Another week, and another close loss for the New York Giants.
The Giants couldn’t quite put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers away, falling 25-23 on a failed 2-point conversion at the end of the game. They started out strong, going into halftime with a surprising 14-6 lead over a floundering Bucs team, but then they fell apart in the second half.
The Giants have been racking up the moral victories, but the actual victories just have not been there for Big Blue this year.
All aboard the Wayne Train
When Saquon Barkley was lost for the season it was assumed that Wayne Gallman Jr. would get the nod as the Giants’ new lead back. Instead, the team signed free agent Devonta Freeman and gave him the bulk of the offensive snaps. But then he was lost to an ankle injury in the Giants’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team elevated Alfred Morris, but Gallman finally got his chance as the Giants’ lead back and he stepped up. Gallman isn’t a flashy runner in the mold of Barkley or even Freeman who specialize in dancing behind the line of scrimmage until a hole opens — he is a one-cut slasher who follows his blocks, finds his holes, hits them hard, and finishes his runs.
It’s a style of runner with which Garrett has had success over the last decade or so, first with DeMarco Murray and recently with Ezekiel Elliott.
Gallman still shared the carries with Alfred Morris, but Gallman outgained Morris 44 yards (and a touchdown) to 28 and 3.7 yards per carry to 3.5.
Hopefully the Giants will feed Gallman in the coming weeks.
Patrick Graham might not be here for long
The Giants’ defensive coordinator called himself a great game.
This isn’t really anything new. Yes, the Giants largely haven’t been able to get it done when they need to at the end of the first or second half. But he has had the Giants’ defense punching above their weight class all season long.
Aside from a few 3-man rushes and zone coverages that made things a bit too easy for Tom Brady, Graham called a hell of a game. He was mixing and matching coverages freely and often times had Brady second-guessing himself — no mean feat for against a quarterback who has seen it all over the last two decades. And despite lacking any kind of presence off the edge, Graham was even managed to generate a pass rush and get Brady on the ground.
All told, the Giants held a Tampa offense which scored 38 and 45 points over the last two weeks to just 25. Granted, the Bucs helped out with sloppy play and bone-headed mistakes of their own in the first half, but still. This was an accomplishment for Graham and the Giants’ defense.
The only problem is that if he keeps it up, we could see him lured away for a head coaching opportunity. Perhaps not this offseason, but Graham could go the way of Steve Spagnuolo after the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Judge getting aggressive on special teams
I’m not sure I can ever recall the Giants not using a punt returner in a game — let alone twice in a game. But the Giants went all in on trying to force a turnover on special teams and had their entire special teams unit up on the line of scrimmage. And while it didn’t work out the way the Giants would have hoped with a turnover, it was fascinating to watch and the Giants did wind up getting good field position.
Jones made some nice throws against a good Buccaneers’ secondary. But he makes some nice throws every game — and still more throws that look nice, even if they aren’t strictly on target.
But he still hasn’t learned when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Jones had a pair of interceptions on passes he had absolutely no business throwing, and those passes could well have been the difference in the game. It seems like one of us is writing that sentence (or one like it) almost every game, and the Giants just can’t keep giving free possessions away to opposing offenses. It’s less than ideal when the announce team is gets excited that he threw the ball away rather than forcing it into coverage.
And, frankly, Jones was lucky he only threw a pair of interceptions. He had three more which were in the hands of opposing defenders and dropped; one by Shaq Barrett, and another two on the final drive, either of which would have ended the game. The Buccaneers’ defense had another two opportunities to get their hands on the ball in the first half, but those weren’t as close.
The Giants are 1-7, and Jones throwing to guys in the wrong uniform is part of the reason why.
Bonus: The “Throwbacks” should be a standard uniform for the Giants
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Those white uniforms with the chrome-blue helmets and “GIANTS” logo are just sweet. The Giants first broke them out for the “Color Rush” a few years ago, and I’ve wanted them to be the team’s standard road uniforms ever since.
C’mon Giants’ Nation, let’s at least get that done!