Another week, another loss. This makes three in a row for our New York Giants against the Indianapolis Colts, this time losing 40-24. Let's not make the mistake of thinking the game was that close, as two touchdowns for the Giants effectively came in garbage time. Another disappointing loss that found the defense just running out of gas while the offense wakes up way too late. Let's take a look at five things we learned.
Perry Fewell Is Capable of Calling a Good Game ... Despite the Results
A lot went wrong for the Giants, but Perry Fewell was surprisingly not one of them. He called an aggressive game that allowed the defense to pin their ears back and blitz early and often. He even mixed up blitzes and disguised his blitzes, something I have not seen very often.
It worked. Despite losing Prince Amukamara and half the defense, Fewell bottled up Andrew Luck and the Colts offense in the first half. The defense played with heart, and outside of a bizarre defensive breakdown where Coughlin threw a challenge flag too late and the Colts caught the defense napping, they played smart as well. The blitzes were well timed and though the team didn't get sacks on Andrew Luck all that often, they rattled him enough to make bad decisions and errant throws.
It seems like they ran out of gas when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie essentially just gave up an interception to T.Y. Hilton. After that, the execution broke down a few times. Nobody covered Ahmad Bradshaw on a disguised coverage. Finally, the last straw came against just Jayron Hosley getting flat out beat by Reggie Wayne on a crossing pattern that made the game 30-10 and ultimately out of reach. The Giants defensed died at that point, but I would point to poor execution and some ill-timed injuries as well as the nature of going up against Luck that failed the team more than Perry Fewell.
In hindsight, it's pretty easy to see why the Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. Where would they have been without him? There are no play-makers. Rueben Randle is not getting anything done. Preston Parker is not getting anything done. Andre Williams is not getting anything done. I understand Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz are out, but the amount of drops, wrong routes run, and sluggish runs are mind bending. Nobody has been a spark. Nobody is playing "above the Xs and Os." Heck, I'm wondering if they even made it to the chalkboard.
The Giants finally got a pulse from Odell Beckham and Andre Williams well into the 3rd quarter. However, the Giants need more production from their skill players. Eli Manning was well protected for the most part today, no reason they should've gone into halftime with only three points. That's a terrible disadvantage to give yourself. Why wait to play Corey Washington so late? Why wait until the second half to get Beckham involved? It's perplexing.
Robert Ayers Should Be A Starter ... Every Game
The man was nigh unstoppable tonight and he was doing it from inside and outside. He had seven QB hits by the end of the third quarter and was relentless all game. His first step was monstrous and his speed to power conversion is absurd. He was the best player on the field for the Giants and it wasn't even close. Sadly, one player doesn't make a team and we saw that as the Colts brought the team to the woodshed tonight.
He was the spark on the defense could've used. Johnathan Hankins and Jason Pierre-Paul were largely quiet, which surprised me, and Mathias Kiwanuka again struggled. Just wasn't their night. Here's to hoping Ayers can keep it up and stay a Giant because they badly need a pass rush.
Jacquian Williams Isn't A Bad LB
Jacquian Williams had a rough game in coverage. A few people will just read this headline and virtually knock me over the head for suggesting that Williams might be competent but for the vast majority that's reading, hear me out. He's being asked to do things that a traditional LB is not asked to do. First, the Giants have neither the depth nor the talent to let him take a breather. He runs back in coverage at 240 pounds on every play as the team's only three-down coverage linebacker. Secondly, he actually handled traditional TEs like Dwayne Allen pretty well. He limited the gains by Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson in coverage. Of course he struggled in coverage versus a stretch TE like Coby Fleener. The Giants trot him out there, often with no help, against guys like Gavin Escobar and Zach Ertz and the results are the same. He's just not fast enough, but almost no LB is. Those are guys you have to put safeties on. From what should be expected of him, he hasn't been terrible.
The issues facing this team have more to do with the safety coverage moreso than Williams. That and not being able to get home on blitzes. When the team blitzes, it forces one-on-one coverage in some spots, and Williams was the victim on more than one occasion. In that case, it's just Luck being Luck and the defensive line not getting home.
Injuries Hurt, but Stupid Mistakes Hurt the Most
Weston Richburg got injured. Prince Amukamara tore his bicep. DRC is playing on one leg. Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers got banged up at some point. I could rattle off the near complete team that is just hanging out right now on injured reserve, but it's all excuses.
Those hurt, sure, and have an enormous impact on the season. Just for this game though, the frustrating thing are the wrong routes being run. Still. Dropped passes. Still. Boring run design. Still. Overthrown passes. Still. These are simple execution flaws. Not coaching issues, though there were problems with some of the offensive play calls. These aren't mistakes that you can zero in and fix, but they keep popping up in every game. It might be the talent that's being put on the field but the most infuriating mistakes are the ones that show up with this team and ultimately drag them down as teams pull away. Something needs to change.