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Giants fall to Steelers – Grades: Diary of a Giants Fan

In what was an ugly game, the Giants lost to the Steelers 24-20.

Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images

Well, it’s November.  It’s the Giants.  Maybe we should have seen this one coming.

After two straight weeks of underperforming and surviving, the Giants’ enigmatic, live-at-the-edge-of-sanity style of play finally caught up with them.

For a while, it didn’t seem like we’d have to suffer through a suspenseful ride as a pair of Giant touchdowns – a run by Brown and a fumble return by Boley – erased an early deficit, and with a pair of field goals, The Giants had built a double-digit lead.

Said lead proved to be unstable, however – a Jenga tower that looked impressive from afar, but upon closer inspection proved to be cast out of the weak building blocks of referee-aided controversy; a Jenga tower that came crashing down when the Steelers found their game in the fourth quarter and scored twice to claim a 24-20 win.

Neither team looked anywhere near the area code of good on Sunday, but the Giant offense was particularly Kent-Graham-Era-Esq – unable to collect 200 yards of offense and employing play calling that questioned whether or not they’d be able to gain two. Their  lamentable play cost a defensive unit who played well but eventually fell victim to the Steelers’ 10 minute advantage in time of possession.

The bottom line: Neither side played well.  Neither side deserved to win.  But the Giants were certainly less deserving than the Steelers.  Bemoan it for a minute and move on.

Grades: Offensive Line – C+: The two sacks of Manning were the big problem here, but I really don’t think this unit played that poorly.  There was pressure at times, but for the most part Manning’s face was clear and the backs had room to run.  Not a great game, but I wouldn’t look their way when searching for areas to improve.

Running Backs – B-: We understand they weren’t great, but they certainly weren’t bad.  They ran hard and, I think, played fine.

Wide Receivers – D: A drop came on the first play and began a trend of poor play that would continue throughout the game.  As I sit here, in fact, I struggle to find positives to highlight.

Eli Manning – D: Sunday was by far the worst game Manning has played this season.  Passes were off target and wobbly, and though we have to accept small stretches of such play from the QB, the real Eli Manning never stood up – his patented late game heroics never developing to rescue the Giants.

Special Teams – D: Occasional kick of punt coverage would be appreciated.

Defensive Line – C: Tuck and the gang (still a great name for a funk band) were back to their old selves against the pass with consistent pressure and four sacks of Roethlisberger.  Against the run, however, the unit was blown off the line of scrimmage and decimated between the tackles.

Linebackers – C: It’s difficult to defend the run when your defensive lineman have been pushed back into you, but the unit still has to do better shedding blockers and filling gaps. The Steelers rushed for 4.5 yards per carry, unacceptable.

Secondary – B: Pavlovian conditioning has me eager to blast the Giant secondary following a loss, but I really can’t today.  Early in this game Roethlisberger was forced to stand in the pocket for too long, his first and second reads consistently covered.  He found more room in the second half, but with resources needing to be re-routed to defend the run, I can’t lay too much blame that their feet.

So to sum it up:

Next week the Giants will take on the Bengals.  Check back here for a preview of the contest and, as always, Go Giants!

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