Photo Credit: Giants Wire USA Today
On a day where the Giants held Fan Appreciation Day and gave away a free soda to ticket holders, they also gave us a crappy performance. They couldn't even do the giveaway right, as you needed your name on the ticket to actually receive the free soda. No name on the ticket was required to sit through this game at a windy and cold MetLife Stadium. At halftime, Giants legend Michael Strahan summed up the 2021 version of his New York Giants in one painful sentence. “If you want to get your team right, play the Giants,” Strahan said to the rest of the Fox Sports crew.
The Giants fell to 4-10 and have officially missed the postseason for the 9th time in the 10 seasons. Sunday’s lackluster 21-6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was as painful to watch as it was hard to hear those words uttered by the Hall of Famer. Sunday’s game showed just how far away the Giants are from just being a competitive team. It was a microcosms for how far they are from the division leading Cowboys, who barely broke a sweat to win this game.
Again, the defense did all it could to keep this a ball game
Photo Credit: Giants Wire USA Today
This is beginning a broken record in New York. The Giants' defense putting in yet another solid but wasted effort to keep the Giants within striking distance. Despite RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard playing with some injuries, the Cowboys rushed for 126 yards against the G-Men. Dak Prescott still doesn't look right, but completed 28 of 37 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown. But again, it's a "get right" game for Prescott as he did just enough to not lose the game for Dallas.
The Giants held the Cowboys to 3 first-half field goals to keep the game close. Dallas was able to march down the field almost at will. But solid red zone defense combined with weak play calling from Kellen Moore kept the Cowboys out of the endzone.
The Giants were able to create some turnovers and pressure the QB, the latter being something they haven't done consistently. LB Lorenzo Carter turned in his best performance of the season and maybe his career. Carter didn't have a sack coming into the Cowboys game and finished with 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Carter was all over Prescott as he was near the top of the league in week 15 with 7 QB pressures on the day. Carter recorded an overall grade of 90.8 according to Pro Football Focus, followed by CB Jarren Williams (82.0), DT Leonard Williams (76.6) and LB Jaylon Smith (73.7) who was just picked up off waivers this week.
Give credit also to Leonard Williams who gutted out a performance after injuring his elbow last week against the Chargers. Williams kept his consecutive games played streak alive but also might have won over fans with the gutty performance.
Head coach Joe Judge continued to praise his team’s effort, which can be pointed to the defense. Despite the offense giving no help, the defense was attacking and hitting all game. Their fight was unquestioned through the contest. “Thought the effort of the team was what we needed, but obviously the execution was not. Too many self-inflicted wounds today. Thought we had a chance for success. We had our shots, but we’ve got to make the most of them,” Judge said. How true, how true.
Offensive line struggles continue to plaque this team
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The Giants offense is constantly stuck in neutral due to the offensive line. The whole right side of the line is a disaster with Will Hernandez and Nate Solder attempting to protect the QB. All season, Hernandez and Solder have struggled in protection against line stunts. Hernandez has had the worst struggles, he even can't hold up against bull-rushes from defensive lineman. Hernandez entered Sunday afternoon having allowed 6 sacks and 29 quarterback pressures.
Sunday, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn exploded that fact to perfection by lining up All-Pro DE DeMarcus Lawrence against Hernandez. Needless to say, Lawrence feasted on the Giants all day as they couldn't get the running attack on track or keep him off the QB.
On the Giants’ first possession of the game, Lawrence bull-rushed past Hernandez to force an errant throw from Matt Glennon that was picked off. It was a wrap from then on as Lawrence would abuse Hernandez, one play he swam right past Hernandez to hit Barkley in the backfield before he could even secure a handoff. Lawrence finished with 4 tackles, one forced fumble, and one tackle for loss.
Despite Hernandez’ struggles, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas continues his excellent play in his second year. Thomas is one of the few no-doubt cornerstones on this team, not just the offense. On Sunday, he finished with an 83.7 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus and Giants Wire. To be fair, other linemen center Billy Price (74.1) and Nate Solder (68.4) were some of the highest graded offensive players on the day. But the lowest-graded Giants on offense were Hernandez (46.2) and Mike Glennon (41.0), you just can’t win when your QB is graded so low…
The Matt Glennon experiment is over
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At this point, the NY Giants aren’t even functional. It’s almost impossible to assess blame for the depths the NY Giants have fallen to this season. Coaching is a big problem along with the play calling. But the Giants still struggle to get the ball into their playmakers hands. Yes it's the play calling, but the QB play of Matt Glennon was their undoing. As one of my friends said during the game, how is this guy still in the league? How did Gettleman this that Glennon was an upgrade for the backup rather than Colt McCoy?
Mike Glennon was awful after an up and down performance after the Chargers game. Glennon completed just 13-of-24 passes for 99 yards with 0 TDs and 3 back-breaking interceptions. Glennon was under duress all have, but when he did get time he was completely ineffective. Glennon was mercifully pulled for QB Jake Fromm with 4:16 remaining in the game. Fromm at least was able to move the ball against a shell defense playing coverage. The plays were scripted but at least he gave a little life to this lifeless offense. Fromm finished 6 of 12 for 82 yards on the day.
Through the first 3 quarters on Sunday, WRs Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard had no catches. Golladay finished with 3 catches for 53 yards and still hasn't found the endzone this season. WR Darius Slayton caught just one pass through the first 3 quarters. It is unheard of for an NFL team to have their top three receivers to only net one reception for 9 yards. Shepard left the game with a non-contact injury and it was later confirmed he tore his Achilles. We likely saw the last of Shepard in a Giants uniform. Saquon Barkley finished with 15 rushes for 50 yards and added 4 catches for 24 yards. Devontae Booker added 9 rushes for 74 yards and we will still hear about the RB controversy in New York. The ineptitude of this Giants offense is unbearable to watch, with or without Glennon or Daniel Jones.
The Giants on the day had 4 turnovers, including a fumble by Saquon Barkley. Lawrence punched the ball out from Barkley and forced his first lost fumble of his career after 598 rushing attempts. The Giants defense forced a strip sack in the second half in Prescott to give the offense the ball deep in their territory. A touchdown would've made it a one score game, but the offense proceeds to throw a pick in the endzone to put a nail in the coffin. The good teams make you pay when you turn the ball over. The Giants couldn't capitalize and the Cowboys did. That's the difference between these two teams.
Let's be clear, Jake Fromm is not the long term answer at QB. He is not the future. He doesn't have the arm strength or presence to do it consistently. But I would rather lose giving Fromm a shot to play than watch anymore of Glennon at QB. Whether it's a conservative game-plan or lack of execution, it’s impossible to win with Glennon under center.