Monday, September 30, 2013

Chiefs game review

Yikes. No other way to say it and there are several different way to analyze it - but the Giants stink. No getting around it. Here are some of the obvious ways to understand the poor play. First and most obvious is the record; you are what your record says you are and 0-4 is 0-4. But wait, there's more: Giants have been outscored by their last two opponents, 69-7. Giants have gotten totally blasted in the last two weeks by two teams that nobody thinks is a real title contender, and one, Carolina that probably is not a playoff team. Going back to last year, Giants concluded the season with a 3-5 record over their last 8 games of 2012 (one of those being a mail-it-in win over the awful Eagles in the finale). This means that over the last 12 games, the Giants are 3-9. That's not a little losing streak, that's a team that needs to be rebuilt. The Jacksonville Jaguars, everyone seems to agree, is the worst team in the NFL and has statistics that compare to some of the worst teams in history. For example, Jacksonville is averaging 7.8 points per game and is giving up an average of 32 for a differential of 24.2 points per game. Awful, I agree. But Giants are not far behind, giving up an average of 36.5 points per game, scoring 15.2 for a differential of 21.3 ppg. Giants yardage statistics are a little misleading because they gained tons of yardage in their first two season losses against Dallas and Denver, but in the last two games the offense has been pitiful. Right now, the Giants are down there with Jacksonville as one of the worst teams in the NFL. There are other indicators of poor play in the statistics - lack of sacks by the defense and lots of sacks given up by the offense; more than twice as many turnovers (15) given up by the offense than (7) forced by the defense; an unbelievable meager total of 57.8 yards rushing per game produced by the offense.

As bad as those first two losses of the year were to Dallas and Denver, the last two were worse and showed a downward trend for the team. The OL actually played a little bit better on Sunday against the Chiefs, though it didn't show up significantly in the statistics. Eli still got sacked three times and had several plays where he just had to eat the ball or throw it away because nobody was open while the pocket was starting to collapse. The running game was only marginally better, getting about 85 yards rushing (I'm excluding the 13 yards rushing by Eli) and had fewer 0 or negative yardage plays compared to the first two games. But that is small comfort, since at the open of the 2nd half, when the Giants were in the game and had the Chiefs within reach, they could not get anything going on offense and didn't come close to converting a 3rd and 1 on the ground.

I am sticking to analysis of this game and will talk about the overall team later in the week. Josh Brown missed a FG at the end of the half and instead of going in tied at 10 with some positive momentum, Giants were down in the dumps and the Chiefs were pumped up. Still, Giants defense did very well in the 3rd quarter and answered the turnovers by the offense with making turnovers of their own - an INT by Amukamara and fumble recovery on a bad snap by the Chiefs. The killer sequences were a punt return for a TD after a successful challenge by Reid right at the end of the 3rd qtr. (Can't complain about the refs when your team loses by 24, but Zak DeOssie was clearly blocked in the back when he was right in front of the returner and could have stopped him.)  Then in the beginning of the 4th qtr, with the defense starting to get tired from being on the field the entire game, Chiefs got a drive going which the Giants stopped and held them to a long FG attempt. Inexcusable illegal formation penalty kept the drive alive, Chiefs got a TD and another one late to make the final score a blowout.

Defense was not bad, regardless of what the statistics may have said. It's the offense and the OL that is killing the Giants. It sure looks like the Patriots way to build a team is the way to go. Don't overspend on skill position players, because you can always find good speedy players at those positions to play and be productive. Spend your salary cap dollars on the QB and the OL and the rest of the offense will take care of itself. Giants did not do that and the OL has been in decline for several years. The cracks are showing in the foundation of this team. More analysis of the team later in the week.


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