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Grading the Giants: Offense and defense both bring in low marks

Daniel Jones of the Giants runs for a

Daniel Jones of the Giants runs for a first down during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac


The Giants fell flat when it mattered the most. They were 0-for-3 on fourth downs, 0-for-2 in the red zone, and 0-for1 on goal-to-go. They managed just 211 yards, their lowest total since 170 in a 20-10 loss at Washington on Nov. 23, 2017. Their 64 rushing yards was their fewest since they ran for 47 yards in the loss to the Titans last season. The Giants finished with 147 net passing yards, their lowest total since they threw for 121 yards in a victory against Washington on Dec. 31, 2017.


Visually it was a vulgar performance but there were actually a few places where the Giants did… well, better than an F. They held the Vikings below 50 percent on third downs (5-for-11), 2-for-5 in the red zone, and 1-for-3 on goal-to-go. For all the yards the Vikings produced (490), and all the big gains they had (seven plays of 20 yards or longer), they only scored two touchdowns. One of them was on a 98-yard drive, which looked fairly effortless. They had no way of stopping Dalvin Cook (218 offensive yards) and Adam Thielen (130 receiving yards and the two touchdowns). The Giants did manage three sacks and a takeaway.


Corey Ballentine’s 52-yard kickoff return sparked the Giants toward their only touchdown of the game. Riley Dixon put a perfect punt inside the 5 that was downed at the 2 (but the Vikings drove 98 yards for a touchdown). Aldrick Rosas kicked a 32-yard field goal. Golden Tate had a 17-yard return on the only Vikings punt of the game. But they did allow a 33-yard kickoff return and a 15-yard punt return.


Even Pat Shurmur was second-guessing himself. “If we play these guys again, there’s a handful of things I might do differently,” he said. Some of the questionable tactics likely included the handoff to Jon Hilliman from the Giants’ 1 and the third-down fade to Evan Engram. The Giants also got away from the RPO game that had been so effective for Daniel Jones (although the lack of a running threat likely diminished its potency). Defensively the Giants were simply trying to keep 11 guys on the field with their middle so battered, so it’s hard to get upset about schemes.

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