ReFo: Giants @ Redskins, Week 13
The past two weeks Sunday Night Football has seen the Denver Broncos beat the Kansas City Chiefs and then lose to the New England Patriots. This week, NBC shifted their focus from the contenders and looked at two teams trying to make the best of bad seasons, with the result a scrappy game where neither offense was able to impose itself continuously.
Ultimately it was the miscues that decided who walked out victorious as the Redskins’ passing attack in particular suffered from a horrendous case of the drops, a terrible fumble, and some miscommunication to ensure they couldn’t put a Giants team to rest. Credit to the G-Men, however, who adjusted after a horrible start to power past their divisional foes, keeping alive their postseason hopes.
Giants – Three Performances of Note
Your Defensive Player of the Week
I say that not because Justin Tuck (+2.7) was the best defensive player in the NFL in Week 13, nor was he even the best in this game. But it would be foolish to think we live in a world where performance and context triumphs numbers and sensationalism.
Tuck played well. At times, very well and none more so than his first sack where he went past Chris Chester as if he wasn’t there. But outside of that first play, look into how the sacks went down. Three that didn’t see him beat a man, with one the fault of a QB holding onto the ball too long, another where edge pressure ran the QB into him, and one more where he was completely unblocked.
All of these got positive grades, but marginal positives because we put a premium on beating a man to pick up a sack. It’s why you can’t expect this kind of repeat performance because you aren’t going to often be gift-wrapped three sacks. So credit to Tuck for earning his fifth grade in the green in six games, but don’t go overboard.
Left Side Woes
The Giants revamped (if not by design) left side of the line didn’t have a game to remember as from center to left tackle they picked up a -8.3 collective grade. Each had their flaws (and we’ll talk a little more about Will Beatty later) but it was James Brewer (-3.9) who caught the eye for all the wrong reasons.
In his second start of the year at left guard he had a solid outing against the Cowboys but the more fearsome Redskins’ front were a little too much for him. His chief problems came in pass protection where he was beat for a hit and three hurries, but he didn’t exactly enjoy himself in the running game either as all too often the team struggled to open a hole in the running game (outside of a couple of runs in the second quarter), constantly forcing their backs to change direction and be funneled into the arms of unblocked defenders.
The team will need more out of him going forward.
One of the league’s most constant talkers, Antrel Rolle (+3.0) is never shy about putting himself front and center. When he plays like this you understand why. The versatile safety enjoyed life back at his favored position to pick up his fifth positive grade in six and his best of the season to date. He made a number of key plays in the run game, none more so than the tackle he picked up when he beat Evan Roysters’ lead block for a tackle for a loss (Q2, 8:46). He added some crucial plays in the passing game as well, with his hit causing a drop from Fred Davis on the Redskins’ penultimate offensive play. Still, Rolle was somewhat overshadowed by the game clinching play from Will Hill (+3.9) who continued his breakout season with a strip fumble that allowed Eli Manning to take a couple of knees.
Redskins – Three Performances of Note
While all the plaudits post-match were on Justin Tuck, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Brian Orakpo (+6.5) who delivered his best performance of the year. It didn’t take him long to work over Will Beatty, beating him on his inside shoulder for a sack on the Giants’ first passing play. He followed that up with another sack when he again worked on his inside shoulder, while also picking up a hurry on his outside and drawing a flag (Q2, 5:46) after beating him again. His two sacks and one hurry numbers aren’t sexy, but the quality of them are mighty impressive. Couple that with some excellent work in the run game where the Giants tried to get Brandon Myers to slow him down, and you had the kind of all-around game that will likely earn him Team of the Week honors.
God Awful Garcon
Back in Week 9 I had the pleasure of watching Pierre Garcon tear it up against the San Diego secondary. This week? I had the misfortune to see him have a game he’ll long to forget. If Justin Tuck had all his Christmas’ come in one go, then Garcon saw all his nightmares before his eyes as he dropped two passes, was flagged for a silly delay of game penalty, had a costly miscommunication in the redzone with RG3, and to top it all off allowed himself to be stripped of the ball with the Redskins marching to tie the game. Receivers don’t often earn -4.3 but the supremely talented Garcon did.
Coming off two negatives grades and his worst output in pass protection (two sacks and five hurries allowed), Trent Williams (+6.4) certainly had something to prove this week and prove it he did. The Redskins’ scheme utilizes a lot of stretch plays and the problem for defensive players is that once you’re moving laterally and Williams has his hands on you, there really is very little you can do, with Mathias Kiwanuka often fighting a losing battle to dig his heels in as Williams got him on skates. It’s that kind of power and agility that made him the fourth overall pick in 2010 and why he remains the star of this line. In pass protection, he allowed one hurry from the Jason Pierre-Paul less Giants.
– The average time to sack for RG3 this week was 4.64 seconds, highlighting how he at times can help pass rushers polish their numbers.
– Hakeem Nicks was targeted just two times compared to the seven of Victor Cruz despite both running the same number of routes (31).
– In earning a +6.6 grade Barry Cofield picked up two hits, two hurries, and three defensive stops in the run game.
The Giants may have earned their victory, but the star of the show was Brian Orakpo.
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