New York Giants: 3 major takeaways from loss to Cardinals in week 14

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants put forth an embarrassing performance against the Arizona Cardinals in week 14, coming off a major win over the Seattle Seahawks.

After most believed the Giants had turned the corner and became a solid team, reality smacked us right in the face. The Giants’ offense only posted seven points against an average Arizona defense, and it is clear that Big Blue has a long way to go before they can be considered an above-average team.

Three major takeaways in the New York Giants’ loss to Arizona:

1.) Daniel Jones was not fit to play

It was clear from the beginning that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was limiting Daniel Jones and his playcalling. It seems as if he axed half the playbook to keep Jones safe in the pocket, but the offensive line allowed eight sacks on the day and Jones fumbled three times. He finished with only 127 yards, not picking up a single rushing yard.

If Jones wasn’t fully healthy to make a return, the Giants should never have put him in a position to fail. Not only was this a confidence crushing decision, but the Giants now have plenty of terrible film to look at. At the very least, Colt McCoy could’ve provided some sort of athleticism where Jones was simply trapped in the pocket with very limited mobility.

Nonetheless, Arizona dialed up a perfect game plan against the Giants, utilizing their athleticism on defense to take advantage of a young offensive front. Left tackle Andrew Thomas had a tough day, and right tackle  Cam Fleming was also beaten up on multiple occasions. Not only did the Giants lose massively in time of possession, but they turned the ball over three times.

2.) The Giants didn’t commit to the run

Last week, Wayne Gallman rushed for 135 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per carry. This week, he rushed for 57 yards and 4.8 yards per carry. That is still a solid average, and the Giants should’ve committed more to him, keeping the defense off the field and Daniel Jones from throwing the football.

Instead, Johns threw the ball 21 times, but it was a time of possession that severely limited their ability to call plays efficiently. While Arizona had 37:52 of possession, the Giants had just 22:08. Running the football is their bread and butter, and they didn’t do a good enough job relying on it, which ultimately led to turnovers and eight sacks this week and an unacceptable number that the Giants must take care of moving forward.

3.) Special Teams remains a problem

For the third consecutive game, the Giants’ special-teams unit hurt their chances at winning. Kick returner Dion Lewis fumbled in the first quarter, giving Arizona possession in the red zone, in which they tacked on three points.

The Giants didn’t earn a single punt return, even went Jabrill Peppers had room in front of him to spare, he called a fair catch. They allowed an average of 12.8 yards per return to Arizona and a long of 24. They simply haven’t done a good enough job on punts, and their kick return defense has been skeptical at best.

If this phase of the game isn’t solved soon, it will be a deciding factor for them when it comes to making the playoffs. This is a major loss for the Giants, but there was always going to be some hiccups during this four-game stretch against winning opponents.