Written by: Glenn Warciski & Peter Scott Furman
In consecutive weeks, as time expired, the Giants have lost back-to-back games. Struggling all game, Bucs placekicker Nick Folk, who left seven points off the board (two missed FG and one PAT), nailed the game winner. The Tampa Bay Bucs ended the Giants 2017 season. With this crushing loss, the Giants overall record dropped to 0-4. Needless to say, their playoff aspirations are dashed, and they are out of the playoffs.
In New York Football Giants history, which includes this team, the team has started a season 0-4 five times, and in each 0-4 season, the Giants failed to qualify for the playoffs.
2013- 0-6. Finished season 6-10
1987- 0-5. Finished season 6-9. (Strike year & NFL counted “Scab” games-NYG 0-3)
1979- 0-5 Finished season 6-10
1976- 0-7 Finished season 3-11
Going into the season, one of our major concerns was the Giants pass defense, especially defending the deep pass. Last year, Pete figured out that New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had come up with a new type of defense. His focus on improving the team from the previous year was to stop the run. Clearly, they did extremely well. The Giants finished third overall in the NFL. Additionally, Spags used safety Landon Collins as a quasi-linebacker. He leveraged Collins’ strengths, which are tackling and blitzing. Collins was used in the short zones to cut off the short passes used by most offenses. This defense worked, and it catapulted the Giants to a playoff berth.
With a year of film to examine, we believe teams have figured out Spags’ defense. If a team has a quarterback who can sling the ball downfield, they can exploit this Giants’ pass defense. Why? The Giants’ safeties are not capable of covering guys deep, which includes Collins. Notice the highlights in this game. Collins was the primary defender on the Mike Evans catch that set up a score and on the TE Brate’s reception that set up the winning field goal.
Bucs’ splash pass plays: (pass plays over 30 yards)
Tampa had FOUR pass plays over 30 yards. 35, 31,38, 58 (TD).
More importantly, the Giants have not been able to stop the run this year. Spags’ defense is predicated on stifling the run. The other important point is the Giants are having trouble generating pressure with their front four defensive linemen. They had ONE sack all game. When the Giants needed their fourth-quarter pass rush, it was invisible. Lastly, the Giants’ defense DID NOT generate any turnovers.
Although Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston missed some throws in this game, he was able to undress this Giants pass defense. He threw for 332 yards and THREE touchdowns. He was the difference maker in this game.
Brad Wing: What the heck is going on with this guy? In back-to-back weeks, he shanked two punts. This week, his 15-yard punt gave the Bucs outstanding field position. Ultimately, Tampa took advantage and scored the game winning points.
Nick Folk: As mentioned, he kept the Giants in this game. He missed two field goals and an extra point. If he does his job, the game is not even close.
Ben McAclueless: What is this guy doing? Another Ray Handley? Early in the game with the score 7-0, the Giants have a fourth down on the Tampa 30-yard line. The distance is fourth and four. What does McAclueless do? The moron goes for it. It is the first quarter! Kick the FG, and get points on the board. Another boneheaded game management decision that cost the Giants THREE points. If you look at the final score, if he sent Rosas out there, and the FG was good, the Giants might have won this game.
Eli Manning: Courageous. He knew the season was on the line, and he played like it. Under pressure for most of the entire game, Eli used his feet and arm to get the Giants a win. He threw for 288 yards and TWO TDs and ran for a TD. It was an outstanding performance by our quarterback.
Wayne Gallman: Once he came onto the field, he infused energy into the running game. The Giants finished with 91 yards rushing, and Gallman was responsible for 42 yards. Furthermore, he caught his first NFL touchdown on his birthday. The Giants have found their running back. Note: the Bucs were without two of their starting linebackers (Alexander and David). We believe this is a reason why the Giants were able to get a running game going.
Going forward, the Giants have to salvage their season. How will they finish? Will the avalanche of losses continue?
Stay tuned. More to come.