The New York Giants lose their first game since Nov. 2, and the offense and special teams are certainly to blame.
Sure, you might look at the final score (26-7) of Sunday’s debacle at MetLife Stadium and criticize the New York Giants defense for allowing a significant number of points in a tough loss to the Cardinals. But there’s more to the story…a lot more.
Not saying the defensive unit was perfect — there were indeed a few big plays that put the Cardinals in position to score. In the end though, Patrick Graham’s group bent but didn’t break on a number of occasions.
On the contrary, the Giants offense shattered on its first possession and continued to do so throughout the duration of the matchup, with the exception of the one scoring drive in the third quarter.
A turnover by Daniel Jones on the inaugural drive — a sack, forced fumble, and subsequent fumble recovery by former Giant Markus Golden — set the Cardinals up with great field position despite the fact that they didn’t score any points thereafter (thanks to the defense).
After that, bad playcalling from offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (the offense didn’t cross midfield until the second half), poor timing and rhythm from Jones (who looked to be uncomfortable for much of the game due to his recent hamstring injury), an overall poor performance from the offensive line, inconsistent separation from the receivers (Golden Tate’s 39 yards led the team), and a multitude of turnovers led to great starting field position for the Cardinals on numerous drives.
Jones threw for just 127 yards on 11-of-21 passing with no touchdowns and three fumbles (one lost). He was also sacked six times, putting into perspective how bad both he and the offensive line were on Sunday. Veteran backup Colt McCoy, who entered late in the fourth quarter, was also sacked twice and lost a fumble
This all, in turn, led to easy points for Arizona, some of which came in the form of field goals along with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Murray to tight end Dan Arnold in the second quarter.
The special teams unit experienced its fair share of struggles as well. Punter Riley Dixon couldn’t direct his kicks and the cover team lost Cardinals punt returner Christian Kirk on various occasions (six returns for 77 yards). Not to mention, one of the aforementioned turnovers was a Dion Lewis fumble on a kick return deep in Giants territory. Sure, you could say the ball was legitimately kicked out of his grasp, but due to the non-call and the play not being reviewable, the Cardinals still ended up with both the football and great field position.
Playcalling mistakes, Jones’ blunders, the offensive line’s poor play, the struggles surrounding the receiving corps, and the special teams unit’s rough game; I could go on and on about it all, but you understand the true reason why the Giants suffered this tough defeat.
The defense wasn’t perfect, but it did what it needed to do, while the other two major units didn’t. At all.
The Giants now drop to second place in the NFC East with the (5-7) Washington Football Team yet to conclude their Week 14 game (on the road against San Francisco on Sunday).
Five wins. Eight Losses. Home again next Sunday night against Cleveland.