The ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review of Sunday’s 31-16 loss by the New York Giants to the Miami Dolphins can be summed up this way — a good day for Jason Pinnock and another bad, very bad, horrific day for the Giants’ offensive line.
Let’s go through it.
Kudos to ...
Jason Pinnock — Well, at least one Giant knows where the end zone is. Pinnock turned the Giants’ first interception of the season into a 102-yard, the Giants’ first since the third quarter of their Week 3 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Pinnock also forced a fumble that, unfortunately for the Giants, flew harmlessly out of bounds.
Bobby Okereke — Okereke had a nice game. He tipped the pass that Pinnock intercepted and then had an interception of his own. Okereke finished with a team-high 10 tackles, the interception and a pair of passes defensed.
Kayvon Thibodeaux — The Giants need impact plays from the second-year edge defender. Sunday, he had his fourth sack of the season, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
Jamie Gillan — Somewhat quietly, Gillan has been punting well. Sunday, Gillan did not give up a single return yard on four punts, finishing with a net average of 40.3 yards. Three of Gillan’s punts pinned the Dolphins inside their own 20-yard line. Not that it mattered to the league’s best offensive team. Still, Gillan did his job well.
Wet Willies to ...
Joshua Ezeudu — I feel bad for the young man. I feel bad putting him here. He is not an NFL left tackle, and he spent the last two weeks making that crystal clear. His missed block is the one that ultimately got Jones hurt. He committed back-to-back holding penalties with the Giants facing a third-and-4 at the Miami 34-yard line. After the Giants overcame that, he committed a holding penalty that was declined.
Ezeudu was overmatched. He was finally replaced by Matt Peart after the Jones’ injury. He just can’t play that position any longer.
Offensive line overall — Just ... terrible. Seven more sacks allowed, giving them 30 for the season. At that pace the Giants will give up an astounding 102 sacks for the season. The 1986 Philadelphia Eagles (104) are the only team to allow more than 100 sacks in a season. The Giants are threatening to join them.
Not a single player is performing well. Not only are they struggling in their individual matchups, but far too often they don’t seem to recognize stunts or have any idea which player they are supposed to be blocking. Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson can’t make Ezeudu into a quality NFL left tackle or Jalen Mayfield into a real NFL player, but he should be able to get players to understand their assignments.
Run defense — Yes, the Dolphins have “real-deal speed,” in Okereke’s words. Yes, they have an incredible offense and can successfully execute just about any play at any time. Still, the Dolphins ran for 222 yards on 23 carries, a ridiculous average of 9.7 yards per attempt. De’Von Achane had a 76-yard run for a score. The Giants made improving the run defense a priority for the 2023 season. It’s not better. Sunday it was terrible.
Kwillies to ...
Darren Waller — I would love to give Waller ‘Kudos’ after his most productive game as a Giant, an eight-catch, 86-yard effort. Still, Waller dropped a beautifully thrown ball by Jones that might have been a touchdown and at the least would have given the Giants’ first-and-goal around the 1-yard line when they trailed 14-0. That’s a play your best receiver has to make. Waller had a difficult opportunity to make a deep catch earlier on the same drive, but also couldn’t haul that one in.
Eric Gray — Finally ... the Giants remembered why they drafted the rookie running back. Gray had just 25 yards on 12 carries (2.1 yards per rushing attempt). He ran hard, though, and made the most of the limited running room he had. Gray, though, did have a fumble.