James Bettcher loves an aggressive, frantic, attacking defense, but the Giants’ coordinator wants his guys to chill out a little late in games. That, he said, will help avoid the types of endings that have been happening to them in the past few weeks.
The Giants won two of their last three games, but all three had similar defensive perils as part of their narrative. In each case, the Giants built a significant lead and saw it evaporate late in the fourth quarter.
Against the Bucs, they were able to hang on after a 10-point lead with 3:52 left dwindled to three after a 41-yard touchdown pass. Against the Eagles, they let a 16-point second-quarter lead wilt into a three-point loss. Last week against the Bears, they went up by 10 with 1:49 left and had the game go into overtime.
“For about 58 minutes and 20 seconds, we played some of our best defense of the season,” he said. “Attacking, aggressive, playing hard, playing physical. Then there is that span of about a minute and 40 seconds where there is some good play in there but there are plays where we broke down, where we weren’t playing with correct leverage to finish the game or we didn’t win some one-on-ones or I need to call some better calls in those situations.”
Bettcher said the lapses are due to several things, but mostly players trying to do too much in big spots.
“We just have to keep working through those moments, those stressful moments in the game, when as players guys feel like there is a lot of weight on them,” Bettcher said. “They don’t have to press in those moments and they can play as fast and as aggressive as they were the other 58 minutes of the game. If we do that, we’ll be off the field and it won’t be an overtime stop that we’ll need to win the game.”