The Giants entered Sunday’s game against the Cardinals looking to reach 30 points for the first time in two years, but in their 23-0 loss, they wound up without a single play for 30 yards (a 27-yard pass to Rhett Ellison was the longest). Here’s what you need to know about the running game: When Eli Manning scrambled for 5 yards on a fourth-and-25 play in the fourth quarter, it was their second-longest gain on the ground. The Giants managed only 43 rushing yards on 20 carries and Wayne Gallman “led” the team with 18 yards on 10 carries. Manning was sacked twice, fumbled twice (losing one of them) and intercepted twice.
The Giants hardly were outmatched, even with their second-string secondary. They allowed only 289 total yards, a respectable number. In fact, this was the fifth time this season that they outgained an opponent in net yards (293-289 this time). They are 0-5 in those games. Allowing 119 receiving yards and a touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald seemed to be the big difference in this game. Jason Pierre-Paul was fairly active and looked more spry than he has in a few weeks. He finished with only four tackles but had a sack and four quarterback hits. Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard led the team with nine tackles.
Special teams: F
Aldrick Rosas pulled his only kick attempt of the game, a 33-yarder in the second quarter that would have tied the score at 3. It might not have made a difference in the result, but it would have avoided a shutout. Rosas is 16-for-23 on field-goal attempts this season, and that’s not good at all. Brad Wing punted six times, putting two of them inside the 20. Hunter Sharp added a bit of a spark in his first game as the punt returner.
Ten penalties for 101 yards is a bad indicator for an interim head coach trying to convince this team or others that he can handle the title on a full-time basis. Steve Spagnuolo’s decisions not to play Eli Apple on defense and not to double-team Fitzgerald were curious. As far as game management decisions, the Giants should have tried to convert the fourth-and-2 on the last play of the first quarter instead of attempting to draw the Cardinals offside and taking a delay of game.
Ross Cockrell’s first of two interceptions late in the third quarter gave the Giants a potential spark to get something going with the Cardinals leading 16-0, but the optimism was short-lived. On the third play after the takeaway, Manning was sacked by Deone Bucannon and fumbled. Robert Nkemdiche recovered it and ran 21 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to essentially seal the win for Arizona.