Film Room: Engram & Fleming Bomb

by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi

The New York Giants fell to Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.  While there were some positives you could take from the loss, you could also point to several players that directly contributed to the loss.  For my money, Evan Engram and Cam Fleming were two of the biggest culprits.

Evan Engram

Let’s start with the obvious.  Evan Engram has been the focus of a lot of discussion amongst Giant fans for several years now.  The hope was, if he could stay on the field, we would see his talent shine.  Well, on Monday night, Engram flopped hard.  It started with the first possession and carried over for the rest of the game.

On the Giants’ 3rd play of the game, they faced a 2nd and 11 because Barkley was stuff for a loss on first down (that was a familiar sight for Barkley).  Daniel Jones fired a perfect pass to Engram that would have been good for a first down conversion, but Engram made an egregious drop (a problem that has plagued him his entire career).  These kinds of drops need to be eliminated from Engram’s game if he wants to be considered one of the better Tight Ends in the NFL.

The Giants lucked out and recovered a punt on the Steelers two-yard line when the punt returner muffed the catch.  On 2nd and goal, TJ Watt blew past Engram and hit Daniel Jones’ arm on what was called an incomplete pass, but very well could have been called a fumble.  Another flaw to Engram’s game rearing its ugly head, all within the first two drives. 

On the very next play, Jones and Engram couldn’t connect.  Engram looked to get open after selling a play fake, but pressure forced Jones to rush the throw.  The problem was that instead of running to his spot, Engram hesitated and was part of the reason the play didn’t connect.  Lastly, on what would have been Engram’s biggest play of the game, he was called for Offensive Pass Interference for pushing off on a 24-yard reception.  Truly a night to forget for Engram.  He needs to be better.

Cam Fleming

Listen, I understand that Fleming was tasked with trying to contain one of the best pass rushers in the game in TJ Watt.  Giant fans weren’t expecting a miracle.  However, Fleming was a total no-show and was dominated the entire night.  He was personally responsible for wrecking multiple drives throughout the game.  The veteran’s seat is already getting warm with Matt Peart waiting in the wings.

Fleming blocking No One

The Steelers were constantly toying with the six-year veteran, sending two defenders at him several times, and Fleming found himself not touching either player on several occasions.  On 2nd and 20 in the middle of the 2nd quarter, Fleming chose to block neither of the two pass rushers and almost got his Quarterback killed.  Vince Williams laid a vicious hit on Jones, which could have easily put our young QB out of the game.  This is not the position you want to see your Right Tackle in.  Ever.

He was flagged for a false start during the game and was seen whiffing on countless blocks in the running game as well.  Again, there is no denying this was a tough matchup for Fleming, but as a veteran, you only want Fleming to not ruin the offense.  On Monday night, Fleming had a big hand in doing just that.

Spi’s Take:

As I mentioned earlier, Fleming’s leash is not long.  He is a veteran that was signed on a cheap deal.  If he keeps performing like he did on Monday night, he will find himself out of the lineup very quickly.  Third-round pick, Matt Peart, can’t do much worse.

As for Engram, you couldn’t draw up a more disappointing start to his pivotal 4th season as an NFL pro.  Engram is expected to be one of the biggest weapons in Jones’ arsenal, and the Giants can not afford for him to play the way he did in Prime-Time last night.  The pressure is on now for Engram to perform.