By Brad Carroll
The New York Giants took a giant step back in their quest for the NFC East title Sunday night, not only losing 27-0 to the Philadelphia Eagles to fall two games back in the race, but also losing wide receiver Victor Cruz for the rest of the season.
Gone is the Giants best offensive playmaker and the team's three-game winning streak that had the team feeling good about themselves again. Back is the uncertainty from the first two weeks of the season, when the Giants played like one of the worst teams in the league. The Giants were that outclassed Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Here are the players that were most responsible for the defeat Sunday night, as we hand out Game Falls from the shutout loss. We'll skip the Game Balls for this week. Read our Giants-Eagles game breakown here.
Offensive Line: Right tackle Justin Pugh said after the game, "It was probably just the worst game I've ever played, hands down. It's not even close." Pugh was beaten several times for sacks by the Eagles, but he wasn't alone in playing poorly, as the entire offensive line was a disaster from start to finish. The Eagles sacked Eli Manning six times and backup quarterback Ryan Nassib twice. The offensive line was a penalty machine as well, including one by Will Beatty that negated what would have been a Larry Donnell touchdown. The Giants were beaten at the point of attack all night long, rushing for just 85 yards on 23 carries. The running game is what powered the Giants to their three game win streak, but that was taken away by the Eagles. The offensive line has to get better or next week will go even worse against the suddenly surging Dallas Cowboys.
Defensive Line: The Giants were beaten at the point of attack on both offense and defense. The Eagles gouged the Giants front seven for 203 rushing yards and a touchdown. LeSean McCoy, who had just 273 rushing yards in the first five games of the year, got 149 yards on 22 carries Sunday. The Giants aren't going to win many games if they continue to get beaten to pulp by the opposing offensive line.
Larry Donnell: He had what should have been a great touchdown grab in the third quarter, but Beatty's holding penalty negated the reception. Cruz ended up getting injured later in the drive. Donnell, who became a national story and fantasy football superstar with a three-touchdown game against Washington, became an afterthought for the second straight game. Donnell had no receptions last week and was targeted just twice against the Eagles, catching one pass for six yards. In the first four games, Donnell caught 25 passes and four touchdowns.
Jason Pierre-Paul: He was stopped cold by Eagles tackle Jason Peters Sunday, generating no pass rush at all, which allowed Nick Foles to have all day to throw the ball downfield. A successful pass rush for the Giants isn't all on Pierre-Paul's shoulders, but if he doesn't get to the quarterback, the Giants will always be in trouble/
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: He had just on tackle and a pass defense before missing the entire second half with back spasms. He had the coverage on one of the Eagles first-half touchdown passes.
Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr.: The Giants wide receivers were targeted 13 times in the game but brought it just seven combined passes for 86 yards. Randle had five catches for 58 yards on nine targets, while Beckham Jr. had two catches for 28 yards on four targets. With Cruz out for the season, Randle and Beckham Jr. will have to play a whole lot better if the Giants want to make the playoffs.