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Takeaways from New York Giants Week 5 Loss

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Another week, another loss. In a game that Giants fans saw as an opportunity to show if we could build on a Week 4 win, turned into a house a horrors. The Giants vs Cowboys game quickly turned into a second half of a pre-season contest with all the backups in the game. I'll breakdown my takeaways from our Week 5 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Defense Has taken 2 steps backwards

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The defense was pushed around in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, as we expected. But this was next level pushed around as they clearly ran out of gas in the second half and looked defeated overall.

New York Giants gave up 515 yards of total offense to the Dallas cowboy offense, which was a balanced attack of running and passing. So far through the first 5 games, the Giants rank 26th in points allowed and 29th in total yards allowed. They don’t stop the run consistently enough, they are left exposed in the backend because they can't generate a pass rush, and then they just don't cover well. And the don't tackle well especially with the loss of LB Blake Martinez. Sunday's game against Dallas also marked the fifth game that they allowed a score (typically a touchdown) inside of 2 minutes before halftime.

It’s easy to lay blame at the feet of James Bradberry, but he's not the only Giant struggling in defense. Bradberry got beat on a 49-yard touchdown catch to WR CeeDee Lamb that saw Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham clearly frustrated. But at second look, and pointed out by color commentator Troy Aikman, Julian Love should've been in position to help over the top. It was Cover 1 and Love's responsibility to help but was late showing.

As I previously said, before the end of the half the Giants defense failed to make a play to do the Cowboys from scoring. Bradberry dropped an interception inside the redzone. On the very next play, WR Amari Cooper scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott.

Another critical play in the third-quarter saw Bradberry commit defensive pass interference on a 3rd-and-3 play. The mental mistake gave Dallas a first-and-goal and they scored a touchdown two plays later instead of settling for the field goal. The Giants defense did everything in their power to keep the game as close as possible, considering how overmatched they were. But there mental mistakes and missed opportunities that have killed this team saw this game get away from them.

RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard were running at will and eventually wore down the depleted Giants defense. They averaged 5.2 years pretty carry on the way to over 200 years rushing. It was either missed tackles, broken tackles, the line unable to get off blocks or a combination of them. It just got ugly as this defense was just not able to contain this offense.

Kadarius Toney breaks out as a real player

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Welcome to the NFL Kadarius Toney. I noted that Toney is a deep fantasy pick up for the Giants and he proceeded to have a breakout performance. Toney tallied 10 catches for 189 yards as he turned from secondary option to primary option during the course of the game. Offensive Coordinator had no choice but to feed him the rock as injuries decimated the Giants (see below), but Garrett showed why he isn’t as vanilla as we all accused him of. He found ways to get Toney the ball as he was clearly the focus and give backup QB Matt Glennon credit for getting him the ball.

Toney was drafted in the first round when the fans weren't really sure why we took a WR at that point. I mean we traded back for him? Toney dealt with COVID in the spring, a nagging hamstring injury, and the season saw him complaining about his lack of involvement in the offense. But the Giants said they wanted to get Toney more involved because he's just different level special. You can see why now fans are having flashbacks to OBJ's rookie year as you see Toney's speed, tackle breaking and hands.

Speaking of hands, his day was cut short because Toney decided to through hands and throw a punch at DB Damontae Kazee. I know Kazee started it but you just have to be smarter in that situation. That punch was unacceptable and you can see from Coach Joe Judge's reaction that he likely wouldn't have gotten back in the game after that punch. "There’s a pretty distinct line in terms of competing and doing the things we’re not going to condone as a team that put us behind. That’s not going to be accepted." stated Joe Judge.

Everyone was frustrated at that point, as I was punching the air like Tre in "Boyz in The Hood". But you just have to be smarter, what if Toney had broken his hand? I will never understand the thought of punch someone with a helmet on. I doubt he will get suspended because he was provoked, but it will definitely hurt the wallet.

Injuries might be too much to overcome

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The Giants were already limping into this game as they had lost LB Martinez, offensive captain G Nick Gates, T Andrew Thomas, WRs Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. The Giants lost star RB Saquon Barkley in the first quarter after he rolled his ankle on a teammate. QB Daniel Jones then was lost late in the second quarter after helmet to helmet hit at the goal line left him in concussion protocol. Then before the second half could start, WR Kenny Golladay was unable to come back after an apparent line injury. All 3 were unable to return to the game and it only snowballed from there.

CB Rodarius Williams went down in the second half and grabbed his knee. The Giants have announced that Williams had torn his ACL and is give for the season. We were already thin at CB and now we need to patch it together. Ian Rapoport reported that Golladay will miss the upcoming game against the Rams but the Giants dodged a major bullet because thought his injury was much worse. The Giants were at one point in this game missing 70% of their starting offense. No one will feel bad for them, this is the nature of the beast but this is crazy.

Offensive line still needs improvement

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The Giants' offensive had been showing improvements over the last few weeks, leg by second year tackle Andrew Thomas. Clearly not having Thomas available on Sunday was costly as the line was rearranged and struggled against the Cowboys. The Giants allowed 6 total hits and 12 hurries on the day. Both Daniel Jones and Matt Glennon we're under pressure the whole game and the 12 hurries seemed like they were undercounting. G Matt Peart scored the highest linemen grease according to Pro Football Focus with a 69.8. Peart gave up only 1 pressure in 44 pass-blocking snaps. Nate Solder on the other hand had the worst offensive grade off any offensive play at 38.8. Solder gave up 8 total pressures on the day.

Nate Solder is just not an NFL caliber linemen anymore. While Solder didn’t give up a sack, defensive end Randy Gregory had his way with Solder all day as he pushed him all over the field. Solder was forced to play left tackle with the Thomas injury. But at this point, it's hard to continue to run him out there. This is yet another lineman that GM Dave Gettleman brought in, over paid and hasn't worked out. It's time to give T Matt Peart a shot at the full time role at right tackle once Andrew Thomas returns to the lineup and the Giants move on from Solder. The Giants need more offensive line help, they have 2 first round picks in this year’s draft. They need to draft to elite lineman with those picks (or one lineman and one edge rusher). But under no circumstances would I allow Gettleman to make those picks!

When the Giants were able to hold up on pass plays, Glennon and Jones were able to find open weapons downfield. TE Evan Engram even made a play or two. The Giants were able to be creative when the offensive line held up to pressure against the Saints, Falcons and Football Team. The key is getting time to get the ball downfield, if the Giants can do that they clearly have the weapons to make plays. Now we are down weapons and a rested Rams defensive line is headed to New York.

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