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Grades: Back to the drawing board

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Chris Crocker after a short gain in the second half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. (Nov. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: AP


F The Giants had five possessions that lasted three or fewer plays, two ending in turnovers. Ten of 21 first downs came in the fourth quarter. The turnovers (four of them in the second half) were killers. Eli Manning is struggling, Victor Cruz is a non-factor -- aside from the would-be touchdown pass that he dropped -- and the pass protection is breaking down (a season-high four sacks allowed). Hakeem Nicks had a decent game with nine catches, but he was unable to find his speed to get away from defenders once he had the ball in his hands.


C Three of the Bengals' four touchdown passes came on drives that started inside the red zone, so the defense isn't totally at fault there. The one long touchdown drive was actually a quick strike, the early 56-yarder to A.J. Green in which the secondary was in complete disarray. The short drives meant the Bengals didn't accumulate much yardage (275). Andy Dalton was precise, completing 21 of 30 passes for 199 yards to seven different receivers. The Giants were unable to force any turnovers.


D On a play in which Steve Weatherford punted the ball out of bounds at the 14, Justin Tryon was flagged for being out of bounds and Weatherford was forced to re-kick. This time the Bengals' Adam Jones returned it 68 yards. Chase Blackburn forced Brandon Tate to fumble on the next punt and Will Hill recovered it at the Bengals' 27, but the Giants had to settle for a field goal. David Wilson's deepest penetration on kick returns was to the Giants' 26.


D Tom Coughlin said he wanted to defer the coin- toss win because of the wind and the Giants' advantage over the Bengals in second-half points before Sunday, but the Giants were outscored 14-0 in the third quarter. Offensively, they can't figure out how to get their playmakers open. Defensively, the secondary continues to have meltdowns. Coughlin and crew will have a week off to figure out what's going on.


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