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Grading the Giants: D's across the board in loss to Ravens

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with the ball as Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) and safety Xavier McKinney (29) try to stop him during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Baltimore. Credit: AP/Gail Burton

OFFENSE: D

Hey, they scored a touchdown! Too bad it was late in the fourth quarter and at the end of a drive that would not have crossed midfield were it not for a roughing-the-punter penalty on the Ravens after three straight sacks of Daniel Jones. The Giants’ 269 yards was their fourth-lowest total of the season. Their 54 rushing yards was their second-lowest output of the season and fewest since the opener when they managed just 29 against Pittsburgh. They converted just one third down all game. Jones was under constant pressure in the second half and was sacked five times during those last two quarters.

DEFENSE: D

The Giants got Lamar Jacksoned. The Ravens quarterback and 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player completed 17 of 26 passes for 183 yards and rushed for 80 yards on 13 carries. He was one of three Ravens to run for at least 77 yards, joining Gus Edwards (85 yards) and J.K. Dobbins (77 yards and Baltimore’s only rushing touchdown). The 249 rushing yards allowed was the most by the Giants since Nov. 9, 2014, when the Seahawks rushed for 350 yards in a victory in Seattle. The Ravens averaged 6.2 yards on their 40 rushing attempts. Though they picked up a takeaway in the final two minutes, the Giants did not register a sack, ending a streak of 18 consecutive games with at least one.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D

The biggest special teams play of the game had almost nothing to do with the Giants besides their inability to block the charging punt blockers. It came in the fourth quarter when the Ravens were flagged for roughing punter Riley Dixon, converting fourth-and-22 into a first down. The Giants were lacking one of their core special teamers with Eli Penny sidelined by an illness, and that showed on a kickoff late in the first quarter when they were flagged for two penalties on the same play. The Giants never got any momentum or field position advantages from their special teams play. Graham Gano kicked a pair of field goals, but his short kickoff in the third quarter (presumably called for by the coaches) led to a short field for the Ravens and a touchdown that made it 27-6.

COACHING: D

The Giants can’t stay in the zone defense as often and as long as they did Sunday, which was something Joe Judge seemed to admit after the game. This was the second straight week that a quarterback picked them apart in that scheme and the two touchdown passes to wide-open targets were a result of those calls. Offensively, the Giants abandoned the run, which probably had more to do with the score than their effectiveness in that part of the game as their running backs averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry. The play-calling in the red zone remains one of the Giants’ biggest coaching weaknesses with Jason Garrett back on the headset. After two straight games in which the Giants had just two penalties against them, they were flagged five times for 35 yards.

SERENDIPITY: A

Not a traditional category, but about the only thing that went right for the Giants on Sunday, so we’ll add it to this list. With Washington losing to Carolina and Dallas beating Philadelphia, the Giants remain in contention for the NFC East title heading into Week 17.

New York Sports