EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — While they finished the first half of the season with a very unexpected 6-2 record, the New York Giants showed in their loss to Seattle their margin of error is slim.
The Giants are not one of those teams so deep in talent it can overcome turnovers, penalties, missed assignments, bad luck or even bad calls.
Brian Daboll isn't coaching the Chiefs, or Bills or the Eagles. The Giants are a team with some talent — Saquon Barkley — that plays hard and fights until the end. They staged some nice comebacks in beating the Titans, Ravens and Packers earlier in the season.
However, they were not good enough to overcome two lost fumbles by Richie James on punt returns and an anemic offensive performance in a 27-13 loss to the Seahawks (5-3) on Sunday.
“You might be a good team, but if you have breakdowns, then you lose games,” safety Julian Love said Monday. “That’s what it was for us yesterday: turnovers, penalties. That’s the story of the game in the league and we’ve done a great job up to this point of keeping that in check, so we’re going to clear that stuff out of the way and handle that.”
What's encouraging for the Giants is they have found ways to win, despite outscoring their opponents by only six points this season. Daboll and his staff have gotten the most out of their players, even the ones stepping up to fill in for an injured teammate.
Don't forget, this was an organization that has had five straight losing seasons and has not been to the playoffs since 2016. In his first year as coach, Daboll has turned things around.
“I think we’re all excited,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “It’s been fun to win, it’s been fun to play well, and pull out some of these games down the stretch. We appreciate the position we’re in, we’re enjoying that. But there’s a lot of work to do. I don’t think anyone is satisfied with where we are.”
Andrew Thomas. The left tackle is playing his best football. The fourth pick in the 2020 draft is being called by many one of the NFL's top tackles, and possibly an All-Pro pick.
“As long as the team is winning, I’m feeling good – especially if I’m doing a good job contributing,” he said Monday. “I think all of the individual accolades come if you’re winning, you’re playing well. So, I just try to focus on getting better each day and I think those things come later on.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Opposing teams are starting to realize the Giants are a run-first team with Barkley, with no deep threats for Jones. General manager Joe Schoen needs to add a wideout who can make defenses not stay so close to the line of scrimmage. The current group of wideouts is incapable of doing that.
Leonard Williams. After a stock down week against Jacksonville, Williams responded with a tying for the team lead with eight tackles, his first sack of the season and a team-best five quarterback hits.
James. His fumbles on the punt returns were the difference. Two turnovers gave the Seahawks 10 points. His receiving production has also dropped. After catching 14 passes in the first three games, he has had only six in the last five, and none Sunday against Seattle.
Defensive lineman Nick Williams left in the first half with a biceps injury and did not return. ... James went into the concussion protocol after his second fumble.
3 — That’s how many more wins the Giants need to guarantee their first winning season since 2016. They have nine games left. Five more wins probably will get them back to the playoffs.
The Giants are banged up and need to rest. Barkley has been playing through a shoulder injury. CB Cor'Dale Flott (calf), LB Oshane Ximines (quad), WR Kenny Golladay (knee) and OT Evan Neal (knee) all will be closer to returning this month. Schoen might need to help the receiving corps before Tuesday's trade deadline.
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