As always, with a game like Monday’s 24-3 loss, it’s difficult to find positives when you’ve watched your team turn in a performance like that after a 10-day rest. The article, however, is called the good, the bad, and the ugly, and when you look past the dross, there are a few positives.
If the Giants are going to solve their issues on offence, one player that needs to be involved more is Wan’Dale Robinson. Robinson was on the field for 48 snaps, in which he had five receptions on six targets for 40 yards. He likely would have had more had Jones seen him doing star jumps in the backfield.
Matt Breida is the only other player who potentially deserves praise. Admittedly, he only got 30 yards on 14 carries and was poor at pass blocking, but he caught all five of his targets for 48 yards and had the Giants two longest plays, a pair of 22-yard catches.
Weirdly, despite this being the defence’s best performance of the season statistically, there are only a couple of players that truly deserve praise.
Kayvon Thibodeaux did exactly what we have been asking for, grabbing a pair of sacks to go along with his two quarterback hits, one hurry, and two tackles for loss. He was also unlucky not to have a pick-six after he batted a pass from Geno Smith.
Fellow edge rusher Azeez Ojulari unfortunately didn’t record quite as high numbers but still had five hurries and a tackle for loss, while Dexter Lawrence, who is yet to record a sub-80 PFF score, also had three hurries, one quarterback hit, and three tackles.
Last week I tried to explain why Jones’s struggles were less him and more a combination of other factors; however, this week he must be front and centre.
As mentioned before, he clearly missed a wide open Wan’Dale Robinson in the first half, but what’s more concerning about that play is that Jones abandoned what was seemingly a clean pocket. It’s obvious he has no faith in his offensive line, and as such, he’s a jittery mess.
He held onto the ball way too long time and time again, so it’s no surprise that a good chunk of the 10 sacks he took were attributed to him and not the offensive linemen. The turnovers that he’d cut out last season have also returned, with Jones being at fault for his lost fumble and both interceptions. This combination of stats means that Jones has another unwanted record of being the first QB to throw a pick 6 and be sacked 11 times in a game since 1985.
Jones’s struggles are compounded by an absolutely inept offensive line that crumbled after JMS left the game after the first series. The Seahawks handily beat them again and again, even when the Giants added in a blocking tight end and a chipping running back. It’s no surprise to yet again see three of the linemen on the bottom performers list.
On the defensive side, Wink Martindale’s comments about the Giants tackling issues were “Chart’em,” and unfortunately for him, the Giants fans did just that.
16 was the number last week against the 49ers, and although this was an improvement, it was still in double figures, albeit only just. The worst of the 10 misses was actually a double miss from Adoree Jackson and Bobby Okereke, which culminated in Noah Fant’s 51-yard catch and run. All in all, the Giants had seven different players miss tackles, and all of them, apart from Adoree Jackson, are from the front end of the defence, which explains the 110 yards Walker and Charbonnet got on just 22 carries.
Finally, let’s talk about special teams because, outside of Graham Gano and, to a degree, Jamie Gillan, it’s awful. SIX penalties (which should have been seven), a muffed punt from Gray, and Adoree back on punt duties.
Now, as poor as the players are playing, some of the blame evidently needs to be pointed at the coaches too.
Mike Kafka’s playcalling is uninspiring and unimaginative. Wink’s defence is getting better, but he has to fix the missed tackles and lack of takeaways, and to say that Thomas McGaughey’s unit outside of its kickers has underperformed is an understatement.
The thing that binds all these together, though, is Dabes, and somehow he needs to get this team in check fast. There’s no fight, no grit, mixed messages from players, and that aura of fun from last year has disintegrated into frustration and sloppiness. The team is freefalling, and unfortunately for us fans, it’s hard to see where it stops.
It’s back on the road for the Giants as they travel South to Miami to face the NFL leaders in points scored, overall yards, passing yards and rushing yards. Let’s hope that the defensive improvements continue because if not we could be looking at another demoralizing watch.