Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
What a 180 degree turn the Giants season has been if you consider the optimism of training camp in July. The Giants had a new GM, after a decade of an inept one, and a new coach who took his team to the NFC Championship. How did the chance of a better team get dashed like a small boat in a tsunami?
It all starts and ends with the offensive line. Jerry Reach had ignored it for years and when he tried to fix it he made the wrong picks. Gettleman had to know that the right side of his OL was horrific when the season started. I don’t want to recap what happened. That’s a White Paper for another day. He had to overspend wildly for Solder, to make up for the past sins. This along with the $40M in dead money on the cap has hurt this 2018 team. Now Solder’s play recently has been suspect. He was used to blocking for Brady, who is the best at moving slightly in the pocket to miss the rush. Eli is a statue and he can’t do that so it is making him look bad. Hernandez is a good pick, but Dave let Jones and Jerry go. Halapio was a pedestrian cheap ($555,000) salary replacement, but he got hurt in week 1 and was gone for the year. I have been preaching in these articles for 6 years that the Giants always lose 3 OLmen for 4-6 weeks or longer, every year.
So here we are with a team that may be worse than last year’s debacle with McAdoo. Eli is seeing ghosts and he feels the rush if it there or imaginary and gets rid of the ball. Because of the OL, they can’t run the ball. Barkley is doing his damage through the pass game. He will set the record for RB receptions. He had 9 receptions on 10 targets for 73 yards. Eli is becoming Captain Checkdown. The Giants ran for only 37 yards on 14 carries, 2.6 yards/carry. The Giants need a run game, to stay away from 3rd and long and set up the play action passing to the still decent weapons that they have. Eli was sacked 7 times vs the Redskins! You will get Lauletta in sooner than later with Eli taking that kind of beating. Speaking of Lauletta, what the hell is he doing trying to run over policemen??? As a quarterback you are supposed to be the first one there and the last one to leave. Not Lauletta, he was late two days in a row and tried to bull through the same construction site twice. What kind of due diligence did the Giants do on him before the draft? He will get his chance to play soon!
Because of the Atlanta loss, Gettleman embarked on the fire sale, letting Snacks and Apple go. These moves make sense for the future but unfortunately they are more than one year away. How much time does Eli have left? Snacks Harrison was a one man run stopping machine. With him gone, the Redskins ran for 184 yards. Alex Smith, known as a game manager, could do just that passing for less than the rushing yards at 178 yards on 32 throws with 1 TD and no interceptions. The Giants scored with 17 seconds left (just as they did the week prior with 5 seconds left) to make the final look better. But it was a thorough defeat with tons of improvement needed.
Turning to this week’s game, it is an anomaly that the Giants met the 49ers on last year it was Sunday 11/12/17. This year it is Monday 11/12/18. Last year the 49ers were 0-9 and everyone thought that the Giants would finally win a game. But not so fast with a good Jimmy G they beat the Giants 31 to 21. You have to go back to the halcyon days when this was a marquee matchup. Who can forget the Monday night game in 1986 when Bavaro carried SIX 49er defenders including Lott for over 25 yards?
When the Giants have the ball they have to establish the running game. It will keep the pass rush off Eli. Eli has thrown for over 300 yards 3 of the last 4 games because they couldn’t run. The Giants have given up 31 sacks and so have the 49ers, but they gave up 0 to the Raiders last week. Eli’s main target, OBJ, has been going over 100 yards/game. He draws Richard Sherman but he can still have success against him. Shepard gets an easier draw and has 6 straight games of 7 targets. I think this will be 7. Engram has been dropping the ball and San Francisco has been covering TE’s well.
The Giants will be facing new QB Mullens, fresh from the practice squad. He made his debut last week with the best first performance of a qualifying passer since 1970 with a QB rating of 151.9 with 3 TD’s and no picks. He was not sacked once. That’s where it starts for the Giants. They must get pressure on him. Vernon who has been hurting all year needs to step up. The Giants are 31st in the league with 10 sacks. If Mullens has time the Giants are in trouble. The 49ers had 8 sacks vs the Raiders last week. That is the key stat in the entire matchup. If they can do the same vs this porous OL, victory is theirs. Kittle has emerged as their best weapon. He had over 100 yards last week. It will be up to Collins to keep him in check.
It’s hard to believe that the Giants only have 12 of the players from original 53 man roster from last year per an interview with Shurmur. The Giants are coming off the bye week where they historically lose after the bye. They have enough talent to beat this 49ers team. I think this game is close because the Giants have the better skill players. However the key stat is the 49ers sacked Carr 8 times last week and Eli will face the same situation. Even with claiming Brown from the Rams for the OL, I think the Giants have the same problems and lose close to the 49ers 23-21.