Peyton Manning 3. Eli Manning 0.
That’s the short story from Sunday’s 41-23 decimation of the New York Giants courtesy of the Denver Broncos. Now at 0-2, the Giants are set to embark on a sequel to their miraculous 2007 season that led them to the Super Bowl and defeated the then-undefeated New England Patriots.
But this isn’t 2007 and this team isn’t the same as 2007. Sure you have Eli, Tom Coughlin, Justin Tuck, Chris Snee, but you don’t have Osi Umenyiora, who notched his first career interception and first career touchdown on the same play on Sunday for the Atlanta Falcons. The Giants don’t have Michael Strahan, who is gracing our television screens in place of Regis Philbin.
The Giants are different and it is immature as fans, haters, and writers to compare them to a team from six years ago given the variables of this season. Looking at their performance on Sunday, there are distinct differences.
Failure to capitalize
what we have here is a failure to communicate.
See what I did in the above line? I forgot to capitalize the first letter of the sentence, similar to how the Giants couldn’t seem to capitalize on the massive amount of penalties accumulated by the Broncos.
Throughout the entire first half, it seemed the Giants really had a shot because Denver was moving the chains for them, not their offense. Instead of touchdowns, the Giants main scorer was Josh Brown, who accounted for 11 of the Giants 23 points with 3 field goals and 2 extra points. That is a definite symbol of “failure to capitalize” when your kicker is accounting for almost the exact same number of points as your offense.
If you’d like an example of “failure to communicate,” you won’t get a better example than Eli’s fourth interception. Which brings us to…
Picking off Eli
From the past two games, Eli’s throws seem like apples begging to be picked off a tree. Granted, one of his passes on Sunday was one of the luckiest interceptions ever and Da’Rel Scott’s slow turn resulted in an interception that sealed the Giants fate last Sunday against the Cowboys. Also, the Denver Broncos secondary is pretty stout even without Champ Bailey. The Broncos’ secondary picked off defending Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco twice in their season opener. If you take away the hand-to-foot interception, Eli threw 3 interceptions.
Nevertheless, Eli has a league leading 7 interceptions thus far through the 2013 season. He is already halfway to reaching his 2012 season interception total of 15 with just two games completed in 2013.
The reason is not just because defenses are thriving against him, but the fact that Eli is throwing more than his entire career given the struggles of his running game. As a result, Eli has accumulated 812 yards passing, which is second most in the league to Aaron Rodgers’ 813.
Oh the difference a yard can make.
The Return of Brandon Jacobs
After much hoopla over the Giants acquiring Brandon Jacobs to bolster their running game, Jacobs ran on 7 carries for 4 yards and one touchdown. While the touchdown was a good homecoming for Jacobs, the Giants still weren’t confident in the running game and rightfully so.
The running backs, as a whole, rushed for 23 yards on 19 carries. Signing Jacobs was the right move, but Wilson needs to regain trust from Coughlin in order for the running game to be what it once was and relieve pressure off of Eli.
Victor Cruz is earning his money
Remember that guy who many thought was holding out for the Giants for a lot more than he was worth?
Fast forward now and that same guy is the richest wide receiver in franchise history. That same guy is tied for third in the league for receiving yards, tied for second for touchdown receptions, and is averaging 118 yards per game.
Victor Cruz has exceeded expectations this year as he has his entire football career and is without a doubt earning his money.
0-2 is nothing new
Yes, the 2013 New York Giants are not the 2007 New York Giants. But the truth is, 0-2 is nothing new for the Giants.
In each of their last two Super Bowl victories, the Giants had to fight through much adversity to claim their Super Bowls. So why count them out now? The 2012 NFC East champion Washington Redskins were 3-6 by Week 10 and then won seven straight.
Why can’t the Giants?
We should all know by now. This situation is no different. Don’t count out the New York Giants.