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Five plays that changed the game against the Baltimore Ravens

Which plays determined the course of the game?

New York Giants v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Giants traveled to Baltimore and lost to the Ravens 27-13 in a third straight uncompetitive loss. The Giants defense struggled to contain Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rushing attack, while the Giants offense hardly established a rhythm in the game. It was clear from the first drive that the Giants were overwhelmed by Greg Romans’ multidimensional rushing attack.

For the first time, the Giants defense also looked questionable with their tackling attempts. There were far too many plays where Giants defenders failed to wrap up and secure tackles. The defense basically had no pass rush the entire game which gave Jackson all the time in the world to pick apart zone coverage, or scramble with his incredible athleticism.

However, the offense wasn’t much more encouraging than the defense. They failed to reach 20 points for the sixth straight week, there were multiple dropped passes that ended drives, and they couldn’t protect the quarterback. Daniel Jones was sacked six times in the game. Despite the poor performance, for three straight weeks, the Giants still have a chance to win the division if they can beat the Cowboys at home next week, AND the Football Team loses to the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Is that wild - yes, but it’s the 2020 NFC East. Let’s see the 5 (ish) plays that led to this Giants loss.

Play 1: Forgot Hollywood?

Playing the Ravens is not an easy assignment. It’s rare to see this Giants defense so out of sorts, but they were against Lamar Jackson. There were missed tackles, missed assignments, 2nd level players being fooled, and blown coverages - this is not something we’re accustomed to seeing this season. The Giants defense couldn’t get off the field. The first drive for the Ravens went 13 plays, 82 yards, and was finished with this pass to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (15). Baltimore ran crossing patterns through the Giants’ zone. The post from the boundary side takes Isaac Yiadom (27) away from his area. Xavier McKinney (29) passes Brown to his side and no one is there. There could be a lack of communication due to McKinney’s limited reps and Yiadom expected McKinney to flow with the crosser; either way, it was a touchdown for Baltimore.

Play 2: Wide open Dez

This game was already out of reach, with how the Giants were playing, but it wasn’t a great way to start the fourth quarter. Here’s more miscommunications in zone coverage where James Bradberry (24) thinks he’s passing Dez Bryant (88) to the safety so he can cover the flat route, but the safety was preoccupied with someone else. It is difficult to tell from the broadcast, but it seems like Logan Ryan (23) was supposed to be the player in that area.

Play(s) 3: 3rd & 4...can we get a stop?

New York was doing a poor job on first and second down, so third downs were kind of hard to come by for the defense; but when they found themselves in the situations - they did not rise to the occasion. On the play above, Willie Snead (83) finds the soft spot in the zone picks up the first down right before McKinney delivers a big hit. Crowder has to do a better job feeling these routes out and sensing the direction and purpose of the offenses’ play.

The Ravens were also having success running on third down. We see a quarterback power run to the boundary on this pin-pull concept with the H-Back, playside tackle, and backside guard pulling to lead block for Jackson. Yiadom had a good opportunity to make this stop and force the fourth down, but he just couldn’t make the play.

This looks like it could have been a bluff zone read quarterback power with pulling backside lineman to lead block for Jackson. Another successful designed quarterback run by this offense. Backside defenders have to be patient and see Jackson work through the mesh point before reacting. Peppers makes a big stop in space against Jackson, but, once again, the first down is picked up.

Play(s) 4: Missed chances

I am not insinuating that the Giants would have won this football game if these three errors didn’t happen, but I am saying that the game could have been more entertaining. The 3rd & 4 drop by Austin Mack (81) could have extended the drive, held the defense on the sideline, and maybe sparked the offense which was rather stagnant at that point of the game. The Darius Slayton (86) miss was irrelevant to the outcome, but Slayton has been relatively quiet for some time, and a big play like this couldn’t have hurt his confidence. The throw was off Jones’ back foot, and could have been a bit better. The shot deep to Engram was aggressive and just out of the reach of the Pro Bowler, but Engram was blanketed on the route. It was great coverage by Chuck Clark (36). These plays are just microcosms of not only the offensive performance, but the defense as well: missed opportunities, missed assignments, bad execution.

Play(s) 5: Thrice sacks

This sequence of plays was consecutive. Stare at the sun - just painful. In the first sack, Matt Peart (74) just allows Matthew Judon (99) to win with speed, attack his outside shoulder, and use flexibility to bend the edge. Judon does a great job using his speed and dip to rip through Peart who did a poor job getting depth with his third step in the set, and also lunged while not utilizing his length and punch to ride Judon away from the pocket. The second sack was a well timed tackle-end stunt and it doesn’t seem like Peart was expecting Calais Cambell (93). Kevin Zeitler (70) does a good job seeing the stunt and passing Cambell to Peart, but the rookie wasn’t on the same page as the veteran. Peart seemed concerned with Judon’s speed after getting beat by him the play before. It was a bad two plays from Peart, and the next play wasn’t much better for the Giants’ offense. The Giants had two unaccounted for blitzers on the third sack. Daniel Jones didn’t seem to realize what was happening, and the situation (3rd&21) perhaps did not warrant Jones to throw hot. Mack calls the blitz out right before the snap, but the offensive line and Jones seem to not realize the call and Jones gets swung down by Chris Board (49).

Final Thoughts

There were other important plays in this game, but not many were for the Giants. New York did mount a touchdown drive that ended in a Sterling Shepard touchdown reception. It’s wild to think that this 5-10 team still has a real shot at the playoffs, but they do. Dallas’ offense has been playing well recently and they’re coming off a three game winning streak where they scored 30, 41, and 37 points. If Big Blue defeats the Cowboys, and the Eagles beat Washington, then the NFC East belongs to the Giants. All of that seems unlikely with the consistent struggles of the Giants’ offense, but division games can be wild, and anything is possible.