Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

Third-and-longs are hobbling New York Giants

2 min read
Third-and-longs are hobbling New York Giants


Successful NFL offenses pride themselves on staying out of third-and-long scenarios. Converting on third down and short yardage is difficult enough, never mind third-and-long.

The New York Giants have been in quite a number of third-and-long situations this season, which has led to a mediocre 37.93 percent conversion rate (19th in the NFL) on third down.

The Giants’ average third down to-go yardage is 8.0 yards, which is 7th-highest in the NFL. The reasons why they are in so many third-and-long positions are plenty.

Obviously, they are not getting enough yards on first and second down. Why? Well, Saquon Barkley missed three and half games and last week against Arizona he appeared to still be less than 100%. Wayne Gallman was also out, so the running game has been flat.

Throw in some penalties, dropped passes, etc. and you have an offense that shoots itself in the foot quite a bit.

One culprit is the play calling. Pat Shurmur has called far too many runs on first down. Normally, this wouldn’t be bad if the Giants were running it well, but they haven’t been. On running plays where the first down marker was 10 or more yards away, the Giants are averaging 3.4 yards per carry. Shurmur has consistently called for runs on first down that have resulted in minimal or no gains. That pushes the onus to second down and the defense knows the Giants have to pass.

“You just have to look at the full picture, everything correlates,” said tight end Evan Engram. “How we attack on first and second down puts in jeopardy what happens on third down. Most of the time we shouldn’t even be in third down (situations) if we are taking care of our business on first and second down. It’s something we have to keep improving on, something we have to get done on Sundays.”

True. The Giants have averaged just 15.8 offensive points per game. Granted, they’ve been down some playmakers. Barkley, Gallman, Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard have all missed time and wideout Golden Tate was suspended the first four games of the season.

The Giants surely need to improve on every down and distance at this point. Inefficiency, turnovers, untimely penalties and defensive breakdowns have led to a frustrating 2-5 start.

Third-and-longs are hobbling Giants

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