Let’s get to the traditional ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review of Monday’s disappointing 25-23 loss by the New York Giants to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A second name for this one might be the ‘Oh, Daniel, will you ever learn?’ edition.
Kudos to ...
Evan Engram — Really nice bounce back game for the Giants tight end. He had 5 catches for 61 yards, including a 30-yard fingertip grab that had a far higher degree of difficulty than the ball he dropped Week 7 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had a carry for 9 yards.
Darius Slayton — Is Slayton a No. 1 wide receiver? He sure looked like it against the Buccaneers. Slayton had an OK statistical night with 5 catches for 56 yards. He should have had a MONSTER night. Slayton was open on deep balls all night. Daniel Jones missed him on several deep throws that could have been game-changing plays, and didn’t throw the ball in his direction on a couple of other occasions when Slayton had broken free.
Sterling Shepard — Eight receptions for 74 yards and was open on one of the deep balls Jones misfired on.
Golden Tate — A tremendous catch for a touchdown in the closing seconds and completed a pass that went for 18 yards. To me, he showed contending teams he might be able to make plays that can help them.
Giants’ defense — I thought this group, as a whole, did pretty much everything it could have. They covered well. They got pressure at times, including a sack from rookie Carter Coughlin. They forced a turnover deep in Tampa Bay territory that led to a touchdown. They bent, but forced the Buccaneers to settle for field goals four times at the end of lengthy drives. They did everything possible to give the Giants a chance to win Monday’s game.
Wet Willies to ...
Daniel Jones — There is just no way around it. Quarterback play cost the Giants a monumental upset. Jones continues to make the same incomprehensible mistakes with the football in Week 8 that he made in Week 1. His two interceptions Monday came on that need to be thrown away — far away — or not thrown at all. The game-ending two-point conversion try was only controversial because was way late and way off target delivering the ball. He also misfired on several deep shots and didn’t see a couple of chances to try others.
Jason Garrett asking Daniel Jones to throw the ball away pic.twitter.com/fOtZPYzxzB— PFF (@PFF) November 3, 2020
Quarterback guru Mark Schofield always says development at the position isn’t linear. Still, you would like to see some signs of it. What I have often said about Jones is my worry is that what you see with him might be what you get. It’s hard to watch Jones continue to make the same mistakes when young quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are flashing so much ability.
Jones has heard the message again and again from the coaching staff.
“The communication is clear. The coaching is clear. I’ve got to do a better job applying it,” he said after failing to do that on Monday night.
It took Eli Manning, who throughout his career had his own issues with too often trying to make something out of nothing, to really prove that he had what it took to be a winning NFL quarterback. The NFL is different now, and Jones probably doesn’t have that much time. He has eight games to show the Giants that he can begin to apply the lessons that are being drummed into him, to stop making foolish plays that cost his team chances to win games. If he can’t, the Giants could well be back in a place they don’t want to be — the quarterback market.
James Bradberry — The Giants’ best cornerback, Bradberry battled with Mike Evans of Tampa Bay most of the night. I considered giving Bradberry a ‘Kwillie’ because he did make a couple of nice plays. In the end, though, this is where I settled. To win games, your best players have to make plays when it matters. Bradberry was unable to do that Monday night.
Bradberry was called for two critical pass interference penalties. The first gave the Bucs a first-and-goat at the 3-yard line and set up the score that put Tampa Bay ahead, 15-14. The second was a third and 7 15-yard penalty that gave Tampa Bay a first down at the Giants’ 29-yard line and set up the Bucs’ final field goal.
In between the two penalties, Bradberry was beaten by Evans for the 8-yard touchdown pass that gave Tampa Bay a 22-17 lead with 9:07 to play.
Kwillies to ...
Giants’ offensive line — There were 3 sacks of Jones, one of which he simply ran right into trying to step through the pocket. Tampa Bay hit Jones 10 times and forced him to move a few others. There were a couple of breakdowns. Still, there was a lot of good.
The Pro Football Focus grades have yet to be released, and I will be curious to see them. I thought rookie Shane Lemieux held up well in his first NFL action. I thought Andrew Thomas held up well against Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett, probably better than his final numbers will indicate. I thought the run blocking was excellent much of the night.
I thought this was something to build on against a really good Buccaneers’ front seven.