Giants takeaways from 20-9 loss to Dolphins, including inept offense

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Mike Glennon makes throw in blue uniform against Dolphins
Mike Glennon makes throw in blue uniform against Dolphins

New play caller, new quarterback … it doesn’t really matter. The Giants’ offense is just pathetic.

And that’s the reason another season is lost.

Whatever longshot playoff hopes the Giants had disappeared in a dumpster fire on Sunday as they lost 20-9 in Miami. Their offense was as impotent as ever, gaining just 250 total yards as backup quarterback Mike Glennon (23 of 44, 187 yards, one interception) was pummeled by the Dolphins’ blitzing defense. Yeah, they weren’t likely to light up the scoreboard with quarterback Daniel Jones out with a neck injury anyway.

But Glennon, thanks to the sad cast around him, never really had a chance.

Most of the problem was what it usually is – the offensive line. Glennon actually wasn’t sacked in the first half, but most of his throws seemed rushed as he made some quick ones to get himself out of trouble. In the second half, though, the Dolphins teed off on him. He ended up getting sacked three times and seemingly hit a heck of a lot more than that.

It didn’t help that he was hurt by drops, including two by Saquon Barkley, and some plays that should’ve been made, like a deep shot that went off Evan Engram’s hands in the third. Glennon wasn’t particularly sharp, but when a backup quarterback is forced to start, he usually needs a little help from his teammates.

Glennon, for most of this game, got none.

And really, it was embarrassing. In fact, if there was ever a sequence that summed up the Giants’ offense, it’s the one that happened at the end of the third quarter. On first and 10 from their own 27 with 2:03 left to play, Glennon somehow threw way behind receiver John Ross, who was wide open. Then, on the next play, he rolled right and seemed to hold the ball forever until Miami’s Jaelen Phillips hit him for a 13-yard sack.

The Giants had to burn a timeout right after that at 1:15 because they were about to get called for a delay of game penalty. Then, when they came out of the timeout, Glennon was sacked by Phillips again. On the next play – third and 30 -- they brought in an extra tackle, perhaps to help with the protection. But it didn’t matter because before the snap they got called for delay of game.

It’s not the play-calling. You can’t even blame that on all the injuries.

It’s simple incompetence.

New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon (2) talks to his teammates prior a play against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.
New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon (2) talks to his teammates prior a play against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.

So in two games now with senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens calling the plays, the Giants have totalled 514 yards and 22 points. They’ve gone four straight games without hitting 300 total yards and haven’t topped 302 in seven straight games, dating back to mid-October.

The Giants defense wasn’t great, but it certainly gave the offense a chance to win this game. Unfortunately, at this point, with this Giants offense, the only way they’ll truly have a chance to win is if the defense pitches a shutout.

Yes, it really is that bad.

Here are some more takeaways from the loss that almost certainly puts an end to the Giants’ hopes and dreams this season:

- Yes, we know, the Giants offense his horrid, and it not surprisingly was a big issue against this blitz-happy Dolphins defense. I’m starting to wonder if their calls are just too complicated for them. Aside from their usual inability to block, they seemed to have difficulty deciding whom to try and block when the Dolphins sent pressure. Too many times the running back was left with two defenders running at him while the tackle (either side) leaned inside to block someone else. Some of it is basic – like guard Will Hernandez struggling to pick up stunts – but a few times left tackle Andrew Thomas was looking at an overload to his left, and he blocked inside to his right. Was that the call or did he just blow it? I’m not really sure anymore.

- Barkley has a long way to go to look like the guy the Giants drafted No. 2 overall. This time he had 55 rushing yards on 11 carries, but that included a 23-yard run. So he averaged 2.2 yards per rush on his other 10 carries. And he was even less effective in the passing game where he had six catches for 19 yards, but amazingly that included back-to-back, 11-yard catches he had on the Giants’ final, meaningless drive. No, he’s not getting a lot of help, but there was a time when he could make defenders miss and create his own space. It doesn’t seem like that can happen anymore.

- WR Kenny Golladay looked like he was on the way to his long-awaited breakout game, with 3 catches for 37 yards early in the second quarter. Then he was lost with injured ribs. And while he came back in the second half, he didn’t have another catch. With Golladay hurt along with WRs Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, the Giants’ receiving corps was basically Darius Slayton, Ross, Pharoah Cooper and Collin Johnson for most of this game.

- One thing about Glennon: He’s always had a big arm, and he showed it with some impressive, mid-range throws throughout the game. His decision-making has always been the issue, though, and that showed on his first incompletion – an interception by Dolphins corner Xavier Howard. He was looking for Slayton deep, but he was double covered. It also didn’t help that his long pass ended up being underthrown. His touch seemed off most of the game – like on that pass that was behind a wide-open Ross – but that makes sense given how infrequently he’s played.

- Glennon not only isn’t the runner that Jones is, he’s basically a statue in the pocket. That’s why instead of rolling the pocket like they had been doing with Jones to compensate for some awful offensive line play, the Giants went with more screen passes and quick outs. Glennon did a decent job on those, though his touch on some of them was a little off.

- How buried on the depth chart is tackle Matt Peart, a third-round pick from just one year ago? Nate Solder was “questionable” with an elbow injury and Peart couldn’t even get worked into a rotation at RT in this game. Also, when the Giants went with a “jumbo” package and brought in a tackle as a tight end, it wasn’t Peart. It was Korey Cunningham. That’s just awful for a second-day pick in his second season.

- On the Dolphins’ last drive before the end of the first half, Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa went 11 for 12 for 77 yards and threw a five-yard touchdown pass to TE Mack Hollins. The Giants barely put any pressure on the quarterback on that drive, which left the secondary exposed. That was basically the story on both of Miami’s touchdown drives. The Giants’ secondary isn’t bad, but they have no chance when quarterbacks are given all the time in the world in the pocket.

- The Giants’ pass rush wasn’t all bad. They did sack Tagovailoa twice -- once each by rookies Azeez Ojulari and Quincy Roche. Both those linebackers should be a part of the Giants’ future. Ojulari was a steal in the second round of the draft and Roche was a great waiver pickup by the Giants after the sixth-rounder was cut by the Steelers after camp.

- Rookie CB Aaron Robinson, filling in for the injured Adoree’ Jackson, is going to be good. He’s shown some flashes of very good coverage. Unfortunately, he sometimes has a bit of trouble getting his eyes on the ball, which leaves him vulnerable to getting turned around by a receiver. It happened a couple of times in this game.

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