Pilgrim’s Point: Missed Opportunities

By Jeff Pilgrim (@Jeff_NYG)

Despite a 28-10 final score on Sunday, the Giants had their chances.  This was a one-possession game with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Already missing Alec Ogletree, the Giants took a huge hit last week when they lost middle-linebacker Ryan Connelly to injury; and it showed on Sunday.  Dalvin Cook ran all over the Giants.  He is an elite running back, but the Giants offered zero resistance to what was a dominating performance (132 yards rushing, 86 receiving).   

Meanwhile, Vikings Wide Receivers were open all day.  Several times during the game, Kirk Cousins found receivers with yards of separation.  Sunday reminded us that our defense has a very long way to go.   Minnesota took full advantage of a young NY defense, totaling 490 yards of total offense.  

Running Back Wayne Gallman went down early and we were left with Jon Hilliman to carry the load (9 rushes for 20 yards).  Until we see something different from him, he doesn’t look like an NFL Running Back.  Our rookie QB is going to need the threat of Barkley in order to keep defenses off balance.  The Vikings completely shut down the NY running game.

While the defense was fighting an uphill battle, the Giants offense missed some huge opportunities to keep this game close.  

  • Sterling Shepard could have had three touchdowns in this one and now is out with a concussion.
  • Jones overshot him down the sideline in the 1st quarter on what was a surefire TD if he hits him in stride.  
  • He also overthrew Shep in the back of the end zone in the 3rd quarter.  Sterling made an incredible catch but couldn’t get down in bounds.  That TD would have made it an 18-14 game.  
  • The last chance was in the 4th quarter. Shepard had position on the defender in the endzone but couldn’t hang on to the throw from Jones as he was mugged from behind.

These are game-changing plays that the Giants went 0-3 on.  If we convert 2/3 of them, this would have been a very different game.  The Giants also went 0-3 on 4th down conversions.

Bright Spots

  • Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton on a gorgeous 40-yard bomb early in the 2nd quarter.  Slayton burned pro-bowl Cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
  • Daniel Jones is converting on over 50% of third down plays.  A huge improvement since Jones took over for Eli Manning.
  • Jabrill Peppers has been playing great football.  He forced a Dalvin Cook fumble on the one-yard line which the Giants recovered. 

Pilgrim’s Point

My point is simply this: the Giants aren’t there yet.  

We’ve got a tough, young QB who will continue to improve (and hopefully learn to protect himself).  The young core on defense will get better as they get more experience, and you don’t have to question their effort.

We’ve got some great weapons on offense and there’s a reason to be optimistic about our future.  It won’t be too long until we compete with the better teams in the NFL.

The Giants head to New England Thursday night to take on the undefeated Patriots, so we may have to wait a little longer.

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