This game saw BOTH offenses have the same exact problem. Each team’s offense had no running game, each team’s defense could tee off on the pass rush, one team adapted and the other did not. In fact, the Giants offense had the better hand- Romo was beat up and hurting, almost immobile for most of the game. Yet the Dallas offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, made a simple adjustment: he started calling screens, quick passes, slip screens and draws. Our pressure was negated somewhat, not entirely, but ENOUGH. Enough to save Tony Romo’s life and keep the Dallas offense operating after the Giants had 3 quick sacks. The Giants? Gilbrown was utterly horrible in the playcalling. Granted, the offense is trying to find an identity after Burress. But when your team cannot run (because the Burress safety is cheating on run duty) and the defense is going after the QB, you need to simply take the aggressiveness away from that pass rush. Quick slants, 3 step drops, slip screens, draws, TE dumpoff checkdowns above the line of scrimmage. Instead, we got long 7 step drops, and …shocking… 8 sacks. The Giants had a rookie CB to pick on, but did not take (more) advantage of that. Manning took a beating tonight, and it was not all his offensive line’s fault (although Diehl and Boothe were bad). His offensive coordinator cannot figure it out. Madden talked about how the WRs couldn’t get away from press coverage. At the end of the game he mentions how the only runs that were working for either team were draw plays… duh, NATURALLY! Those are running plays that work when they are PASS RUSHING! This is life after Burress. Hixon vs Newman? I would ignore that altogether, or just try a quick slant for the 1:1 coverage.
We are going to hear all week about how the Giants are in trouble, that they have lost two in a row. And it is ENTIRELY on Gilbrown. He has enough talent to make this offensive unit adapt to the new world of life after Burress. Counting on Gilbrown for in-game adjustments is tantamount to a loss. Boss, Ward and Bradshaw could have been used so much this evening on short passing plays. When we saw how Witten could rumble for first downs by catching the ball 5 yards past the line of scrimmage, it was simply nauseating. When Gilbrown finally hits Bradshaw on a quick out pass in the flat near the end of Q3 that goes for 16 yards, we ask if Gilbrown is finally getting it. Nope, back to the Dallas tee off pass rush, where three plays later they blitz and the middle of the field is WIDE open. A small screen play and the receiver is still running! But instead it is another sack.
BOTH TEAMS WERE LEMONS TONIGHT. Garrett made lemonade, Gilbride was the lemon. The Giants could have and should have won this game easily. All they needed to do was play the same small ball with quick drops and passes right behind the box. This is two weeks in a row now. The Eagles got it done, the Garretts got it done. And we may be waiting until next season before Gilbrown figures it out. EMBRACE CHANGE. CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS. Once again, this was not on the defense. They tired at the very end from lack of support. The Giants offense scored 0 last game, and 6 points this game. The brutal facts are that Gilbrown cannot adapt quickly. We need the bye desperately to heal guys like Robbins, Jacobs, (McKenzie?) and others who are playing hurt. If Gilbrown does not figure it out AND FAST, our season will end even faster. The good news is that this is not rocket science. The bad news is that my confidence in Gilbrown (which was never high) is falling with every series where he does not understand the need for a simple middle screen or TE checkdown. There is still plenty of time before the playoffs to get that offensive rhythm. We can beat the Panthers and all will be well. But only if Gilbrown stops trying to use a sledgehammer to sew a hem. I still believe in the Giants. I cannot say the same for Gilbrown, a man who took a team that was leading the league in 29 points of scoring AVERAGE per game and ground it to a total halt at 3 points per. Incompetent.
Summary: Jason Garrett would have won if given either team to coach. Kevin Gilbrown would have lost if given either side. And there is no way that a team loses one player and goes from scoring an average of 29 points per game to an average of 3 points per game. You need a catalyst to halt that kind of reaction, and his name is Gilbrown.