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New York Giants Week 3 Report Card: Gotta Do Much Better

The Giants get their first loss of the 2022 season thanks to an effort that was sorely lacking in several key areas.

Here are this week's grades from the Giants' 23-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Offense: D

Save for Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ offense showed several alarming reminders of last year's frequent dismal showings. 

Start with the offensive line’s inability to pass block—Jones was sacked five times, hit a dozen, and was under pressure on a whopping 55.1 percent of his dropbacks. Again, credit the quarterback for trying to load the team on his shoulders and make the plays that many of his playmakers couldn’t. Yikes! 

As for Barkley, right now, he’s the only legitimate and consistent threat this offense has, and his inability to replicate his Week 1 rushing numbers is a testament to how opposing defenses are trying to limit his big-play ability.

 The receivers were pitiful—back-to-back drops by Sterling Shepard on a second down and Kenny Golladay on a third down just cannot happen. The tight ends also left something to be desired, especially on two of the Cowboys’ five sacks in which they were supposed to provide chip help on the right side where rookie Evan Neal was being eaten alive. 

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, twice the tight ends went their merry way, leaving the rookie to fend for himself. Bottom line: the performances of Jones and Barkley save this unit from a failing grade.

Defense: C-

While one can argue that the Cowboys often hurt themselves with undisciplined play and mistakes in the first three quarters of this game (leading to a 13-13 deadlock), the Giants' defense eventually tired out. 

Cowboys receiving target CeeDee Lamb averaged 3.32 yards of separation against Adoree’ Jackson, who spent most of the night trying to cover him. No Dalton Schultz? No problem, as tight ends Jake Ferguson, and Peyton Hendershot combined for five receptions (out of six targets) for 56 yards, often leaving the Giants' coverage in the dust.

The Giants could have done a little better against the run were among the problems included filling the wrong gaps (such as on Tony Pollard’s 45-yard rush) or wrapping up the ball carrier (see Zeke Elliott’s touchdown run).

And the pass rush? Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux were on pitch counts in their first action of the 2022 regular season. Ojulari notched 4.59 yards of average separation from the quarterback, but he also drew two holds and a false start.

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 Thibodeaux averaged 4.28 yards of average separation, the best of the Giants’ pass rushers and a mark under the 4.53 league average, but he wasn’t able to get him with his rushes.

Special Teams: B-

If we had to pick early season MVPs, we’d go with kicker Graham Gano and punter Jamie Gillan. Gano is Mr. Automatic, and although he had his first field goal attempt of the night blocked, that was more on the right side of the line getting bowled over.

Gillan did his best to pin the Cowboys deep, but once again—and this seems to happen once per game, which is starting to become a concern--the coverage unit failed to maintain lane integrity on one coverage opportunity, that being a 28-yard return by KaVontae Turpin. 

Meanwhile, Richie James didn’t have much room to work with on punt returns, managing one yard on two returns. 

And all six of Brett Maher’s kickoffs went for touchbacks, thus removing kickoff returner Gary Brightwell from any chance of contributing.

Coaching: C+

It was a surprise to see the Giants deploy chipping rather than keeping an extra blocker in to help curtail the Cowboys' pass rush. That decision was further amplified when the tight ends didn’t get the chips needed on a couple of occasions. 

Brian Daboll decided not to challenge the spot of CeeDee Lamb’s fourth down reception, which initially appeared to be inches short. Still, Daboll later explained that his eyes in the sky advised against it as Lamb had indeed picked up the necessary yardage. 

The usage of the receivers continues to be baffling—is Darius Slayton really that bad that the coaches don’t feel he can contribute something, or are they simply saving his legs for a rainy day?


 

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