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December 11, 2018

What happened Sunday with the Giants? Let’s break it down

November 26, 2018

The Giants’ loss to the Eagles felt inevitable the second Malcolm Jenkins picked off Eli Manning near the end of the first half. But there was plenty to dissect and take out of Sunday’s 25-22 loss at Lincoln Financial Field: what happened, what it means and what’s next.

Here are Five Takeaways as the Giants (3-8) trudge on into the true dog days of another lost season.




1. SHURMUR MUST ANSWER TO CRITICAL COACHING CALLS

Wayne Gallman did run well early in the Giants’ second offensive series of the second half, and head coach Pat Shurmur is correct that there are plenty of execution reasons why the Giants offense short-circuited in the second half. But leaving Saquon Barkley on the sideline for that entire unsuccessful drive still was the wrong decision. If Shurmur had prepared prior to give Gallman a series at that point, he had to recognize at that moment that the game was slipping away, the momentum was all Philadelphia’s, and that Barkley had been his best weapon in the first half.

I am all for giving Gallman more playing time down the stretch of a lost season, but in a winnable game that was slipping away, leaving the dynamic Barkley on the sideline at that spot didn’t make sense — especially after Odell Beckham Jr. had missed the first series of the second half while getting an I.V. So that meant starting the half without one of Shurmur’s two best players on the first two drives. It’s no surprise they failed to move the ball on either. And then on 3rd-and-18, after Manning called a timeout, Shurmur still left Gallman on the field for a telegraphed, unsuccessful pass to the flat. Wouldn’t the elusive Barkley be valuable in that spot perhaps to make something out of nothing? We’ll never know.

Eli Manning and head coach Pat Shurmur look troubled in Giants 25-22 loss to Eagles Sunday. (Elsa / Getty Images)

2. THE EAGLES’ LINES BEAT UP THE GIANTS IN SECOND HALF

Here’s what happened in the second half: on both sides of the ball: the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines got stronger and more dominant while the Giant fronts wilted. It’s really that simple. Nate Solder and Jamon Brown penalties killed that second drive of the third quarter with Barkley on the sideline. Michael Bennett and Chris Long got in for sacks of Manning. And Fletcher Cox destroyed Manning on another rush past Brown. On the defensive side of the ball, there was just not enough from anyone on the Giants’ end. Alec Ogletree had a particularly brutal day, and Olivier Vernon was a disappointing non-factor, too.

3. A FAVORABLE LAULETTA COURT RESOLUTION?

Giants rookie QB Kyle Lauletta has a Dec. 6 court date in Early Disposition Court (EDC) in the Hudson County Superior Court system, the Daily News has learned, which likely indicates a favorable resolution on the horizon to Lauletta’s criminal and traffic charges stemming from an Oct. 30 arrest in Weehawken, N.J. Early disposition conferences are designed to resolve matters before they go in front of a jury, and they can result in charges eventually being dismissed depending on the agreement reached between counselors and the defendant’s cooperation.

Lauletta’s initial Nov. 7 scheduled court date had been delayed at the defendant’s request and waived by Central Judicial Processing court. Lauletta, 23, is charged with eluding police (a third-degree crime), obstructing administration of law and resisting arrest (both disorderly persons offenses), reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, improper turn in marked traffic lane, and failure to remain in a marked lane. But having his case moved to EDC appears to be a sign of the case moving in a positive direction for Lauletta, as he simultaneously likely prepares to be active for the first time this season for the Giants and eventually play.

4. AN UNUSUAL MOOD IN POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM

My takeaway from Sunday’s postgame Giants locker room was that players were surely disappointed and frustrated, but I don’t think a ton of them were as surprised by the result as, maybe, all the fans who thought a playoff run actually was possible. And I think that adds to the frustration, frankly, for players who are drained by how often the Giants are losing and how, honestly, they often lose in similar fashion. Vernon stood out as a player who was much more tired of the losing and questions than usual. Typically a helpful and good quote, Vernon gave short cliched answers through gritted teeth and at one point, when pressed for some insight, said “What do you want me to say?” But hey, it followed Shurmur’s attitude in his postgame presser, saying in response to a question about Beckham getting an I.V. for a third time around half this season, “What do you want me to do about it?”

Odell Beckham Jr. looks on from the bench during the first half of Sunday's 25-22 loss to Eagles.
Odell Beckham Jr. looks on from the bench during the first half of Sunday’s 25-22 loss to Eagles. (Chris Szagola / AP)

5. THE STATS BEHIND WIDE RECEIVERS’ FRUSTRATIONS

Saquon Barkley and the run game have been emphasized the last few weeks, and it resulted in two straight wins, but here are the consequences of that in the passing game: Sterling Shepard has only 11 total targets in the Giants’ three games out of the bye. He has eight catches for 68 yards and one touchdown in those games (2 for 9, 1 TD at SF; 2 for 22 vs. TB; 4 for 37 at Philly). Odell Beckham Jr. has 24 targets in those three games for 13 catches, 232 yards and 3 TDs. He’s had no more than five catches in any of those three games (4 for 73, 2 TDs at SF; 4 for 74 and 1 TD vs. TB; 5 for 85 at Philly). But at least in San Fran he had 11 targets and scored twice, and he scored against the Bucs and the team won. Nine targets isn’t bad, but only five catches and no scores against an Eagles defense shorthanded at cornerback explains why Beckham was venting frustration at the “game plan” postgame.

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