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Down in the Desert: Giants Shutout by Cardinals

In a season to forget, the New York Giants were shutout by the Arizona Cardinals 23-0 at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

This is the Giants 13th loss of the season, making this 2017 team the worst in franchise history, as they have never lost more than 12 games in a season.

In a game with plenty of lows, here are some takeaways from New York’s Week 16 loss.

Giants Have No Answers for Cardinals Passing Game

Drew Stanton and the Cardinals wide receivers proved to be too much for the Giants defense. Brandon Dixon was systematically picked apart by Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown on both of their touchdown receptions. Not just in those instances, but throughout the entire game. Fitzgerald wreaked havoc on the Giants, reeling in nine receptions for 119 yards. Leaving the future Hall of Fame wide receiver on one-on-one coverage was costly for New York, who assigned double-coverage when it was too little, too late.

Eli Apple did not see any snaps as a cornerback in this game, further solidifying his status in the Giants’ doghouse.

Ross Cockrell was the most effective of New York’s defensive backs, as he hauled in two receptions off of Stanton. However, the Giants’ offense could not take advantage of the defensive effort, which has been the story of the season.

Week 15 Manning MIA

Remember how well Eli Manning played last week against the Philadelphia Eagles? Entering Scottsdale, Arizona with plenty of hype from his 400+ yard performance last week, Manning could not make it a sequel.

Despite completing 27 of 45 pass attempts for a rather respectable 265 yards, the 36-year-old threw two interceptions. Those weren’t the only turnovers for Manning, as he fumbled the ball twice, losing one for a touchdown by defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.

Losing Evan Engram early in the game due to a rib injury proved to be detrimental to Manning, as he is his favorite target, as well as the team’s leading receiver. Rhett Ellison did step up, hauling in four receptions for 60 yards, but it just wasn’t enough to help put points on the board.

Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo announced that Manning will remain the starter for Week 17, but will we finally see Davis Webb take the field?

Penalties Deadly for Giants

New York has been dealt a lot this season, but one of the key factors to the team’s lack of success is penalties.

Against Arizona, the Giants were called for ten penalties for a whopping 101 yards. How costly were they? After Cockrell’s second interception of the game, the Giants were given the ball inside the Cardinals 30-yard line. With first-and-ten, the Giants would find themselves plays later at third-and-30, thanks to three consecutive holding penalties. One from center Brett Jones, and two from left tackle Ereck Flowers. What turned out to be favorable field position, they wound up inside the 50, and failed on the fourth down conversion.

Penalties will kill any team. However, perhaps no team was killed more by penalties this season than the Giants.

Collins Fractures Forearm

Safety Landon Collins has proven to be the Giants’ best player in a rather dismal season for the team as a whole.

Days after being named the starting strong safety in the 2018 Pro Bowl, the third-year star received bad news on the night before Christmas. Collins unleashed a vicious tackle on Cardinals running back D.J. Foster late in the second quarter. After attempting to run to the sidelines, the safety fell to the ground, clutching his right arm in pain. Collins went to the back for x-rays, where it was revealed that he suffered a fractured forearm. He is now ruled out for the last game of the season, leaving his Pro Bowl status in serious doubt.

Collins has proven that he is willing to fight through injuries in order to be there for the team. However, this is one that he will be unable to fight through. He ends his season with 103 total tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble.

What Awaits in Week 17

The New York Giants long, grueling season will end after next week, as they face the rival Washington Redskins. With both teams out of playoff contention, they will certainly be playing for pride. The Giants are now locked in for a top-three draft pick, but will they play Webb in order to plan their draft strategy?

Regardless, the season to forget for the Giants and its fan base will finally be over.

 

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