Film Room: Not So Special Teams

by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi

Joe Judge must be FUMING over his Special Teams unit’s performance on Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals. As a coach who cut his teeth coming up through the NFL as a Special Teams coach, Sunday was about as bad as it gets for this unit. The Giants Special Teams has been one of the best in the NFL over the first 10 weeks, but on Sunday, they almost cost the New York Giants a win.

Sunday vs The Cincinnati Bengals

The Giants received the ball first and marched down the field for a game-opening Touchdown to grab momentum on the road. However, on the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Wilson took the kick-off and ran it back for a 103-yard touchdown. Gano admitted fault to kicking this ball right down the middle as opposed to one of the sidelines. Still, not a great job by the return team to get off blocks and Gano missing the tackle at the end.

Gano wasn’t the only kicker at fault on Sunday. Riley Dixon did not do a great job of setting his return team up for success either. Dixon outkicked his coverage on 2 occasions, both of which led to big gains. Dixon’s first punt in the 1 st Quarter led to a 15-yard return. The punt was good, but it did not allow the gunners enough time to get down the field. The Gunners also didn’t do a great job battling to get down the field.​

Dixon did the same thing again on the 2nd to last play of the game. Dixon blasted a punt from the Giants 18-yard line to the Cincinnati 21. Long punts are great, but as you can see from the clip below, the nearest Giant to the returner was almost 15 yards away. This led to a 29-yard return and it could have been worse had it not been for a shoe-string tackle from Cam Brown at midfield.

Spi’s Take:

Outside of Graham Gano’s usual automatic field goals, this was the worst game of the season for this unit, by far. The only reason why the Bengals stood a chance in the game was that they dominated the Giants in the Special Teams game.

It’s only one game though, and I would be SHOCKED if Judge didn’t lay into his unit all week and get this all cleaned up. The New York Giants have kept games close throughout the year by winning the Special Teams game. With Daniel Jones down for a game or more coming up, and the schedule gets harder, they will need to get back to being a strong unit. I have faith in Judge to get all figured out.