X's and O's: Giants 20, Chargers 21

Here is a look at how the Giants did, position by position, against the Chargers.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning played as well as could be expected in this showdown with the man for whom he was traded, Philip Rivers. Manning was very efficient in completing 25-of-33 passes for 215 yards, two TDs and no INTs. He was only rendered ineffective on the five times he was sacked.

Bottom line: It was nice to see the old Eli Manning back at the helm.

RUNNING BACKS

Unlike previous contests, this was Brandon Jacobs' day running the ball and not Ahmad Bradshaw's. Yet the Giants inexplicably gave Bradshaw the ball three more times. He was held to only 2.8 yards per carry, while Jacobs tore up the San Diego defense for 6.1 yards per pop. Danny Ware looked fresh on his two carries.

Bottom line: These guys really weren't to blame, but the coaches should do a better job of going with the hot hand.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

It sure was nice to see the Giants try a little trickery, giving Hakeem Nicks the ball on an end-around on which he gained nine yards. Steve Smith and Kevin Boss both looked great getting open to catch touchdown passes and Mario Manningham was quite a threat as well. Even Darcy Johnson chipped in with a physical 14-yard grab.

Bottom line: With the exception of his 19-yard catch, Smith only gained 38 yards on his other seven receptions.

OFFENSIVE LINE

It was a busy couple minutes for Shaun O'Hara in the second quarter. First he recovered a fumble by Eli Manning, narrowly averting disaster. But only moments later, O'Hara was flagged for holding. RG Chris Snee was nailed for holding in the game's waning minutes, an infraction that forced the Giants to settle for a field goal when they started from the San Diego 4.

Bottom line: Manning was sacked five times, including on the final play of the game, and hit on six other occasions. Not a good day at the office at all for the front five.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fast Freddy Robbins shot right through the middle of the San Diego offensive line and dropped Philip Rivers for a seven-yard sack early in the fourth quarter. On the very next play, Justin Tuck dropped Darren Sproles for a nine-yard loss after he caught a flare pass in the right flat.

Bottom line: With the exception of his one sack/forced fumble, Osi Umenyiora apparently has decided to stop talking – on the field and off.

LINEBACKERS

It sure looked like Antonio Pierce was the one who let Antonio Gates run free on a 29-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. Gates had open acres after Pierce was unable to stick with him. Michael Boley showed how much the defense missed him, but even his solid play on the weak side was enough to stem the tide.

Bottom line: The Giants need a heck of a lot more than three tackles from Antonio Pierce in the middle.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Corey Webster made amends for giving up Vincent Jackson's TD catch on the first play of the second quarter when he had Jackson played perfectly on a slant pattern in the third quarter and was able to knock the ball away. Webster was later flagged for two infractions against Jackson – on the same play, no less.

Bottom line: Aaron Rouse didn't stand out in his first start at strong safety, which was obviously a very good thing for New York.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The first quarter was hardly a special time for New York's special teams. Jeff Feagles and Lawrence Tynes botched a field goal try, Kevin Dockery was called for a false start before a punt and Feagles shanked a 32-yard boot before the first 15 minutes had expired. Dockery was later nailed for a foolish fair-catch interference call in the third quarter.

Bottom line: What do we have to do to get our Jeff Feagles back? He's been uncharacteristically bad the last few weeks.

COACHING

It didn't appear the Giants were in a very smart defense on Vincent Jackson's game-winning touchdown catch. And it didn't appear that the offense aggressively enough went after the game-clinching touchdown in the final minutes. The Giants have now found four straight different ways to lose a football game.

Bottom line: Whatever Tom Coughlin meant when he summed up this pre-bye contest as a one-game season, the Giants are in big trouble heading into their bye weekend.

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