GREEN BAY, Wisc. – This offense will self-destruct in 3, 2, 1.
That’s what it felt like for Eli Manning and the Giants playmakers in Sunday night’s 23-16 loss at Lambeau Field: a steady implosion, a countdown to defeat, even as Steve Spagnuolo’s defense got stops the whole third quarter to hold the deficit at 20-9 with 13:46 remaining in the fourth.
Manning kept the Giants offense on life support by connecting for Odell Beckham Jr.’s first touchdown of the season with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Big Blue’s franchise QB was scattershot early, missing receivers, looking flustered. He zeroed in on Beckham to a fault on a third down, throwing incomplete across his body with rookie Sterling Shepard open for a first down.
Even when Manning was on target, though – like his 16-yard completion to Beckham on the first play of the second quarter – it was negated by a penalty, that time on left tackle Ereck Flowers.
When he did deliver the ball, he didn’t get help from his receiver, like when tight end Will Tye dropped a deep pass up the seam late in the first half that was a tad high and not completely in stride but nevertheless hit Tye in the hands.
Manning fumbled on the very next play, after right tackle Bobby Hart was blown up by the Packers’ pass rush, giving the Packers another three points for a 17-6 halftime lead.
The Giants are unable to get any sort of running game going.
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The offensive line’s problems were only beginning and basically became the story of the Giants’ second half woes. By the end of the night, there were so many leaks sprung on this offense, Ben McAdoo didn’t have enough fingers to plug all the holes.
McAdoo also didn’t have the answers on his play card: He hardly gave any help in the form of a blocking tight end to Flowers, a second-year pro, and Hart, a second-year backup making his fourth career start, on the fierce Packers pass rushers led by Clay Matthews. Green Bay had four sacks with 6:32 to play in the game.
Perhaps McAdoo didn’t give much tight end blocking help, though, because he doesn’t have a blocking tight end. Paging GM Jerry Reese: Larry Donnell (concussion) is out and Tye got himself benched for that big dropped pass until late in the fourth, leaving rookie Jerell Adams.
The Giants couldn’t run the ball, either, so they had to fully commit to the pass, and the Packers pass rushers were teeing off on Manning.
Amid the chaos, McAdoo tried to find creative ways to get his star Beckham the ball in space: He lined him up in the backfield for a swing pass, had him field a punt when Dwayne Harris was in the locker room. But when he tried too much trickery on a reverse that turned Beckham into a quarterback, it backfired.
The Giants try to get Odell Beckham Jr. more involved but it doesn’t appear to give them a spark.
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Beckham refused to throw the ball away. Green Bay safety Micah Hyde knocked Beckham out of bounds for a six-yard loss. Hyde celebrated. Beckham shook his head frustrated at Hyde. Thankfully, Beckham jogged away with officials in between the players, and no incident ensued. He kept his head in the game, in fact, to catch the touchdown later. That’s progress.
But of course the play was officially changed to a sack of Beckham, since he was a passer on the play, a fitting alteration of the optics for a team that just keeps coming up short.
The most frustrating part of the offense’s shortcomings, though, was that the Giants’ defense held Aaron Rodgers to six second-half points, forced two turnovers, and Big Blue still lost the game.
Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator, adjusted his defense to take away Rodgers’ preferred deep ball, forced him underneath, and that led to punts and gave the Giants more possessions, more chances to reverse the lopsided first half down the stretch.
Manning, his play-caller and his line, though, couldn’t get the job done – a strange thing for a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback who won twice in this same building on the way to his two championships.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News