Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
The Giants keep their tradition of playing badly coming off the bye. Their lifetime record is 8-15 straight up and 7-15-1 vs the spread. The Giants were sleepwalking through this game. It was a lackluster performance vs a team who lost their strong starting quarterback. This was the first game in 4 years that the Giants were favored on the road! The Bengals fielded a limited quarterback who only started 3 games. The Giants should have mopped the floor with this team but at the end they were trying to hang on for the win.
The Giants dominated in time of possession 37:26 to 22:34 and in offensive plays 80 to 46! The Giants had 386 yards of offenseto the Bengals 155 yards! They just could not buy a touchdown. They settled for 4 Gano field goals. The Bengals did not do much with the ball but the 103-yard kickoff return kept them in the game. Oh by the way, this was the longest play in Bengals history.
This team is going nowhere unless they can score over 20 points a game. Jones did what he does in this game. He had 213 yards before he got hurt on 16 completions on 27 throws. This is 59% completion rate and 0 touchdowns with 2 balls that could have been intercepted. They were going to be underdogs in the next 4 games anyway. With Colt McCoy under center, the Giants will be a 10+ point underdog to Seattle.
Looking at this game, the Giants get the ball first. The scripted drive looked good. The big play was a 53-yard pass to Engram. Engram got 2 yards separation on the smaller Vonn Bell. Engram caught the ball on the Bengals 31-yard line and ran it to the 4-yard line. It took Gallman 4 carries to get the touchdown. He made it on a 4th and 1 but he was stopped 3 times on a good Bengals goal line stand. This was an omen as to how hard this gimme game was really going to be for the Gmen.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wilson runs it back 103 yards for a touchdown This immediately equalized the game. It was a dogfight from that play on. By the time Brandon Wilson got to the 35-yard line 8 Giants players were already blocked. I don’t think Joe Judge will show this as the special teams play of the weekon his show, The Joe Judge Report.
The teams trade the next 4 possessions by punting, The Giants are now on a 12-play drive that started from their own 25-yardline. The Giants get to Bengals 33-yard line. On first down, Jones throws a pass that Engram catches but as he is going to the ground, Vonn Bell punches the ball out of Engrams hands and he returns it to the Bengals 45. Luckily for the Giants, the Bengals stall at the Giants 26-yard line and Bullock hits a 44-yard field goal and the Giants are losing 10-7. Gano kicks a 49-yard field goal before the half and the game is tied 10-10. Frankly, at this point, I thought the Giants would be up by at least 10 points.
The Bengals go 3 and out to start the second half. Five plays into the next drive, Jones gets injured by pulling his hamstring. He stays in for 2 more plays and after throwing a short pass to Gallman it was evident he couldn’t push off on the throw. Jones was out for the rest of the game with a right leg hamstring injury. The Giants were already at the Bengals 22-yard line, so Gano got a 40-yard field goal when they stalled again making it 13-10 Giants.
The teams trade possessions. On the next Bengals possession, just before the end of the third quarter, a pass deflected by Holmes intended for Boyd is picked off by Niko Lalos just before the ball hits the ground. Lalos was just added to the team from the practice squad for today’s game. This is a great story for this kid! He played his college ball at Dartmouth!
Even though they get the ball at the Cincinnati 38, McCoy only manages to get 17 more yards. Once again we get Gano for a 39-yard field goal making the game Giants 16-10.
The teams trade possessions again as neither team can get much offense going at this point. The Bengals get the ball back with 5:04 left in the game at their own 14-yard line. On the 3rd play, Lalos is trying to tackle Sample and Logan Ryan comes in and strips him and recovers the fumble at the Bengals 19-yard line.
With all the ineptitude shown on offense, the Giants can surely punch this in and put the game away. Once again the Giants are anemic with McCoy only getting 5 yards on the drive. Gano hits his 4th field goal making the game, Giants 19-10.
The Bengals get the ball back with 3:49. It only took them 1:11 to score. The Giants were playing their prevent defense by rushing only 3. I commented on Twitter that this prevent defense is going to prevent the Giants from winning. The Bengals were aided by a roughing the passer and a phantom pass interference on Darnay Holmes. The announcers agreed that they did not see any interference. You see at least 3 of these calls every weekend in the NFL. They really need to fix this as it is costing teams games like the phantom call against the Rams vs the Bills that cost the Rams the game. Just think how close the NFC West is?
Ok enough of the public service messages. That put the ball on the 1 and Allen threw a 1-yard touchdown to Higgins off his back foot. Now after being dominated in every facet of this game by the Giants, the Bengals are within 2 points to the Giants who played down to their competition today.
On the kickoff the ball hits at the 2-yard line but bounces forward and Lewis has to field it. He gets stopped on the 13-yard line. So, the Giants have terrible field position. The have a 3rd and 4, and Cam Fleming has his 3rd penalty for holding. He had a horrific game. It was a kick in the butt that Peart was on the COVID list or Cam would have gotten limited action. The Giants have to punt on a 3 and out after just having the ball for 1:36. Dixon gets a great 61-yard punt. However, Erickson returned it to mid field. I am thinking here we go again with another Giants 4th quarter choke!
Luckily, for the Giants on the next play, Allen held the ball too long as he was looking to move in the pocket from the pressure. He had the ball in one hand as Sheard knocks the ball out and Williams recovers it. The Giants dodge a major bullet and win their 4th game. Williams has been playing better. He got his 6th sack. So, on the Sack-O-Meter, he is at $2.68M a sack.
Jones is not great but without him they have no chance. He looks to miss next week at Seattle which will be a loss. They have to beat Dallas, and probably Cleveland or Arizona to get a chance for the division. They may have to beat both Cleveland and Arizona if they need 7 wins. They can win with 6 wins if they tie with Washington because they beat then twice. In my Preseason Manifesto, I said the Giants were a 5-win team but I will give them 1 more win because of Joe Judge. MY 6-win prediction looks like it is coming true.