Because Eli likes to dink and dunk we loaded our underneath coverage with up to five guys. In the above pic we rushed three and dropped our defensive ends to get five in underneath coverage along with three deep.
Safeties: Everett subbed in for the injured Nicholson and played a lot of press coverage over their Tight Ends:
Against I-Formation that left him as the target of a Fullback Iso block. He got points for sticking his nose in there against the run.
Linebackers: Foster/Compton/Spaight’s replacement was handled by two guys:
- Vigil got the early downs
- Harvey-Clemons did a reprise of the Cravensbacker role on late passing downs; he was basically a hybrid between Safety and Linebacker.
Their was no strategy worth going over. Pass game: Eli dinked and dunked, run game: a mix of Power with Inside Zone. The end. Talent wise they have a good center and their guards were ok, but outside of that I saw nothing I’d want on our team.
We had their formations downloaded by the second quarter and even though they tried a few tweaks in the second half, nothing worked.
+ plays are good. - plays are bad. If it's a ho-hum play, like a 3 yard gain on first down, then usually nobody will do worse or better than -1 or +1. But give up a 64 yard touchdown (-4) or get a TFL/Sack (+2) and I go higher in either direction. Pressure: If the quarterback comfortably held onto the ball for longer than 3 seconds: -1. If the QB felt pressure in 3 seconds or less: +1. I also factor in how many guys are rushing.
The pressure score would’ve been higher if Eli had attempted throws longer than 5 yards.
Hood and Ioannidis are making a great duo up front. Versus Power they drew the double team inside and reduced the ground linebackers had to cover in order to fill against the puller. On zone plays they closed down gaps while taking on blockers which kept the linebackers clean.
Anthony Lanier struggles against the run continued, here he needed to flow down the line and force the running back to cut it towards Everett who was filling from behind:
He got zero movement down the line and gave up an alley inside for the back to cut into.
Lanier’s interior pass rush was great:
but if he doesn’t make the final 53 next year it will be because of his issues against the run.
Meanwhile, AJ Francis was solid against the run. I didn’t see anything good or bad from his pass rush (he was on the sideline for most pass plays) but against the run he was strong enough to shock and shed:
He is the inverse of Lanier. To use an outdated SAT analogy format, Vigil:Harvey-Clemons::Francis:Lanier.
As we dig deeper into our depth chart it looks like we have to choose between a pass specialist or a run specialist. With backups on both levels, the defensive line and linebacker corps, we had a run guy and a pass guy but not a guy that could do both.
Zach Brown played with the same ups and downs he has all season, lots of ups against the run and some big downs against the pass. Here everyone is in man to man and Brown just loses track of the RB:
credit the pressure, but if Eli makes that throw the RB is one on one in space and six points becomes a very real possibility. FWIW that was his only issue in coverage, he settled down after that.
Against the run he was diagnosing plays by formation and using his speed to run guys down.
Here the Giants get in a formation they used earlier to run an inside zone play (tight zone.) Brown recognizes it and fires into the intended gap, spilling the RB outside to Hood and Francis:
Just two plays after leaving the game with an injury he came back in for the 4th and 1 and didn’t shy away from contact. He smashed into the Fullback on their side of the ball and left the running back exposed to anyone who could beat their block:
nobody could, but that’s still a gutsy play.
A third run play he had diagnosed before the snap was their Power run:
So he had downloaded their Power, Iso and Inside Zone plays before the first half was over and was practically dive bombing the line of scrimmage on all of them.
When the Giants tried to change things up in the second half with a Crack Sweep, Brown tracked it down with his speed:
Even though DJ lost ground to his blocker and deepened Brown’s path to the ball, he still got there (also +2 to Josh Norman for taking out both pullers on the play.)
Brown played like a guy that was going to win the game by himself and in a short week where I had to look up half of our front seven just to learn their names, that was not a bad strategy.
Coverage: Eli’s throws were attached to a short leash and with our guys zoning everything off underneath he had a tough time finding anyone open.
Because of all his spineless throws, Norman tried to take a gamble on this 3rd and 14:
He was going for a pick six and gave up the route behind him in the process. Going for the flat route on 3rd and 14 shows you what he thought of Eli’s decision making. That was the Giants biggest play of the first half and it came on their only scoring drive of the entire game.
DJ had the fewest negatives of the season thanks to Everett manning up on the Tight Ends. DJ was freed up from his man coverage duties, where he has gotten burned at least once a game, and picked up extra snaps at deep safety.
Who played well: Level of competition caveats apply but Hood and Ioannidis up front and Brown at the second level. In the secondary Breeland, DJ and Everett all came through.
Player of the Game: Zach Brown. He held together a bruised front seven that was scrapped together on a short week. Vigil and Harvey-Clemons deserve credit for not messing up but Brown was the one playing every down, blowing up A gaps, running down sweeps and diagnosing runs before the snap. Honorable Mention: Kerrigan for the two sacks.
2017 POTG Standings:
I went back and picked out winners based on game-winning plays and overall grades.
3: Brown (Eagles I, Cowboys I, Giants I)
2: Ioannidis (Chiefs, 49ers)
1 (six way tie):
- Compton (Seahawks)
- DJ (Vikings)
- Foster (Rams)
- Hood (Saints)
- Kerrigan (Eagles II)
- Smith (Raiders)
Gotta Get Better: Lanier versus run, Brown had one big gaffe in coverage. Norman got beat twice, once because he got turned around and once because of a gamble.
Predictions From Last Week
- Eli finishes under 5 YPA
- 4.2 YPA, that is over a yard less than Joe Flacco’s average which is currently ranked dead last in the NFL.
- Smith and Kerrigan combine for 3 sacks
- Two, both from Kerrigan. Smith was quiet this game.
- Spaight or Brown get an interception
- That was before Spaight was deactivated. I thought with all the short passes something might get tipped.
What Does It Mean For Dallas?
- Up front, we need Ioannidis and Hood healthy. If they start then the rest of the guys can play within in their roles; McGee is fine in limited snaps, Francis can play the run and Lanier can get spot duty on passing downs. Ask any of them to elevate their snap count and things get a bit shakey.
- Vigil seemed fine against the run but Dallas has a stronger offensive line than the Giants, especially at the Tackle positions. It would be nice to get Spaight back.
- Everett was ok against Engram, his only slip-up was a 19-yarder he gave up in press coverage. It’ll be interesting to see if he plays Witten the same way. I’m not sure if he can just press him at the line without getting hammered versus run. Having him on the field is a plus because it keeps DJ away from man coverage. The question is how will he hold up in man to man.
- The tape from this game might tempt Dak to test Norman. I hope he does.
- I haven’t seen how abysmal they are without Zeke, but I hear it’s pretty bad.