This was a Giants team that looked on verge of a complete implosion, if indeed that isn’t what happened on Sunday night anyway. They came with a DL configured to stop the run — and up until the game was almost over, that was what they did. On offense they dominated a good Tennessee D and but for mistakes — a fumble, three drops, some ridiculous unnecessary roughness penalties and a few shocking throws from Eli Manning — would have racked up a huge volume of points. As it was, they ended up playing out garbage time against a team they should have beaten. The humiliation on their faces looked all too obvious.
The Titans walked away from their worst overall performance of the year with a win and though no one will be talking about how average they looked in Week 3 if they reach the playoffs, they know they must do much better.
Titans: Three performances of note
It’s become something of a mystery as to why so many people seem to wax lyrical about the blocking skills of FB Ahmard Hall. Maybe his military background makes it difficult for some to criticize him but this is not by any measure the first game he’s really struggled in. He did have a decent spell in mid 2009 but beyond that he’s been poor. This was by far the worst game we’ve seen him play (-6.5 run blocking). Time and again he was met, stood up and beaten by Jonathan Goff and Keith Bulluck, who, in particular, feasted heartily on his former teammate.
Another player who had yet another bad day was Eugene Amano. As a LG he was broadly adequate, but his shift inside to replace Kevin Mawae this year has been fraught with difficulty. This was his third poor game on the bounce and though he did give up a couple of pressures, his poor overall grade owed far more to his run blocking (-4.3). Barry Cofield isn’t the force he was two years ago but he still had more than enough in the tank to make Amano’s day incredibly miserable.
While no one from Tennessee had an outstanding performance, one player who did hold up well was Jason Babin. His first three games for Tennessee have all been very positive and he fits in perfectly to the DLE rotation. The Titans employ two full D-lines that rotate on a maximum five-play basis and he shared time there with William Hayes (who was returning from injury and played nowhere near as well). Not only did Babin grade positively in run defense (+1.5) but he also threw in a hit and three hurries for good measure. If there is an area he needs to work on, it’s discipline: His feisty nature drew an unnecessary roughness flag to go with his offsides penalty from last week.
Giants: Three performances of note
QB Eli Manning can make some unbelievable throws — by way of example, see the 43-yarder out of his own end zone that ended up as a safety due to a chop block by Ahmad Bradshaw. He can also serve up his fair share of garbage and although the idiotic left-handed interception will get most of the headlines, he made other blunders, too. He could have been picked at least twice more on forced throws into coverage and he had another five clear overthrows. Perhaps it’s his passer rating with and without pressure which is most instructive: 94.4 without pressure, a mere 9.6 with.
Someone who played very well was guard Chris Snee. He’s always a fairly consistent performer but, despite not doing anything bad, he had an understated first couple of games for someone of his ability. He put that right here, giving up only a hurry in pass protection and grading a solid +2.3 for run blocking. Nearly all his positive ratings came from pull blocks to his left, as time and again he hit on the move showcasing his athletic ability.
Chris Canty is a bit of an enigma. He nominally plays DRT but in this game, as the Giants loaded up on the line to stop the run, he ended up at DRE a lot of the time. In the capacity of run-stuffer he certainly fits the bill and graded a decent +1.7 here. The problem is that when it comes to rushing the passer he’s not much of a threat. So far this season he’s rushed 45 times and registered just a couple of hurries. It’s not a disaster and he’s nearly always yanked on passing downs, but even so, his wage bill is rather high for such a one-dimensional player.
Tennessee DE Derrick Morgan was used almost exclusively on the right this week after spending most of the last game on the left; he still did better than most. Alterraun Verner took over at RCB late in the second quarter when, for reasons which were never explained, Jason McCourty didn’t return; he had a positive game in all regards.
For New York, DE Jason Pierre-Paul saw 11 snaps, all on passing downs, and Matt Dodge managed to hang on to his job for yet another week by virtue of not having to punt.
Chris Johnson only missed three snaps of the first 59 the Titans played on offense, a remarkable number for a running back.