New York Giants 27 – Baltimore Ravens 23
A New York Giants offense that has struggled to score this year, including scoring only two touchdowns in three games, managed a “breakout” game against the Baltimore Ravens with 27 glorious points. This despite only being 4-of-14 (29 percent) on 3rd down, rushing for a pathetic 38 yards, being 0-for-2 in the red zone, and maintaining possession for only 25 minutes. So how did they do it? The big play finally returned.
Giants on Offense
The Giants ran the ball 17 times and passed 47 times. The Giants are becoming much more pass-centric than they were under Tom Coughlin.
The running game was a joke. The Giants struggled in short-yardage and in the red zone. The Giants were -3 in turnover differential (2 interceptions, 1 fumble). The second-leading receiver had 34 yards. How hell did the Giants score 27 points? The big play returned to the Giants arsenal. Seventeen of the Giants 27 points really came from three pass plays from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham: 75-yard touchdown, 66-yard touchdown, and a 43-yard deep throw that set up a field goal. The team’s fourth longest play was a 24-yard strike from Manning to wideout Roger Lewis, Jr. The bulk of this latter drive and one other field goal drive was earned the old-fashioned way of simply plugging along with smaller chunks of yardage.
Long story short – when the Manning to Beckham connection can combine for big plays, the Giants offense is a vastly different animal.
The offense only had one penalty. And while it struggled on 3rd down, the Giants were 3-for-3 on 4th down conversions.
Eli Manning was 32-of-46 for 403 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Fifty-five percent of his yardage went to Odell Beckham. But Manning didn’t force the ball to Odell, who was targeted 10 times (or just over 20 percent of his throws). Manning spread the ball around to nine different receivers. Manning had no support from his ground game. The big difference was the big play. Four of Manning’s passes accounted for half of the passing offense. Manning was intercepted twice, but one was a deep throw on the last play of the first half and on the other the intended receiver was knocked to the ground.
The running backs were a non-factor on the ground, gaining on 38 yards on 17 carries for a pathetic 2.2 yards-per-carry average. The backs did catch eight passes for 52 yards (6.5 yards per catch). Bobby Rainey dropped a pass.
If you had told me the Giants would only rush for 38 yards against the Ravens and that Victor Cruz (3 catches for 31 yards) and Sterling Shepard (4 catches for 25 yards) would only combine for 56 yards, then I would have said there was no way the Giants would have won the game. But Odell Beckham had eight catches for a career-high 222 yards and scored from 75 and 66 yards out, the latter on 4th-and-1. His 43-yard deep reception also set up a field goal. It was a dominating performance. All of this with a painful hip pointer injury. The negatives? He fumbled the ball away after a catch on the first offensive play. This set up the Ravens first touchdown. Taking his helmet off after the game-winning touchdown could have cost the Giants the game. He’s got to stop the immature crap.
The other noteworthy player was rookie Roger Lewis, Jr., who caught a 24-yard touchdown reception. Cruz dropped a pass, but did have key short catches for first downs on the first scoring drive on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-5. Shepard also caught a 10-yard pass on 4th-and-3.
Larry Donnell returned from his concussion and caught six passes for 34 yards. But his bad habit of awkwardly leaving his feet and exposing himself to injury and/or a turnover reared its ugly head again. Worse, with time running out in the game and the Giants down by a field goal, Donnell ran out of bounds just short of the sticks on 3rd down, setting up an unnecessary 4th-and-1 (that fortunately turned out well). He also dropped a pass. Will Tye caught two passes for 15 yards.
Bad news, good news. The bad news was the Giants couldn’t run the ball worth a lick, generating only 38 measly yards on 17 carries. They were terrible in short yardage and on the goal line. The good news was that a Ravens defense that made the Giants one-dimensional and could pin its ears back and rush the passer only sacked Eli Manning once and hit him twice. Ereck Flowers gave up the sole sack to Terrell Suggs. No penalties this week!
Giants on Defense
The defense started off poorly and finished shaky, but did a good job in between. A 70-yard field goal drive and a 30-yard touchdown drive after a turnover gave Baltimore an early 10-0 lead. The defense then forced five consecutive punts, held the Ravens to a field goal after another turnover, and made a dramatic goal-line stand. Things got dicey again with a late 56-yard field goal drive, a 75-yard touchdown drive, and an unnecessarily-dramatic finish to close the game.
The problem remains a surprising lack of turnovers being forced (none again) and a disappointing pass rush (the Giants two sacks came from a safety and a defensive tackle).
The Ravens rushed for 98 yards on 26 carries, but 33 of these yards came on one gain. Not great, but respectable. The Giants gave up two short-yardage touchdowns, but also had a dramatic goal-line stand. The Giants did generate more heat on the quarterback with week. Johnathan Hankins had one sack and Jason Pierre-Paul and Romeo Okwara did register hits on the quarterback. But it was nowhere nearly enough. Olivier Vernon (2 tackles) was very quiet. Hankins had three tackles for a loss and Jay Bromley had one. Owamagbe Odighizuwa has been a non-factor since he was drafted. His roughing-the-passer penalty on a 4th-and-5 incomplete pass that should have ended the game could have proved devastating. JPP was credited with two pass breakups.
Jonathan Casillas (11 tackles) was very active and may have saved the game with his tackle for a loss on 4th-and-goal. Devon Kennard (6 tackles) had his best game of the season, especially against the run where he was physical and aggressive. Keenan Robinson continues to look sharp in pass coverage. Kelvin Sheppard knocked a pass away. Tight end Dennis Pitta caught 6-of-10 passes thrown in his direction for only 36 yards.
Like the Giants, much of Baltimore’s yardage came from big plays. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Landon Collins gave up a 41-yard completion on 3rd-and-9 on the Ravens first drive that resulted in 3 points. Janoris Jenkins (2 pass breakups) gave up a 70-yard bomb, but his face-mask penalty may have actually saved a touchdown as the defense held on the goal line. Trevin Wade gave up a 42-yard pass interference penalty that set up a 4th quarter field goal. The late 30-yard pass interference penalty on Rodgers-Cromartie that set up the Ravens late touchdown was completely bogus. DRC had three pass breakups, including the last heave into the end zone. He also tackled very well.
Steve Spagnuolo is using his defensive backs quite a bit on the blitz. Landon Collins sacked Joe Flacco and Andrew Adams and Leon Hall also had hits on Flacco. Collins – once again – was all over the field with 12 tackles, including two tackles for a loss. He did over-run the play on the Ravens’ longest rushing play of 33 yards. Collins also gave up a 22-yard completion on 4th-and-1 on the Ravens final TD drive and could have ended the game before Odighizuwa’s roughing-the-passer penalty with an interception but dropped it.
Giants on Special Teams
Brad Wing was superb, averaging 51.3 yards per punt with a 50.5 yards-per-punt average. The Ravens only returned one punt for three yards. Josh Brown made both his field goal efforts (21 and 31 yards) and five of his six kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. The sole kickoff return went for 26 yards.
Dwayne Harris made a number of poor decisions in fielding punts inside the 10. He returned three punts for only 11 yards. The Giants had no kickoff return yardage as every Ravens kickoff resulted in a touchback.
Zak DeOssie was flagged with an illegal use of hands penalty on the Ravens’ one punt return. Jerell Adams was penalized for being offsides on a 4th-and-2 punt, which gave the Ravens a 1st down and kept the drive alive.