Posted on September 19, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Fans of the New York Giants got some good news before kickoff of Monday night’s game against the Detroit Lions. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was suiting up, and he was expected to play (and did; but not much). Maybe with OBJ on the field, the offense will actually move the ball a little bit.
In theory, you could say that it worked. But in reality, even with OBJ on the field, the Giants offense still had the same problems it’s had for the last couple of seasons. The offensive line can’t protect Eli Manning, and they can’t run the ball.
When you can’t run the ball, the defensive front amps up the pressure on the passing game even more. Unless you have guys with sure hands that can break tackles and a fearless quarterback, you are in trouble.
During Monday Night Football, the Giants proved they have neither.
The dropped passes were bad enough (right, Brandon Marshall?), but the most telling moment in the game came when Eli Manning went down for what appeared to be a sack. But replays of it showed that he was never touched on the play.
Some have come to the defense of Manning by pointing out how he was about to get smothered by 340 lb. Haloti Nata. Why take the hit and risk an injury? Yeah, but Manning had already tucked the ball and appeared to be looking for Ezekiel Ansah (who received credited for the sack).
It kind of looks like there may have been a little fear factor involved for Manning on the play. As bad as the game looked for the Giants, head coach Ben McAdoo made it worse by calling out his quarterback after the game.
“Sloppy quarterback play,” McAdoo said (ESPN). “Quarterback and center need to be on the same page there. We need to get the ball snapped.”
The comments were made about a sequence of events where the Giants had a fourth and goal situation during the third quarter (down by ten at the time). Manning tried to change the play at the line but failed to get it off in time.
With the ball now at the seven-yard line, the Giants settled for a field goal. Jamal Agnew put the nail in the coffin a couple drives later when he returned a punt 88-yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Lions a 24-10 lead (which ended up being the final score).
Matthew Stafford didn’t do much, but he did enough to help his team win. But what he didn’t do is help too many fantasy teams win. The normally pass-happy Lions only attempted 21 passes and completed 15 of them for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ameer Abdullah had the best rushing night of his young career with 17 carries for 86 yards.
Much like the Sunday Night Opener between the Giants and Cowboy, the star of the game was the defense of the team playing the Giants. The Lions secondary tackled well, and the pass rush never allowed Manning time to even think about finding anyone downfield.
Ezekiel Ansah had three sacks on the night (had just two last season; Lions defense had five total sacks).
The Giants were named a division contender with playoff aspirations in the offseason. But so far they look more like a team headed for the top of the draft order. It will not get easier next week when they take on the Eagles in Philadelphia. Detroit will have a tough challenge on their hands with the Atlanta Falcons coming to town.