Why Giants must abandon conservative fourth-down approach

Joe Judge walks front view in navy blue sweatshirt with headset on

When the Giants landed in Kansas City, ready to take on the Chiefs, they sat at 2-5 coming off a win over the Carolina Panthers. They had some momentum. Meanwhile, the Chiefs were trying to find their identity, something they’ve lost recently with a shaky Patrick Mahomes-led offense and a porous defense.

Given the state of the NFL the day before with multiple upsets from the Jets’ win over the Bengals, to the Patriots taking down the Chargers, some had the feeling the Giants could’ve done the same.

As the game ensued, there were multiple opportunities where it seemed the Chiefs were really about to hit rock bottom by handing quality chances over to the Giants to capitalize. But New York didn’t cash in.

And a lot of that has to do with the choices made from head coach Joe Judge.

Some teams like to be conservative — I get that. You trust your guys to get stops and hinder the opponent with bad field position or getting the ball right back and scoring later on.

But nothing the Giants have done up to this point in the season should have Judge confident his team can squander opportunities where risk is warranted. However, it’s been happening all season and showed its face in this 20-17 loss as well.

The first situation came when Jason Garrett called a questionable play on 3rd-and-4 from the Kansas City six-yard line where Sterling Shepard ran an out route too short of the sticks, making it 4th-and-2 from the four.

Previously, the Giants went for it on fourth down to score their first touchdown of the game: A leaky Kyle Rudolph securing six points. But Graham Gano started running out on to the field to kick a 23-yard field goal — read that again — instead of trying to tie the game on the road against a formidable offense despite its inconsistencies. Daniel Jones never got the chance to score again on fourth down despite how close they were to the goal line.

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But even worse was when the Giants…

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