New York Giants: 3 big takeaways from the loss to Cleveland

New York Giants, Cleveland Browns
Dec 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Colt McCoy (12) takes a snap against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants fell to the Cleveland Browns 20-6 on Sunday evening, after being flexed to a primetime game from the 1 PM slot.

Unfortunately, the Giants were without starting quarterback Daniel Jones and star corner James Bradberry. This severely limited their abilities on offense, and the secondary was incapable of keeping up with Baker Mayfield.

With this loss, the Giants still remain in second place in the NFC East, thanks to Washington being defeated by the Seattle Seahawks. However, Big Blue will prepare for a contest against the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, an equally competitive team compared to the Browns. Barring an unlikely win, the Giants will desperately need Washington to lose the rest of their games and things to come down to a week 17 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

Three takeaways in the New York Giants’ loss to Cleveland:

1.) The Giants live and die by the pass-rush

The Giants were shredded by quarterback Baker Mayfield, who threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked just once, indicating a poor pass rush by the Giants. On defense, they live and die by their interior defenders, who simply weren’t able to overcome a solid Brown’s offensive line.

The outside linebackers group for the Giants was simply shredded by injuries and unable to provide much support. This is a unit that will need bolstering next off-season.

2.) James Bradberry is the glue

The secondary was simply stretched and picked apart by Mayfield, who completed 27 passes on 32 attempts. He was phenomenal, but that was primarily due to the absence of James Bradberry, one of the best corners in the NFL this year. The Giants utilized safety Julian Love and number two corner Isaac Yiadom to hold down the opposing receivers, but the Browns took advantage of zone coverage routinely against the Giants.

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham tried his best, but Cleveland had control the entire game, as Mayfield averaged 9.3 yards per completion and finished with a 126.2 quarterback rating.

3.) The offense is a complete mess

If you’ve watched the offense this year, you can make one conclusion, they are terrible. This is the second consecutive game the Giants have only posted a single digit on the scoreboard, finishing with a combined 13 points in that timeframe.

It is clear that the offense desperately needs support, whether it be a top wide receiver or a new play-caller, to spark things. Of course, they will gain back star running back Saquon Barkley in 2021, but their inability to put points on the bird translates to inadequacy.

They simply aren’t good enough to be a playoff contender, and the Giants need to understand, and if they don’t allocate ample resources toward the unit, they are going to be in big trouble again next year.

Whether it means gauging alternative quarterback options or signing/drafting a top pass-catcher, one could argue sweeping changes are needed to revitalize the offense.

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