The New York Giants fell 20-6 to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday evening after being flexed to the prime time slot.
However, while the Giants had played better football after the BYE week, injuries have taken their toll and limited their success. Without starting quarterback Daniel Jones and star corner James Bradberry, the Giants were always at a disadvantage against a high octane Brownâ€™s offense. They simply worked the clock and kept the ball in their possession, understanding that racking up the points wasnâ€™t necessary to beat a shredded Giants defense.
Head coach Joe Judge admitted one thing with his game plan, he knew his team wasnâ€™t up to the task against Cleveland. The Giants were outmatched regarding personnel, and Judge understood that taking aggressive risks was the only way his team was going to keep the contest close.
The New York Giants knew they needed to take risks:
On the opening drive of the game, the Giants marched 40 yards downfield to the Cleveland 8 yard line. They lined up in field-goal formation, getting the ball into the hands of punter Riley Dixon, who threw an inaccurate pass to Center Nick Gates in the end zone.
Not only was the throw off its mark, but most would argue that the Giants shouldâ€™ve taken the three points and walked away with the lead. The aggressive playcalling by Judge is justified based on how unlikely it was the Giants would stay in this contest. Making risky decisions like this are necessary, but running an actual play with the offense on the field mightâ€™ve been the better move instead of utilizing your punter to throw a bad pass to a center in the end zone. That is the part I disagree with.
This wasnâ€™t the only time the Giants tried to go for it in the red zone, as later in the first quarter, the Giants turned the ball over on downs for the second time.
After marching 68 yards on 12 plays, the Giants found themselves with a 4th-and-2 situation at the Cleveland 6. At this point, utilizing another special teams fake was out of the question, so the Giants elected to run Wayne Gallman straight up the middle for a 1 yard gain. I donâ€™t necessarily hate this playcalling with Gallmanâ€™s style of running, as he just barely missed the first down by an inch or two.
However, it simply didnâ€™t go to the Giantsâ€™ way, and they were beaten on two consecutive fourth-down tries in the red zone. That was the deciding factor of the game, and if the Giants converted on both of those, we might be telling a different story today.
Overall, these risky decisions made by Judge told us one thing, he didnâ€™t trust his team to win this game on their own; they needed to be overly aggressive. There is no sugarcoating in the NFL, and with a backup quarterback and thin defense, getting whatever points necessary was essential. Judge did the right thing; his team just couldnâ€™t get the job done.