By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and www.Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)
BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- The gray, damp, chilly weather at MetLife Stadium matched the mood of the New York Giants this Sunday afternoon. It was much of the same from the New York Giants sputtering offense. The Giants had a chance in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game, but their red zone woes continued: getting within the five-yard line, the Giants decided to settle for a field goal to bring the game to within seven points. The defense, which kept the Giants in the game for most of today, needed a stop in the worst way. Instead, it promptly relinquished a 62-yard touchdown run to Redskins’ running back Adrian Peterson. With that, 33-year old Peterson matched his season-high carries total: 26.
My grades based on my Week 8 keys to victory:
❌Red Zone Scoring: The Giants were an abysmal 1-4 in the red zone today. Their only touchdown came from a two-yard pass from Manning to tight end Evan Engram. Subsequently, the Giants settled for a field goal on two of the remaining three trips to the red zone- Manning threw an interception on the third.
❌Filling In Gaps of Traded Players: The spotlight was on Giants’ B.J. Hill taking the place of the dominant Damon “Snacks” Harrison. His most notable play was one in which he, with a whole hand, blocked an Alex Smith pass at the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, Hill’s play was very average. Hill was penalized twice today: offsides and, on the Redskins’ final scoring drive, an illegal-hands-to-the-face. The Redskins finished with 182 rushing yards… 63 yards above their season average. Would Harrison have done a better job in plugging the run? Probably. It was clear that was Washington’s game plan from the beginning: today, 33-year-old Peterson matched his season-high of 26 carries.
❌Withstand the Pass-Rush: Fugghetaboutit. Manning, sacked with 2:51 remaining in the game, surpassed his the total for his entire 2017 campaign: 32. In total, today, he was sacked 7 times for a loss of 50 yards. Kerrigan, who has dropped Manning more than any player he’s ever played against, finished with 1.5 sacks on the day. On the contrary, Redskins’ quarterback Alex Smith was not sacked a single time.
❌Bury the Giants early: At the half, the Redskins were held to only seven points- well under their average first half total entering play: approximately 15. They were unable to completely shut the door on the Giants at the half. Washington, however, scored thirteen points in the second half, exceeding its average. Peterson’s 62-yard run late in the fourth quarter slammed the door shut on any hope of a Giants comeback.
✅ Force the Giants to Throw the Ball: The Redskins needed to limit running back Saquon Barkley’s impact on the game and to force Eli Manning to throw the ball. Barkley finished with only 38 yards on 13 carries (2.9 yards/carry). Only the Dallas Cowboys have limited him to less yards (28 on September 16). New York’s second-string running back Wayne Gallman finished the day in the red: one carry for -1 yards. Manning, in turn, threw two interceptions, one of which occurred in the red zone.
✅ Third and long: The Giants were forced into at least seven third-and-long situations… each ending in a negative result: a punt. On one instance, a third-and-twelve became a third-and-seventeen after an inexplicable delay of game penalty! Furthermore, in total, the Giants were faced with 14 third down scenarios… and converted on only two of them.
The Giants will welcome a bye week in week nine. They resume action in week 10 on Monday Night Football in California against the lowly 49ers- a welcome, winnable challenge.
To download my radio show from this morning, where I discussed this and many other New York-centric sports topics, visit my SoundCloud page:
To download over 200 of my athlete interviews, click the image below!