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Film Review: Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking The Giants’ Loss To The Eagles

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What can we learn from a second look at the game?

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Chris has done a terrific breakdown of some of the tackling issues that are plaguing the New York Giants’ defense. Dan broke down the defensive screw-up that put Jake Elliott in position to kick a 61-yard game-winning field goal for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. If you haven’t read those posts, you should.

What I am going to do here is give you some of my thoughts as I re-watched the game in its entirety on Wednesday morning. Normally, this would be an All-22 review, but for whatever reason there are massive gaps in the All-22 from Game Pass, so much of it is from a simple re-watch of the broadcast (without the sound, because I don’t need Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to tell me what I’m seeing).

As I always said when I did these breakdowns last season, I am not a scout. Chris and Dan are better at play breakdowns than I am. These are just some things I noticed during my look at the film.

  • By my highly unofficial count, the Giants missed a dozen tackles against the Eagles.
  • The Giants used a creative defensive alignment I’m not sure I have ever seen before on the game’s second play. They had two defensive tackles, with defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Oliver Vernon standing up. Linebackers Calvin Munson and Devon Kennard were stacked one behind the other directly over the center. Don’t think I have seen linebackers placed that way before.

It is easy to question the third-down and fourth-down-and-inches sequence of play calls by Ben McAdoo. Shoot, I tweeted my disagreement with the third-down play as soon as I saw the Giants line up in shotgun. That, though, wasn’t the only time the Giants turned down opportunities for points.
— After Orleans Darkwa lost 4 yards on third-and-1 from the Pilly 34 in the first quarter the Giants were still at the Eagles’ 38-yard line. Placekicker Aldrick Rosas told me during preseason he was comfortable from anywhere inside 60 yards. Now, 56 yards is a long field-goal attempt but you could argue it was worth trying since the Giants had struggled so mightily to score.
— In the third quarter, the Giants chose to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Eagles 13 while trailing, 14-0. They failed. This one was likely an unnecessary fourth-down gamble. As the game turned out, any type of points in those three sequences would have swung the game to the Giants.

Sure, that’s a big-time second guess — Wednesday morning quarterbacking, if you will — but in hindsight you are left with “what ifs” when it comes to those decisions.

  • There was, as Big Blue View readers know, lots of debate about the interception on the deep ball from Eli Manning to Brandon Marshall. I still believe Marshall needed to make a better effort. Still, though, my thought seeing it again was that perhaps Manning was overly aggressive on this play. The general rule of thumb on a deep ball is “if he’s even, leavin.’ Problem is, Marshall wasn’t even. Defensive back Rasul Douglas was over the top of Marshall the whole way. I’m always a proponent of the Giants taking shots — I don’t think they take enough. This time, though, maybe the shot wasn’t there.
  • It was hard to tell how left tackle Ereck Flowers played because the Giants got the ball out so quickly in the passing game. I didn’t, however, notice any major issues other than the one holding penalty he had. Pro Football Focus agreed:

That GIF, incidentally, raises another point. For all of his issues in pass protection, if you let Flowers plow straight ahead and use his size and strength he is a pretty darn effective run blocker. I don’t understand why the Giants don’t play to that strength more often.

  • The 20-yard run by Orleans Darkwa in the GIF above was the Giants’ longest run of the season. It was well-blocked by the line, but my $.02 is it should have been a touchdown. Sterling Shepard threw a nice block on the outside. Odell Beckham Jr., though, had a chance to block two Eagles defensive backs. He blocked neither. If he gets one of them, that’s probably a touchdown.
  • The 77-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard is a perfect example of how a running game can help the passing game. The Giants had executed a few moderately successful runs in the second half. On this play, Philadelphia linebacker Nigel Bradham hesitated just long enough on the play-fake to open the lane for Shepard.