|Justin Tuck watches another Giants loss. (AP photo)|
But it was safety Antrele Rolle that had the most disparaging comments, directed right at the offense. Rolle, who is having a Pro Bowl-type season, didn't hide his displeasure with the offensive performance, which has been downright pathetic for the entire season. When asked if he was putting the blame for the loss on the offense, after calling out players for not playing with heart, Rolle said, "You all saw the game. I don't have to say anything. This isn't about pointing fingers, but you saw the game. You know what you saw."
The offensive struggles, which might have hit a new low against Seattle, are almost impossible to explain. The Giants have a franchise quarterback in Eli Manning, two talented wide receivers in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and a running back, Andre Brown, that has proven he can pick up big yards on the ground. But Manning is having the worst season of his career, throwing 25 interceptions, tying his career high with two games still to be played. Nicks has been invisible and Brown had just 17 yards on 11 carries Sunday. Cruz has been good, but not good enough to make a difference this season.
The Giants didn't even run a play in Seattle territory until there was 7:08 left in the fourth quarter. That's right, the fourth quarter. They had 25 total rushing yards and were 1-of-10 on third downs. For the second time this season, they were shutout. That hasn't happened to the Giants since 1996. Pathetic.
While Rolle probably should have kept his thoughts to himself, he had to be speaking from frustration, after the defense actually played well against the Seahawks. It wasn't a thing of beauty, but to allow just 23 points after having to deal with their offense turning the ball over five times, is something to be proud of.
But on the whole, there isn't much to be proud of this season for the New York Giants. The team is 5-9 and will finish with a losing record for the first time since 2004, the first year with Coughlin and Manning. The Giants were already eliminated from the playoff race, so this loss doesn't really matter, except for draft positioning, but any fan would have hoped for a better effort, especially at home.
Here's a closer look into who was responsible for another terrible performance and possibly even some who weren't so terrible as we hand out Game Balls and Game Falls.
Eli Manning: First, for anyone who believes the Giants should move on from Manning in the next season or two, they just don't understand how difficult it is to find a franchise quarterback. There is a big reason why good quarterbacks rarely become free agents. If a team has a franchise player at the position, he's not getting away. So, Manning isn't going anywhere. And he shouldn't. It's simple ... would you rather have Manning next year or Geno Smith? Now, with that, Manning has been absolutely horrific this season. He threw another five interceptions Sunday against Seattle and has thrown 25 on the season, which ties a career high. He's thrown more interception than the aforementioned Smith this season. Manning completed just three passes for 20 yards to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, his playmakers on offense. Manning had a passer rating of 31.9, which is about what you expect from him now. This season from hell will be over in two weeks, something I'm sure Manning and the offense are looking forward to.
Andre Brown: In our game preview, we wrote Brown had to find open space in the ground game for the Giants to pull the upset. Brown didn't find anything except a wall of defenders, rushing for just 17 yards on 11 carries. After a strong start in his return from injury, Brown has now put together three sub-par games, with this one being the worst. He may have played his way out of a return next year.
Offensive Line: The biggest reason for the Giants failures on offense this season could be the play of the offensive line. Manning was under pressure from the start of the game and was sacked three times Sunday, bringing that total to 36 for the season, the most ever for Manning. The line couldn't create any holes for the running game, either, as the Giants had just 25 yards on the ground, with the longest rush being seven yards. The offensive line should have plenty of changes next season.
Hakeem Nicks: He was targeted five times in the passing game but finished with just one catch for five yards. There should be no doubt now the Giants will move on from the wide receiver after the season. I'm not sure there has been a player who had a worse season in a contract year than this one for Nicks.
Victor Cruz: He was targeted seven times in the game and had just two catches for 25 yards before leaving with a concussion and knee sprain on a catch that was reversed after replay in the second half. He landed on his head on the play and might not return for the final two games of the season, if the Giants play it safe. If he doesn't play, he would fall short of reaching 1,000 receiving yards, something he has done the past two seasons. This, obviously, hasn't been the same offense as in the past.
Justin Tuck: He has another solid game, picking up a half-sack to bring his total to 6.5 in the last three weeks. While Nicks has played his way out of a big contract this offseason, Tuck may have played his way into a new deal with the Giants. Before the last three weeks, Tuck was as good as gone. It's not an easy decision anymore.
Ryan Mundy: He had seven tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack against Seattle.
Jerrel Jernigan: I know, I know, it's hard to put an offensive player here, but Jernigan had seven receptions for 67 yards, by far the biggest contributor on that side of the ball. Overall, there's not a lot of positives in a 23-0 loss.