by Elliot Tan
It’s safe to say the Giants aren’t the giants of the NFL any more. Just two years removed from winning the Super Bowl, Big Blue is 0-4 and last in the NFC East. Unceremoniously off to their worst start of the season since 1987, hope is fading in the locker room, as Antrel Rolle’s bold claim for a 12-0 finish has been met with minimal support and considerable doubt.
The blame for this frankly horrible start has been placed everywhere on the team, from the porous defense to the injured offensive line, from the inconsistent Manning to the non-existent Pierre-Paul, and from the drop-happy Hakeem Nicks to the play-calling of Tom Coughlin. With all this considered, turnovers are the main culprit for this Giants team. Since these turnovers can be improved upon and reduced, its impact on the Giants’ losing streak should be examined closely.
Over the course of four games, 6 fumbles have been lost and 10 interceptions have been thrown for a total of 16 turnovers. To give you some perspective, Eli Manning only threw 15 interceptions all season in 2012-2013. He’s already thrown 2/3 of that total this year and they have only played ¼ of their games. Their turnovers stand in stark comparison to the meager 7 turnovers committed by Giants opponents. The Giants’ turnovers resulted in 328 total yards gained by opposing teams, as well as 46 points scored against the Giants off of turnovers.
The Giants have had a recovery rate of rushing fumbles lower than the 2012 league average of recovery rate (39.7%) in both 2012 (16.7%) and 2013 (0%). However, last year the Giants only fumbled a total of 6 times all season, while this season 3 fumbles have already occurred through 4 games. This sets the Giants on pace for 12 total fumbles in the 2013 season, or double 2012’s total fumbles. If the Giants’ low recovery rate persists, this does not bode well for the team’s chances of turning their season around. However, fumble recoveries are often “lucky” chance plays so hopefully this pace does not turn into reality, and Coughlin can convince his players to hold onto the football like its their 2012 Lombardi trophy.
Three out of six lost fumbles resulted in touchdowns, while 3 touchdowns and 2 touchbacks have resulted from the 10 interceptions. This puts the chance of opposing teams scoring points against the Giants on a turnover at an unfortunate 50%. But, since turnovers can be mitigated, it is comfortable to state that the yardage and points that the Giants gave their opponents can be deemed “preventable” or “flukey”.
The yardage gained from turnovers amounts to 25.19% of total yardage of opponents, and the points scored off turnovers amounts to 31.5% of total points scored against the Giants. While eliminating turnovers completely still would not have given the Giants wins against the Redskins, the Panthers and the Chiefs, this is still an absurdly high amount of preventable yards and points.
After being benched for his two lost fumbles in the opener against the Cowboys, running back David Wilson has done much better with ball security. Not to say he’s been very effective on the ground, with his 130 total yards on 38 attempts and a whopping 0 touchdowns. However, hope remains that after fixing his fumbling issues, Wilson can gain confidence and improve his running game behind a questionable O-line.
Meanwhile, the interceptions by Eli have largely been blamed on the offensive line, which is definitely warranted. At times it has looked as though Eli is not playing with an offensive line, with defenders swarming him at will. However, Eli has become one of four quarterbacks to throw at least 7 picks in two games since 1970. This rate is unnecessarily high, but is an issue which can be improved upon in future games. Coughlin absolutely needs to get Manning focused if the Giants want to win another game this season.
Come on Eli, your brother hasn’t even thrown a pick yet.