The Giants fell 30-29 to Washington in an end-game collapse that calls to mind images of Matt Dodge. And while this is a game fans would likely want to move on from as quickly as possible — and enjoy their own free weekend — we do need to spend just a bit of time going over what happened.
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers from the game to see what they shed light on.
The Giants’ offense was on the field for 69 plays against Washington, and were in their 11-personnel package for most of those plays.
Sterling Shepard lead the receivers with 64 snaps, with Kenny Golladay tying Saquon Barkley for 58 snaps (Devontae Booker only saw 10 offensive snaps). TE Kyle Rudolph had 49 offensive snaps, and Darius Slayton rounded out the personnel grouping with 39 snaps.
But while Sterling Shepard continues to be the Giants’ best offensive weapon, getting off to a blistering 16 of 19 start for 207 yards and a touchdown in his first two games, Golladay and Slayton have struggled to find traction.
Both Golladay and Slayton continue to have issues separating from defensive backs. Golladay is averaging just 1.3 yards of separation, which is third worst among wide receivers (though 30 teams have yet to play), and is tied for 10th in the NFL with a 50 percent catch rate. Slayton improved his separation rate this week, jumping all the way up to 4.4 yards per route run, but that is undoubtedly impacted by the busted coverage on his would-be touchdown. And speaking of drops, Slayton has only hauled in 6 of 13 targets this year and his 46.15 catch percentage ranks eighth worst in the league.
There’s good news and bad news with regards to rookie receiver Kadarius Toney. In the good news column, he nearly quadrupled his snap count from week one against the Broncos. Toney only saw 5 snaps last week, but was on the field for 19 snaps against Washington. The bad news? Neither he nor the Giants did anything with the opportunity. He didn’t see the ball once as a runner or receiver, though we did see both Sterling Shepard and C.J. Board (6 snaps) get hand-offs, though they only got -9 and 6 yards, respectively.
Daniel Jones had, arguably, the best game of his career against Washington, highlighted by a great pass to Darius Slayton. Jones was also the Giants’ leading rusher for the second week in a row, and currently leads the team in rushing by a 39-yard margin. While Jones was accurate in general, he did get away with some imprecise throws, several times forcing his receivers to adjust to passes which were high, low, or at the fringes of their catch radii.
Some of that is a part of every quarterback’s game, but the Giants’ pass protection likely played a role as well.
OC Jason Garrett eventually resorted to just about every trick in his playbook to slow down Washington’s pass rush, including quick passes, read-option plays, RPOs, designed quarterback runs, and chipping defenders nearly every play. However, Jones was still saw too much pressure. Per PFF, the Washington defensive front had 17 total QB pressures on 36 dropbacks, nearly triple the Giants’ defensive front’s 6 pressures.
The Giants’ defense was on the field for 71 snaps, with James Bradberry, Adoree Jackson, Logan Ryan, and Blake Martinez playing all of them.
S Jabrill Peppers and iDL Leonard Williams were consistent presences on the field, playing 57 of those 71 snaps. Slot corner Darnay Holmes and EDGE Lorenzo Carter weren’t far behind with 53 snaps.
Interestingly, second year safety Xavier McKinney was the third wheel in the secondary, playing 39 snaps, suggesting the Giants spent a fair amount of time in their dime package.
The rest of the Giants’ defensive front rotated fairly freely throughout the game. DL Dexter Lawrence II saw 46 snaps and EDGE Azeez Ojulari had 45, while LB Tae Crowder got 42 snaps and NT Austin Johnson had 33 snaps.
Johnson seems pretty firmly entrenched as the starting nose tackle, as Danny Shelton only saw 15 snaps.
The Giants’ defense played well on Washington’s first two drives, but their pass rush seemed to evaporate as the first quarter ended. We’ve already talked about the Giants’ struggling pass rush, and their total of 1 sack and 2 QB hits on 46 pass attempts speaks for itself. However, NFL NextGenStats’ visualization shows how comfortable Taylor Heinicke generally was in the pocket.
It helped that Heinicke averaged just 2.44 seconds to throw, but we can’t ignore that the Giants struggled to generate pressure unless rookie RT Sam Cosmi broke down.
DB Julian Love and EDGE-turned-LB Carter Coughlin were primarily special teams players,
We can’t not talk about special teams, and we pretty much have to start with Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence played 15 special teams snaps in addition to his 46 defensive snaps, though I doubt we’d be surprised if that number drops in week three.
In addition to the Giants’ three specialists, K Graham Gano, LS Casey Kreiter, and P Riley Dixon, the Giants had four skill position players who were essentially specialists listed at other positions. Nate Ebner and Keion Crossen each played 28 special teams snaps, while Gary Brightwell and Cullen Gillaspia each played 20 snaps.
Julian Love played 19 special teams snaps in addition to his six defensive snaps, while Carter Coughlin played 28 special teams snaps to just two defensive snaps.