Some quick thoughts about the Giants' 26-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
1. With all due respect to head coach Joe Judge, I don’t understand his thinking behind greenlighting Daniel Jones to play this week.
In his postgame comments, Judge opined that after watching Jones in practice this week, he was confident that the quarterback would be able to protect himself in the pocket.
But then he added, “We knew that there were going to be some situations today where he wasn't going to be able to pull it down, (and) run as he had in the past. We knew it was gonna either be throwing the ball away or possibly taking sacks at certain points. We saw some of that early on, but I thought overall, he was able to show that he could protect himself in the pocket.”
If Jones could protect himself in the pocket, as Judge said, wouldn’t there have been no concern about him "having" to take sacks?
Overall, Jones had a forgettable afternoon, going 11 of 22 for 127 yards. It wasn’t all on him—his pass protection was just awful in allowing six out of the eight sacks against him, and his receivers didn’t always get open.
But Jones also missed receivers—often throwing behind them—which again creates some question as to whether he was as fully able to step into his throws.
Then there is the matter of whether he made his injury worse or even suffered a new one after getting beat up this week. Jones usually is out quickly for his postgame Zoom calls, but this week there was a 20+ minute delay, presumably so he could get treatment.
2. Six words you never want to hear from a player after a losing effort: “They did something we weren’t expecting.” Such was the confession of Giants running back Wayne Gallman.
3. What the heck is going on with the Giants special teams? A better question to ask is why is C.J. Board, who at least twice now has failed to make a play as the punt team gunner, still out there? And while we’re at it, why hasn’t receiver Dante Pettis been activated to contribute to the return game? Unless he’s still dealing with the aftereffects of the COVID-19 virus, can he be any worse at this point?
4. Speaking of special teams, punter Riley Dixon has been in something of a slump of late with his directional kicking—or lack thereof. And I can’t help but wonder if Dixon is nursing an injury from last week when he had a punt blocked and appeared to come up slowly from the pile.
5. This loss hurts because it brought to a halt the winning streak (and seemed to set the Giants back from the progress they made). It also puts the Giants' playoff hopes in jeopardy if things come down to a Wild Card berth. If that happens and the Giants find themselves tied with the Cardinals at the end of the year, guess who doesn't hold the head-to-head tiebreaker?
6. Cardinals defender Haason Reddick—five tackles, five sacks, two tackles for a loss, six quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles. There’s your NFC Defensive Player of the Week winner.
7. The Giants had 78 total rushing yards (and again, not a single one gained by Jones). The Arizona Cardinals had 77 punt return yards. That’s just not supposed to happen.
8. The Cardinals starting field position was their 47-yard line. The Giants? Their own 18. Woof.
9. Not all was bad. For the most part, the Giants defense played well, especially in the first half when they held the Cardinals out of the end zone and forced a turnover on downs when cornerback James Bradberry swatted away a pass intended for KeeSean Johnson on a 4th-and-1. Unfortunately, the defense could only plug the leaks with their fingers for so long before the dam burst wide open.
10. I sure would be interested in knowing what offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was thinking on that 3rd-and-1 from the Giants’ 16-yard line late in the third quarter when a deep pass was called to Sterling Shepard.
Judge said they had a look they liked, and Jones agreed, adding that he didn’t audible out of something else that had been called. Either way, the pass fell incomplete, and the Giants punted. Why they didn’t try to pick up the 1-yard needed for the first down after Wayne Gallman had picked up nine yards on the previous play is yet another headscratcher from this game.
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