Ben McAdoo isn’t the only one who took a long look at the film of the Giants’ brutal 31-21 loss to the 49ers. And here are 10 harsh realities that stood out from the despicable defeat, along with a few bright spots that could shed light on which players earned more opportunities for Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
ELI & OFFENSE STILL LETTING ‘D’ DOWN
The defense is McAdoo’s biggest problem, but Eli Manning’s second-quarter fumble and a third-quarter three-and-out cut the legs out from the good defense played in the game. The Giants led 6-3 at 11:37 of the second quarter, for example, thanks to two Niners turnovers forced by the defense: a turnover on downs on a Kelvin Sheppard 4th-and-1 stop, and a fumble forced by Andrew Adams and recovered by Curtis Grant, with Niners FB Kyle Juszczyk the victim on both. And then on 2nd-and-4, Manning rolled the ball onto the turf after Ronald Blair III beat Justin Pugh for the sack, and not long after, C.J. Beathard hit Marquise Goodwin for an 83-yard TD and a 10-6 Niners lead. It was similar in the third quarter: Olivier Vernon made his first career interception with the Giants trailing, 17-13, but the offense did nothing with it, primarily due to Elvis Dumervil beating Bobby Hart for a sack. Punt, Niners drive for a TD, 24-13.
JENKINS SHOULDN’T BE IN UNIFORM AGAINST CHIEFS
Janoris Jenkins may have just had poor recognition and lost a footrace on Goodwin’s 83-yard TD, and he may have just slipped later on a 20-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne on 3rd and 12. But even allowing those two excuses, here is a summary of his unacceptable effort: barely attempting to tackle Garrett Celek on a 47-yard TD before half; avoiding a hit on RB Carlos Hyde in the third quarter that prompted FOX analyst Daryl Johnston to say Jenkins had “turned away contact”; on two separate third downs, dropping and watching as his man ran underneath to easily convert on both 3rd and 6 and 3rd and 5 completions for Niners first downs. On the 3rd and 5 early in the fourth quarter, Jenkins didn’t even try to step forward toward the receiver before the catch, and Landon Collins actually looked at Jenkins after the play as if to ask, ‘What was that?’ Matt Breida’s 33-yard TD run even showed Jenkins loafing. Coming from the opposite side of the field, safety Darian Thompson is turning and running hard but can’t get there; Jenkins, on the other hand, jogs into the end zone alongside the play as his man blocks him.
JPP AND CASILLAS: A TOUGH DAY FOR BOTH ON ‘D’
Jason Pierre-Paul looked a step slow mentally and physically the whole game as if he was playing through a significant injury from the start, which maybe is why McAdoo gave him one practice day off the previous week. Pierre-Paul’s failure to set the edge on the Niners’ first play, a big Hyde run, might have been simply poor containment. But he had the same problem all day: He was then slow to defend Beathard on a read option on the Niners’ third drive. JPP’s ailing clearly was exacerbated late in the third quarter when he fell awkwardly on top of Celek and was down a while, appearing either to have the wind knocked out of him or to injure a shoulder or rib. And when he returned, his woes continued: he was blocked easily into the end zone while in coverage on Beathard’s dagger 11-yard TD run to open the fourth, and he was slow to defend a big Breida run on the Niners’ next scoring drive. … Casillas, meanwhile, clearly played “tired,” as he admitted in the locker room. He appeared to ask out of the game in the middle of the Niners’ third drive because he was gassed. That is somewhat understandable given Casillas missed the previous three games with neck and other injuries, and McAdoo said there isn’t a ton of practice time available sometimes for players to get up to speed. (Casillas also is tough and has played through a lot. I remember his shoulder was as red as a tomato after playing in the loss at Tampa Bay in Week 4.) Still, it’s on the coaches not to leave Casillas in the game if he can’t keep up. And that’s what was happening a lot of the day. Casillas started the game by making a great tackle on Breida to force a Niners field goal. But he was a weakness on many plays, especially on Celek’s TD. And that play was most disturbing because when Celek caught the ball and turned, it looks like Casillas stopped running. He admitted he couldn’t catch Celek because he was “tired,” which is better than not trying, but I honestly was startled to hear an athlete admit fatigue. That’s rare.
MCADOO STILL THROWING PLAYERS UNDER BUS
FOX play-by-play man Chris Myers said in the production meeting, “Ben McAdoo said when he looked at the 49ers he saw a hungry team, and when I said, ‘Well, what about your team?’ He said, ‘Well, we’ll see.'” Myers added, “and so far he’s observing as we are in a 6-3 game,” implying both teams were in the fight early. But it was alarming to hear McAdoo not stress to the broadcasters that his players would be just as hungry as the Niners’. Why would he say “we’ll see?” Well, it sounds like an admission he doesn’t know if he’ll get hungry players out on the field, and it sounds like the coach placing blame on players and not himself. To recap: McAdoo is 12-14 as an NFL coach including the playoffs. And running McAdoo’s offense, the Giants haven’t scored 30 points once in 26 games. They also have gone 14 games without scoring more than 24 points, which per Myers is the longest active streak in NFL.
PARCELLS SEES IT, TOO
Myers also said he had spoken during the week to Giants legend Bill Parcells and that one quote stuck out to him: “I have faith in the Mara family that they will make the right decisions for the Giants and their fans.” Speaks for itself.
IF C.J. CAN PLAY, WHY NOT D-WEBB?
The Giants picked Davis Webb 87th overall in the third round of last April’s draft out of Cal/Texas Tech. The Niners took Beathard 17 spots later in the third round at 104th out of Iowa. Beathard is taking some lumps, but he was able to put 31 points on the Giants on Sunday and has started four games for the rebuilding Niners. Webb, on the other hand, hasn’t even been active for a game as the Giants seemingly cling to some invisible goal of winning in 2017. And I didn’t like what I heard about why Webb’s still sitting. Johnston, FOX’s analyst, cited a Manning blind throw to Roger Lewis Jr. for a first down, while taking a hit, in the second quarter as one reason why Webb isn’t active. He said that McAdoo’s answer to “Why Eli and not Webb?” is that Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win. Johnston then said: “And Davis Webb is not ready to make those types of plays.” Now no one is going to debate that at this moment Webb gives the Giants a better chance to win than Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner. However, this season now is all about 2018 and getting the highest pick possible in next spring’s draft, or it should be. Oh, and this: how in the world does Johnston know that Webb isn’t ready to make that kind of throw? I find it hard to believe Webb would agree. Beathard, meanwhile, continues to develop for San Francisco.
SPECIAL TEAMS WASN’T ALL BAD
The punt coverage team almost forced a game-changing turnover that would have given the Giants the ball at the Niners’ 43 trailing just 17-13 in the third quarter. LB Deonte Skinner bailed out teammates who overran the punt and tackled Niners return man Victor Bolden Jr., and as Bolden fell RB Paul Perkins emerged from McAdoo’s doghouse to swipe the ball out. Long-snapper Zak DeOssie then made one of the more impressive plays I’ve seen this year, tumbling head first over the pile, locating the ball as he fell, and then as he flipped forward onto his stomach, finding the ball again and recovering. Unfortunately, Bolden’s knee was down, and Jenkins’ poor efforts and the Giants’ poor third-down defense (8-of-12 on the day) eventually led to Beathard’s TD run and an insurmountable 24-13 deficit. Perkins and Calvin Munson, by the way, both appeared to get dinged up on the play but walked off on their own. Special teams otherwise was a disaster, specifically Aldrick Rosas’ opening kickoff out of bounds and missed 34-yard FG. Punt returner Ed Eagan also reportedly is being cut, with Kalif Raymond reportedly signed off the practice squad.
YOU KNOW IT’S BAD WHEN …
FOX sideline reporter Laura Okmin reported that the Niners had someone holding and blasting a boom box in the tunnel as they ran out of the locker room for the start of the third quarter and that Niners players were singing and dancing. Coach Kyle Shanahan said the reason was because it was the Niners’ first halftime lead of the season and that they were excited and hopeful to carry the momentum to their first win. Sorry, Giants fans. Just passing it along.
GIANTS DEFENSE NEED A RAH-RAH LEADER?
Johnston hypothesized that the Giants defense has a lot of guys who lead by example but maybe need a “rah-rah” guy to challenge everyone. This is similar to what Justin Tuck told the Daily News last December, that he felt the Giants defense needed another gear and needed leaders to step up and get it out of them. Damon Harrison seemingly was that guy last year, but on Tuesday he was strangely blaming and criticizing members of the media for the chaos surrounding the Giants. And that’s not a leader: someone whose team is 1-8 blaming reporters. Harrison also called any players who ripped McAdoo anonymously a “coward.” And one could argue that a leader should be inclusive and supportive of malcontents, not defamatory.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAYERS AND GUYS WHO SHOULD PLAY MORE
Sterling Shepard played I think his best game as a pro Sunday, not just because of his career highs in 11 catches and 142 yards but because he was clearly determined and working his butt off. And Evan Engram is a special player. Guys who should play more: Paul Perkins, Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe, Calvin Munson, Shane Smith, Curtis Grant, Kerry Wynn, and Tavarres King (he’s playing a lot already, but I think he should get the ball more; King can play).