I thought about skipping the ‘Kudos’ entirely in this edition of ‘Kudos & Wet Willies.’ There isn’t much nice to say after the New York Giants 37-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, a game not nearly as close as the final score indicated.
In the end, I decided to hand out a couple of ‘Kudos.’ Maybe that was just because I needed an excuse to write about Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Kudos to ...
Dexter Lawrence — Six total pressures — a sack, three hurries, two hits — in the initial Pro Football Focus review. Lawrence had seven tackles, one for loss. He might be the only Giants who made a positive impact in the game from beginning to end.
Tae Crowder and Benardrick McKinney — I don’t know what the PFF grades will be for these two linebackers, nor do I care. They both played with physicality, Crowder with eight tackles and McKinney with five in just 28 snaps, one for loss.
Kyle Rudolph — Let’s just acknowledge that it was kinda cool to watch Rudolph rumble a career-long 60 yards with a first-quarter pass from Mike Glennon. It isn’t Rudolph’s fault that the Giants did not bother to target him again in the game.
Justin Herbert — I almost never give ‘Kudos’ to players from the opposing team. How can I not give one to Herbert for what he did on Sunday, though? The amazing 59-yard touchdown pass. A number of other throws most quarterbacks can only dream of. First quarterback to throw 30 or more touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons. has 8,158 passing yards and 61 touchdown passes in his first two seasons.
Herbert is an incredible player.
Wet Willies to ...
Darius Slayton — Three targets, no catches, two balls that will likely scored as drops. Once upon a time, the former fifth-round pick looked like the kind of late-round draft gem you have to find to be successful. Now? His productivity has disappeared. He has 21 receptions in 47 targets, an awful 44.7 percent catch rate.
Riley Dixon — Again and again this season, Dixon has let the Giants down. Joe Judge keeps playing the field position game, refusing to go for it on fourth-and-short in good field position, and Dixon keeps knocking punts into the end zone. He did have a season-long 63-yard punt that was downed at the 4-yard line, but he knocked one into the end zone from midfield and hit an 18-yard punt from the Chargers’ 43-yard line. As for the incomplete pass, who cares?
Mike Glennon — I know he had a concussion last week. I know he’s a career backup and I shouldn’t expect perfection. I know his touchdown “run” was a fun moment. I know the offensive line isn’t good and both the receivers and occasionally the play-calling didn’t do him any favors. Still, the guy in an inaccurate thrower of the football. He completed just 17 of 36 passes (47.2 percent). For the second straight week, there were far too many poorly-thrown, incomplete passes that needed to be completions.
Kenny Golladay — The Giants completed a pass to Golladay on their first offensive play. They didn’t get anything else from him until late in the fourth quarter when the game was long over. Golladay had only two catches for 15 yards on eight targets.
Some of that lack of production isn’t on Golladay. Glennon’s ball placement on several throws that had a chance didn’t do Golladay any favors. Still, the Giants gave Golladay a four-year, $72 million contract with $40 million guaranteed because of a proven ability to make plays on 50-50 balls. PFF had Golladay 0 for 4 Sunday on contested catch opportunities.
Giants’ two-minute operation — The Giants have now been outscored an incredible/unbelievable/embarrassing/ 59-0 in the final two minutes of first halves this season. How is that possible for an NFL not to even accidentally stumble into a few field goals in the final two minutes of the half over the course of 13 games?
The final 1:40 of Sunday’s first half was a microcosm of so many of the things that have gone wrong with the Giants this season, and that have been consistent shortcomings.
After the defense got a three-and-out and a terrible Charger punt gave them the ball at the Los Angeles 41-yard line, practically gifting them points, the Giants acted like the Giants.
The Giants needed roughly 6 yards to put Graham Gano, the franchise leader in 50+ yard field goals, in position for a makable kick. Instead, they went incompletion, completion for a loss of 2 yards, incompletion. Then, Dixon hit an 18-yard punt to give the Chargers the ball at their 25-yard line with :52 left.
Then, Herbert made magic. Yes, his throw to Jalen Guyton was insane. Still, in my view it is unforgivable for Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney, playing two deep, to let a receiver run by them straight down the middle of the field in the closing seconds of the half. I don’t care how far you think the quarterback can throw the ball, you cannot let a receiver behind the defense in that situation. The Giants knew that, and still let it happen.
The overall defensive performance — The Giants allowed points — four touchdowns, three field goals — on a stretch of eight Los Angeles possessions. Yes, there was a fourth-down stop mixed in there that was nullified when the Chargers did themselves a favor and committed a false start, but that’s not good enough. There were stretches of the game where the Chargers did whatever they felt like on offense and made it obvious the Giants — as good as they can be at times on defense — still don’t have enough individual difference-makers. And, yes, I know Leonard Williams left the game in the second quarter with an elbow injury.
The overall offensive performance — Yes, the Giants cracked the 20-point barrier for the first time in four games. Amazingly, that is a big deal. Yes, the 316 yards they compiled was their most since they had 367 Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, they compiled nice-looking running stats (26 carries, 135 yards, 5.2 per attempt).
But, c’mon now. The score was 37-7 until the Giants added two meaningless touchdowns in the final five minutes. They got 111 of those 135 rushing yards in the second half when it didn’t matter, and when the Chargers were just fine with the Giants handing the ball off and letting the clock run.
What is it that the Giants have done well on offense this season — other than watch Daniel Jones run? There is really nothing they do well, nothing they can go to with confidence when they need. play. The Giants somehow thought it was a good idea Sunday to have Glennon spend much of the first half in empty sets with no threat of a running game.
They were left grasping at straws on Sunday, with a couple of spectacularly unsuccessful trick plays and those two garbage-time scores making the stats look almost acceptable. Maybe Jones will help if he is able to return this season. It would be nice if Kadarius Toney could get on the field, the Giants could complete a pass to Golladay, or they could make consistent use of their tight ends, but Sunday was more evidence the Giants are broken on offense.