For a team that didn’t score a single point through three quarters Sunday, the New York Giants had quite the fourth-quarter collapse.
New York trailed Philadelphia 14-0 in the fourth quarter before scoring three touchdowns in less than five minutes to take a 21-14 lead. The Giants, however, lost a pair of late leads, this after the defense allowed three scoring drives in the final six minutes.
The worst part? The Eagles did most of their fourth-quarter damage on the ground. They finished with 39 carries for 193 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
What happened to the Giants defense?
“You get tired,” former NFL player and current NFL analyst Jamie Dukes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The offense is doing nothing, they’re not running the football, they’re not physical, they’re not tough. If you can’t run the football, you can’t stop the run – because you’re not getting challenged in practice. The Giants are not exempt from that rule. It’s the same old rule: if you can’t run the ball, you can’t stop the run.”
Eli Manning finished 35-of-47 for 366 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had two interceptions and the ground game, once again, was non-existent. New York rushed 17 times for 49 yards (2.9 yards per carry).
“Tired,” Dukes reiterated, explaining the defense’s late-game struggles. “Tired. It’s real simple. You cannot put that kind of pressure on a team. Any of these teams – I call them surfer teams – who can’t run the football, the same thing applies. In training camp, you don’t get challenged. The defense doesn’t get challenged because the offense is so soft. And so, that’s the reason why it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter what’s going to happen. The Giants’ season is over.”
The Giants play the Buccaneers (1-1) in Tampa Bay this Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
As a team, New York is averaging just 3.1 yards per rush this season, has just one rush of at least 20 yards, and has zero rushing touchdowns. Zero.
Compare that to, say, Jacksonville (2-1), which is averaging 4.2 yards per rush and has three rushing touchdowns from rookie Leonard Fournette.
“What are they doing in Jacksonville? They are crushing people because they are physical,” Dukes said, invoking former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “I don’t know if their quarterback is going to throw for 200 yards this year because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to keep coming at you, and they’re going to be physical. If they look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, they look like a football team.”