In two weeks the New York Giants have transformed from a young, talented, scrappy team figuring out how to win close games into a still talented but undisciplined and injury-plagued team that can’t get out of its own way.
In two weeks they have gone from the top of the NFC East to the bottom.
What can we take away from the Giants' loss as they fall to .500?
Sloppy Play Continues To Haunt The Giants
Penalties and turnovers doomed the Giants against the Washington Redskins.
They reared their ugly heads again on the very first series of the game when a promising opening drive was stalled by penalties, then a turnover gave the Vikings new life on the ensuing offensive possession.
The Giants’ coaching staff preaches poise and discipline. The first drill of every practice is a ball security drill. But it doesn't seem to help.
Part of it is the youth of the team — between injuries and replacing aging players they are relying on rookies, second, and third year players at a number of positions. But young players, no matter how talented, make mistakes. They lose their head, and need to learn how to win.
Whatever the reason, the Giants need to clean up their game before their season spirals out of control.
Injuries Hurt The Giants
Trevin Wade is an easy player to root for. The unheralded corner clawed his way onto the Giants’ roster by playing fast and hard.
But he isn’t Eli Apple.
Leon Hall has been a very good corner for a long time. He’s doing everything the Giants can ask, playing in the slot and even free safety.
But he isn’t Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Andrew Adams was pressed into service off the practice squad as an undrafted rookie. But neither he nor Hall are Darian Thompson or Nat Berhe.
The loss of talent on defense has been apparent the last two weeks as they have failed to get off the field on crucial first third downs. On offense, players are missing assignments and failing to execute.
The scant silver lining is that they will be getting DRC, Apple, Thompson, Berhe, and Rashad Jennings back from injury relatively soon. The question is whether it will be in time to save their season.
Paul Perkins Is Good
Fifth-round rookie Paul Perkins finally got on the field, and while he had a potentially costly mistake in pass protection. But he did have the play of the game on a 67-yard catch and run.
The Giants Don't Have An Identity On Offense
Who are the New York Giants offense? What are they trying to do? Does anybody know?
The Giants have one of the top offensive weapons in the NFL in Odell Beckham, a player who has shattered records in his short time in the league.
I feel I need to point that out because the Giants seem to forget the fact all too often. Beckham doesn't have any touchdowns, and wasn't targeted Monday until midway through the second quarter.
The Giants seem too content to take what the defense gives them, rather than using Beckham to dictate the terms of the game.
Perhaps they have too many weapons and believe they can take what the defense gives them and turn to another receiver and secondary options. Perhaps they are still trying to find a distribution that works in practice.
It doesn't matter.
Whatever else they want to do, Beckham needs to be the focus of the offense. It needs to run through No. 13.
Surprise Of The Night — Eli Manning Stayed Clean
The Vikings entered Week 4 with 15 sacks, and they will enter Week 5 with 15 sacks as well.
Despite facing a pair of sophomore offensive tackles, one of whom was rated as one of the worst tackles in the NFL last year, the other making just his third start the Vikings couldn't get to Manning.
While they were undoubtedly helped by the Giants' quick passes and Manning's lightning fast release, the work of Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart deserves recognition — as does the offensive line as a whole.