in their first two games of the season, which is the reason they showed up for Sunday's game here against the Panthers with an 0-2 record. But if you were thinking things couldn't get any worse, you were sorely, sorely mistaken.
The good news is that Giants quarterback Eli Manning hasn't thrown any interceptions and at no point during the final 13 minutes of the first half was he sacked. The bad news is that Manning was sacked an incomprehensible six times in the first 17 minutes of the half, and as a result the Giants have a grand total of 18 yards on 25 offensive plays and trail the 0-2 Panthers 17-0.
Almost nothing has gone right for the Giants. The offensive line is a sinkhole, with left tackle Will Beatty having the worst game of his NFL career, and the guys in the middle and on the right side looking competent only by comparison. Beatty is responsible for at least three of the sacks as well as a holding penalty that negated a 17-yard David Wilson touchdown run. (Though, to be fair, Wilson likely wouldn't have scored if not for the hold.) Manning has been under pressure on more or less every drop-back against a Carolina front that looks inspired to take over the game with the secondary decimated by injury. Carolina's defense has been in the backfield on almost every run play, too, and the Giants have 17 rush yards on 10 carries to up their season total to 90 rush yards in 10 quarters.
On defense ... I mean, I don't know. Mathias Kiwanuka had a sack early, but the line got gashed repeatedly by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton on run plays on the Panthers' first touchdown drive. Cornerback Aaron Ross has looked good filling in for the injured Corey Webster, making plays on the ball and coming up with the interception that set up Wilson's non-touchdown. And cornerback Prince Amukamara made a great play to break up a long would-be touchdown pass to Steve Smith. But Terrell Thomas got beat by Brandon LaFell for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left in the half. It was fairly inexcusable to be beaten there, since Carolina was out of timeouts and had to go to the end zone or risk not even getting a field goal before the half ended.
All-around horrendous effort by the Giants, who are 30 minutes away from starting 0-3 for the first time since the 1996 season. If they can't find a way to toughen up on the lines and get some control over how the game is going, Carolina should be able to put this away with DeAngelo Williams, Newton and the run game. Only three of the 115 teams that have started o-3 since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990 have reached the postseason, and none has done it since 1998.