The loss that the Giants suffered at the hands of Baltimore on Sunday wasn’t the same as the embarrassment that occurred the week before in Atlanta. In fact, the effort in the 33-14 loss to Baltimore may have been even worse than the one put forth when the Giants were shutout 34-0 by the Falcons.
At least in Atlanta the Giants mounted numerous drives into Atlanta territory. Sure, Manning was sloppy with the ball, but New York established a running game and had a chance to get back into the game numerous times. The Giants were only bested on a per play basis by half a yard (5.9 to 5.4).
The Baltimore debacle featured New York getting pounded for 6.6 yards per play on defense while only producing 4.1 on offense. It should be noted, though, that a lot of that 6.6 happened in big chunks on third down. In the second quarter, with the Ravens ahead 14-7, the Giants had a chance to get the ball back after two outstanding plays by Chris Canty. It was 3rd and 19, and the Ravens had been pushed out of field goal range to the New York 48-yard line.
A common theme of the day, New York’s disappearing pass rush, allowed Joe Flacco enough time to find Anquan Boldin 39 yards downfield in the midst of zone coverage. The Ravens would only get a field goal on that drive, but the next Giants possession was destroyed by a pair of questionable penalties, and the Ravens took advantage by driving for a touchdown before the half. The 27-yard catch-and-run by New Rochelle’s own Ray Rice put the Giants in a 24-7 hole at the half.
So, yeah, three things made the Baltimore loss more excruciating than the Atlanta loss.
1) The defense was just as poor against an offense that is decidedly worse than Atlanta’s.
2) The Giants didn’t turn the ball over or fail on fourth down, and yet they still struggled to score points.
3) The loss to Baltimore happened a week after Atlanta, when the playoffs were on the line and the team was supposed to have its act togehter.
I’m not going to get into Corey Webster here. I think he’s had a good enough year and Torrey Smith is a really good player. Plus, Webster was close on almost every play. Jayron Hosley didn’t catch as much flack last week when he let Atlanta receivers run right past him the week before.
The Giants have stunk for the past two weeks. They can’t play much worse, but there is still a legitimate chance for them to sneak into the playoffs. The hard part will be finding a way to defeat Philadelphia this Sunday, so hang in there. The worse that can happen is that an entertaining offseason gets started early.