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New York Giants’ All-Or-Nothing Defense Finally Breaks in Week Nine

November 5th, 2012 at 12:59 PM
By Paul Tierney

'Justin Tuck' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ The New York Giants defense has put the team in a position to win their last three games. During that time period, Big Blue has forced 12 turnovers, which has enabled this unit to become ranked second in the NFL in turnover ratio. However, the immense amount of turnovers the Giants have created over the past several weeks have covered up several glaring weaknesses in the defense. In fact, aside from forcing turnovers, the Giants defense just isn't very good right now.

This article is not intended to diminish the importance of turnovers. A timely turnover can be the difference between winning and losing on any given Sunday. However, as the Giants begin to get into the most difficult portion of their schedule, the defense is going to have to stop somebody without banking on the opponent to make a poor decision with the football. Turnovers are nice, but they can not be the only way a defense is capable of stopping an offense.

Big Blue currently allows an average of 382.3 yards per game, which ranks them 25th in the NFL in that category. Furthermore, the Giants just allowed Isaac Redman to run for 147-yards on 26 carries. A week ago, Tony Romo threw for 437-yards on the Giants. The week before that, Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins put up 480-yards of total offense.

Giving up that many yards on defense is not a winning formula in the NFL. The Giants were able to get away with it against Washington and Dallas. Big Blue is more talented than both of those squads. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the first talented team the Giants have played who encourage a physical, smash mouth style of football. The defense was worn down as the game progressed and Ben Roethlisberger was able to take his time in the pocket and throw to wide open receivers down the field.

The only thing that has kept this defense afloat has been an occasional sack and a flurry of turnovers. However, the thing about turnovers, is that good teams generally do not turn the ball over. Below average teams like the Redskins and Cowboys might give away possessions, but the truly elite team's in the NFL are not going to turn  the ball over multiple times per game.

For the Giants to compete with the NFL's best, the defense needs to stiffen up. The pass rush has come alive as of late, but the secondary has been unable to stay with their receiver in man coverage, while the linebackers have been ineffective in covering tight ends over the middle of the field in zone coverage. Big Blue has allowed quarterbacks to complete over 63 percent of their passes this season. Again, that is not a winning formula in the NFL.

The key to this defense is the pass rush. As long as the Giants have the ability to get to the quarterback, this team will be in every game they play. However, the front-four can not sack the quarterback on every play. There are going to be times when the secondary must step-up, and for the majority of 2012 they have not.

The Giants are fortunate to have a significant enough lead in the division that the team can afford to play like they did yesterday and still maintain a stranglehold on the NFC East. However, when everything is on the line in the playoffs, the Giants are going to have to rely on something other than turnovers to stop elite NFL offenses.

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Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Dallas, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFC, NFC East, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins

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20 Responses to “New York Giants’ All-Or-Nothing Defense Finally Breaks in Week Nine”

  1.  Krow says:

    We’re certainly not poised to make a deep run into the playoffs given our current level of performance. But we’ve seen this team get hot late in the season before. They’ve got to find the magic again. This will be a defining test of both the coaching staff and the team leadership.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    I say this every year, but I sure hope that the coaching staff will realize that during that bye week they have to do a lot of self-scouting. Their offensive and defensive approaches are broken, and both need fixing.

  3.  GeezUp says:

    So where’s the article on how pathetic this Big Blue Offense has been over the last 4 games?!? 182 yds of total offense yesterday!!! Without the benefit of some questionable calls the defense would’ve outscored them bums!!! I refuse to accept this nonsense!!! So a team forces a TO and it’s called lucky?!? Forcing TOs come from effort and getting to the ball. While I admit tackling could’ve been a lot better but we’re not a defense that is capable of pitching a shutout b/c of our LB play. Sorry to break it to u fellas!!! THE OFFENSE LET US DOWN with poor play selection and bad game management!!! I’m sure u remember the series 5 straight running plays from SHOTGUN!!! When did we become the Patriots?!? Our offense is pathetic and blaming the defense for the offense’s lack of production is flat out LAZY!!!

  4.  GIANTT says:

    As much as we all have bemoaned the poor quality of Giants football this week , just listening to espn talk on the condition of the Redskins and next Dallas makes me realize that as mediocre as the Giants played it was only mediocrity in ONE loss rather than the uphill climb of MANY games that two possibly three other teams in the NFC East face . The possibility that the Giants may not lose anything in the East boggles the mind but then seeing the other teams it doesnt . The Giants may not be a good team they may only be an average but lucky team but they are still way better than the other 3 teams and in the final rush to the playoffs thats what counts . If they get that far then remembering last year that the Giants got hot who knows .
    I commented earlier this year that this team was going to play some great games but we had to be awake and alert for this years stinker . Hopefully this was it , a bad game but not one that hurt too much in the season

  5.  JimStoll says:

    as I’ve said today, last night, and in every year previous to this: this is who the tom coughlin giants are — great sometimes; terrible sometimes; mediocre most of the time. Despite the perceived talent, we just seem to be perennially around 10-6/9-7/8-8
    right now we are on a 3 game descending play streak. in a way I wish the bye were this week so maybe we could use the off-time to snap out of it. alas, we play sunday against a team we should beat, but can easily fall to
    the Giants will play well again this season with seemingly all the same game plans and we’ll all get optimistic again
    right now we are pretty bad
    its the giants; its what you get

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Jim, for the most part this is what EVERY team gets. That’s what you, and many others, fail to grasp. The league has parity and it has ZERO “super-teams”. There is not a team in the league that you can count on playing well, or badly, from week-to-week. That’s the way it has been, and will remain.

      Atlanta is unbeaten. You think they’re incapable of an abysmal performance? I don’t. The Jets stink. You think they’re incapable of rising up and beating the Pats? I don’t.

      It’s not so much Coughlin as it is the state of the league under a salary cap. Frankly, I find it pretty enjoyable (though I wanted to throw up while sitting at the game yesterday). Get used to this, and hope we get squared away and then get hot. This team is absolutely capable of that. It’s what we all have to hope happens. We’re one of about 10-12 fan bases left this season who can say “Why not us?”. That’s a good place to be.

      •  JimStoll says:

        I think that is true comparing year to year
        I think it is less true within any given season
        every year there are teams like the Niners, Packers, Pats, etc. who put up 13-3, 14-2, 15-1 seasons, whether they win the championship or not
        the next year they may be down again
        the giants never seem to be able to get over the 10-6 hump, despite winning 2 championships
        I’m not criticizing per se; I’m just noting that the giants seem to forever be somewhere between 8-8 to 10-6

    •  nick86 says:

      I agree the giants have played 3 bad to mediocre games in a row. But they have managed to win 2 of those 3. Which I’ll sign up for. Obviosely thign sdhave to change but were playing poorly and have managed to win 2/3 against some pretty talented teams. not saying cowboys or skins are great but they have talent and will prob finish around 500.

      For the most part the giants have beaten all the teams they should beat and lost the games I would have expected them to lose.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think the last few years have proven that teams in today’s NFL are just not enough to be great week in and week out while carrying that on the win a SB. Look I would love to go 14-2 but the truth is its more important to be playing your best football towards the end of the year. It’s clear really besides maybe 2 games we haven’t played quality football. But we are 6-3 in control of the division. We still have enough time to start to build back to playing elite football. From what we have seen the last few years teams like Atlanta, Chicago and Houston won’t make the SB because they peaked too early. As frustrating and disappointing our play has been recently the 3 keys to us being able to defend of title are to get into the dance (done mostly simply by winning the division), get healthy at the right time and play our best football at year’s end.

      I think we can play a much higher level of football than we have shown much of the year. We still are not completely healthy but the injuries we have are minor.

  6.  LUZZ says:

    For those coming down on the defense, you have to understand the league today. Dominating defensive performances are very few and far between. The days of pitching shutouts are all but gone. If you let up points in the 17-20 range, and force 1 or 2 TO’s, then the D has done it’s job.

    The tackling was poor yesterday, and it was my biggest takeaway of the game. But, look around the league, poor tackling is the norm. Teams don’t tackle like they used to for obvious reasons.

    The Steelers were more physical yesterday and that’s why they won the game. We won’t be the last team to get “out manned” by the Steelers this year. They are a good team.

    We all know the Giants are at their best in must win games. As soon as we play poorly in a must win situation, then I will get concerned. However, falling to a good team, in week 9, in a game we really didn’t have to have, and at home no less, doesn’t bother me.

  7.  Jackhajb says:

    I’m with Geeze, where is the article on our Offense, particularly our WRs. I blame them way more than Eli, go back and watch the last three games. Guys aren’t getting open and on top of that they are dropping balls that Eli is fitting into tight spots.

    With regard to our defense can we get the amount of time our defense has spent on the field as compared to the offense. If you’re going to get a clear look at which unit is failing I think this indicator would be important, especially for the g-men.

    This defense is already built to give up yards but get takeaways. yds/game were never going to look good for us, but when the offense is going 3 and out consistently and failing to capitalize on those turnovers, what do you expect to happen?

    In my mind the two biggest issues are:

    WRs have to get open, no ifs, ands, or maybes. You can’t blame our WRs exclusively either, even with Nicks injured our backups aren’t so bad that these guys should be constantly blanketed; a large chunk of this has to be on the coaching staff. Other teams have just as **** 3rd and 4th receivers yet they make it work. If the scheme is to complex for some guys you have to dumb it down. The deep ball has to be a rarity because it is a low percentage play. ALTHOUGH, like I’ve said previously, Eli is putting a lot of these guys in positions to make the catch and they aren’t.

    Brown has to get the majority of the carries, the difference in run game is night and day when he hits the field vs. Bradshaw. The oline isn’t changing anything, he’s turning what Bradshaw would take for a loss into 4 and 5 yards. Makes a hell of a difference on second and third down.

    Your article is well put together Paul, I think aside from addressing the time of possession for our offense vs. opposing offenses (and how that effects the D) you hit on all the points. But I don’t want to talk about the defense at all until we address the garbage that is our offense.

    Reply

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I don’t know what you are watching but Eli has really been struggling the past few games. Not to say the WRs have been great either but there have been passes there that Eli has made for years he’s just missing the past few games. The WRs aren’t getting open as much as they were but they have been open enough for the offense to have way more success if Eli was playing like the great QB he has been. It happens everyone goes through bad stretches.

      •  Jackhajb says:

        Eli has definitely struggled, no question. I think he has struggled because WRs aren’t getting open. I also think he has chosen to take shots downfield instead of work more of those mid and short range routes. However. he has still fit it in there on tight coverage and guys haven’t been coming up with the catches.

    •  nick86 says:

      agree on brown. much more physical runner. Getting downhill and getting 3-4 when bradshaw would hop around and get nothing.

      Even though WRs arent playing well I blame Eli more. Hes not playing well. He’s turning the ball over and missing on deep shots down the field which our offense dpends upon to score points

  8.  BLU-82 says:

    What was the deal with Hosley giving up that critical 3rd down to Sanders? It look like he had him in man and out of nowhere he decided to go zone- looked schemed to me. Weird play call.

    That said, the D carried their weight. Eli needs to throw a touchdown again, and the WR’s need to get open. And, and, and, about a dozen other things which have been discussed already, not that the first two haven’t.

  9.  GIANTT says:

    whether you run to set up the pass or vice versa , it seemed that neither was happenin yesterday . I think that from the excellent commentary from ff55y previously
    Pittsburgh stymied the passing game first and Bradshaw wasnt able to do anything either so Pittsburgh caught a break b/c the Giants certainly didnt try any short passing to alleviate the situation . Im not so sure that blaming Eli was necessarily the right call if the WRs were well covered for most of the day

  10.  kujo says:

    Patricia Traina ?@Patricia_Traina
    For those fussing about David Diehl’s play, TC didn’t seem too concerned with it.

    Of COURSE he isn’t.

    •  kujo says:

      Terrible. F*cking terrible.

      •  Krow says:

        Only Reese can change the Diehl situation. It’s kind of sad because I still think he could add value for several seasons as versatile depth. But you don’t pay depth $4 million.

        This also makes me wonder what the hell is going on with Brewer. I know he was drafted as a project. But we’re a year and a half into in with no tangible results. That’s a damn long project.

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