The New York Giants‘ offensive line helped sink their offense throughout their matchup against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The blame cannot be placed solely on their shoulders, but the struggles the o-line went through on Sunday need to be addressed if the Giants are going to make any kind of push at the playoffs this season.
In pass protection, the offensive line held up for most of the game. They allowed just one sack, but Eli Manning did face pressure on several occasions. He was constantly flushed from the pocket and forced to make throws on the run and out of his comfort zone.
The running game, however, was nothing short of a catastrophe. The Giants finished the game with 23 total rushing yards, which drops their rushing offense to 31st in the NFL after two games. Just a reminder, there are 32 teams in the NFL.
David Wilson led New York with 17 rushing yards on seven attempts. That’s an average of 2.4 yards per carry. Recent acquisition Brandon Jacobs ran the ball seven times and finished with a mere four yards. Third-string running back Da’Rel Scott had five carries and gained two total yards.
Saying the running game was non-existent would be incorrect. Non-existent means that the rushing attack made no impact on this game, when in fact, the Giants’ running game constantly hurt the offense. The Giants lost yards on run after run, forcing Manning and the passing attack to face exceedingly difficult third-and-long situations.
Let’s take a look at some of the failed drives for the Giants offense.
New York’s second drive of the game started with a run to Wilson and he lost three yards on the play. Manning found tight end Bear Pascoe for three yards on second down to bring the Giants to third-and-ten. Manning then hit Myers for seven yards and the Giants were forced to punt.
The very next drive began with a Manning incomplete pass. On second down, Jacobs lost three yards. Facing third-and-thirteen, Manning threw an incomplete pass intended for Jerrel Jernigan. Once again, the Giants had to surrender and punt it away.
To begin the second half, Eli Manning was sacked for a loss of nine yards on the very first play from scrimmage. Manning threw an incomplete pass on second down and found Victor Cruz for eight yards on third down. On fourth-and-eleven the Giants once again punted.
With 12:19 left in the game, the Giants were down 31-16. Manning and the offense picked up a first down on two passing plays. On first down, Scott lost one yard on a rush. Manning threw an incompletion on second down and the Giants were looking at a third-and-eleven. Manning threw another incomplete pass on third down and the Giants punted. The punt was returned 81 yards for a touchdown by Denver’s Trindon Holliday.
In the end, the New York Giants converted just one third down out of 11 opportunities. Third-and-long situations cannot appear this frequently. It makes it impossible for an offense to sustain drives and that was evident throughout the game on Sunday.
The offensive line has to take the brunt of the blame. Barry Sanders could not have rushed for fifty yards behind these guys. Time after time, a Denver defensive tackle found his way into the backfield.
Center David Baas made his season debut but that didn’t seem to make a difference, and the Giants still have a few weeks before they get David Diehl back. The offense will continue to sputter along if the offensive line does not improve drastically in the upcoming week.