clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Giants vs. Falcons -- Snap counts, Pro Football Focus scores

What can we learn about the 2015 Giants from who got the snaps and how well they played?

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Is there any more frustrating and confusing team than the New York Giants are right now?

Personally, I'm not sure there is. The Giants are a team that nobody expected much from, and many of them -- including many media members -- are gleefully pointing out all of the Giants' mistakes as they fall to an inglorious 0-2 record. But that isn't what makes the Giants frustrating.

What makes the 2015 New York Giants so confusing and so frustrating that you feel like you need to invent a new word to describe them (I'm tempted to go with "Confrustrating") is that there is a good team in there. The Giants have had 10 point leads heading into each of the last two 4th quarters.

But the Giants still don't know how to win games.

That disparity, the divide between the good and the bad are starkly revealed in Pro Football Focus scores

Offense -- Odell Beckham, Shane Vereen, and ...

All week long the Giants were looking for somebody besides Odell Beckham and Shane Vereen to step up on offense.

Against the Falcons, the Giants' solution was more Odell and more Shane Vereen. Odell responded to the questions about his ability by having the best game of his young career. With the Giants stagnant on both sides of the ball, Odell exploded for a 67 yard touchdown reception that helped to propel him to a seven-catch, 146-yard day. That performance earned Beckham the highest grade on the team with a +2.8 score. Shane Vereen's eight-catch, 76-yard day earned him the team's second-highest grade (+1.3). Perhaps more impressively, Vereen was only on the field for 38 of the Giants' 71 offensive snaps.

The Giants top five grades were rounded out by Nikita Whitlock, Justin Pugh, and Eli Manning. Whitlock scored an even +1.0 on 9 offensive snaps -- all of which were earned with his lead blocking. Justin Pugh, graded out with a +0.9, but was forced to move from left guard to left tackle mid-game when Ereck Flowers could no longer play through his ankle injury. Eli Manning graded out with a mediocre +.6, despite generating more rush yards than the entire Philadelphia Eagles offense.

The problem with the Giants offense can be seen at the bottom of the grading chart.

The Giants three worst-graded players -- Ereck Flowers was by far the Giants' worst graded player with a -6.1, but given that he was playing through a pretty badly injured ankle, I'm giving him a pass -- were Larry Donnell, Preston Parker, and Rueben Randle. The three of them graded out with -2.5, -2.6, and -2.7, respectively. These are three players that the Giants absolutely need to produce for their offense to be fully functional. Donnell scored positively as a receiver, but his horrendous run blocking knocked him way into the negatives. Parker and Randle earned their scores with their work catching -- or rather not catching -- the football. Making matters worse is that all of these players are being counted on to be major contributors. Parker played 41 snaps, Donnell played 61, and Randle played 67 snaps. These players have all played well for the Giants in the past, and the Giants desperately need them to do so again.

Per PFF, the Giants' receivers lead the league with 11 drops through 2 games. If the Giants want to salvage their season, that cannot continue.

Defense -- Secondary leads the way again

In Week 1, the Giants' defense was lead by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. In Week 2, the defense was lead by Prince Amukamara. Prince lead the way with strong coverage and great tackling to score a +1.4 for the game. Interestingly enough, DRC was still the team's third highest rated defensive player (+1.1) despite playing just seven snaps before leaving the game with a concussion.

Robert Ayers was once again one of the Giants' best defenders with a +1.2, scoring positively in both run defense and pass rush.

Ayers was the Giants' only defender to play the run and rush the passer well. Cullen Jenkins, Damontre Moore, and Kerry Wynn all graded out at roughly 0.0. In Wynn and Moore's case a strong run defense score was cancelled out by a weak pass rush, while Jenkins had a strong pass rush wiped out by weak run defense. George Selvie didn't really distinguish himself either way.

That, more than anything, illustrates how much the Giants miss Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP was one of two players the Giants could count on to defend the run while also creating pressure in the passing game. Either Pierre-Paul would get pressure himself, or his presence on the Giants' line would create an opportunity for another player. Lacking that presence, the Giants have to decide if they want to stop the run or pressure the passer.

Final Thoughts

The Giants are 0-2.

There is a very good reason for that: They have been outscored 28-10 in 2 games in the fourth quarter. Let that happen and you are not going to win many games.

That being said, their -5 point differential is also better than seven (7) teams with 1-1 records.

The Giants are confusing and frustrating. They have done good things over the first 3 quarters of their games. They do just enough wrong at the biggest moments in the fourth quarter to lose their games. Can the Giants put it all together? Are they the team that finds different ways to generate double-digit leads going into the 4th quarter, or are they the team that finds a way to blow those leads and lose the game in the end?