This past Sunday, the New York Giants converted just twice on third and fourth down, a major reason why they lost their sixth game of the season in a year that has quickly turned from bad to downright gross.
In what has been a frustrating year for the offense — a fact made worse two weeks ago when wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall went down with season-ending injuries — the Giants inability to not just move the ball but extend drives is worrisome. Sunday’s 24-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks underscored this fact, with the Giants two conversions on 13 third and fourth down attempts especially worrisome.
All part of a game where they moved the chains just 14 times.
“I think that obviously short yardage and third down is big for us. We need to convert there. We need more attempts at the plate. We need more plays. Explosive play production is big. We’re not getting a ton of them and just the details and the pass protection in the pass game,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said on a Monday conference call. “What it came down to yesterday, I thought on first and second down, we were running the ball at a good clip. We just didn’t take care of business in the pass game and we had some opportunities to run the ball had we gotten more attempts at the plate, but when you don’t convert on third down, it makes it tough to run the ball and get the number of rush attempts you need to win the game.”
The Giants are bottom three in the league in third-down percentage, getting a fresh set of downs just 32.61 percent of the time. That number has dipped the last three games to just 26.83 percent, second-lowest in the NFL during that stretch.
For comparison sake, the Giants a season ago had the third-lowest conversion percentage on third down at 34.44 percent across the full spectrum of the season. Numbers that, for an offensive mastermind like McAdoo, simply aren’t good enough or acceptable.
“Third down and short yardage is a challenge in practice, but it’s a bigger challenge in the game. That’s the toughest down in football for an offensive football team,” McAdoo said. “Defenses are athletic, they’re fast, they’re physical and we need to be at our best there and we didn’t do it yesterday. We didn’t get it done yesterday. That’s really the biggest area where we need to improve.”