It’s never fair, or even smart, to dissect just one play in a loss … but let’s give it a shot anyway.
The New York Giants‘ offense was facing a third-and-goal from the Dallas 10-yard line in the middle of the second quarter. The Giants had run the ball on first down and lost six yards. On second down, Eli Manning basically threw it away over the head of everyone and out of the back of the end zone.
So on third-and-goal from the 10, New York ran a draw play to Andre Brown, who picked up half the yardage and fell five yards shy of a touchdown. That’s right — a draw. How was this the play call? Did offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride really expect Brown to rattle off a 10-yard touchdown run? Did Manning read something in the defense and change the play at the line of scrimmage?
Personally, I’m inclined to think it was Gilbride’s call. I could be wrong and in that case, I apologize to the offensive coordinator. However, this play call seems to be right in Gilbride’s wheelhouse.
The Giants are not a good red zone team to put it mildly, but basically conceding a third-and-goal situation and settling for a field goal seems ludicrous. The Giants need to give Manning a chance to make a play, even if it is just a fade route or to Rueben Randle, or something else fairly basic. It’s not like it was third-and-goal from the 20-yard line and the Giants just wanted to escape with three points. Teams have scored on passing plays from 10 yards out before.
Would the play call have been different if Hakeem Nicks were in the game?
I don’t see why that would make a difference. In the past, Nicks has displayed the athleticism to come down with jump balls and catches in traffic, but he has zero touchdowns on the year. Randle is the one who has been the biggest threat in the red zone with six touchdown receptions.
Did the Giants lose because of this play? Absolutely not. However, a touchdown in that situation could have been the difference. Once again, there is no guarantee that New York scores if they call a pass in that situation. In fact, they almost definitely do not score if a pass is called, but what’s the harm in giving someone a chance to make a play. It’s just simply frustrating — words that sum up the Giants’ season pretty well.