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Costly Mistakes Becoming Norm for New York Giants

The Giants were supposed to be a smart, tough, fundamentally sound football team. They've been anything but in two games thus far.

The Giants invent new ways to frustrate and vex their fanbase, and this was most evident in the Giants' most recent 30-29 loss on Thursday Night Football to the divisional rival Football Team. For a team that prides itself on fundamentals, the Giants sure make a ton of careless mistakes.

Down by one point, star cornerback James Bradberry, whose light dimmed when facing Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin, intercepted Taylor Heineke on the Washington 20-yard-line with 2:22 left in the game.

In most cases, with an apparent quality defensive unit, the probability of winning would be very high for the intercepting team. However, much to the dismay of Giants' fans, this defensive unit isn't of high quality as many of us expected.

The Giants proceeded to predictably run the football twice before attempting to find Sterling Shepard before the first-down marker. They settled for a field goal. The defense that already surrendered 357 yards at that point continued to allow the Football Team to drive the football into field goal range.

Washington had an 11 play, 50-yard drive in two minutes to put themselves into reasonable field goal range. All the previous mistakes from the game flashed across my mind as I watched the Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins align for a 48-yard-field goal attempt.

The 3rd & 2 "false start," which was more of a delay of game, on the Washington 27 with 3:49 left in the first quarter where the Giants couldn't figure out their offensive alignment coming out of a timeout was abysmal. The next play was a Montez Sweat sack which knocked the Giants out of field goal range - forcing a punt.

The wide-open dropped touchdown pass to Darius Slayton. The subsequent TWO false starts forced New York into a 3rd & 15; luckily, Daniel Jones picked up 11-yards with his legs, and the Giants had to settle for a field goal again.

Patrick Graham's defense has significantly struggled to live up to its 2020 reputation. They were getting nickel & dimed for much of the game. Then, up by six after the Giants settled for a field goal, the defense allowed a two-play drive that ended in a Ricky Seals-Jones touchdown reception over Adoree Jackson.

These mistakes kept running through my brain, as did Terry McLaurin defeating James Bradberry in one-on-one coverage. But, a moment of brief joy engirdled me as I witnessed Hopkins send his 48-yard field goal wide right. After all of these embarrassing mistakes and a roller coaster ride of a primetime game, the Giants are going to win!

Then the yellow laundry came onto my screen, and I saw that the Giants made yet another back-breaking mistake - on special teams, nonetheless. Dexter Lawrence jumped into the neutral zone before the snap. Hopkins got another opportunity to win the game with a 42-yard field goal - he nailed it.

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It was a very Giants type of loss—a microcosm of the last several years of this franchise. A team that can't get out of their own way. The loss is compounded by a Nick Gates lower leg injury that seems serious. Gates has been the most reliable offensive lineman on the team, and he will surely be missed.

Outside of a brief stretch after Gates' injury, the offensive line held up solidly in pass protection, and Daniel Jones played a very good game. He missed two reads, which happens, and his ball placement on some throws wasn't pinpoint, but, overall, he impressed with his deep ball accuracy and his ability to pick up yards with his wheels.

Seeing running back Saquon Barkley scamper for 41-yards was a great sight to witness; however, he did little other than that one play - he finished the game with 13 carries and 57 yards on the ground. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard proves his health by running incredibly smooth routes and being the reliable target that Daniel Jones needs. Shepard caught nine passes for 94 yards.

The coaching staff's conservative nature may have bitten them in the rear-end after the Bradberry interception, but the offense was much more open and creative throughout the game. Jason Garrett's opening script featured move the pocket rollouts, an RPO, a throwback screen with deception, a zone/read play, and it continued to keep the Washington defense on its heels.

Garrett was much more aggressive in this game. He frequently threw the football on first down and not always off play-action. The offense was different from his 2020 bland attack, and it seemed to be more explosive than his week one approach. Garrett's play-calling could be a product of the offensive line providing a clean pocket for Jones.

The offense generated 391 total yards against Washington, which is more than any game in 2020 (the most yards gained was 386 against Cincinnati in week 12). For once, the offensive side of the football was moving the chains. However, the defense couldn't stabilize enough against a veteran journeyman quarterback in Heineke.

The Giants' defense surrendered 407 total yards - 336 of which came from Heineke's arm. McLaurin's 11 catch 107-yard day was capped off by a beautiful touchdown grab against Bradberry in off coverage. New York's defense struggled to contain this offense, and they don't resemble the 2020 unit that was top-12 in the league by most metrics.

Week one was a disappointing loss against a winnable opponent at home. This loss is incredibly unfortunate, and multiple mistakes led to the Giants putting themselves into a situation where they didn't deserve to win this football game.

In some aspects, they played well. Jones had a very good game, the offensive line was solid in most situations, and the offense was able to move the chains. But, football is a collective sport, and the defense didn't hold up their end of the bargain when it mattered. And, when they did after Bradberry's interception, the offense went into their turtle shell and burned 16 seconds off the clock after Jones was playing very well.

The Giants now start 0-2 - a start that's all too familiar. 2016 was the last time they didn't start 0-2. They have more than enough time to prepare for an Atlanta Falcons team that was blown out in Week 1 by the Philadelphia Eagles. It's going to be a long week for this Giants team. There's a lot of simple mistakes and discipline errors that must be corrected. This was just a tough loss in a very winnable game from this Joe Judge-coached team. 

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