The New York Giants’ Thanksgiving night loss to the Washington Redskins was a flashback to 2016.
The Giants’ defense played up to their pre-season expectations for about three and a half quarters. They largely shut down the run, sacked Kirk Cousins six times, and generated the bulk of the Giants’ points.
However, they got absolutely no help the Giants’ injured and inept offense. Save a single solid drive in the second quarter, the Giants’ offense was not much more than a brief interlude between defensive stands. It followed the pattern set down for much of the Giants’ 2016 season.
The difference between this loss and those victories? The 2017 Giants are without a player who can produce a single game-breaking play to swing the course of a game and help the defense drag the offense across the finish line.
So then, as we take a look at the Giants’ latest loss, let’s take a look at the snaps, stats, and notes to come out of the game and see if there is anything interesting.
- Eli Manning had a thoroughly bad Thanksgiving. Sacked four times and completing just 13-of-27 passes for 113 yards and an interception, Manning had one of the worst games of his career.
- Manning’s completion percentage wasn’t all on him. For the second game in a row, Manning was victimized by drops from his receiving options (most notably, Evan Engram), and they tended to happen in big moments.
- WR Tavarres King, TE Evan Engram, and WR Roger Lewis Jr played the most snaps out of the offensive skill position players, playing 55, 49, and 48 snaps, respectively. The offense played 57 total snaps.
- Engram was given a 28.3 grade for Pro Football Focus. He has played terribly the past two games.
- Just three days after seeing his workload increased, to one of his highest snap counts as a Giant, Rhett Ellison played just 28 snaps (48 percent). Ellison has played more than half of the team’s snaps in two of the Giants’ nine losses (against the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams). He played roughly two-thirds of the Giants’ snaps in their wins against the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Ellison caught his only target of the game, picking up 9 yards.
- Tight end Jerell Adams played just eight snaps and wasn’t targeted once.
- With Orleans Darkwa dealing with a hamstring injury, rookie Wayne Gallman was the Giants’ leading rusher, carrying the ball nine times for 37 yards on 22 snaps. Darkwa had 11 carries for 30 yards on 19 snaps.
- After rushing for at least 111 yards in five of their last six games, the Giants managed just 84 yards on the ground in Washington. Their once again anemic rushing production is clear evidence for what D.J. Fluker meant to the offense.
- Landon Collins was the Giants’ best player for the second week in a row. He played all of the defense’s 71 snaps and finished with 14 total tackles (per the NFL). PFF gave Collins an 87.7 grade, saying:
Collins was the best defensive player on the field for the Giants this game, constantly making plays all over the field. He had a team high 11 tackles, 5 of which were solo defensive stops. He wasn’t beaten at any point in coverage, and saw zero targets as the primary cover man. Collins finished with a coverage grade of 83.0 to go along with his run-defense grade of 88.5.
- S Darian Thompson and CB Ross Cockrell both played every defensive snap as well. This was Cockrell’s second start for the Giants with Eli Apple inactive (Ben McAdoo cited the short week after spending the previous week at his mother’s bedside as the reason why Apple was inactive). While Cockrell had a strong game against Kansas City, he was victimized by Washington, and badly misread the offense on Jameson Crowder’s touchdown.
- Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon once again rarely came off the field. The duo played 64 and 62 snaps respectively. JPP finished with five tackles, two sacks, and a pass defensed. Vernon also recorded five tackles, as well as 1.5 sacks of his own. The Giants’ defensive line played very well against Washington’s battered offensive line.
- Defensive tackles Damon Harrison, Jay Bromley, and Dalvin Tomlinson were each graded strongly by PFF. Harrison garnered an 85.2 grade, Bromley and 84.6 grade, and Tomlinson was given an 83.1 grade. Each of them were disruptive in the middle of the Giants’ defense, with Harrison notching half a sack while Tomlinson got the first sack of his NFL career.
- Bromley lead the defensive tackles in snaps at 37, followed by Harrison at 35, and Tomlinson at 32.
- Janoris Jenkins surrendered a touchdown after suffering an ankle injury, but he still played 59 snaps (82 percent). He was injured while returning an interception for a touchdown. Jackrabbit also finished with a pair of passes defensed.
- The Giants’ defense allowed just 17 first downs (second lowest total of the season) and their six sacks was the most since playing the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 27th, 2016.
- Linebacker Devon Kennard played 31 snaps, picking up four tackles and his third sack of the season.