A second straight game without a touchdown, but at least this week they reached the red zone. In fact, they reached it four times. Three ended with field goals and the last with an interception. That’s a season-long issue that has to improve. The Giants have not scored a TD in their last 21 offensive possessions, have not scored a TD in consecutive games for the first time since 1998, and have been held to single-digit points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2013. The Giants did have 19 first downs (more than the Rams), 295 net yards (more than the Rams), 136 rushing yards (more than the Rams) and nine points (not more than the Rams). At least Daniel Jones wasn’t the team’s leading rusher again; this time he was TIED for the team lead in rushing with Wayne Gallman at 45 yards. He also was sacked five times, not all of them on the offensive line, which actually played its best game of the season.
One drive and one play. That’s all that befuddled them. They allowed a 12-play, 65-yard touchdown drive to open the game, a possession so offensively efficient that it faced just a single third down and seemed as if it would set the tone for the rest of the day. It did not. The Giants allowed only five third-down conversions and only one play of longer than 16 yards. Unfortunately for them, it was a 55-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp with safety Adrian Colbert on the bench. Blake Martinez had 13 tackles, Austin Johnson had a sack and a forced fumble, and even Markus Golden (remember him?) brought some juice with a few snaps when Oshane Ximines and Kyler Fackrell were dealing with injuries. The Rams entered the game averaging 30 points, 27 first downs and 449.7 yards in their first three games. The Giants held them to 17 points, 15 first downs and 240 yards, more than 200 under their average.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Graham Gano is the only Giant who has scored in the past two weeks. He hit from 35, 37 and 27 yards on Sunday. Punter Riley Dixon put two punts inside the 10 with fair catches. Golden Tate, returning punts in place of Jabrill Peppers, lacks the explosiveness of his predecessor, but he did average 10 yards on three tries. That’s an extra first down each drive. The one bugaboo? Allowing a 41-yard kickoff return after making it a 10-9 game early in the fourth. The Rams didn’t do anything with the field position, but that was a scary moment. And who made the tackle? Madre Harper, who was signed by the Giants on Thursday and active after only two days of practices.
If nothing else, Joe Judge and his staff got the Giants to move past last week’s debacle of a showing. As for his game management, there isn’t a lot to hate about Judge’s calls. Could he have gone for the fourth-down conversion midway through the final quarter from the 48? Probably. But the defense had been playing well. A field goal on the fourth-and-11 from the 31 with 2:33 left would have made it 17-12, so the Giants still would have needed a TD on their final drive. The only difference is it would have been for the win and not for the tie (with a two-point conversion from a team that has struggled all year in the red zone, mind you). The one thing the Giants need to get much better at is when they don’t run plays. A few weeks ago, it was Nick Gates who didn’t have his hand on the ball when they were trying to draw the Bears offside. This time it was Kevin Zeitler who jumped offside when it seemed as if the Giants were running out the clock and not planning to snap it on the last play of the first quarter.