Brian Daboll has instructed his group all season lengthy to pull their opponents into the deep finish to see if they will swim. The New York Giants have received a whole lot of video games within the fourth quarter doing precisely that.
However right here they’re, headed towards the deep finish of their season, and all of a sudden they’re those drowning.
Perhaps that is why the rookie head coach appeared so livid each throughout and after the Giants’ 28-20 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving. The Giants (7-4) have fought as arduous as they may, with shocking outcomes, all season lengthy — identical to they did after they took a halftime lead Thursday.
Cowboys rally previous Giants
Dak Prescott threw for 261 yards and two TDs, rallying the Cowboys to a 28-20 victory over the Giants.
However these days, when it issues most, nothing goes their manner.
They’re making key errors on the sector. They can not run the soccer anymore. Saquon Barkley is not carrying them the best way he was early within the season. And the accidents are piling up so excessive they have been compelled into this sport with out three beginning offensive linemen, two beginning cornerbacks, a beginning tight finish, a beginning security and a rag-tag receiving corps that has been a multitude all season.
No surprise Daboll was slamming his headset and screaming at officers on the sidelines. No surprise that in his postgame information convention, his solutions have been quick and tense.
“I believe it’s a robust loss. It is a divisional sport and a sport we did not play our greatest,” mentioned Giants quarterback Daniel Jones when requested about his coach’s dour disposition. “It is at all times disappointing. We did not do what we have to do to win the sport.
“It is irritating for all of us.”
There isn’t any doubt the frustration is beginning to present for this upstart group, and the timing could not presumably be worse.
At 7-4, they’re now nearer to final place than first within the NFC East, and their cushion within the playoff race is dramatically shrinking. They’re gazing a really harmful closing six video games, that embrace two video games towards the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, two towards a Washington Commanders group that has received 5 of six and a sport towards the 9-2 Minnesota Vikings.
That is a brutal stretch for a struggling group that has been brutalized by accidents.
“They do not get any simpler,” Daboll mentioned. “Every week is hard.”
And he is aware of it is simply going to get harder for the Giants if they do not get again a few of their injured gamers — which is way from assured.
In fact, they weren’t going to cease Cowboys receivers CeeDee Lamb (six catches, 106 yards) and Michael Gallup (5-63) and tight finish Dalton Schultz (4-31, two TDs) after they have been lacking three starters from their secondary (cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau and security Xavier McKinney).
And so they have been fortunate to get 39 yards and a landing out of Barkley behind an offensive line lacking its beginning heart (Jon Feliciano), proper sort out (Evan Neal) and left guards (Shane Lemieux and Josh Ezeudu).
They’re truly all the way down to third-stringers or worse at lots of these positions, which solely compounds the issue for a roster that wasn’t that good to start with. They will say “subsequent man up” as a lot as they need, however in some unspecified time in the future all these “subsequent males” begin to harm.
And that is the place they’re now, particularly on offense.
Barkley has 62 yards on 26 carries over the past two weeks — and he’s nonetheless their complete offense. It isn’t precisely a secret that if groups cease Barkley, they cease the Giants. And over the past two weeks, Barkley seems to be manner off observe.
“With the run sport, all people must do higher,” Daboll mentioned. “The blocking, the working, the design … We have got to do a greater job all the best way round.”
That is straightforward to say, however have a look at what they’re working with. The Giants began three linemen — proper sort out Tyre Phillips, left guard Jack Anderson and heart Nick Gates — who weren’t even with them in coaching camp and by no means figured to be key components of this line. And left sort out Andrew Thomas was enjoying by an unspecified sickness.
That was clearly going to be an issue towards the Cowboys’ harmful entrance. It is a fair larger drawback with groups loading as much as cease Barkley, daring Jones to throw to the likes of Richie James (5-41) and Isaiah Hodgins (3-31).
Jones (21-for-35, 228 yards, one landing) did have one large play — a 44-yard move to Darius Slayton — however in any other case the offense did not do a lot.
They held a 13-7 halftime lead principally as a result of Dak Prescott threw two interceptions, and the Cowboys dedicated seven penalties.
Nonetheless, it felt just like the Giants have been barely clinging to that lead. So after they collapsed within the second half, which the Cowboys opened with three straight landing drives — whereas the Giants had 85 whole yards earlier than their closing, garbage-time landing drive — nobody ought to have been stunned.
That is form of the best way this season is beginning to really feel. Daboll deserves Coach of the 12 months votes for getting the Giants off to a 7-2 begin. They have been enjoying far above their heads, however have been well-coached and hard and have been grinding out wins within the fourth quarter.
Apart from Barkley, there was by no means a complete lot to love about their group, besides that they received much more than even they anticipated to do.
However in any case that, they’re simply shedding their grip. It’d take a fair higher teaching job over the ultimate six video games to maintain this Giants group above water. Their roster is the one factor thinner than their margin of error. They’re enjoying with too many backups and third-stringers or worse to maintain any sort of success.
The Giants simply appear like a group that is falling aside.
Not that Daboll was keen to entertain any of these ideas Thursday, dismissing their struggles as simply “the ebbs and flows of a season.” Requested if he sees this as a little bit of a crossroads for his broken group, he snapped earlier than the query was even completed.
“No,” he mentioned. “I see us on the brink of play Washington.”
That sport is all of a sudden big, as a result of with a loss, the Giants may discover themselves outdoors the NFC playoff image.
Prepared or not, they’re within the deep finish of the playoff race now, the water is getting uneven, they usually’re working out of time to recollect how one can swim.
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Each day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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