It was an embarrassing way to end a tumultuous season for the New York Giants, who lost 22-7 at home to the Washington Football Team on Sunday. The Jake Fromm-led offense sparked no fear into the hearts of Washington and inspired no faith in a Giants coaching staff currently sitting on scorching hot seats.
The Giants turned the football over three times, and Fromm finished the game 15 of 31 for 103 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including a pick-six to Bobby McCain. Fromm did throw his first career touchdown pass on a broken play to Darius Slayton. That will not be included below in the five plays that helped define the game. Here are those plays to mark the end of this dismal season.
Play 1: Pick-six
The Giants only trailed 6-0 at halftime, and they received the open-half kickoff. After the two teams traded punts, Jake Fromm found himself with the football on a third-and-4; he found Devontae Booker on a leak out for 6 yards to pick up the first down. That conversion set up the first-and-10 pass to the flat, which was easily intercepted by Bobby McCain (20) for a touchdown. And just like that, the Giants double their deficit to 12-0 after Washington fails to convert their two-point attempt.
Play 2: Fourth down attempt
The Giants attempted a fourth-and-1 jet sweep to Alex Bachman (81) with an unblocked defender in Jamin Davis (52). The Giants drew the Football Team offside earlier in the drive with a similar look, and they decided to run the play on this attempt.
I have no problem with New York forgoing a long field goal attempt to try and pick up one yard, but the play call is questionable. The Giants had little success with their jet sweeps in the season; they attempted one with Kadarius Toney in Week 1 against Denver, and Von Miller annihilated Toney on the play, just like Davis did to Bachman.
New York sets the double team on the 4i-technique with a deuce block, but no one accounts for Davis as the end man on the line of scrimmage. Both receivers climb to the second level, and Bachman has no chance to evade the athletic linebacker who isn’t touched post-snap. All season, the execution on these jet sweeps has been terrible for New York.
Play 3: Gibson touchdown
The game seemed so out of reach, but the Giants were only down by five points with just under seven minutes to go in the game until Antonio Gibson (24) carved through the Giants’ defense for six. The Giants’ entire second level is engulfed, albeit Jaylon Smith (45) blitzes the backside; Tae Crowder (48) is easily picked up by the play side tackle, and the H-back takes out Lorenzo Carter (59) on the split-zone run. Gibson finds the right crease and makes the game two possessions.
Play 4: Fromm fumble
Shortly after the Gibson touchdown, the Giants attempt to organize a drive with their offense. On the first play of the drive, Fromm attempts to pass but the ball slips out of his hand and it's ruled a fumble. The football is easily picked up by Washington, which sets up the final score of the 2021 NFL season - a field goal against the Giants.
The fumble by Fromm is a microcosm of the Giants’ season. It has been a horrendous upset of faulty expectations that collapsed due to inadequate offensive personnel, questionable coaching, and an astounding lack of execution. This play was perfect for the Giants’ 2021 offense to end such a terrible season.
Play(s) 5: QB sneaks
The sequence of quarterback sneaks was indicative of the true nature behind Giants’ offense. The coaching staff has no faith in the offense, and why should they? The offense has been historically bad since Daniel Jones exited the lineup, but to quarterback sneak it twice while backed up near your own goal line is the tragic story of the Giants 2021 season.
On first down, Joe Judge and the Giants attempted to find Elijhaa Penny, but the ball didn’t make it to Penny. That set up second down where Penny committed a false start, furthering the distance of an inept offense to pick up the first down. Judge, Freddie Kitchens, and the Giants saw the situation and felt while only down by three, their best course of action was to punt the football, trust their special teams, and rely on their defense.
It was an embarrassment, yet I understand the train of thought. New York had a safety just last week against the Bears. The idea of Jake Fromm leading a 95+ yard drive at that point of the game seemed unlikely, so the Giants played risk management and decided to play for the punt. Playing for the punt is rarely a winning strategy, but in what world are the 2021 Giants winners? It was yet another cofounding situation in a season filled with bewilderment.