2004-12-03 / Sports

Jets Win Ugly: Manning Gets Pounded In Loss

By Michael Avallone Sports Columnist

By Michael Avallone
Sports Columnist

CURTIS MARTIN It was ugly football all around on Sunday for the Jets and Giants. Fortunately for Gang Green, they were able to eke out another win on the road. Unfortunately, Eli Manning and Big Blue took a beating at the hands of the 2004 NFC East Champion Eagles. Two teams going in opposite directions as we head into Week 13 of the NFL…

New York Giants

PASSING OFFENSE (D) – The only thing that saves rookie QB Eli Manning from a failing grade is two beautiful deep balls he threw to fellow rookie WR Jamaar Taylor. Other than that, Manning (6-for-21, 147 yards, 2 INTs) was dreadful against a strong Philly rush. The Eagles registered five sacks and other than Taylor’s big day (102 yards), no other receiver had the time to separate with the poor protection Manning was getting from the O-line.

RUSHING OFFENSE (B+) – If the Giants had continued to play like they did earlier in the season, RB Tiki Barber would definitely be among the top 5 choices for the MVP award. Big Blue’s primary back carried 19 times for 110 yards to push his season total to 1,145 – an average of 105 per game. New York did gain 161 yards on the ground, but backup RB Ron Dayne carried just three times, meaning it was again Tiki or nothing.

PASS DEFENSE (C-) – If not for Colts QB Peyton Manning, Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb would be a front-runner himself for the MVP trophy. McNabb was only sacked twice by a decimated Giant defense and was able to complete 18-of-27 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown. Both Giant CBs (Will Allen and Will Peterson) were invisible for large portions of the game although Allen did lead the team with 10 tackles and helped hold WR Terrell Owens to just four catches and 61 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE (C) – The Eagles don’t run the ball much to begin with, so their 152 yards on the ground was just icing on the cake for the offense. RB Brian Westbrook – who always plays well against New York – led the way with 18 carries for 74 yards and a TD. Former Giant RB Dorsey Levens added 38 more on 9 carries

The game was ugly in every facet for the Giants (5-6) who have now lost four straight games. That they’re still in the playoff hunt in the NFC speaks volumes about the drop-off in talent after the Eagles (10-1) and Falcons (9-2). With a tough schedule remaining, the hope for Big Blue is to get Manning the experience he needs to come in next year confident and ready to go. Playing the Redskins next week might offer a temporary reprieve but the postseason seems like a long-shot.

Up Next: @ WAS (3-8)

Projection: NYG 19, WAS 14

New York Jets

PASSING OFFENSE (B-) – The offense struggled for the fourth consecutive week, but fill-in QB Quincy Carter again led Gang Green to a much-needed road victory. Carter (8-for-12, 133 yards, 1 TD) seemed much more comfortable within the offense and it showed – particularly after a 69-yard scoring strike to WR Santana Moss (5 catches, 109 yards) in the third quarter. Third-string QB Brooks Bollinger played briefly; completing 5-of-9 passes for 60 yards after Carter left the game early on with a head injury.

RUSHING OFFENSE (A-) – Gang Green turned to the running game early after Carter left the game and again, RB Curtis Martin delivered. The ageless back ran for 99 yards on 24 attempts while backup runningback LaMont Jordan had his second straight strong game with 43 yards on 16 carries. Half of the New York Jets’ 16 first downs came on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE (A) – New York’s defense wasn’t exactly facing Brett Favre, but they were able to shut down the explosive Arizona WR duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, holding them to a combined 10 receptions and 109 yards. Of course, having QBs like Shaun King and Josh McCown throwing the ball may have had a little something to do with that. Gang Green picked off three passes and held the Cardinal QBs to just 181 yards passing.

RUSH DEFENSE (A-) — The Jets knocked future Hall-of-Fame RB Emmitt Smith out of the game with a toe injury after three rushing attempts and took things from there. Backup RB Larry Croom led the Cards with just 25 yards on the ground, part of a pathetic 50-yard total for Arizona.

The Jets (8-3) have found ways to win without starting QB Chad Pennington – keeping themselves afloat in the tough AFC. With Pennington a possibility to start in Houston this Sunday, things are looking good for Gang Green as they head into the stretch run. Granted, a win against the Cardinals (4-7) is nothing to get overly excited about, but New York has bounced back nicely after tough losses to Baltimore and Buffalo and now gets to return home to the Meadowlands for an early December matchup – a tough place for the visiting team to succeed.

Up Next: @ HOU (5-6)

Projection: NYJ 24, HOU 17.

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