While there might have been a shock of optimism regarding the team over the bye week and coming into this game, the results were about as bad as we expected a month ago. We probably don’t need the numbers from the game to tell us that this was just a bad performance from the Giants.
But we should still look at the numbers to see what insights we can find. Unfortunately, they aren’t particularly encouraging.
The Giants came out in a 12-personnel package with Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph as the starting TEs while Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney were the starting receivers. But as you can see from the snap counts, the Giants quickly adopted an 11-personnel set.
I wish I could say that they wanted to force Tampa into smaller defensive personnel packages and spread them out in order to make running easier. But really, the Giants use 11-personnel as a passing set and were forced to throw to try and keep up with a Tampa Bay offense they couldn’t slow down.
The Giants’ offense their defense no favors here. Granted, the defense just couldn’t get off the field on Monday night, but the offense’s inability to sustain drives allowed the Buccaneers to just dominate the clock and get way too many offensive snaps.
Teams typically plan for 60 to 65 snaps in a game. The Giants’ defense played 78, or nearly a whole extra quarter’s worth of snaps. That isn’t an excuse, as the defense looked lost from the very beginning, but it was also pretty obvious that they were gassed by the time the Buccaneers put their backups in.
It also forced the Giants to ask players like Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence to play almost an entire (regular) game’s worth of snaps. That’s a big ask of the big guys, who generally need to be rotated off the field for a breather.
And while the edges of the Giants defense were vulnerable all night — and they got next to no pressure on Tom Brady — it’s still encouraging to see Quincy Roche get a bigger role on the defensive side of the ball. This season might be lost, but these are still valuable reps for the Giants’ youngsters.
It’s also interesting how many sub-packages Patrick Graham used, with seven defensive backs getting at least 25 percent of the snaps.
Stats of interest
I don’t want to seem like I’m harping on the Giants retreating into an offensive shell, but it’s something we just have to talk about.
The Giants are in a place where they need their defense to play perfectly and the opposing team to make some mistakes. That’s because their offense can’t do much of anything with any kind of consistency.
It’s easy to blame the Giants’ offensive line for the woes of the rest of the offense. And they were clearly outmatched by a (somewhat) depleted Buccaneers’ defensive front. Tampa had nine QB hits and two sacks on 38 passing attempts, but while that’s still higher than an offense would like, the Tampa defenders weren’t getting close to Jones for the most part.
Jones held the ball for an average of 3.2 seconds, which was third-longest in the NFL this week. But while Tyler Heinecke and Aaron Rodgers (the second- and fourth-longest time to throw, respectively) averaged 10 and 7.5 air yards per completion, Jones averaged just 3.8 air yards per completion with an average depth of target of 5.1 yards (6th percentile among QBs since 2010).
So while Jones has the time to hold the ball, he’s throwing short passes that are all but meaningless.
Part of reason could be that the Giants receivers just aren’t getting open, or at least not getting open quickly.
Taken as a whole, Jones was just 3 of 9 beyond 10 yards downfield, which looks something like this:
It’s telling, I think that when the Giants were gifted a possession on the Buccaneers’ 5-yard line, their “last, best chance” play was a trick play to their left tackle. Likewise, this is an offense that takes its first-round draft pick and $72 million free agent receiver off the field on a crucial down.