Written by: Motown Blue
The Giants’ very first possession looked like a comic disaster was going to play out when Eli was sacked and his fumble was returned for a TD. Although they averted the disaster as it was overturned, it became the theme for the night and their slow-moving trainwreck called the offensive line. There is a lot of highly critical press on Ereck Flowers and rightfully so, but it runs deeper than him. You almost felt sorry for the kid as his head coach stubbornly kept him on an island with zero help. The kid is a mental case at this point, and you have to wonder if he will ever amount to a serviceable OL at any position.
Then something strange happened. On the very next possession, they ran an efficient and long drive that resulted in a TD. What was the difference? A WR end around, two WR quick slants, and a TE attacking the soft middle of a cover-two zone. It was all capped off by an imaginative personnel package where the TE Engram, lined up in the back field showing run only, roamed freely up the middle uncontested. And then even stranger, those play calls and unique formation looks seemingly vanished from McAdoo’s oversized dinner menu called his play card.
Their formation packages per PFF were 42 plays in 11 personnel, 11 in two-TE formation and three in others. Was it a cruel tease for all those Giants fans watching out there? From then on, we had to agonizingly watch Flowers get bulldozed and pushed aside like a ragdoll by what Detroit is already calling a hall of famer this morning. Sorry Detroit, Flowers has a way of making average players look like Pro Bowl players and good players look like hall of famers.
There are a multitude of issues with this offense that run the gamut besides the OL. Last week Simms and Gruden questioned the overuse of audibles at the LOS. The offense and OL cannot get into a rhythm as a result. It apparently isn’t effective if you’ve attained an average of under 20 points per game over the last eight games. In addition to getting burned with a delay of game call on the two-yard line, Perkins has a per-carry average of 1.9 yards. Yes a lot of it is attributed to the OL but not all.
Darkwa has fewer carries but is averaging over five yards per carry. Perkins has a more patient approach in waiting for the blocking to develop in front of him. The problem is, the blocking isn’t developing, period. Darkwa is more of a slasher and much more physical. The other part of the run game is the predictability of the play calling. The Giants have the lowest carries per game through week two. After every run play, it’s a pass, which is not by coincidence when Eli is under consistent pressure.
The defense did enough to win last night even with the subtraction of Jack Rabbit, which is evident by holding their opponent to 17 points. They did however miss Goodson. We have witnessed in the past how they have had their struggles versus mobile QBs. Stafford sustained drives by scrambling for first downs and eluding the rush. The career underachieving TE Ebron overachieved. He was the leading receiver for the Lions and accounted for their first TD. It will be interesting moving forward how Goodson effects those two areas on the defense.
Last season, the Giants record was attributed to their defense winning tight games. Their margin for error was 1.6 points per game. That margin of error quickly evaporates with mistakes like ST gaffe, stupid TD excessive-celebration penalties, turnovers in their zone and penalties in the red zone. Those all came into play last night. The offensive woes were inevitably going to catch up to them, given the history. Over the last four seasons only three teams had a winning record scoring 20 points or fewer per game. Last year it was the Giants, Houston (9-7) and Atlanta in 2014. The combined record for teams averaging 20 points or fewer per game is: 158-335 (.320).