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Cover 3: Giants at the 2020 quarter pole

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The Giants.com crew discusses takeaways from the Week 4 loss and looks at the state of the team at the quarter pole of the 2020 season.

John Schmeelk: With the Giants struggling at 0-4 to start the season, the most important thing to see as the season progresses is improvement. It would be preferable to see that improvement translate to victories, but that wasn't the case Sunday as too many mistakes overshadowed that progress.

The team failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week. The Giants were 0-4 in the red zone, and failed to create enough big plays (only two plays of 20+ yards) to score from outside the 20-yard line.

*The Giants were even in the turnover battle for the second time this season, with both teams committing only one turnover.

*The Giants ran the ball better than they have all year long, Their running backs gained 88 yards on 18 carries, which is good for 4.9 yards per carry.

*The offense outgained the Rams, 295-240, and only had two three-and-out series during the game. The Giants finals six drives went for 56, 37, 58, 32, 39, and 62 yards.

*The Giants' defense forced five punts against a Top 3 offense only a week after forcing no punts against the 49ers.

*The Rams managed only one play of 20+ yards.

*The Rams averaged only 2.5 yards per carry even though the Giants played two safeties deep for most of the game.

These are signs of progress. It is important for the Giants to show next week that these are no blips on the radar, but instead the start of a trend that will continue throughout the season.

Dan Salomone: As a former assistant at Alabama and then in the pros with New England, Joe Judge is used to starting 4-0, not 0-4. I don't think it's coachspeak when he says he feels the same way whether his record is the former or latter. It's always about flushing the last game – or in the Giants' case, the first quarter of the season – and moving on to the next opponent. That brings us to the Cowboys, who have given up 42 points per game in their last three weeks.

The trip to Dallas begins a pivotal stretch for the NFC East as the Giants play three divisional games in a row. Five of their next six games are against NFC East opponents, who have a combined record of 3-12-1. Remember when Judge hit the restart button on one of the last practices of the summer? Maybe they can do the same after the first quarter of the season. 

"Look, every game is important in the NFL," Judge said. "But I think it's no secret when it comes to the NFL, it's about your division to start with. We have to do a good job. Obviously, we have five in the next six weeks division games, so we have to do a good job of coming out here and being ready to roll. It's going to be tough games. It's not going to be any easy opponents right here. But definitely, coming in on Wednesday and making sure we start fresh and we start fast. We have the Cowboys. It's going to be a very tough opponent."

Lance Medow: Timing is everything and that's one of the best ways to describe Sunday's loss to the Rams. For the second straight week, the Giants had a low number of penalties but they all came at the worst possible time and for a struggling offense, the last thing this team can afford to do is commit mishaps when they're in the red zone. And consider this came in a game when the defense limited a high-scoring Rams to just 17 points, 240 total yards and a 38% (5-13) third-down conversion rate. Entering Week 4, Los Angeles was averaging nearly 30 points and 450 yards per game and ranked second in the NFL in third-down efficiency (56%)

With the Giants trailing by four points, 10-6, late in the third quarter, they moved the ball to the Rams 15 and had a fresh set of downs - but here's where things drastically turned. Devonta Freeman's 5-yard run was wiped out due to an illegal formation penalty amd set up a 1st-and-15 at the 20. Freeman caught a 9-yard pass, then the team got hit with a false start to make it 2nd-and-11 at the 16. The Giants never recovered and had to settle for Graham Gano's 37-yard field goal. The way the Giants are struggling to punch it in this season (2-for-10 in the red zone), every opportunity is critical. They haven't scored a touchdown in each of the last two contests and have yet to reach 20 points in a game.

The Giants actually held the ball for nearly seven more minutes than the Rams, yet lost, 17-9. The different was a 55-yard touchdown pass. Winning time of possession is great but if lengthy drives don't translate to touchdowns, it's irrelevant given the opponent can score in the blink of an eye, which was the case in Sunday's game.

The Giants had their most impressive defensive showing and offensive rushing performance (136 yards) of the season, but the result boils down to the lack of points.

View photos of the Giants' rookies as the team hits the quarter point of the 2020 season.

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