NY Giants: Evaluating their First Half Struggles
Giants vs Browns Week 15
The image above will be burned into Giants fans’ memories for a long, long time.
The Giants entered Week 15 without their starting quarterback for the second time in three weeks. The team also was missing Jason Garrett so Freddie Kitchens called the team’s plays on Monday Night Football.
The first drive was a promising one for NY but it ended in a completely embarrassing disaster. The offense started at their own 48 thanks to a big opening return from Lewis. They marched down to the Browns’ 8-yard line before stalling on 3rd down.
With 4th and 5 from the Browns’ 8-yard line, Joe Judge and Tom McGaughey pulled out a ridiculous play from the playbook. The team sent out the field goal unit to presumably go up 3-0 and take the easy points from their opening drive. Instead, the play ended with a massive shift of several players flanking out wide on both sides and Riley Dixon now acting as quarterback instead of the holder.
Dixon snapped the ball and the Browns weren’t even remotely fooled for any gimmicky trick play.
The team’s punter threw it to their center, Nick Gates, who was double-covered before the snap and saw triple-coverage once the ball was thrown. The ball was a bit high and Gates wasn’t even close to being open. The ball sailed incomplete to cap off another wasted Giants’ opening drive. It was an embarrassing, mind-boggling decision to use such a questionable play design in a seemingly unnecessary spot.
Coincidentally, the Giants’ defense got a second straight game with a stop on 4th down to start the game. The Giants offense actually again moved the ball successfully and got a field goal to go up 3-0. The Browns responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive lasting 6:41 of game clock.
To respond, the Giants again moved the ball into Brownie territory before failing to pick up 4th and 2 from the Browns 6-yard line.
To summarize, that’s three drives to start the game, all three ending in the Browns’ red zone, and the Giants only came up with 3 points to show for it. These are unacceptable numbers for any NFL team.
To make it worse, after failing to score from the Browns’ 5-yard line, Cleveland came out determined to score again. Baker led a backbreaking 1o play, 95-yard drive in just under 5 minutes to make it back-to-back 10+ plays, 75+ yard drives to end the half. The Browns led at the half 13-3 and the 10 point deficit may as well have been 35 for the Giants.
The offense showed no life again in the second half and picked up one field goal apiece in each half. They lost the game 20-6 but the score doesn’t accurately reflect just how much NY was dominated in nearly every facet of the game. Eight drives and six points will never be enough for any NFL offense to succeed long-term.