The New York Giants (6-5) faced off with the New Orleans Saints (8-3) in a Monday night showdown. From the start, they didn't show the urgency or intensity for the situation. The Giants needed a win to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys for first place. Instead, they drop a big game for the third week in a row.
The first Qrt went scoreless as the two teams exchanged field position, including a blocked punt by Jason Pierre-Paul. But then, Drew Brees and the Saints offense began to prove to be too much for the Giants defense. By the end of the half, the Saints were up 21-3 on the strength of three Brees TD passes (two to Lance Moore alone).
The Giants tried to fight their way back into the game in the opening of the third Qrt when Brandon Jacobs rushed for a rare rushing TD to cut the lead to 21-10 Saints. This was not to be. After a rushing TD by Brees, the Saints extended their lead even more on a D.J. Ware fumble that they turned into a 29 yard TD pass from Brees to Jimmy Graham to take a 35-10 lead.
The fourth Qrt began the same way the third did for the Giants; with a TD. This time it was a 72 yard strike from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. The Saints tacked on another TD to take a 42-17 lead.
They held on to win by a score of 49-24 after a late Giants TD and a rushing TD by Saints RB Mark Ingram Jr, son of former Giants great Mark Ingram.
In a week where the Giants did an awful lot of talking about how embarrassed they were against Philly last week and how angry they were, they never showed it on the field.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Victor Cruz gets the vote for Player of the game. His two TD's led all Giants receivers, as did his nine catches and his 157 yard performance on the national stage. If the Giants had played some defense (just a bit) it wouldn't have been a wasted outing.
RUNNER-UP: Eli Manning gets the nod for our runner up award. He threw for 394 yards and two TD's. At one point, he connected on 20 consecutive completions. He started well and ended strong.
DUD OF THE GAME: In another terrible performance, Brandon Jacobs rushed for only 46 yards against a team that came into this game ranked 22nd against the run. The entire team came out flat, but one play that made him the notable dud happened in the third Qrt. When he scored the rushing TD, he began taunting and over-celebrating, nearly drawing a penalty. The trouble with this was it occurred when the team was STILL DOWN by 18! In a classless act that certainly showed his lack of game situation and composure, he showed what type of player he is. A selfish one.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Da'Rel Scott had a good day on kick returns. When he had the opportunity to return them, he accumulated 115 yards on four returns. For a team that desperately needed a return guy, it's good to see this.
BIGGEST LETDOWN: The pass rush scored a big zero in sacks tonight. With all the talent up front and the several mismatches they had the chance to exploit, for the pass rush to not earn a sack is astounding. They never controlled the game and, therefore, never really gave Drew Brees pressure. He responded by ripping them for 363 yards and three TDs, plus one rushing TD.
TURNING POINT: The fumble by D.J. Ware in the third Qrt was truly the turning point. In that moment, the Giants were trailing by 11 points and trying to get back into it. The Saints recovered, the Giants lost the challenge (which cost them the chance to challenge a TD a few plays later) and the Saints struck quickly to extend their lead and never looked back. That shift in momentum was the difference the Saints needed to stay on top throughout.
PROGNOSIS: The schedule does not get easier. After three straight, devastating losses, the Giants now travel home to hear the boo birds as they face the music and the undefeated Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers. After that, games against the Cowboys, Jets, Redskins and Cowboys are on the slate. Not an easy road to hoe. They have made this bed. Now they have to lay in it.
The question will be which team shows up next week? Either they collect themselves and perform a miracle similar to that of a few weeks back against New England or they lay down and die like they have for the past three weeks. Time will tell, but something has to change and change soon.