After bottling up Derrick Henry in Week 1 and keeping Christian McCaffrey in check (save for one 49-yard run) in Week 2, the New York Giants run defense fell apart against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 178 yards and one touchdown. Perhaps more importantly, they averaged 6.81 yards per carry. That was up from the 3.49 yards per carry average the Giants had allowed over the first two weeks.
A major reason for that discrepancy likely stemmed from the absence of defensive lineman Leonard Williams. But whatever the reason, Dexter Lawrence found it “unacceptable.”
“That was unacceptable from all of us up front. They schemed us up well, got good leverage. We’ve just got to play harder and more disciplined with our techniques,” Lawrence told reporters on Wednesday. “Honestly, they were just out-leveraging us on the edge. That’s kind of what you saw on film. We’ve just got to do a better job of knocking the guys back as a unit and pressing the running back hips just to get him down. They just did a really good job scheming us and it was a good team.”
With or without Williams, the Giants have to figure things out fast. They go up against a run-heavy team in the Chicago Bears on Sunday, who are currently second in the league in rushing (560 yards).
“That’s their gameplan, that’s their scheme. Each week, you’ve got to stop the offensive schemes,” Lawrence said.
With a game against the Green Bay Packers in London looming, the Giants can ill-afford to allow the Bears to run all over them and send them overseas with a record of 2-2.