Giant Takeaways: Giants Winning Streak Raided by Vikings
The New York Giants winning streak came to an end on Sunday afternoon, as they lost 28-10 to the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium.
New York never got into the game, as the Vikings took an early 3-0 lead on a Dan Bailey 31-yard field goal. After an eight play Giants drive ended with a punt, Minnesota took advantage of a mismatched New York defense. Utilizing running back Dalvin Cook, Minnesota orchestrated a 15 play drive, ending in a Kirk Cousins 15-yard touchdown pass to receiver Adam Thielen.
Despite a Daniel Jones touchdown pass to Darius Slayton, New York was never close in this game, as they now drop to 2-3 on the season.
Here are some takeaways from the Giants home loss.
Giants Offense Stagnant
The Ginats entered Week 5 knowing they faced a difficult challenge in the form of Minnesota’s strong defense. That turned out to be an understatement.
New York managed just 211 yards of total offense, due to the nonstop pressure from Minnesota. Daniel Jones threw for just 182 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on a 55.2 completion percentage. There was no running game (we’ll get to that later) and Jones was under pressure for the entire game. All of that is due to the poor performance from the offensive line.
Center Jon Halapio was burned on numerous occasions, especially in the first quarter, when Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen burst down the middle of the line of scrimmage to record a split sack on Jones. Nate Solder provided flashbacks of Ereck Flowers, as he was unable to block off the edge on passing downs.
Then there was the play-calling from head coach Pat Shurmur. The over-insistence of running a halfback draw up the middle on first down plays drew boos from the MetLife Stadium crowd. Not to mention blowing opportunities in scoring territory.
New York’s strong performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 seems so long ago, as they got brought down a couple of pegs by their toughest opponent to date.
Defense Back to Square One
The Giants defense imposed their will against the lowly Washington Redskins in Week 4. On Sunday, New York’s defensive woes from the first two weeks of the season returned.
New York’s best chance of winning would come if they stopped running back Dalvin Cook, forcing struggling quarterback Kirk Cousins to throw the ball.
As everyone saw, Cook couldn’t be stopped, and Cousins didn’t struggle.
The third-year running back out of Florida State rushed for a whopping 132 yards on 21 carries, including a long of 41 yards. In turn, that allowed Cousins to strike.
The $84 million man completed 22-of-27 passing attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns, culminating in a 138.6 passer rating. Despite being sacked three times by Dexter Lawrence, R.J. McIntosh, and Markus Golden, Cousins remained poised. Most of that is due in part to Cook slicing and dicing the Giants rush defense.
Thielen was the prime recipient of Cousins passes, as he recorded seven receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns, with his longest reception coming on a 44-yard catch-and-run. Cook was equally as dangerous in the passing game, as he hauled in six throws for 86 yards.
After feeling good following the past two weeks, coordinator James Bettcher has plenty of work to do in order to make the defense play consistently.
Running Game Nightmares
Just one week ago, Wayne Gallman eased the minds of Giants fans as the insurance policy for Saquon Barkley. After posting 118 yards from scrimmage against Washington, Gallman exited early due to a concussion.
On Friday, the Giants ruled Barkely out for the Vikings game in order to prevent aggravating his high ankle sprain, due to that confidence in Gallman’s abilities.
As a result, the team had to trot out former practice squad back Jonathan Hilliman, and he couldn’t get anything going. 20 rushing yards on nine carries. In response, Shurmur called upon fullback Eli Penny to take over, who responded with 15 yards on the ground on three carries.
Oh, and the Giants utilized tight end Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard in the running game. All in all, New York tallied a total of 64 yards on 20 attempts.
With Barkley recovering at an inhuman rate, the second-year back may very well be ready for Week 6, but a risk of re-injury could cloud his return.
The New York Giants have a short week, as they play on “Thursday Night Football” against…the undefeated New England Patriots. Can the Giants pull out some of that Super Bowl magic against New England, or will Tom Brady and Bill Belichick pick them apart?
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