In Week 5, the Giants were hit with many injuries during their 44-20 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. The game was a competitive 10-10 affair with many things breaking the Giants way before the Cowboys' late first-half touchdown.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw an interception on a great play by Lorenzo Carter and then fumbled the football at the five-yard line.
But despite these gifts, the Giants' offense couldn't capitalize on the Dallas mistakes. Without left tackle Andrew Thomas, their protection was a liability for Daniel Jones and, eventually, Mike Glennon, despite the Giants surrendering no sacks. The injuries forced unlikely players into the lineup.
Let's check out the snap counts and notable stats/grades from Week 5.
Offense (68 snaps)
Receiver Kenny Golladay played 24 snaps through a hyper-extended knee injury that kept him off the field in the second half. But Golladay failed to haul in a reception despite three pass targets (one of three receiving targets--Collin Johnson and Saquon Barkley the others--who were shut off the receiving stat sheet.
This shutout was only the second time in Golladay's career where he failed to come up with a reception. The first time happened on November 1, 2020, when he was with the Lions. Golladay was targeted four times in that game and came up empty.
Worth noting is that on all three of Golladay's pass targets against Dallas, he was covered by Trevon Diggs, who, as expected, traveled with Golladay where ever he went, including the slot.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney made the most of his game by breaking out against the Cowboys. In 37 snaps, Toney had ten catches on 13 targets for 189 yards and was deployed in various ways.
Toney saw a lot of Diggs after Golladay exited the game, but unlike Golladay, the rookie had much better luck, catching four out of five pass targets for 70 yards. We found it interesting Toney was one positive Giant fans can look to after this debacle.
John Ross played the second-most snaps (41), followed closely by Collin Johnson at 30. C.J. Board played 21 snaps and was the only receiver with more than one reception (two catches for seven yards). Ross's one reception (out of five targets) came against cornerback Anthony Brown.
Tight end Kaden Smith played a larger percentage of snaps this week than in Week 4, but Kyle Rudolph is still out-snapping him, 41-24. That said, Rudolph's lack of red-zone targets remains one of this team's biggest head-scratchers so far.
Despite the injuries, Evan Engram led the tight end group with 50 snaps but only managed four catches for 55 yards. According to PFF, Engram graded significantly less than Smith and Rudolph as a run blocker with a grade of 35.5.
Given the injuries to Barkley and the receivers--remember Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton were missing--we were surprised the tight ends didn't get more involved in the passing game.
Another positive note other than Toney was right tackle Matt Peart's blocking grade. He was the highest-ranked offensive lineman with a 79.0 pass-blocking grade.
He only allowed one pressure in the game, while Nate Solder allowed eight pressures, five hurries, and three hits while receiving a lot of help from his tight ends and running backs on the left side. Solder had a 27.9 pass-blocking grade in week five, the ninth-lowest grade of the week. He was also tied for the most pressures allowed this week with the Chiefs, Lucas Niang.
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Not for nothing, but when Andrew Thomas is healthy again, we'd like to see the coaching staff consider sitting Solder and playing Peart. This whole talk about him learning guard is fine, but he's not going to get very far in his learning if he isn't out there, and considering we don't see Solder as a long-term answer, why not see if Peart is the future while you still have that safety net?
A newly signed player off the Washington Football Team's practice squad, Wes Martin, was inserted into the game for what we thought was for an injury, but which head coach Joe Judge denied was related to an injury (we'll have to see what Wednesday's injury report says). Anyway, Martin played 39 snaps, while Matt Skura played 29.
Lastly, we have to give kudos to Will Hernandez for pitching his second straight shutout in as many games. We admit to having doubts about whether he would make the transition to right guard a smooth one, but he has been pretty good after a rough two-week start to the season in which he allowed six pressures in two games.
Defense (78 snaps)
The defense was on the field frequently because of the injuries to the Giants’ offensive players, the Giants inability to sustain drives, and because the Giants' defense struggled to stop the run.
Xavier McKinney, Tae Crowder, and Logan Ryan played every snap, and Julian Love filled in for Jabrill Peppers, who wasn’t dressed because of a hamstring injury. Love was the highest-ranked defender with a grade of 80.0 in 54 snaps.
Yet again, Darnay Holmes hardly saw the field, getting just one snap on defense. Aaron Robinson, the Giants’ third-round pick, hasn’t dressed for a game (he's on the PUP lit for at least another week), yet Holmes still can’t crack the lineup, which is not a great sign for the second-year player out of UCLA.
It's clear that the Giants want to move from Holmes to the bigger and more physical Robinson. Still, until he's ready, Julian Love, Adoree' Jackson, and Xavier McKinney all seem to be getting turns in the slot cornerback spot.
Two games removed from the Blake Martinez injury, and Crowder played every snap with Reggie Ragland playing 60 of the 78 snaps. Carter Coughlin played a season-high 11-snaps, which should climb as he becomes more comfortable as a linebacker.
Raymond Johnson III and Quincy Roche also played season-high snaps. Roche almost came away with a big-time interception.
Dallas identified a weakness on the Giants' left side of the formation and ran the football to their right side significantly more than the left side.
The three players who mainly manned the right side were Lorenzo Carter, Tae Crowder, and Adoree Jackson. Dallas controlled the ball and had any offensive option available to them. New York attempted to take away the explosive plays, allowing Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to run the ball at will.
Dallas totaled over 200-yards of rushing and 515 total yards against this Giants’ defense. Patrick Graham and this defensive unit have caved in several high-stress situations.
It hasn’t been a pretty second-year, and most of these players have seemed to regress or aren’t playing up to their 2020 tape. The season is young, but with all these injuries and a 1-4 record (with a tough slate of opponents on deck), this year is fast becoming a lost season.
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