By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants suffered a tough loss last night to the hands of the Cleveland Browns 20-6 and remain one game behind the Washington Football team who also lost to Seattle 20-15. The Giants defense once again played above expectations against a Cleveland team that put up 83 points over their last two games. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy and the Giants offense just can’t generate any offensive pressure and capitalize on any chances they had in the red zone. Head Coach Joe Judge displayed a couple of panic moves by deciding to go on 4th down twice in the red zone during the 1st quarter (more on that later). Here are my top 5 reasons why the Giants won:
- Pass Rush M.I.A: The Giants defense needed to repeat their performance against the Seahawks (5 sacks) to have any chance against the Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield. However; the Giants only had 1 sack and 6 hurries and allowed Mayfield more than enough time to pick apart the Giants secondary who was without their star cornerback James Bradberry.
- Failed to Finish: The Giants actually looked like they would have a chance of an upset at the start of the game as they moved the ball down the field against a questionable Browns defense. However; failure to capitalize in the red zone sealed the Giants fate.
- Joe Judge Panics: The Giants were playing a meaningful game in December; which doesn’t happen often and Head Coach Joe Judge paniced on two 4th down plays in the 1st half that changed the momentum of the game in Cleveland’s favor. Failing to capitalize on both 4th down conversions when Judge should have taken the 3 points (FG) put the Giants in a deeper hole in the 2nd half. When you’re struggling offensively to put points on the board, you take them anyway you can; especially when it’s early in the game.
- Time of Possession: The Giants needed to control the clock and keep the ball out of Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense hands if they had any chance to win this game. Unfortunately; the Giants were totally manhandled in this department (34:03 to 25:57).
- Failure to make Big Plays: The Giants failed to make any big plays on both sides of the ball. Offensively; the Giants moved the ball at times, but once they got into the red zone they made the Browns defense look like a top tier defensive team. Also mentioned earlier, failing to convert on those two 4th down conversions really sealed the Giants chances in this game. Defensively; the Giants played valiantly against the run, but allowed two passing touchdowns in the red zone.
Final Thoughts: The Giants are now 5-9 with only two games remaining and must at the very least win one of their last two remaining games (Baltimore and Dallas) and hope Washington goes winless the rest of the way in their last two games (Carolina and Philadelphia). The Giants seem to have the tougher schedule on paper among the NFC east teams and with the status of quarterback Daniel Jones health and an offense that struggled to put points on the board with a healthy Jones; it doesn’t appear to be a favorable outcome for this team. Keep an eye out for my preview matchup between the Giants and the Ravens and see who I predict the winner.