WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE GIANTS’ PFF GRADES AND SNAP COUNTS AGAINST THE COMMANDERS?
What was the line on the prop bet for Tommy DeVito over 2.5 passing TDs vs. Washington? Was there a parlay for over 2.5 passing TDs + over 8.5 sacks? If there was, and you played it, I wish you a wonderful life in your new 20,000 square foot mansion in the Hamptons.
If you missed out on those, though, maybe you’ll nonetheless be interested in what the Pro Football Focus grades and snap counts have to tell us about the New York Giants’ improbable 31-19 victory over the Washington Commanders on Sunday.
- Tommy DeVito graded an above-average 70.7. Perhaps you think that’s too low for a guy who had three TD passes in a Giants victory. The reason it’s not higher is that his game yesterday was the football version of a margarita - sweet and salty at the same time. It’s worth looking at his stat line in a couple of different ways:
- DeVito was blitzed 10 times in 36 dropbacks. He didn’t like it when he was. All three of his TD passes came when he was not blitzed, and his time to throw when blitzed was an eternal 3.93 seconds.
- More generally, his PFF grade when under pressure was an awful 34.9, vs. an elite 81.3 when kept clean. His NFL passer rating (not shown here) was an outstanding 142.7 when kept clean (2.72 seconds time to throw) vs. a terrible 39.6 when pressured. His nine sacks were almost evenly divided between blitz and non-blitz pressures. Also not shown here, only three of his sacks were blamed on his blockers (one each to Saquon Barkley, John Michael Schmitz, and Justin Pugh). That leaves six that were either free runners or DeVito’s own fault in PFF’s eyes.
- DeVito only had one big-time throw, but not a single turnover-worthy play. That goes back to something we said yesterday - turnovers hurt a team more than sacks do. DeVito won the game by not making stupid throws, even if he didn’t process quickly enough to avoid sacks.
OK, back to the rest of the offense:
- Andrew Thomas (82.8) and Tyre Phillips (80.7) both had great games pass blocking. That’s good news, but remember that Washington lines up now without Chase Young and Montez Sweat.
- The news was worse for the interior offensive line, with Ben Bredeson (43.5), John Michael Schmitz (36.8), and Justin Pugh (35.7) all doing a very poor job blocking for the pass. Remember, though, that the Commanders do still have Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne. JMS has gotten a bit of a pass this season from fans and media since he is a rookie in the middle of an historically bad OL, but he is not yet an NFL-caliber pass blocker. All told, though, PFF attributed only 3 sacks, 0 QB hits, and 9 hurries to the OL.
- You may remember that Saquon Barkley had 0 yards rushing in the first half. That’s just a reminder that the Giants aren’t a good run blocking team either. Only Bredeson (61.6) was even adequate. Pugh (37.9) was the worst. It’s hard to have a run-first offense when your run blocking is offensive.
- Other than DeVito, no Giants skill player graded anything better than average except for Darius Slayton (78.9). I thought Barkley deserved more than the 64.0 he got.
- The five starters on the offensive line played the entire game, with Mark Glowinski not seeing the field. His days as a Giant seem to be coming to a close.
- The Giants used 11 personnel almost exclusively yesterday (85% of snaps). The 55 offensive snaps were divided fairly evenly among six wide receivers who totaled 37+29+28+26+24+11 = 155 snaps, only 10 less than would have been the case if they played 11 100% of the time. Daniel Bellinger was the single tight end on the field most of the time, with Lawrence Cager and Tyree Jackson only getting 13 snaps total.
- Saquon Barkley was on the field for almost every snap, and of course he was used as a receiver on some of those snaps as well. This is the pass-heavy offense (37 of 55 snaps) we imagined Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka were going to run this season but which didn’t materialize after the early season pass protection disasters. In the previous games the Giants had averaged on 69% of plays in 11 personnel, per Joseph Jefe’s Team Formations. The only game the Giants had gone 11 more often this year was the Seattle game, which apparently disabused them of the notion that they didn’t need a second tight end to chip the edge on the right tackle side.
- The Giants had five defensive players receive elite grades from PFF, something that has not come close to happening previously this season. Notably, they were divided among all three levels of the defense. Dexter Lawrence (85.2, 7 pressures and one sack) was his usual best-IOL-in-the-NFL self (and yes, he’s ranked No. 1 for the season at the position at 92.8). But Nick McCloud (91.5) and Cor’Dale Flott (89.5 with a forced fumble) were outstanding in part-time roles in coverage. (Flott’s part-time use was of course self-inflicted; his punch was not graded by PFF.)
- At the second level, Isaiah Simmons (85.8) had his third game of the season with an elite grade, mostly due to his coverage prowess (90.0). For the season, he is at 73.2. He’s been adequate in run defense (62.7 season grade) and surprisingly subpar in tackling (45.6) and rushing the passer (44.0), but his pick-six sealed the win yesterday. Bobby Okereke had another very good game (76.7 with 2 forced fumbles, 10 tackles, and 2 assists) while Micah McFadden had a surprisingly low 51.5, though his run defense was good (70.2). Looking at his stat line, three missed tackles and four completions in four targets seems to be what dragged his score down.
- In the secondary, Xavier McKinney stood out with an 83.2 grade, by far his best of the season, with 10 tackles, three assists, four stops, and only four receptions in seven targets for 29 yards. Whatever got his shorts in a knot after the Las Vegas game seems to be gone. Daboll even let him break down the team in the locker room after the game, so perhaps all is forgiven. Dane Belton played well in limited action (73.0), and Jason Pinnock (67.2) and Tae Banks (66.6) played adequately other than Pinnock’s drop of an easy INT. Tre Hawkins was slightly below average (53.7).
- Some of you hate PFF scores. Sometimes I do too. Kayvon Thibodeaux was given a 58.2 overall grade Sunday, with no above average grade in any single category. Somehow his eight pressures (including two sacks and a QB hit) and four stops didn’t matter that much. I guess it was his two missed tackles. Go figure. For sure that pressure wasn’t coming much from the other side: Jihad Ward (53.2) did have a sack and a QB hit, while Azeez Ojulari (45.8) managed a hurry and missed his only tackle attempt in 49 snaps. Boogie Basham (44.0) was again mostly invisible.
- The interior defensive line continues to be mostly a mess when Lawrence is not on the field. D.J. Davison managed a 61.1 grade, but A’Shawn Robinson (50.1) and Rakeem Nunez-Roches (52.3) were once again subpar.
- Lawrence and Thibodeaux, the only effective pass rushers the Giants have at this point, once again saw a heavy load for the positions they play.
- Of note at linebacker, Simmons had the second-most snaps he’s seen as a Giant, partly because Washington dominated time of possession (34:51).
- Hawkins is starting to get a steady dose of snaps once again, almost all of them at boundary corner. Darnay Holmes also saw more action than usual, almost all of it in the slot, because of Flott’s ejection.