Giant Takeaways: Giants Fall to 1-7 Following Woeful Performance Against Washington
Rinse and repeat. The New York Giants fell to the Washington Redskins 20-13 on Sunday live at MetLife Stadium. Every single issue that has plagued the Giants throughout the season all made an appearance against Washington.
The Redskins offense did not get a spark from quarterback Alex Smith. No, it came at the hands of aging veteran Adrian Peterson, who played like he was still in his prime. The Redskins hit the scoreboard first, after Smith hit Peterson for a seven-yard touchdown pass. With the Giants failing to capitalize on opportunities throughout the game, Peterson would capitalize late, rushing 64-yards to the house to officially put the dagger in New York’s chances of a comeback.
While the defense shined, the offense was the main point of criticism for yet another week. And there is plenty to pick as to what went wrong on the offensive side of the ball on Sunday.
Let’s take a look.
O-Line Switches Not Helping
The revolving door that is the Giants offensive line was performing the same old song and dance against Washington.
Nate Solder, the big offseason signing, struggled in yet another game. He was beaten badly by Redskins linebacker Preston Smith, who swatted quarterback Eli Manning to the ground for the sack. To say Solder has not lived up to his contract is an understatement. Solder has now allowed seven sacks this season, which is more than what former punching bag of the Giants, Ereck Flowers, had given up all of last season (six).
“I’m doing the best that I can,” Solder said following the game.
With a media landscape as large as it is in New York, the quote won’t go over well. Especially with the former Patriot earning an annual salary of $15.5 million over the next four years.
In other news, right tackle Chad Wheeler had to exit the game on Sunday due to injury, as head coach Pat Shurmur called upon Brian Mihalik to step in. Mihalik was a 2015 seventh round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he would have stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers (twice) and Detroit Lions (twice).
Manning was sacked seven times by Washington, bringing his season total to 31, which is more than his total last year. If the o-line troubles continue, Manning is on pace to get sacked 62 times. You read that right. 62.
Despite the additions of Solder and Will Hernandez this past offseason, there is still need for an overhaul at the line of scrimmage.
Offense Lackadaisical Yet Again
Don’t look at the stat sheet, it does not paint the picture of this game.
Yes, Manning threw for 316 yards, and yes, Odell Beckham Jr. caught eight passes for 136 yards. However, those numbers equated to one touchdown, coming in the final 17 seconds of the game. A garbage time touchdown.
There were plenty of moments for the Giants offense to take advantage of opportunities. Between Beckham’s huge one-handed grab while being interfered with, to Landon Collins’ forced fumble on Adrian Peterson, the chance to score was there.
And it didn’t happen.
A crucial fourth-and-three, not converted after an accurate Manning pass goes right through tight end Evan Engram’s hands. Even Pat Shurmur couldn’t hide his emotions, as he put his hands on his knees and hung his head in disappointment. A fourth-and-goal in the red zone, negated after a potential touchdown catch bounced off Saquon Barkley’s fingertips.
Not to mention the pair of ugly interceptions Manning threw to the Redskins defense (i.e. D.J. Swearinger…both times). One from an overthrown pass to Beckham up the middle. The other was a lame-duck pass, which Swearinger waited for as if he was watching a punt fall into his arms.
With all of the talent on the offensive side of the ball, it’s amazing how poorly they have performed through the first half of the season. They have failed to score more than 20 points in five games on the year. Manning has just eight touchdown passes through eight games, despite throwing for the third-most yardage in the entire NFL (2,377). Only young gun quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff have more, and they have double-digit touchdowns on the year.
Oh, and the Giants have 14 offensive touchdowns on the year. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has 15 touchdowns alone this season. Let that sink in.
It’s the same old story as the past two seasons. The defense holds their opponents, but the Giants offense can’t take advantage. As a result, the defense becomes exhausted and gives up a late touchdown to ice the game.
It’s painfully obvious the Giants are not competing for anything other than a top NFL Draft pick. If that’s the case, use the bye week to let rookie Kyle Lauletta take some first team reps during practices and let him start, to see if he is the real deal, as the front office prepares for next offseason.
“Looking at Everything”
Speaking of the perennial tank, the trade deadline takes place this Tuesday. The Giants have already traded Eli Apple and Damon Harrison, surrendering their contracts for draft capital. Pat Shurmur mentioned that he will “look at everything,” on the team (not just at quarterback), to see how they can improve in the future, both this season and beyond.
So who’s next?
Defensive Exodus May Continue
Well, Janoris Jenkins is rumored to be a hot commodity in the cornerback market. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots all have interest in bringing in a defensive back. With Patrick Peterson off the trading block, Jenkins is the best player likely available. Following this season, Jenkins will have two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $14.75 million annually. With New York getting a fourth-round pick for Apple, it is likely they can receive a third, or possibly a second-rounder for Jenkins.
Safety Landon Collins, who is arguably the Giants best defender, could also be on the market. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants have received trade offers from other teams, and could possibly move him for a second-day draft pick. Collins becomes a free agent after this season and is one of the best at his position. If New York feels they have no chance of re-signing Collins, they could be inclined to move him in order to gain more draft picks.
Offensive Stars Highly Likely to Move
Odell Beckham Jr. was no stranger to the trading block, either. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Giants received multiple calls from teams across the league and had some “decent offers” thrown their way. However, Glazer reports the Giants’ plan is to “pump the brakes” and keep him. Trading Beckham is impossible, considering he just signed his $90 million contract extension and moving him will force the Giants to pay $16 million in dead money. While offers might be enticing, trading Beckham would put the team in a financial hole.
Finally, we reach Manning. The trade market is ice cold for the veteran quarterback, as there has been no talk of interest from other teams in the NFL. Yet, Manning was asked about the thought of waiving his no-trade clause, and he made it clear to everyone, he doesn’t want to leave. Manning wan’t to be a Giant for life…even though his days are numbered following the season.
The Giants will have a bye week to lick their proverbial wounds and try to right the sinking ship that is the 2018 season. While they may not be playing this upcoming week, they will certainly be in the news. With the trade deadline hitting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see who will stay, and who will go.
The times, they are a changin’ with the New York Football Giants.
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