At this point there isn’t really much the snap counts nor in-depth stats can tell us about who the Giants are. We know who they are: A deeply flawed team that just can’t seem to get out of its own way.
However, we can look to see how many of the young players are getting in the game at the end of a lost season. Likewise, we can see if there’s any nuance to individual performances that might have been missed in the heat of the game.
Stats of interest
After the game, I noted that the offensive line actually wasn’t that bad. That statement turned out to be somewhat polarizing, as some fans just didn’t want to accept that the line, as a whole, wasn’t the problem with the Giants’ offense.
But this chart from NFL NextGenStats shows what I was talking about:
Of Dallas’ primary pass rushers, only Randy Gregory consistently got close to the Giants’ passers, and even then, he wasn’t really disruptive. Per NextGenStats, Glennon had an average time to throw of 2.69 seconds, which while quick, is in a comfortable range for a modern passing offense.
I’m not saying that the offensive line was perfect — it most certainly wasn’t. Matt Peart’s two false start penalties loom large and Will Hernandez’s struggles at right guard could well make the position another hole to be addressed over the 2022 off-season.
But between the good-enough pass protection and the production the Giants were able to get on a relatively porous run defense, the Giants’ offensive line played well enough to win.
So why then, did the offense only score 6 points?
As will just about everything in football, the answer is almost certainly complex and nuanced. The line was fine, but far from perfect, and the pressure that leaked through was definitely enough to affect the less-than-stalwart Mike Glennon (NextGenStats credits Micah Parsons with a pressures on two of Glennons’ interceptions).
But also, the Giants’ receivers were just bad.
Kenny Golladay, in particular, was the worst-separating receiver in the whole NFL (with a qualifying number of targets) as of this writing. Officially getting an average of just 0.78 yards (!?) of separation, Golladay had almost half the separation of the second-worst separating receiver thus far in Week 15 (Nelson Agholor with 1.3 yards of separation). That is, frankly, impressive, but for all the wrong reasons.
It really didn’t help that Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Pharoh Cooper also struggled mightily to get any kind of separation from Dallas’ defensive backs.
Between Glennon forcing passes that shouldn’t be thrown, his inconsistent-at-best accuracy and placement, and the Giants’ receivers unable to expand receiving windows, its’ little wonder that the Giants’ offense sputtered and only seemed to move the ball by accident.
If we’re looking for some good news, it’s that the Giants pass rush actually showed up this game.
Compare the above pressure chart to the Giants, and the difference is pretty impressive.
Granted, this was only one game, and one against an offense that’s dealing with injuries of its own, but it was nice to see the Giants actually pressuring an opposing quarterback.
As we noted last night, this was a fantastic game for Carter, although it’s probably far too late now, with just three games remaining on Lorenzo Carter’s rookie contract. But hopefully whoever is coaching him next year watches this game, and watches how the Cowboys use Parsons as both an off-ball linebacker and EDGE defender, and maximize Carter’s skillset.