My non emotional thoughts from Yesterday’s game. As always, feel free to add yours, argue with mine, etc…
Lions 31, Giants 18. The word “ugh” comes to mind when thinking this game over. Here and there teams just kind of lay an egg, as Giants fans, we need to hope that this is the case rather than the other possibility, which is that we have a ton of holes in this roster and other teams are just figuring us out… In addition to a putrid Sunday afternoon of football, we had the next worse thing happen, which was a slew of injuries before having only 3 rest days prior to Thursday’s game. The Cowboy’s on the other hand, cruised to an easy victory over a much better team that we lost to yesterday. Bad game and it puts us in a bad spot. How we respond on Thursday is going to tell us a lot about the players on this team and our coaching staff.
Jones – I’m good to call this Jones’ worst game of the season going 27/44 for 341, 1 TD, 2 Ints and another 50 yards rushing + a TD. Jones picked up a lot of yards and a TD against Detroit’s soft shell when the game was out of hand. His INT to Aiden Hutchinson was a momentum killer, putting Detroit in easy scoring position. We never really caught up after that. To be fair to Jones, this was another game where poor weapons got poorer. We shuffled LG, C and RT on the offensive line and lost Wan’dale Robinson during what was looking like his best game of the year. Still, we weren’t exactly playing the 85’ Bears defense… there were opportunities that didn’t get taken advantage of.
RB – Stop Barkley, win the game. That’s going to be the mantra of every team we play moving forward. Detroit stacked the box, sold out on the run, and held Barkley to 15 carries for 22 yards. By far his worst game of the year. The only effectiveness we had running the ball was Jones keeping a few read options, other than that we failed to move the ball and Barkley was getting hit almost as soon as getting the ball. Again, we shuffled 3 OLinemen, which doesn’t help.
WR – Well, Wan’Dale Robinson was having a good game… I have a funny feeling we’re going to be hearing really bad news on him, don’t know why, just have a bad feeling about it. Slayton continues to be a consistent present in the passing game, unfortunately he isn’t a #1 which is what he’s being asked to be right now. Other than that, nothing spectacular from the group. While Hodgins had some catches, and so did Golladay/James, we heard the announcers say “nobody open on that one” far too many times yesterday. This group continues to be a weakness.
TE – Cager caught 2 balls for 20 yards and no one else from this group got on the stat sheet. On top of the lack of targets/catches, the staff has seemed to favor jumbo sets using extra OL rather than our own TE’s as blocker. While Cager looks like someone that should have a permanent role of some sort going forward, we’re seeing week after week how much the loss of Bellinger hurts. As I mentioned earlier teams “selling out” for the run, lack of TE’s that can both block and run a route makes you very one dimensional. Teams know Nick Gates isn’t going to run the seam, makes it easier to key on Barkley.
OL – Well, Andrew Thomas is good… Other than that, I almost don’t want to comment. So many guys shuffled, Lemieux seems to have been benched. Was Gates in to get him some work or because something happened to Feliciano? Either way, pressure came from the interior all day long. I’m waiting to see Bobby Skinner’s OL review this week for a better look, I need to see if these were communication errors or guys just losing 1 on 1’s. Neal is coming back soon which should help on the outside, but all hands are on deck for the interior positions, we shouldn’t be getting beat this badly there.
DL – Very plain and simple Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams continue to win their battles but outside of that the guys we’re putting on the line are very average. Multiple times in goal line packages we saw our DL get pushed back, allowing 4 rushing TDs on the day. We also allowed over 160 yards rushing. Some of this goes on the LBs, but as of right now the DL is too reliant on 2 massive men playing 85%+ of the snaps.
EDGE – Myself and a lot of other posters keep using the word “close” for Thibodeaux, while this perhaps may be correct, we’re 10 games in, he has 1 sack, he was the 5th pick of the draft. Thibs needs to start closing. On the other side of the ball, we saw a player at the same position picked just 3 spots ahead of him find ways to impact the game. We need Thibs to start getting sacks. Ward is more of a hybrid guy setting the edge, behind him Fox and Smith are a UDFA and 4th rounder, we need Thibs to be the guy getting to the QB. When Azeez comes back, we’ll get some help, but we need to hear Thibodeaux’s name on a more consistent basis. He’ll get there, he has the talent.
LB – We gave up 31 points and 4 rushing TDs, it shouldn’t be a shock that this unit didn’t play well yesterday, no one really did. On top of a few bad angles and missed gaps, I saw a few break downs in coverage and another handful of times the MLB didn’t get proper depth on his drop and left a huge zone open in the passing game. If other parts of the team play well, we can cover the talent gap at this position, but as players go down, that’s getting harder to do.
CB – I’m not going to say anyone did or didn’t play a bad game here. My reasoning for that is that we had both Adoree Jackson and Fabian Moreau go down, leaving 3rd and 4th stringers playing. I can’t fault a 4th string CB for not shutting down the opposing teams #1 WR. The injuries were a bad result at a bad time for us, unfortunately there isn’t much we can do here other than look for the next man to step up. Holmes, Flott etc… are going to get tested against Dallas. Hopefully Flott can show some growth, but this has always been a development year for him.
S – If I’m correct, Dane Belton was benched during the game in favor of Pinnock, who was hurt during the game and had to be taken out of the stadium via ambulance. Belton has made a play or two but has also taken some bad angles over the past few weeks, I’m guessing this is what caused Wink to make the change. Love had a decent game, showing himself as a consistent player but other than that, nothing to note. I’m guessing we lose Pinnock for extended time, thankfully Jefferson seems close to coming back.
Nothing went well yesterday, obviously we must hang some of that on the coaches. To start, there is going to be a massive debate all week about allowing Adoree Jackson to return punts. His injury put us at a huge personnel disadvantage, even in preseason I remember reading threads saying, “if Adoree goes down, we’re screwed”. We can’t redo the past or go back in time, so this is done, but let’s just say Giants fans are never going to feel good about starting corners returning punts or kicks…
Moving to the coordinators our defense got almost no pressure on Goff despite blitzing at their normal rate. At some point in time, I would have liked us to dial back, specifically with 3rd, 4th and 5th string CBs left in man coverage. On offense Kafka couldn’t find a way to make the running game work and still looked hesitant to put a game on Jones’s back. If asked, I’m sure everyone on the staff would have liked to have this game back.
At the beginning I mentioned a team “laying an egg”. When I look at the rest of the season there were a lot of bad things we did yesterday that we haven’t been doing all year, so there is a legitimate chance that this was just a “bad game” and we can move on from it. There haven’t been a whole lot of undefeated seasons in the NFL for a reason, bad games happen, teams come out flat and winning in the NFL is hard. How we bounce back is huge for a lot of our players looking to establish themselves as core guys, its huge for Jones and his future here as well.
Laying an egg or not, these injuries have put us in a tough position going into Dallas. As it looks right now, we’re going to be down at least Jackson, Pinnock, and Robinson with the likelihood that Moreau misses as well. We have 2 healthy safeties on the roster, and one was losing snaps to Pinnock. Thursday is going to be tough sledding, brace yourselves. Again, don’t just walk in considering this an automatic loss. Crazier things have happened, and our coaching staff has shown an ability this year to come up with good game plans. We need our fingers crossed on this one, but it isn’t off the table.