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Grading the Giants vs. Steelers: Offense gets an F

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham stands

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Credit: AP / Don Wright


The Giants reached the Pittsburgh 3 and the Pittsburgh 9 and did not come away from either drive with points. After two games without an offensive turnover, Eli Manning threw a pair of picks, including one from the 9. Manning completed 24 of 39 passes for 195 yards and a 69.9 rating. The running game managed just 56 yards on 14 carries. There was some good use of Odell Beckham Jr. as a decoy on end-arounds that froze the defense for the TD pass to Rashad Jennings, but the offense still lacks creativity. They were 4-for-11 on third downs, 0-for-3 on fourths.


A group that allowed just one sustained TD drive and gave its offense two second-half takeaways deserves better than this loss. Landon Collins was beaten badly on the TD pass to Ladarius Green, but the other offensive TD came from Antonio Brown with pretty strong coverage by Janoris Jenkins. Olivier Vernon had two sacks. Eli Apple wound up with the ball in his hands twice, once recovering a fumble caused by Jonathan Casillas on Le’Veon Bell and later recording his first NFL interception.


Robbie Gould made both of his extra points, which is as good a place to start as any. Punter Brad Wing had four kicks, one of them for a touchback. They were able to negate any impact by Brown as a punt returner (1 fair catch). Dwayne Harris resumed his role as punt and kickoff returner. On one play the Giants had Beckham deep with him to field a punt, forcing the Steelers to kick it out of bounds. In a game in which the two teams combined for 1 yard on punt returns, that must count for something.


The McAdoo Magic wore off on those fourth-down gambles. That may be more execution than decision-making, but it’s still a gamble that the head coach takes on a regular basis which did not work out on Sunday. When Larry Donnell came onto the field for the first time in almost a month, it was clear the ball was going to him. The Steelers knew it, too, and intercepted the pass to the end zone. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said the Giants were so focused on stopping Brown and Bell that they were caught off guard by Green (6 catches, 110 yards). That’s not good.

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