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,The New York Giants fell to the New Orleans Saints, and in doing so fell to 1-3 on the season. The game started out promisingly for New York, with the defense getting a stop on the Saint’s offense and the offense driving 75 yards for a touchdown. After that, however, things spiraled out of control for the Giants. We thought the team might have been on the verge of breaking out after their victory of the Houston Texans, but what have we learned about the team after their 33-18 loss to the Saints? The Giants need to come to play on offenseThe Giants’ offense has shown a distressing tendency to go in to a shell on offense. Too often we saw the Giants resort to short passes that traveled just a couple yards in the air against a Saints defense which had been the league’s worst to start the season. The plan seemed to be to try and control the clock and keep the Saints’ potent offense off the field and avoid a shootout. However, the Giants simply sputter when they go into their shell. It is too easy for defenses to contain the Giants’ playmakers and keep the game in front of them. It was the same problem we saw from the team against the Dallas Cowboys. The team needs to play with a wide-open throttle and try to win the game on offense, because if they play it safe, the offense just spins its wheels.The Giants can’t beat themselvesGiving up a first down on a fake punt. Fumbling the ball and nearly giving up a touchdown on the return. Penalties to kill their own drives and extend the Saints’. Mental mistakes leading to blown coverages or big plays. The Giants have the talent to compete, but not nearly so much that they can beat the opposing team and themselves at the same time. Unfortunately, the Giants have shown a tendency to do as much to beat themselves as the opposing team. The team made a point of bringing in veterans to help mentor and be steadying influences on the younger players, but there have simply been too many mental mistakes. The coaches have their work cut out for them shoring that up, but it might be too late to do much good in 2018.The defense has potentialDespite still being down two of their best players, the Giants’ defense played hard and contained the Saints’ offense for much of the game. They didn’t have any support from the offense after the first drive, but still played hard throughout the game. Ultimately, they couldn’t get off the field when they needed to, instead shattering to give up a third touchdown to Alvin Kamara. They played too well to be in that position to begin with. Eventually Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple will return, and the infusion of talent at the edge and in the secondary is much needed. The Giants’ defense has the potential to be one of the better ones in the league, but they will need to improve their depth and find some more speed.The offensive line is still a problemThere were plays where the Giants’ offensive line gave the Eli Manning time to find his receivers. But all too often there were Saints’ defenders precariously close to Eli Manning, hitting him or affecting his passes. Pressure came from across the offensive front, left, right, and up the middle, but as we have seen time and again from Manning, it was the pressure up the middle which had the greatest effect. Manning is far from mobile, but he has the ability to navigate the pocket andget away from pressure off the edge. He has little ability to deal with pressure through the A or B gaps. The team needs to open the throttle for the offense to function correctly and Manning to play his best, but they just can’t block for it to do so on a regular basis.Instant analysis: Shame on me for thinking the Giants were going to win Sunday Remember all that optimism about how the New York Giants had found their offense and perhaps turned their season around in a 27-22 victory over the Houston Texans a week ago?Well, fuhgeddaboutit!Facing a team giving up a league-worst 34.3 points per game and with a secondary giving up 336.7 yards per game (30th in the NFL) and playing without injured cornerback Patrick Robinson the Giants offense couldn’t — or really wouldn’t — push the ball down the field and try to take advantage.The numbers for quarterback Eli Manning (31-of-41 Authentic Odell Beckham Jr Jersey
, 255 yards, a touchdown, no interceptions, a 99.1 passer rating) look fine.The reality, though, is far different.Manning went 6-of-7 for 41 yards on the Giants’ opening 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. After the Saints took a 26-10 lead with 6:47 to play Manning went 8-of-12 for 108 yards. On the Giants’ other seven possessions? Nothing. Well, 17 completions in 22 attempts. For a measly 106 yards. The Giants got one 33-yard Aldrick Rosas field goal out of all of that.There is some frustration seeping inJust listen to Odell Beckham Jr., who was really a non-factor in the game. Beckham had 7 catches in 11 targets for 60 yards, but two of those catches and 40 of those yards came in the final six minutes with the game basically out of reach. At halftime, Beckham had 2 receptions for -4 yards.Pat Shurmur was testier with reporters during his post-game press conference than I can recall him being since he became Giants’ head coach.Asked about an offense that has reached the 20-point mark only once in four games — and still hasn’t hit 30 since Tom Coughlin was coach 38 games ago, Shurmur was short:“We need to score more points.”Does he need to make “massive changes?”“No. We need to get better. What does that mean, massive changes? We need to get better.”Why did the Giants, facing a defense that had struggled mightily in pass coverage during its first three games, run an offense that featured short throw after short throw, rarely challenging New Orleans with passes that had any depth to them all?“They played a lot of soft zone. A lot of soft zone,” Shurmur said. “We just had to pick away at ‘em a little bit.”Manning was part of the problemWas this a “Check down Eli” game, or was the play-calling designed, as Shurmur said, to “pick away” and look for yardage after the catch?“I thought he did a lot of good things. He’ll come up here and tell you he missed some things,” Shurmur said. “We actually called a lot of play actions to get the ball down field and those became check downs because of that soft zone.”Whether Manning was right to consistently check the ball down or missed opportunities to try for deeper shots is difficult to say. While completing 12-of-16 in the first half, Manning missed a pair of throws to an open Beckham, including a cross field sideline route where Beckham could have had a nice gain had the ball not sailed over his head. There was also a third-quarter throw to Rhett Ellison from the New Orleans 14-yard line that could have been a touchdown but Manning’s throw, while catchable, was high enough that a Saints defensive back was able to get a hand on it and prevent a catch. The Giants settled for a field goal that made the score 19-10.“Tonight was a frustrating one. We got off to a good start and had a good drive. We were moving the ball and making plays on this team but we just weren’t able to do it. We got into some third and longs that we didn’t convert on,” Manning said. “They had some good calls and some good plays. They weren’t going to give us anything deep. They took away all the deep stuff and made us go underneath. That was fine. We were going to just have to have some long drives and continue to play that way. There was a few times where they knocked us out of some good down and distance and we weren’t able to sustain some drives.”The defense wasn’t part of the problemFour times in the first half New Orleans threatened and the Giants forced the Saints to settle for field goals. While the offense was picking away and, truthfully, getting nothing done after that opening drive the defense was keeping the Giants in the game.Entering the season Color Rush Jon Halapio Jersey
, most analysts thought the opposite would be the case. With the play-makers the Giants had at their disposal, Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram (out with an MCL sprain) and a veteran quarterback like Manning at the controls the thought was that the Giants would score enough points. The question was whether or not the defense could get enough stops.Through four games, for the most part things haven’t turned out that way. The defense is giving the Giants a chance. The offense, for the most part, hasn’t held up its end of the bargain.The Giants fooled usOr, at least, fooled me. I picked the Giants to win on Sunday. And yes, I’m 0-4 and really, really bad at picking games. I have, however, always admitted as much. That’s irrelevant.Thing is, the Giants did enough good things against the Houston Texans to make me believe they were pointed in the right direction. That, facing a porous defense like the one the Saints had been through their first three games, the 30-point streak — now in its third season — was sure to fall.This, however, is still a team that can’t play consistently good offense. Is it the blocking? The play-calling? The quarterback play? Penalties at bad times? Is Beckham maybe, just maybe, not quite what he used to be before he busted his ankle?I’m not sure. Maybe it’s all of the above.“We’re 1-3 and that’s not where we want to be right now. We were in some games that were close enough to make more plays we might have and an opportunity to win,” Shurmur said. “You just keep working. You just keep working and you play your way out of it and you coach your way out of it. Period. That’s what you do, and that’s the reality of it, and that’s what I trust our guys and our coaches will do.”Sadly, that sounds an awful lot like what we’ve heard for the majority of the past seven seasons. What we have been seeing on the field is also all too reminiscent of those losing seasons that have become all too commonplace for the Giants. Unless something changes dramatically — and soon — with this offense, the Giants appear headed for another one.