Biggest Numbers From The Giants’ Week 3 Loss To The 49ers
Even though they were facing a team dealing with a lot of significant injuries on both sides of the ball, the 49ers still managed to manhandle the Giants, 36-9 in Week 3.
There is no use trying to find the good in what was basically as poor of a performance as we've seen from this Giants team--and we've seen a lot in the last three-plus seasons.
What numbers bothered us the most this week? Here are five.
1. Penalties: 5 for a total of 28 yards
While the penalty total and yardage might not seem like a big deal, it was the timing that puts this stat high on my list this week.
One of the most substantial penalties that the Giants committed occurred late in the first half.
Following a sack by Leonard Williams, the 49ers were facing a 3rd-and-22 from their own 44-yard line. Quarterback Nick Mullens completed a pass to tight Jordan Reed, and he was stopped well short of the first down.
However, Darnay Holmes was called for illegal contact, giving San Francisco five penalty yards and an automatic first down.
That penalty kept the drive alive, and the 49ers ended up capitalizing when running back Jerick McKinnon rushed for a 10-yard touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter, giving San Francisco a 13-6 lead.
Another crushing penalty happened early in the third quarter. Already trailing by 10 points, Daniel Jones was driving the Giants down the field.
Following a 23-yard run by Jones and completions by him to receiver Golden Tate and tight end Evan Engram, the Giants were in 49ers’ territory.
With the ball on the 49ers’ 30-yard line, Jones had another nice run, this one for 16 yards. However, this big gain was negated due to a holding penalty called on receiver Darius Slayton.
The Giants ended up having to settle for a Graham Gano field goal on that drive and ended up not scoring a touchdown all day, the first time since Week 15 of the 2018 season they accomplished that.
2. Time of Possession- 49ers- 39:44, Giants- 20:16
It’s impossible to talk about what went wrong in this game for the Giants without mentioning the time of possession battle.
The 49ers possessed the ball for nearly 20 more minutes than the Giants, and four of San Francisco’s nine drives lasted more than five minutes.
Contrast that with the Giants, who only had one of their drives last over five minutes, and it's not hard to see why the score was so lopsided.
Part of the reason for this considerable difference in time of possession is that the Giants’ defense could not stop the 49ers’ offense. San Francisco picked up 29 first downs, while the Giants only had 13.
Mullens looked very comfortable for the entire game, and he had one of the best performances of his career. The Giants’ defense constantly failed to get Mullins and the 49ers’ offense off the field.
The time of possession battle is becoming a severe problem for the Giants. The Pittsburgh Steelers had the ball for just a few more minutes than the Giants did in Week 1.
Last week, the Chicago Bears won the possession battle by about ten minutes. This was even more of an issue for the Giants in their loss to the 49ers.
If this pattern continues, Joe Judge will not be getting his first win as a head coach anytime soon.
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett must get more creative in his play-calling to help the team sustain drives.
3. Completions allowed: 25 on 36 passing attempts
It appeared as though the Giants were catching a break with the 49ers coming into MetLife Stadium, as they suffered so many injuries in Week 2.
Mullens started in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, but he certainly did not look like a backup quarterback this week, completing 25 passes on 36 attempts for a total of 343 yards and a touchdown.
This 69.4 completion percentage rate is the highest that a quarterback has had against the Giants this season--and the year is still young.
Mullens completed four passes for 20 yards or longer. Although the Giants have struggled against the run so far this year, they held the 49ers to under 100 rushing yards in this game.
What really hurt them was Mullens’ accuracy. He did not have any issues moving the ball and keeping drives alive.
This is nothing new for an opposing quarterback facing the Giants. Mitchell Trubisky and Ben Roethlisberger both had a completion percentage rate of over 64 percent when they faced the Giants.
Quarterbacks are not afraid to attack the Giants' defensive secondary.
James Bradberry has played well over the first three games of the season, but the Giants still do not have a solidified second starting cornerback.
Isaac Yiadom was the other starting corner for most of this game, but Ryan Lewis replaced him in the fourth quarter.
It will be difficult for the Giants to slow down opposing quarterbacks if the second cornerback spot continues to be a question mark.
4. Turnovers- Giants: 3, 49ers: 0
The Giants turned the ball over three times against the 49ers. Jones was picked off once and also had a fumble, while Slayton fumbled once.
Jones’ fumble came on a failed pitch attempt to tight end Evan Engram in the first quarter. The 49ers took advantage of this mistake and went on to kick a field goal to extend their lead to 6-0.
Later in the first half, Jones was intercepted by linebacker Fred Warner deep in Giants’ territory when Warner read the play all the way.
This put San Francisco in a great position to extend their lead, which they did on a Robbie Gould field goal right before halftime.
Slayton’s fumble occurred on the Giants’ last drive of the game. Although the game was way out of hand at that point, it was still a sloppy mistake on Slayton’s part.
Turnovers are still clearly a significant issue for Jones. He is averaging two giveaways per game, putting him on pace to turn the ball over more than 30 times this season.
Considering that this was a problem that he spent a lot of time trying to fix in the offseason, this possibility is quite alarming.
As a team, the Giants now have a minus-4 turnover differential. Defensively, they need to start getting more takeaways. Through three games, the Giants’ defense has forced just three turnovers.
Although head coach Joe Judge has continuously stressed the importance of discipline, his team still has a long way to go in this area. The Giants will continue to lose games if they fail to clean up their game and take care of the ball.
5. Third down offense: 40 percent
The Giants’ offense converted on just four of their ten third-down conversion attempts. Although this conversion rate is slightly better than last week against the Bears (23 percent), it is still underwhelming.
This is partially why the 49ers dominated the time of possession battle. Jones had a difficult time connecting with his receivers on third down. This was not one of Jones’ better performances, as he completed 17 passes on 32 attempts for a total of 179 yards.
Additionally, the Giants did not make a single trip inside the red zone against San Francisco. Considering that they were facing a banged-up defense playing their second consecutive game on the East Coast, this is inexcusable.
It will be very difficult for the Giants’ offense to turn things around if they continue to struggle on third-down conversions.
Obviously, not having Saquon Barkley hurts them (especially in third and short situations). However, the Giants have plenty of other weapons that Jones can utilize in the passing.
We saw Garrett get more creative against the 49ers by calling some zone-read rushed with Jones. Look for him to call more of those next week against the Rams.
The Giants will continue to have brutal offensive games if they do not start moving the chains on third down more often.
And as a postscript to this, the Giants defense allowed the 49ers to convert 67% of their third-down attempts didn't help matters.
No matter how you look at it, this was an extremely disappointing performance by the Giants.
They showed a lot of grit in their losses to the Steelers and Bears, but it just felt like they were noncompetitive in this matchup against the 49ers.
Next up is a trip to SoFi Stadium to take on a Los Angeles Rams team that almost completed an incredible comeback against the Buffalo Bills.
Hopefully, the Giants will be able to clean up some of these mistakes and at least keep it close against the Rams.