The New York Giants returned to reality on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks after a nice vacation in Denver. In Denver, if you squinted, it almost looked as though they could survive the loss of their receiving corps and field enough offense to win games.
It was nice while it lasted.
Returning to MetLife Stadium, the Giants’ offense crashed back to Earth and showed itself to be the biggest (but not the only) loser this week.
Loser - Giants’ offense
Well ... what offense?
The Seahawks completely disrespected the Giants’ receivers, and clamped down on their running game. Not that the Giants made that hard on them, refusing to show anything like the variety of running plays that they did in last week’s game against the Broncos.
But the fact that the Giants only have one offensive weapon showed itself today. And the New York Engrams did what they could, but the utter lack of options at wide receiver made it difficult for the rookie tight end to find room to work.
The defense more than did its part, and playing valiantly and looking much closer to the defense we expected to see this season than what we saw in the first five weeks. But the offense just could not pull its own weight.
The Giants hope to get Shepard back after the bye week, which should help some, but this is the offense the Giants will field for the rest of the season.
Winner - Avery Moss
With Olivier Vernon out with an ankle injury and Romeo Okwara on the injured reserve, the Giants needed their rookie defensive end to step up, and he did.
Moss played a critical role in the Giants’ goal line stand against the Denver Broncos, and forced the fumble that Collins recovered this week. He also took advantage when Kerry Wynn (temporarily) went down with a knee injury and consistently brought pressure on Russell Wilson.
Loser - third-down conversions
The Giants just could not convert a third down in the first half, and that played a huge role in the defense playing an absurd 20 minutes, 38 seconds and 44 snaps. The disparity in time of possession persisted throughout the game, and the defense was visibly exhausted by the end of the game.
All too often their play-calling in the first half fell in to a predictable pattern: Run. Run. Run. Punt.
Granted, with a depleted receiving corps against Seattle’s fearsome secondary, they didn’t have much choice.
With little choice the opened the offense and threw the ball more in the second half and Evan Engram made some hay, but it wasn’t enough. The Giants largely failed to convert third downs until their final drive, when Seattle was ceding field position in exchange for time off the clock.
Winner - Landon Collins post-football pro wrestling career
Whenever Landon Collins decides to retire from the NFL (hopefully after another eight years of dominant play for the Giants), he probably already has a contract waiting for him over at the WWE.
Just look at this:
Not only does he refuse to stay cut block’d like a normal safety, but he pops up only to body slam (Google tells me it was probably a power bomb) Tyler Lockett.
LANDON COLLINS IS THE BEST SAFETY IN THE NFL GO DEBATE YOUR STEP MOM pic.twitter.com/ucM6JUtqXk— Reese's & Coffee SZN (@EthanGSN) October 22, 2017
Landon Collins is a bad man.
Loser - Injuries. Again.
B.J. Goodson left the game with an ankle injury. Nat Berhe left to be evaluated for a concussion (he later came back into the game). Justin Pugh left with a back injury. Sterling Shepard couldn’t answer the bell on game day.
The Giants played hard Sunday afternoon, but by the end of the game they simply did not have the horses to move the ball when they needed to. This game would have looked different with Shepard on the field as well as Engram, or perhaps if Justin Pugh had remained at right tackle instead of Bobby Hart (who committed a killer false start penalty shortly before Aldrick Rosas’ missed field goal).
Now the Giants have to hope that they can get a bit healthier, and maybe find an answer or two at wide receiver, over the bye week.