With Saquon Barkley still reeling from what happened in his first career tiebreaker, he was asked what he thought of coach Brian Daboll. prefers to keep the ball away With 1:42 left in overtime, he offered the exact emotion expected of him.
First: Make sure you and your offense are on fourth-and-3 at the Washington 45-yard line.
Second: Credit the head coach for deciding not to trust the offense to convert on a fourth-and-3 at the Washington 45-yard line.
“As a competitor, you want to go out there and make those plays,” Barkley said. “At the end of the day, the Dabs make decisions to put us in the best position to win the game. “He’s done a great job all year and we’re not going to start questioning him now.”
It’s on the money as well as off the mark.
You want to play—wait for it—“meaningful December games,” and then you have to accept that every nuance of these games will be scrutinized, game-by-game, minute-by-minute. Because making or missing the playoffs can come down to one game here and one game there. One decision worked, one backfired. No one is thinking or calling for the coach or general manager to be fired. No one focuses more on NFL draft position than field position in these games.
And so on, when the game ends in a 20-20 tie The offense didn’t score on its last eight possessions and the defense gave up a 20-13 lead with 1:45 left in regulation, there will be plenty to discuss.
Here’s a theme: Interesting time management at the end of the first half. Daniel Jones threw a pass to Richie James for a first down at Washington’s 10-yard line. Daboll called his third and final timeout with 19 seconds left. The punt brought it back to the 11, and the Giants faced third-and-1. Now the Giants’ priority was that they chose to field first.
“Was it a first or not?” – said Daboll, admitting uncertainty. “We named the play because we thought it might touch him. Obviously, he didn’t get it and ended up with three points. Obviously, we want seven. But I thought [offensive coordinator Mike] Kafka handled this drive well.
It appears the call was an attempted punt into the end zone on third down — Daboll said it was a wheel route for Barkley to get out of the backfield — but “Daniel made a good decision.” Jones opted to keep the ball, running to his right to gain two yards for a first down, but all it did was force the offense to rush the line of scrimmage, so Jones could pass the ball with five seconds left and Graham Gave to Ghana. Just enough time for a 27-yard field goal to make it 13-13 at halftime.
It’s now fashionable to rip Daboll for refusing to go from Washington’s 45-yard line on fourth-and-3 and taking the ball away with 1:42 left in overtime. Immediate real-time reaction: Are you kidding me? Is he really going to call it off?
Reaction after some reflection: Daboll didn’t play to draw, but he played not to lose. There is a difference. He wasn’t sure his offense would get the three yards it needed to gain control of the ball—he had just witnessed a ridiculous third down when Jones, James and Barkley were behind one. – collided with each other – and this did not happen. Fill Daboll with cruelty. If the Giants didn’t convert the first down, they’d hand the game to the Chiefs, who could get the ball near midfield, only 15 yards to set up the strong-footed Joe Sly for the game-winning run. needed. . The Giants didn’t stop the run once again, and there was no reason to believe they would have stopped the Commanders here. So Daboll took the conservative route and chose the least damaging scenario. Remember, the Giants drew, not trailed, and like it or not, a draw is better than a loss in the big playoff picture.
Not believing your fault is the problem. Misplaced trust is an even bigger problem. Daboll knows this.
More from the Giants’ first tie in 25 years:
– Assuming the Giants should have won the game rather than tie the game, the question begs: Why? In many ways, the Giants are happy to avoid their fifth loss of the season. They were up in total yards (411-316), rushing yards (165-134), passing yards (246-182) and first downs (25-20). They had a bad advantage in possession time (41:11-28:49). The Giants had plenty of chances to win, but they were also in serious danger of losing.
– So much for getting Daniel Bellinger back in action. The rookie tight end missed the last four games after undergoing eye surgery, so his lower body was ready to roll. And then some. He was on 64 of 66 snaps on offense and caught all five passes thrown his way, but was used mostly as a rushing option for just 24 yards.
– The Giants were on the field for too long on defense. The extra salary will go to safety Julian Love and cornerbacks Nick McCloud and Fabian Moreau. They played all 85 snaps. Safety Jason Pinnock (79), senior Dexter Lawrence (77) and rookie running back Kaivon Thibodeau (74) were also there frequently.
– Justin Ellis, a 331-pound nose tackle who likes to be called “Jelly,” did something in the second quarter for the first time in his nine-year NFL career. Ellis dropped Taylor Heinik for an eight-yard loss, Ellis’ first full sack of the game. It was the 114th game (regular season and postseason) for Ellis, who had half a sack for the Raiders in 2017.
– The left guard position remains a problem area. Nick Gates became the fourth different starter at that point in the last four games. Rookie Josh Ezeudu, Shane Lemieux and Jack Anderson lined up at left guard before Gates took the snap. Ben Bredeson started the first seven games but ended up on injured reserve with a knee problem. Gates made a strong block on Barkley’s 13-yard punt in the second quarter, but the entire interior of the Giants’ offensive line struggled with defensive tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. The duo combined for 12 tackles, three sacks and three quarterback hits.