During the New York Giants‘ 38-0 drubbing on Saturday afternoon to the Carolina Panthers, the team looked dreadfully bad on both offense and defense, continuing worrying trends from the team’s first two games. With the team going to 0-3 with the loss, the question must begin to be asked whether or not these issues can be turned around, or whether the 2013 season is already a lost cause.
Offensively, the Giants’ struggles have been well documented, as their running game has been virtually non-existent, and quarterback Eli Manning has struggled to handle the load of having a team on his shoulders. This again played true on Saturday, as Giants’ running backs combined to pick up a grand total of 44 yards. As a result of this inability to run the ball, the Panthers’ defense was able to pressure Manning consistently, without fear of being burned by the run game; it worked, as he went 12/23 passing for 119 yards and one interception. With only 109 yards rushing for Giants’ running backs during their first three weeks of the season, it is hard to see any way that this trend finds some miracle fix. It is equally difficult to envision Eli Manning suddenly developing a Peyton Manning-like ability to operate without the help of a running game.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, the Giants went into Saturday’s game having given up 745 yards, 570 passing and 94 rushing, and 72 points. Things actually got worse in this avenue on Saturday, as the Giants let up 402 yards, 208 through the air and 194 on the ground, and generally looked helpless against the Panthers. During the game, the Giants’ defense was partly the victim of their offense not being able to stay on the field for any prolonged stretch (they were on the field for 23:13), but also because of an inability to stop the run or pressure Cam Newton. With this being the third straight week that the team’s defense was picked apart, it is fair to wonder whether or not this once dominant defense is simply not the same anymore.
The only saving grace out of this horrid production during the start of the season is that only the Dallas Cowboys have a winning record in the NFC East right now. Still, the Giants will likely need to go on a 10-3 run over their remaining games just to make it into the postseason, and after having struggled mightily on both sides of the ball thus far, it is hard to see any way a magical turnaround could occur.