3 Takeaways from Giants' Week 17 Loss

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 3, 2022

3 Takeaways from Giants' Week 17 Loss

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    At the end of Week 12, the New York Giants were 4-7 and still in the NFC playoff hunt. It may not have seemed likely that they were going to be heading to the postseason, but they were still close enough to make it happen.

    Since then, the Giants haven't won a game. They are on a five-game losing streak after falling 29-3 to the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. New York is 4-12 heading into its season finale against the Washington Football Team in Week 18.

    On Sunday, the Giants offense generated only 151 total yards and committed four turnovers. Their lone points came on Graham Gano's 38-yard field goal midway through the second quarter. But the Bears responded with 15 unanswered points to put away the game.

    Here are three takeaways from New York's Week 17 loss.

Offense Again Held Back by Quarterback Play

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    In Week 16, Jake Fromm made his first career NFL start when he was at quarterback for the Giants. It didn't go well, and they went back to veteran Mike Glennon on Sunday in Chicago. However, Glennon had yet another disappointing showing.

    Glennon went 4-of-11 for 24 yards and two interceptions, marking his third multi-interception game of the season. He also was sacked and lost a fumble on New York's first play from scrimmage, allowing Chicago to take a 7-0 lead only 18 seconds into the game.

    "It's embarrassing," Glennon said of the performance, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

    Whether or not Daniel Jones is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Giants, it's clear that their offense is much worse when either Glennon or Fromm is at the helm. While Jones has been out with a neck injury, New York hasn't shown any progress. In fact, Sunday's passing performance was the worst yet.

    Even though the Giants played from behind all day, they passed the ball only 11 times. That shows the limitations the offense has when Glennon is under center.

Barkley More Effective in Return to Chicago

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Because New York stopped throwing the ball, there were plenty of touches available for its running backs. And that led to a better showing for Saquon Barkley, who has mostly struggled while dealing with injuries throughout the 2021 season.

    Barkley had 21 carries for 102 yards, marking the first time he has ran for 100 or more yards this season. His previous high was 64 rushing yards, which he set during a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Not only did Barkley have one of his better showings of the season, but it also came at Soldier Field, which is where he tore his right ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign.

    "Coming here, to be able to have a 100-yard game and come to the place where the injury happened and kind of made my career go backwards a little bit, it does feel good," Barkley said, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. "I feel like a monkey came off my back, to come to the spot where everything felt like it went downhill, personally."

    If Barkley can have another strong showing in Week 18 against Washington, then he'll have some positive momentum heading into the offseason. Perhaps that will help him get firmly back on track in 2022.

Smith Proving He Should Be Back in 2022

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    Jaylon Smith began the 2021 season with the Dallas Cowboys, who released him in October. The 26-year-old linebacker then spent several weeks with the Green Bay Packers, but they cut him in November. Now, Smith is with the Giants, who signed him prior to their Week 15 game against the Cowboys.

    Although Smith has bounced around this year, he's been playing well since joining New York, showing that he should have a role with the team in 2022. On Sunday, he had his best performance yet, as he recorded seven tackles and a sack in the loss to the Bears.

    Smith has had success in the past. Over his first four NFL seasons with Dallas, he played in 64 games, made 54 starts and recorded more than 120 tackles in three of those years. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019.

    New York's linebacker corps would get a big boost if Smith returns to that level of play on a consistent basis. If he finishes strong in Week 18 and secures a spot on the team next season, he could be a key contributor for the Giants defense, which may be one of the only positives to come out of a tough finish to the 2021 campaign.