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New York Giants Week 3 Takeaways vs 49ers

The New York Giants had a quick turnaround after their historic comeback against the Arizona Cardinals to head out to face the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night. Without a majority of their starters, the Giants were outmatched as they fell 30-12 in Levi Stadium. The Giants have plenty of issues and blame to go around, but here’s what we learned from the Week 3 loss on primetime.

The Giants defense hasn’t fixed all of their problems from 2022

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

Last year, they were 30th in the NFL in defending the run, allowing 146.3 yards per game. The major issue was the linebacker unit that could compete on a weekly basis. Midseason, they had to bring in Landon Collins and Jaylon Smith to help that unit. The Giants addressed the LB position by bringing in Bobby Okereke to boost their defense, especially against the run. But so far it has been more of the same: poor tackling, outmatched LB and no pass rush.

The Giants have given up an average of 138 yards on the ground and have shown no ability to tackle at the point of attack. The 49ers ran for 141 yards on Thursday night, which was preceded by 122 rushing yards yielded to the Cowboy and 151 yards to the Cardinals. People will point to the fact that the Giants faced the NFL’s leading rusher in Christian McCaffrey, but it’s about effort and we aren’t seeing any of this so far. According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants missed a combined 16 tackles on Thursday Night.

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

The game was close in score (but not in talent) but the Giants’ defense was unable to get a stop on 3rd down. In the first half, the 49ers had converted 7 of 10 third down attempts (some 3rd and 7+) as they finished 9 of 16 on 3rd downs. They couldn’t get off the field because of missed tackles and poor execution of Wink’s gameplan. So far this season opponents have a 49% 3rd down efficiency rating.

Add in penalties at the wrong time and you have a recipe for disaster. The Giants gave up a brutal first down on a third-and-12 because of a roughing the passer on Leonard Williams, and another third-and-8 because of an illegal contact penalty on Kayvon Thibodaux. The defense is simply not good enough to withstand those types of mental mistakes.

The defense is also not getting to the quarterback enough. It’s easy to lay the blame at Kayvon Thibodaux's feet but he’s not the whole problem. The fans are quick to call out his body language and lack of effort but where are Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams? Azeez is never healthy and we need to turn the page on him. Williams is in the last year of his contract and there’s no way he should be in a Giants’ uniform next season. I want to see both of their jerseys on sale for $9.99 on Fanatics after the season. This defense generated 2 sacks on Thursday night, but those were their first sacks of the season.

The offensive line is still a disaster after 7+ years

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

The offensive line has been a disaster going on 7 years and we have still been unable to fix it. This line has yielded 12 sacks already on the season. PPF also graded Thursday’s performance from the offensive line as the 3rd worst grade since 2020. PFF graded the collective performance of the OL in pass blocking at an 16.1 and the run blocking at 37.0. According to BigBlueView, Evan Neal was the highest graded lineman at 45.3, followed by John Michael Schmitz at 33.8, Shane Lemieux at 31.6, Marcus McKethan at 28.3, and Josh Ezeudu at 27.2. There isn’t a quarterback on this planet that can thrive under those numbers.

The Giants’ offense was only able to muster 150 yards of offense in the game. According to the stats, this is their lowest total yardage in a game since 2013. The Giants were short handed without Saquon Barkley, left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Ben Bredeson as they ran the ball just 11 times in the game. They only ran for 29 rushing yards, which is also their lowest rushing yardage since the 2020.

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

Pro Football Focus has stated that Daniel Jones has been under pressure for 47% of his drop backs this season. Their only score against the 49ers was due to a short field given to them by special teams. It’s easy for fans and non-fans alike to blame Daniel Jones and claim he doesn’t deserve his money. But what do you expect with a terrible line and no running game?

Giants have taken a set back so far this season

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

The Giants knew they would be short handed on Thursday, but we were short handed most of last season with a lack of complete offensive talent. OC Mike Kafka and Brian Daboll were able to scheme a game plan to move the ball and make plays. But the offense, outside of the second half against the Cardinals, have not called plays to help this offense be effective. The Giants were out-coached as Kafka’s offense was unable to adjust to get the offense moving.

Daboll has been taking accountability for the poor play but we need to stop the self inflicted wounds. “I think they were seven of nine in the first half. And a few of them were screens where they just caught and ran,” said head coach Brian Daboll. “We’ve got to rally the ball out and make tackles. Third down was huge tonight in this game. It was a contributing factor to doubling the time of possession on both sides. When you’re not converting third downs and you’re giving up some third downs, there’s time of possession. Your defense gets tired and we’re not out on the field offensively enough. It’s a collective thing.”

Photo Credit: Giants Wire/USA Today

The Giants were outplayed by the 49ers as they proved they aren’t in the same class as the Eagles/49ers/Cowboys. The Giants were beaten in all categories: total yards (441-150), rushing yards (141-29), passing yards (300-121), first downs (26-10), 3rd-down conversions (9-3) and time of possession (39:10-20:50). The conservative play calling through the air and on the ground led to their downfall. They couldn’t get the ball down field as Jones only had 2 seconds to throw and they couldn’t run the ball. Jones was unable to get the offense on track at all. This team has a lot of work to do to turn this around as the staff on both sides of the ball have to figure out how to get this team back to last season.

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