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Unpacking The Loss: Broncos

Telling stats

So, here is the short of it…. Just about everything went wrong for the Giants Thanksgiving night. Take a look at the long list of telling stats that point to why the Giants lost this week, and you’ll quickly see 90% of the entries are in red. And to fully explain what the stats highlighted in orange represent might get me banned from the site all together — so just think that those are WORSE than horrible.

Giants Broncos
Final Score 6 Final Score 26
Time of Possession 24:30 Time of Possession 35:30
Total Net Yards 267 Total Net Yards 373
Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 3 – 20 Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 1 – 10
Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 4.9 Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 8.1
Net Yards Rushing 57 Net Yards Rushing 138
Total Rushing Plays 16 Total Rushing Plays 40
Total First Downs 15 Total First Downs 23
Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 2 – 40 Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 3 – 87
Red Zone Efficiency 0/1 – 0% Red Zone Efficiency 2/5 – 40%
Goal To Go Efficiency 0/0 – 0% Goal To Go Efficiency 1/4 – 25%
Fumbles (Number-Lost) 3 – 2 Fumbles (Number-Lost) 0 – 0

Wow that’s really bad. I knew it was bad… but this is a loooong list of nasty.

The one bright spot of course was the Red Zone Goal Line Defense — which of course is the facet that the Giants have been the absolute worst at. Go figure.

Fumbles, Interceptions, and Turnovers in general — CANNOT HAPPEN from now on or the Giants are finished. And in order for Eli to go interception-free for the rest of the season he cannot be forced to pass the ball. That means he cannot be put into a situation where he has to make something out of nothing, which means the Giants cannot be trailing by 3 scores heading into the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, the Giants need to play defense first. If the Giants cannot stop teams from picking up first downs, then they are going to score eventually. That trend needs to stop now… and it starts with run defense and ends with pass rush. Never mind the coverage issues, right now the basic fundamentals of successful Giants football have vanished. And if you look at the 2007 playoffs and Superbowl, you will see the consistent weak link was pass coverage but it was aleviated by the incredible pass rush and run stopping abilities of that team.

The offense, when given the opportunity of course – needs to play methodical and mistake free football. That means a steady diet of high percentage short passes and running the football, good blocking, and no turnovers via tipped balls or fumbles.

Easier said than done, I know. And granted this is not last years team, and certainly not the defense of 2007.

But they have shown they can be successful against good teams this season by playing this way. Eli has shown it, the running game has shown it, and the defense had shown it. They are capable of playing well, it’s time now (more than ever) to put it all together.

1 of 5

Offense: Rushing

Giants: Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
B. Jacobs 11 27 2.5 0
D. Ware 4 27 6.8 0

Where is the Giants running game? It’s completely vanished like Derrick Ward. Seriously, you could make the case that without Ward, the Giants running game has come to a stand still. It defies logic, but it’s true. Jacobs, Bradshaw, and Ware have all had dismal seasons — fighting injuries left and right. But even when healthy the Giants offensive line has not given them any help. Last year – Rich Seubert and David Diehl were standouts. This year they are a liability. In 2009 this duo has ranked among the worst offensive performances consistently in both protection and run blocking. Against Atlanta last week, for example, the Giants could not run left to save their life. The same was true for San Diego. And Philly, Oakland, Dallas, and Washington. I know it sounds like a bad joke out of Zoolander, but the Giants running attack CAN NOT TURN LEFT. What’s the solution heading forward?

Go right. Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, and Center Shaun O’Hara have opened up nice holes for Jacobs, Bradshaw, and Ware to the right… it’s time the Giants stop banging their heads against the wall at Left Guard and either run off tackle right, or use a designed play and intentionally cut back to the right.

It’s not all the line’s fault — but a lot of it is. You have to take the good with the bad too, because the last 2 years you couldn’t compliment the Giants running game without addressing the best line in the NFL leading the way. Now with the gaps clogged up to the left for all of 2009, it’s time to acknowledge that the Giants need to run around the problem, not through it. So in order to keep things going forward, go right – please.

3 of 5

Offense: Passing

Giants: Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
E. Manning 24/40 230 0 1

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I think some unfortunate drops, fumbles, and bad breaks kept the Giants from getting into position to win the game. Specifially, these 4 plays that unfolded sealed the fate for the Giants and ruined the oportunity to put points on the board:

• Mario Manningham’s first down catch that wasn’t

• Travis Beckum’s 9 yard pickup sent backwards 20 yard by Brian Dawkins’ helmet

• Danny Ware’s fumble

• Steve Smith’s dropped cross off his hands

Of the opportunites Eli did have to get a drive into the green zone, I thought he looked pretty good. Aside from one obvious exception where Hakeem Nicks got beat, passes over the middle on shallow crosses and quick slants are deadly for him and worked well in this game. I’ve been saying it forever, but there are actually numbers to prove Manning has been great on these patterns. The other pass that has been deadly for Eli is a back shoulder timing pattern deep down the sideline – and Mario Manningham has been excellent at running the route and catching the ball in bounds. And to keep the chains moving, the dump off pass short left has been tremendous.

The lesson of this breakdown? Keep doing what you’ve been trying to do — utilize short passes via slants and crosses, three step drops seem to work best in the end zone. The occasional bomb down the sideline keeps the defense off balance and stretches the field.

So as long as the O-line keeps Eli with enough time and space to get the ball out, and Eli stays healthy and focued, I think the offensive passing attack will continue to be fine.

3 of 5

Offense: Receiving

Giants: Receiving REC YDS TD LG
S. Smith 7 71 0 30
H. Nicks 4 66 0 36
M. Manningham 5 48 0 13
B. Jacobs 3 30 0 13
K. Boss 2 22 0 12

One step forward, two steps back. One game after Kevin Boss lit it up at the Meadowlands he was back to strictly blocking duty. That makes sense, doesn’t it? OF COURSE IT DOESN’T. But hey, that’s what you get from the Giants, you never know what the hell they’re thinking.

But to be fair and contextualize it a bit, Eli was under a fair amount of pressure and the guys he threw it to had opportunities to make some plays and either didn’t get the first down or something else happened, like Smith dropping an easy 8 yard pickup over the middle, or Manningham getting stripped of a first down that would have been caught any other day, or Beckum meeting up with Dawkins’ helmet, etc. These things happen I suppose… albeit not freakishly all in one game, but they happen.

Nicks, Smith, Manningham, and Boss — this is the way forward. Glad to see even in a losing effort the young guys can still make some nice plays. This is what gives me confidence moving forward — it’t not like the fear of preseason where you don’t know what these guys can do…. they are the strength of the team for pete’s sake! What needs to happen now is that the defense does not go out and stink it up so the offense has to over-compensate and try to force it on their drives.

1 of 5

Defense: Line

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
J. Tuck 5-1 0.0 0 0
M. Kiwanuka 3-0 0.0 0 0
C. Canty 2-0 0.0 0 0
F. Robbins 2-0 0.0 0 0
R. Bernard 1-0 0.0 0 0
B. Cofield 1-0 0.0 0 0

At this point, sacks and run stopping is all that matters for the Giants D-line. They can’t get a handle on either, sadly. Even if Osi and Tuck get some pressure from the outside, there is no central push up the gut… so all the QB has to do is step up and throw. Viola, no sacks. And that’s precisely what Orton had going, he was stepping into throws all night long because it was all clear in front of him. Orton had all kinds of time to find guys over the middle and downfield. It got to be downright pathetic. Cofield, Robbins, Canty, and Bernard — you all need to step it up, big time.

Of course, stopping the run is just as a big an issue. Ultimately the responsibility falls on more than one person, but running to the left on the Giants is as sure as death and taxes… emphasis on death. Osi cannot seem to shake a block, not that anyone else gets in position to help out, but more on that later. The first line of defense is of course the line, and the Giants got slammed with all 40 carries from the Broncos. I saw the same play, off tackle run left 3 times in a row and it got first downs each time: un-friggin-exceptable.

1 of 5

Defense: Linebackers

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
C. Blackburn 6-1 0.0 0 0
M. Boley 3-2 0.0 0 0
D. Clark 2-2 1.0 0 0

That’s it? 3 guys for 60 minutes when you’re getting your butt kicked? Maybe that’s why the middle was wide open all night for this play… never mind the completely blown coverage and confusion. The fact is — when you get tired, the chances of having mental mistakes increases. ROTATE IN YOUR ROOKIES. It couldn’t be worse than what happened with your starters.

Danny Clark had a sack on the first play of the defensive game, great — how did it end though? There was no pressure for the rest of the 59 minutes and 15 seconds.

The entire LB crew did a nice job on the red zone goal line situations, it should be noted. A marked improvement from weeks past.

3 of 5

Defense: Corners

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
C. Webster 6-0 0.0 0 0
T. Thomas 5-1 0.0 1 0
B. Johnson 1-0 0.0 0 0

Corey Webster I thought tried to establish himself as a physical defender this week and I thought he was flagged on a crucial penalty that really should not have been called. Since when is shoving a guy as he’s catching the ball a flag? Don’t give me that helmet to helmet talk either, he CLEARLY led with his body and I don’t think he even touched Marshall’s helmet. That’s the kind of day it was for the corners. Sometimes you can have your guy covered and they still miraculously come up with the ball.

Terrell Thomas had a nice INT that provided a little spark for the Giants. Unfortunately the Giants didn’t score 21 points off that turnover… but it’s the thought that counts.

3 of 5

Defense: Safety

Defense T-A SCK INT FF
A. Rouse 7-1 0.0 0 0
M. Johnson 6-0 0.0 0 0
C. Brown 4-2 0.0 0 0

How telling is it about your defense when the majority of your Safetie’s tackles came from stopping a run? I’m glad CC Brown is good at something, like bone crushing hits on a running back… but it does not inspire confidence in me right now to see him out there. When the other team runs 40 times and your safety is the leading tackler — here’s a hint: that is bad. Real bad.

Special Teams: Punting + Kicking

5 of 5
Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 3 – 3 – 0 Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 7 – 7 – 5
Punts (Number-Average) 5 – 50.2 Punts (Number-Average) 3 – 48.3

Mile high city treated the Giants kicking and punting teams well… a 52 yard field goal and average punt of over 50 yards may have Tynes and Feagles getting their resume’s together for a full time job in Denver. When your kicker is the highlight in a loss, and coach Tom Coughlin chose to give him credit…. it’s nto bittersweet. It’s embarrasing.

////////

Alright folks, lets not lose hope here for next week’s game at home against our favorite team – the Cowboys. I’ll be in San Fransisco and will catch the game on CA time…. I hope the Giants look better on the other coast. All is not lost yet, let’s just hope all gets found by Sunday though.

Cheers

-ai


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2 Responses to “Unpacking The Loss: Broncos”

  1. CMH says:

    Important to see what Goff can do in Middle. If he’s not a starter, we need to draft one in 1st round. If he’s solid, we can use that pick to hit other needs.

    Goff- Sintim- Boley. Let’s see that trio at LB.

    • andrew ilnicki says:

      I would LOVE to see some young guys in there making plays in a starting role. Probably wont happen knowing this coaching staff.

      Maybe Pierce can run out onto the field for the huddle, tell everyone what to do, and then hurry off before the offense snaps it….

      Would that be the best of both worlds?

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