Giants Report Card: More of the Same Subpar Football
Here are our grades after the Giants' 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 12.
The Giants offense finished one of eight on third-down conversions and didn't record a single first down in the second half until 8:04 left in the fourth quarter, which is completely unacceptable.
What was also unacceptable is that running back Saquon Barkley, who by the way finished with five (out of 17) rushing attempts for zero or negative yards, did not have the longest run from scrimmage, that belonging (again) to quarterback Daniel Jones (though the good news is Barkley finished as the team rushing yardage leader with 59.
The bad news is that Barkley had a bad drop of a third-down pass on the Giants' second drive of the game. If he makes that reception, he likely scores since he had no one near him.
But lest anyone think Barkley is to blame for the offense's poor showing, the Giants offensive line still can't get a push up the middle, and they allowed eight quarterback hits against Jones, one of which came on a strip-sack by Khalil Mack that set up a Bears scoring drive.
Speaking of Jones, he did well enough, considering many times he didn't have an open receiver to throw to, completing 21 of 36 pass attempts for 150 yards.
When three out of your team's four leading tacklers are from the defensive secondary, something is wrong.
And can we talk about penalties? There were three neutral zone infractions called and a costly defensive holding penalty against Janoris Jenkins on a third-down pass play that gave the Bears new life.
Big pass plays? Yup, there was another 40+ yarder (a 49-yard pass to Allen Robinson against slot cornerback Corey Ballentine), and a 32-yard touchdown pass, also to Robinson.
Okay, ready for some good news? The Giants held the Bears to 65 rushing yards on 26 attempts, their third-lowest rushing total allowed this season. Also, Alec Ogletree came up with a big interception in the end zone to snuff out a Bears scoring drive, so there's always that.
Special Teams: D
The kicking game has been in a multi-week slump, but it took until today to cost the Giants a game, as the two field goals the unit missed ended up being the difference between a Giants win and a Giants loss.
It also didn't help that Aldrick Rosas' kickoff to open the second half went out of bounds. With the Bears working on a shorter field, Mitchell Trubisky engineered a 5-play, 60-yard scoring drive ending on a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Allen Robinson.
Riley Dixon continues to be a bright and consistent player for this unit. Dixon finished with an impressive 51.2 net average as his coverage team held Tarik Cohen to one yard on one return (Dixon also had one punt downed, and one put out of bounds.
I'm not sure which coach was responsible for not getting the proper substitutions on the field toward the end of the game on that punt that pinned the Giants deep, nor am I sure I understand why head coach Pat Shurmur decided to burn all his timeouts so quickly.
I'm not sure about a lot of things when it comes to coaching decisions. For example, why do they continue to send Saquon Barkley up the middle behind an interior that has struggled to get a push all year long, or why after having the bye week to self-scout and make adjustments, on the surface the Giants seemed to pick up where they left off with their play calling and decisions?.
I'm also not sure why when they see something not working out, they continue to stick with it stubbornly. This stubbornness with running plays up the middle, or deploying a loose zone week after week is not helping and has cast some serious questions about whether this staff as a whole lacks the creativity to adjust.
But one thing I am sure about is that what we saw (again) this week was not progress from a team perspective, and no amount of spin is going to convince otherwise.