Ever since he was drafted in the first round in 2015 it’s been standard practice whenever complaining about the New York Giants to include at least one reference to how awful Ereck Flowers has been at left tackle. One of the truly remarkable things about the ineptitude of the 1-8 New York Giants this season has been that Flowers has had little to do with how poorly things have gone.
In fact, while it doesn’t fit the narrative, you can even argue that the 23-year-old qualifies as a pleasant surprise in this season of misery for the Giants. Flowers struggled in the first two games, but since then his pass protection has been solid. He hasn’t allowed a sack since giving up three to Ziggy Ansah of the Detroit Lions in Week 2, and is now riding a streak of 282 consecutive pass-blocking snaps without allowing a sack. Per Pro Football Focus, that is the longest such streak in the league.
Flowers’ run-blocking has left something to be desired, but it’s impossible to blame him for any of what’s happened the past seven weeks. The Giants were looking for improvement and over the last seven weeks they have gotten.
Let’s look at some of the other stats and snap counts from Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers to see what we can learn.
Fun with stats
Nothing worked for the Giants’ defense on Sunday, especially blitzing.
Kyle Shanahan talked this week about making opponents pay for blitzing. On Sunday, C.J. Beathard was 6-of-8 for 160 yards with an 83-yard touchdown pass and ran for a score when NYG sent 5 or more after him.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) November 13, 2017
Of course, Steve Spagnuolo had to try something. The Giants only hit C.J. Beathard, sacked 14 times the previous three weeks, twice. Jason Pierre-Paul played 54 of 61 snaps and never touched Beathard.
On a brighter note, Sterling Shepard is really good. He has a chance to shine now, and he is taking advantage of it.
WR Sterling Shepard showed yesterday how he's been a beast on contested targets in 2017— PFF NY Giants (@PFF_NYGiants) November 13, 2017
No. 3 completion % in the NFL pic.twitter.com/4kSBroqUal
John Jerry, who has spent most of his time at left guard in recent weeks, has the fifth-highest pass blocking efficiency ranking among guards the past five weeks.
Snap count notes
- Fullback Shane Smith, who returned to the 53-man roster on Saturday, played six snaps.
- Jon Halapio played the first seven offensive snaps of his career on Sunday. He filled in at right guard for D.J. Fluker, who sustained a knee injury.
- Kelvin Sheppard had six tackles in 26 snaps before going down with a groin injury in his season debut Sunday. Only Landon Collins (7) had more tackles for the entire game.