The NY Giants offense did not have Chase Blackburn in their huddle this week. But unfortunately, they had Cordle, Brewer and Pugh in there instead. The result was the same, another loss. The score in this contest is somewhat misleading, as the Giants were much more competitive.
Through almost 3 quarters of play, this game was essentially deadlocked, as the Chiefs made a long FG at the end of H1 and the Giants missed one. And then the floodgates opened. A special teams 89 yard punt return put KC up by 2 scores; recovering from that deficit was tantamount to climbing Mt. Everest. The Giants defense crumbled in Q4 as a result of the time of possession advantage of KC and the rout was on. New York is 0-4 and staring at a very long season.
If the game was so close as the end of the 3rd quarter approached, why was the Giants defense worn down? The answer is in a very telling stat that all readers of this blog know all too well: 3rd down conversions. The Chiefs were 9-16. The Giants were 1-14. Fully 8 of those Giants 3rd downs were 3rd and 10 or longer. And the root cause of this is lack of control of the offensive line. Sure, Nicks dropped some balls and there were penalties etc.. But as much as we would like to follow the skill matchups, the game of football is still won and lost in the trenches. And the Giants don't control the trenches.
Not all of the games are in the books for Week 4 as of this writing, but all you need to know is that the Giants are not getting to the opposing QB and the opposing defense is getting to the Giants QB. The Giants are near/at the bottom in both QB sacks and sacks allowed.
While the NY Giants pass rush is not helping matters, the defense is not the reason why this team is losing. The team is still its own worse enemy, making too many mistakes. The turnovers continue. And the boob penalties are frustrating. Randle makes a fantastic punt return of 43 yards to the 46 yard line. Flag. Illegal block. Nicks makes a pretty nifty one-handed grab in Q3 to give the Giants a 20 yard pass play. Flag. Holding on Beatty.
When you are not playing well, these mistakes are absolute killers. 3 plays after the holding call forces the Giants to punt, the return makes it 17-7.
I've witnessed this type of football before. It has some eerie similarities to the 1970s. That nightmare of offensive ineptitude returns. Two hallmarks of the 1970s offense were that it (a) couldn't buy a 3rd down conversion to save its life and (b) killed itself routinely with penalties.
Speaking of 3rd down conversions, here's one on Gilbride. It's 3rd and 1 and you.. pitchout? PITCHOUT????!!!!!! Nooooo. It takes seemingly forever for the RB to get back to the line of scrimmage, and he is met by a sea of red.
Do not misunderstand the comparison to the 1970s offense. While both offenses are anemic, one lacked skill players and this offense has skills players. It just cannot control the OL, and the result is that both can't move the sticks. The 1970s were run-run-pass-kick. 2013 is pass-penalty-run-3rd & 16 draw/inpet screen-kick.
There is some cause for optimism. The Giants have a respectable chance at a win next weekend. The defense of the Eagles is weaker than that of the Chiefs and there is only way to go from here- up. I just checked the point spread- the oddsmakers agree- the Gmen are FG favorites. 1-4 here we come!
Seriously, at 0-4, the Giants chances of making the playoffs are not significant. If you look at the NFC East standings, you wouldn't know, because they are only 2 games out of first. That is not a typo.
But make no mistake about this... JUST BECAUSE THE GIANTS ARE PLAYING IN THE WORST DIVISION IN FOOTBALL DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN HOPE FOR A PLAYOFF SPOT. Hope will only commence when the Giants offensive line can protect Eli and run the ball enough so that other teams have to account for that. Hope will only commence when the Giants defensive line can get to the opposing QB. This team is 0-4 and it is looking like they can ~split their remaining games. That means 6-6 plus 0-4 = 6-10. How does an 0-4 team that can't control either side of the line of scrimmage get ~6 wins? Easy- it plays MIN and OAK at home and it plays the NFC East 5 more times. In the land of the blind (NYG, PHI and WAS), the one-eyed man (DAL) is king.