So much for the idea that the New York Giants might go a little feel-good run toward the end of a miserable season. The Giants guaranteed themselves a fifth losing season in six years with a pathetic offensive performance Thursday in a 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. Here is your traditional “Kudos & Wet Willies” review, which, under the circumstances, starts with the “Willies.”
Wet Willies to ...
The Giants’ offense as a whole — Seven first downs, only one in the second half. Only 170 total yards on 55 plays, a pitiful average of 3.1 yards per play. For reference, the Baltimore Ravens are last in the league in yards per play, at 4.3. Only three points. Dropped passes. Missed throws. Awful pass protection. All of this against a Washington defense that had surrendered more than 30 points in four of its five previous games. The Giants have now scored one touchdown in their last nine quarters of play, including last Sunday’s overtime.
The Giants haven’t scored more than 24 points in a game since Week 12 of last season, a 27-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Ten teams in the league average more than 24 points. The Giants average 15.6.
Special “Wet Willies” mention for a few players on offense.
Eli Manning was 13-of-27 for 113 yards, an interception and a passer rating of 44.2. Drops didn’t help him, and per the NBC broadcast Sunday night Giants’ receivers lead the league with 30 dropped passes. But, you have to make the easy plays that are there. Thursday night, Manning didn’t. He overshot Shane Vereen on a short flip that might (should?) have been a touchdown. He spiked a third-quarter throw to Travis Rudolph that should have been a first down, forcing a punt. This was reminiscent of the game against the Los Angeles Rams a few of weeks ago when Manning missed a pair of throws that should have been easy touchdowns.
Evan Engram didn’t help his quarterback with three drops. Per Pro Football Focus, Engram’s eight drops this season are the most among tight ends. Engram, who had become the focal point of the passing attack, has only four catches in the past two games for 27 yards.
Chad Wheeler was overmatched against Redskins’ linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who beat him for two sacks. Wheeler had a promising first start against the Kansas City Chiefs, but this was a stark reminder that he is an undrafted free agent rookie with a lot to learn. There is no way to know yet whether he will, or won’t, be an answer at tackle for the Giants going into next season.
RT Chad Wheeler is not going to hold up against Ryan Kerrigan pic.twitter.com/zTkwRdzaMr— Ryan Smith (@PFF_Smith) November 24, 2017
Ereck Flowers reminded us that, well, he’s Ereck Flowers. His streak of consecutive pass protection snaps without allowing a sack ended at 348. Flowers committed three holding penalties, two of which Washington declined. He now has seven holding penalties this season. Flowers, per PFF, also gave up two hurries on Thursday. When the Giants had to slide their protection to the opposite side to protect the struggling Wheeler, Flowers wasn’t up to the task of being left alone. It was a reminder that he remains, at best, a serviceable left tackle. At worst? Well, that’s what we saw Thursday night.
Ross Cockrell — This was a really rough night for the veteran cornerback. Cockrell committed a 37-yard pass interference penalty that set up a second-quarter Washington field goal. He committed a third-down defensive holding penalty that negated a sack, gave the Redskins a first down and helped them continue a drive that led to their eventual game-winning touchdown. Cockrell misread a third-quarter play that led to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Jamison Crowder, leaving the receiver open for the score. He also committed an special teams penalty. Cockrell has been a good addition to the Giants’ secondary this season, but he didn’t help them at all Thursday.
Kudos to ...
Mini-Mac and Mini-Sully — Mini-McAdoo brought his “A” game to FedEx Field on Thursday night, bringing along a mini-Mike Sullivan sidekick. I don’t know, maybe the Giants should let the minis run the offense. Can’t get any worse.
Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul — The Giants took advantage of a Washington line that, like the Giants, was down three starters. Pierre-Paul had two sacks and Vernon had 1.5. Both players also had a pair of hits on Cousins.
Landon Collins — A second straight 14-tackle game. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo saw Collins play last season, when he was in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. What took Spags so long to remember that Collins is better up at the line of scrimmage going forward than he is roaming around deep in the secondary?
Janoris Jenkins — Had a pick six off a deflection and had a pass breakup in the end zone. He did give up the eventual winning touchdown on a 14-yard pass to Josh Doctson. That, though, was a good throw by Cousins against an injured Jenkins. Jackrabbit apparently left the stadium in a walking boot and said he had injured the ankle on the interception.