Giants Pounded by Patriots But Prove They Have Potential

The New York Giants lost to the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football in Week 6. Let’s talk it out.

As I mentioned in the latest episode of ‘Giant Mess‘, I didn’t expect us to win or even really compete in our Thursday night affair against the Pats in week 6. We entered the game missing Saquon, Shep, Engram, and Gallman. But, 1% of my brain held on to the hope provided by the 2017 primetime game against the Broncos, when we went into Mile High and shocked Denver with a steady diet of Orleans Darkwa and Evan Engram. My stupid mind reasoned that if we got some key defenders back — Lorenzo Carter, Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis — and executed a balanced attack of Eli Penny up the gut mixed with modest tosses to Rhett Ellison and shots to Golden Tate and Darius Slatyon up top, maybe we’d steal one.

Five minutes before the first half ended, we found ourselves tied with the AFC Super Bowl favorites. With about 9 minutes left in the game, we were only down a touchdown. That’s pretty impressive. But, just like last week, people will wake up and look at the box score and say, ‘Yup, Giants got blown out again.’

“The Patriots are 22-2 in the month of October since 2014.”

Truth is our defense came out and played a gutsy game. Dare I say, arguably their best game of 2019? Weird because the Pats put up 35 points, but 1 touchdown came on a blocked punt, another came on a fumble return.

The D came up with 3 sacks, a forced fumble returned for a touch, and 2 big turnovers on downs. Detractors will point to New England’s 400+ total yards and 46% third down efficiency, but the Pats held the ball for almost 40 goddamn minutes. You could see our guys were gassed in the 4th quarter.

I would argue that James Bettcher‘s schemes continue to suck. How many third downs are we going to run a soft zone and easily allow the target to catch the ball with plenty of space to convert? It’s insanity to let Tom Brady off the hook and pick you apart like that. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

Alec Ogletree returned from injury and led the team in tackles including a sack and two takedowns for a loss. I told my buddy that Ogletree is an interesting cat. I honestly don’t know what to make of him. The experts praise him, hand him high grades, but … is it enough? Is he really an impact player? Is my lack of appreciation based on consistency? Whatever’s causing my reluctance to embrace him, it’s still good to have him back. Him + Connelly is a duo I can get behind, but can they stay healthy? Someone said Connelly’s like Sean Lee, but Lee was oft-injured.

David Mayo bounced back from a subpar performance against Minnesota, tallying eight total tackles and combining for a sack with Markus Golden. If this is the David Mayo we get for the rest of 2019, we have to feel good about our chances.

Golden had the best fumble return for a touchdown by a Giants linebacker of all-time. A+++ for effort.

Grant Haley gets an F- on that return. Dude. Block SOMEBODY. He just kind of floated around Golden like a fly on a rhino.

“Markus Golden is the first Giants player with 0.5+ sacks in 5 consecutive games since Olivier Vernon in 2016.”

Seems anytime we give up a big reception, Haley’s the guy in coverage. It’s astonishing how Bettcher sticks with him. Julian Love and Corey Ballentine must really really suck to not get a single opportunity.

Our tackling got just a smidge better. Jabrill Peppers needs to be better bringing down runners. DeAndre Baker still has issues with containment. Janoris Jenkins had a nice interception return and a couple passes defended, but I think he’s on his way out.

Offensively, we were as bad as expected. Daniel Jones had his worst game as a Giant. Three picks. One interception from a tipped ball that was thrown behind Golden Tate, most likely caused by the wind. Second interception was Danny trying to extend a play and wait for someone to come open. He waited a little too long and I believe was trying to throw the ball away but his arm got hit. Third interception was just inexcusable. Giants are driving into Pats territory, he had Eli Penny wide open underneath and DJ forced the ball to a well-covered Rhett Ellison on the right sideline.

“Rookie QBs are 0-12 vs Patriots in Foxboro in the Belichick era.”

“Daniel Jones had the same amount of INT in this game (3) as Eli Manning has in 5 career games vs Patriots (incl. playoffs).”

Even during a nightmare outing, Danny Dimes delivered another dime, this time to Golden Tate that went for six.

“Daniel Jones’ 64-yard pass TD in the 2nd qtr (6:05) was the first allowed by the Patriots this season.”

The play-calling has been god awful. Short yardage situations and you’re still handing the ball to Jon Hilliman. Woof. Either hand it to Eli Penny on a dive or play-action boot with Jones and give him the run-pass option.

How Shumur and Shula keep going to Hilliman is beyond the scope of comprehension. Two catches, -3 yards. 11 carries, 38 yards. I guarantee if you gave those carries to Penny, he’d have 50+ yards.

Another week, another devastating fumble from Hilliman. What is it going to take to slap the saddle on Eli Penny and ride him to victory? Why the EFF are we doing a toss sweep with Penny? My man’s north-south. Keep him inside the tackles, go right behind Hernandez or Zeitler.

“Golden Tate III is the first player among all positions with 15+ fantasy points vs Patriots this season.”

Tate had the kind of game we need if we want to be competitive down the stretch. Six grabs on 9 targets. Of course, most of his output came on that long touchdown. Take that away and he had 38 yards on 5 catches, but without many other receiving threats and the Pats honed in on him, he fared about as good as one could hope. My hope was 10+ catches for 150+ yards and a couple scores, but I am wildly unrealistic. We also won’t make any excuses and point out how egregious this defensive pass interference was…

Darius “Big Play Slay 2.0” Slayton had a down game. Eight targets, but only 3 catches. He, too, was victimized by an uncalled DPI.

Rhett Ellison had 7 targets… and Cody Latimer had 1. Jeeeeeezus. 0 catches for Cody. This is the guy who was supposed to come in and be WR3 in 2018 and I don’t know if he’s even worthy of a roster spot right now. I completely understand that the Patriots have the best defense in the NFL, but come on, dude! Give us SOMETHING. He’s got 6 receptions ON THE SEASON. We’re almost halfway done!

Safe to say the Giants are in desperate need of receiving help. Giants management has done simply an awful job of addressing this issue. Tate suspended four games. Coleman out for the year. Shep was banged up. Slayton had a hammy problem. And we. didn’t. do. dawk. We were fed nonsense about how Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer would step up. And neither have. Fowler‘s released and Latimer has no shot of returning in 2020 at this rate.

Who knows how long Shep’s out. I’d rather take it real slow with him. Slayton can provide a big play here or there but isn’t a dependable chain mover. Tate’s gonna get most of the attention in coverage. Having a legit third receiver is imperative.

You’re at the point where it can’t possibly hurt to sign Kelvin Benjamin. At least he gives you some size mismatches. We’re not looking for crazy results, just a guy we can chuck it to 5-10 times a game that can get us 5+ yards a catch.

In terms of next season, signing a productive WR has to be a priority. I’m thinking:

  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Phillip Dorsett
  • Willie Snead
  • Geronimo Allison

Taking a look at the four game before the much-needed bye, three are must-have wins in the conference:

Home vs. Cardinals

Must-win. Cards are currently 1-3-1 before hosting the 1-4 Falcons. Supposedly, money’s on ATL but I think Arizona finds a way. ‘Zona’s defense is worse than ours, so this could be a vital bounce-back game for Danny Dimes. We should have Saquon back. I’d rest Shep again and strongly consider holding Engram out. Maybe Gallman can return and we can show some oddball looks with him and Barkley.

At Lions

Detroit’s 2-1-1. Every game they’ve played has been tight. After the overtime tie with the Cards, everyone was counting them out, then they took down the Chargers, beat the Eagles in Philly, and almost upset the Chiefs. Their offense looks like they’re clicking while their pass defense appears to be susceptible. This will be a huge test and a monster win. Lose this and the postseason door’s just about closed.

Home vs. Cowboys

Top 10 offense. Top 10 defense. After the first 3 weeks, people were penciling the Cowboys into the Super Bowl, but two straight defeats have them back down here on Earth. Dallas should have a walk in the park against the Jets (though Sam Darnold’s back) then a humongous game in “Jerry World” (barf) against the Eagles. We face them coming off a bye, which is brutal for us.

What amounts to a home game vs. Jets

Well, if it ain’t a pivotal intra-city matchup that will determine how we approach the post-bye world. We could be entering this game at 4-5. Jets could be entering this showdown at 1-7 or 0-8, seeing as they have the Cowboys, Patriots, Jaguars, then Dolphins. Win gets us to .500 and we mount that momentum like an adult film star on Howard Stern’s sybian to carry us to the Wild Card. We fall to 4-6 and it’s pretty much a wrap. If we can’t beat the diseased Jets, we should honestly just stare at ourselves in the mirror until the Draft.

We keep piling up moral victories. We’re on our way to winning the moral Super Bowl.

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