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Giants grades: Running game gets offense a C

Giants running back Orleans Darkwa reacts after he

Giants running back Orleans Darkwa reacts after he rushes 23 yards for a touchdown against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 8, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

OFFENSE: C

At least they finally got the running game going a little. Orleans Darkwa had 69 rushing yards on 8 carries with a 23-yard TD and Wayne Gallman added 57 yards on 11 carries. The Giants ran for 152 yards, their highest total of the season. Even when they were down to two healthy receivers, the passing game was functioning and Eli Manning completed TD passes to Roger Lewis Jr. and Odell Beckham Jr. Without Beckham, though, things crumbled and their last two possessions ended in turnovers — a fumble and an interception by Eli Manning — that gave the Chargers the win. After not allowing a sack for two straight games Manning was sacked five times for a total loss of 42 yards.

DEFENSE: D

For the third straight week the defense was handed a fourth-quarter lead and could not close it out. This one had extenuating circumstances like the game-winning touchdown starting at the Giants’ 11 after a fumble, but they still need to make stops. Those were harder to come by as the game went along. The Chargers were 3-for-10 on third down conversions in the first half, 5-for-8 in the second half. Melvin Gordon ran for 105 yards, one more than the 104 Ezekiel Elliot posted against the Giants in the opener. The Giants did not sack Philip Rivers. Darian Thompson had an interception in the end zone, the first pick of the season for the team and the first of his career.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

After two crummy weeks in a row, Brad Wing had his best punting game of the season. He put four of his punts inside the 20 — two of them inside the 5 — and a third should have been downed there as well. It went in the end zone when Lewis misplayed the pooch kick. Dwayne Harris showed some spark in the return game for the first time this year, returning three punts for 38 yards and four kickoffs for 84 before he broke his foot on the second half kickoff. Aldrick Rosas did not attempt a field goal after missing one last week, but one of his extra-point attempts thumped against the upright before going through.

COACHING: D

Simplifying things worked only so well. Before the wheels came off — and Beckham’s left wheel literally almost did — the Giants did a good job of functioning with just two healthy receivers. In a game when they were finally able to run the ball, though, they should have rode that wave more once they had the lead. The Giants did not call timeouts at the end of the first half to preserve time for their offense after a Chargers field goal made it 10-9 with 40 seconds left, McAdoo could not call a timeout before the two-point conversion attempt, and he did not challenge the one-handed catch that Brandon Marshall made on the sideline on the play he got hurt (although replays were inconclusive). The defense needs to figure out how to stop tight ends and running backs from catching big passes against them.

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