Nov 172020
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (November 15, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 27 – Philadelphia Eagles 17

QUICK RECAP

Just 24 days prior to this game, NYG and PHI faced off on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Because of the miserable state of the NFC East, it was a game that could have set NYG up for an eventual first-place destination. It was a hard-fought loss that seemed very winnable. Since that 1-point loss, NYG lost by 2 to Tampa Bay and won by 3 against Washington. PHI on the other hand beat Dallas by 14 before heading into a much-needed bye week that would help accelerate the recovery of their extended and impactful injury situation. PHI, coming off a 2-week rest, had tackle Jason Peters, running back Miles Sanders, tight end Dallas Goedert, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and wide receiver Jalen Reagor in uniform, none of whom were on the field when these two teams last met.

The Giants offense has been stellar in the first quarter since October 11. In fact, they entered the game with a 5-game streak of scoring touchdowns in the first 15:00 of game clock. That streak continued in this one, as Daniel Jones ran for a 36-yard score on a designed run that was perfectly blocked and executed. After allowing a 40-yard field goal to PHI kicker Jake Elliott, NYG put together a 13-play drive that ended in a Wayne Gallman touchdown run. The Giants were faced with a 4th-and-1 at the start of the 2nd quarter and they altered the personnel at the last second to confuse the PHI defense and put them on their heels. They then quick-snapped it and Gallman hurdled over the pile at the line of scrimmage for the score. NYG had an early 14-3 lead.

The two offenses traded scoreless possessions but following the NYG 3-and-out, punter Riley Dixon booted a 71-yard punt to pin PHI inside their own 10-yard line. PHI then made it to midfield before punting and pinning NYG inside their own 5-yard line. NYG then followed suit, making it to midfield as well before punting and pinning PHI at their own 11. The special teams were performing at an admirable level as the score remained 14-3 heading into halftime, as both defenses were able to level out and find their footing.

The Giants defense had allowed 48 combined points in the second half of the last three games, an average of 16 points. Their struggles there have been a key culprit in finding themselves on the wrong side of close games. That trend continued as PHI scored on a 56-yard touchdown run by Boston Scott on their opening possession of the 3rd quarter. Scott entered this contest with 5 career touchdowns in 21 career games, 4 of which were against NYG. Wayne Gallman responded with a touchdown run of his own, however, as the NYG offense featured two straight downfield throws to Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate that netted a combined 65 yards. NYG maintained their double-digit lead but that disappeared again as PHI put together another touchdown drive, this one capped off by a 5-yard Corey Clement run. PHI, after successfully executing a 2-point conversion on their previous touchdown, opted to go for another 2 points despite being down by 4. They failed this time, as Leonard Williams got the unrecorded sack on Carson Wentz, the most sacked QB in football, to keep the game at 21-17.

The NYG offense stalled. They went 3-and-out on two consecutive drives, but PHI could not capitalize. Their sloppy play up front and the Wentz accuracy issues that have plagued him all year long continued to surface. NYG lengthened their lead to 7 via a 35-yard field goal before stopping the PHI offense again for the third straight time, this one ending in a James Bradberry 4th-and-10 pass deflection that gave NYG the ball with a touchdown-lead and under 5 minutes left. A surprise 40-yard pass to Darius Slayton put NYG into field goal range where Mr. Automatic kicker Graham Gano hit his 20th consecutive attempt, this one from 44 yards. NYG had a 10-point lead and the PHI offense just couldn’t make it a game. NYG beat Philadelphia for the first time since 2016.

NYG wins 27-17.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 21/28 – 244 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 100.0 RAT

Jones added a team high 64 rushing yards on 9 carries, including a 34-yard touchdown run on the first drive. Jones also had a second touchdown taken off the board by an Andrew Thomas holding penalty. For the first time in his career, Jones has now gone 2 straight games without turning the ball over. Not coincidentally, NYG is 2-0 in those games and they are 3-0 in the games since last year in games he kept the “0” next to his name in the turnover column. Jones sprinkled the ball in all over the route tree with accuracy and precision. He also spread the ball out and did a nice job of taking what the defense gave him. Heading into the bye week, Jones is no-doubt trending in the right direction.

RUNNING BACK

Wayne Gallman: 18 att / 53 yards / 2 TD and 1 rec / 7 yards

Throughout the recent surge in quality play from NYG as a whole, it may be Gallman who has been the biggest surprise and biggest beneficiary. He has been playing at, by far, the highest level of his career. While the numbers aren’t going to jump off the screen, Gallman’s aggressive downhill style and nose for yards after contact have been a huge part of this offense. He rushed for 37 yards on 7 carries in the first half when NYG’s offense was really clicking. This is the fourth straight game in which Gallman has scored a touchdown. Brandon Jacobs was the last NYG running back to do that, all the way back in 2010. He had 3 touchdowns in 38 games heading into this season. Just an outstanding job by the fourth-year back who will be a free agent this winter.

-Alfred Morris continues to be the number two guy in the backfield right now. He added 28 yards on 7 carries, adding some hard-nosed, blue-collar pile pushing. Dion Lewis had 17 yards on one catch and was flagged for a holding penalty.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton: 5 rec / 93 yards.

Slayton went down with an injury on the second offensive NYG play and missed some time but was back in the 2nd quarter. He caught those 5 passes on just 7 targets, as Darius Slay was on him most of the afternoon. His 40-yard catch was a high-level ball skill reception that came at a huge moment.

-Sterling Shepard finished with 6 catches on 6 targets for 47 yards. He made a huge downfield grab in the third quarter. The rest of his receptions were dinky-dunk passes. Golden Tate, a week after being benched for a week, came back and caught 2 passes for 44 yards including a huge grab in which he displayed outstanding ball skills.

-Austin Mack had 1 catch for 9 yards on his lone target. The catch was a brilliant reach-back, hands-only catch on a poor throw by Jones. Mack also had a key block on the Jones TD run and showed some serious physical play at a few different moments. He is an intense player who is making the best of his limited opportunities.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram was targeted just three times, He caught 2 passes for 15 yards, one of which was an excellent hands-grab on a ball that was thrown away from his body. Perhaps his most impressive play on a ball was on the incomplete pass where he jumped and turned his body, snared it with one hand, and came down with it albeit out of bounds.

-Kaden Smith added 2 catches for 12 yards and came up with 2 key blocks, one of which was on the Daniel Jones touchdown run.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-I was really impressed with this group, for the most part. The interior had a really strong first half, run game in particular. Rookie Shane Lemieux got the start over Will Hernandez even though Hernandez was back after missing two games on the Covid-19 List. He allowed 1.5 sacks, as he continues to struggle with his anchor as a pass blocker. But his quickness and initial pop as a run blocker has been a difference maker. The speed out of his stance in translated well into power. His smarts and understanding of the game have been a breath of fresh air. In addition, Kevin Zeitler is looking much better than he did earlier in the year. His lateral movement has been crisper, and he is getting quality movement with his punch. He suffered a concussion and was replaced by Hernandez late in the game.

-Nick Gates had a rough day in pass protection, allowing 2 pressures and 1 sack. With that said, the sack was allowed on a Hail Mary play at the end of the first half. He wasn’t challenged much one-on-one, but when he was, he looked late. As a run blocker, he continues to be an absolute boss. The NYG blocking scheme is pulling their guards laterally often and that can only be done if the center is effectively blocking back side, which Gates is doing. His run blocking has been a huge difference maker in the run-game surge we have seen over the past 5 weeks.

-Andrew Thomas had a solid day. He allowed just one pressure but did allow a half-sack on the first drive. One could make the argument that Jones held onto the ball for too long on that play. Thomas’ most notable gaffe was on a touchdown run by Jones that was called back because of his holding penalty. While he is normally grading out very well as a run blocker, Thomas sometimes fails to sustain quality contact in space with his feet under him and his chest up. Nevertheless, his arrow continues to point up.

-Cameron Fleming’s arrow is still pointing down, steeply. He allowed 3 pressures and graded below average in the running game. I think with the bye week here, it is time to insert Matt Peart as the starter on the right side.

EDGE

-NYG got some impact out of Trent Harris, who finished with 3 tackles, a half-sack, and 1 pressure. He played about half of the defensive snaps and while we shouldn’t get too excited about this, he showed the most athletic “juice” off the edge of anyone we have seen since Lorenzo Carter went down.

-Kyler Fackrell had a poor game. He finished with 2 tackles and a pressure, but he was a key culprit for the struggles NYG had against the run. He didn’t get off blocks and he whiffed on Miles Sanders two times.

DT

-Leonard Williams, who unfairly gets put into the discussion surrounding NYG’s disappointing roster simply because he was acquired via trade for 2 middle round draft picks, had one of his best games since becoming a Giant. He had 2 tackles, 5 pressures, and a sack on a PHI 2-point conversion attempt, which does not show up in the box score. He was getting in on the action away from the point of attack, he was in Wentz’s face all day, and he made it easier on the edge rushers. His one mistake was a silly roughing the passer penalty where it was a blatant, unnecessary take down right in front of the ref that will get called every single time.

-The rest of the NYG defensive interior shined against the pass along with Williams. Dexter Lawrence had 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 pressures. Dalvin Tomlinson finished with a tackle and a pressure. If these three can stay in the NYG uniform for another few years and this front office gets their hands on a high-end edge presence, watch out.

-The one issue NYG had up front was against the run. The three PHI running backs ran for 153 yards on just 19 carries. I think more of the blame was on the linebackers but these guys up front did struggle a bit against the zone blocking scheme by just not getting off of the linemen quickly enough.

LB

-Blake Martinez, the NFL’s leader in tackles, had a season-low 4 tackles. PHI attacked him pretty hard in the running game with lone blockers who had a clear path to him. It was evident he was game-planned around.

-Devante Downs and David Mayo combined for 8 tackles and 1 TFL, as they rotated at the other ILB spot. In the box score, that looks like a productive day, but I thought they didn’t fill the running lanes fast enough. They were slow to the meeting point and it resulted in PHI creating better space and angles for the cutback runs. Neither factored in coverage.

CB

-James Bradberry had a big day without causing a turnover. Often, those who want to evaluate cornerback play are too obsessed with interceptions. If you watched this game with the All-22 tape, you would see just how well Bradberry blanketed the PHI receivers. He did have 2 pass break ups, one was on 3rd down and the other was on 4th down. They were both high-level plays on the ball.

-Isaac Yiadom added a pass break up and 3 tackles. He played really hard, aggressive, and physical on the edge. It did result in 2 missed tackles, however. Yiadom stuck with the PHI speedster Jalen Reagor on two occasions downfield where it did appear Wentz wanted to go that way, neither of which he did.

-Darnay Holmes had a tackle and a missed tackle, but his biggest issue was a pass interference penalty called on a 3rd down stop. He is getting too grabby with his hands and needs to do a better job trusting his feet. He is athletic enough on all fronts.

S

-Jabrill Peppers is on a nice hot streak right now. His versatility is shining, as he finished with a team high 7 tackles in addition to 2 TFL, 1 pressure, and a half-sack. Peppers came up with a high-level tackle on 4th down to seal the win. He also came up big as a punt returner, averaging 12 yards per on 4 attempts that really helped win the field position game.

-Julian Love had 3 tackles and was rangy. He was physical and didn’t let any ball carriers shake free of his wrap up. Logan Ryan added 6 tackles and a pressure as he continues to thrive in this versatile, multi-faceted defensive back role.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 35, 44). Gano hit his 20th straight attempt, tying a franchise record. He was signed through 2023 following the game.

-Riley Dixon: 4 Punts / 53.3 avg / 53.3 net. All four punts landed inside the 20.

3 STUDS

-DT Leonard Williams, QB Daniel Jones, CB James Bradberry

3 DUDS

-OT Cameron Fleming, LB Kyler Fackrell, LB Devante Downs

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. In 2 games, PHI scored 39 points against NYG. 26 of them came in the second half, with just 13 coming in the first half. That is a clear sign that the coaching staff can do a good job of regrouping at halftime and coming out with an altered approach in the second half. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this coaching staff is a good barometer for Joe Judge’s staff to match up against in the future.
  1. I’ve debated with a few people here over the years (healthy and respectful debate, it is possible!) surrounding the importance of linebackers in today’s NFL. While I think the value of pass rushers and cornerbacks remains stronger, a front office that neglects linebackers almost always gets burned. PHI’s linebackers were exposed several times when I watched the All-22 and it led to a lot of NYG’s offense success. Their linebackers who saw a lot of time in this game were two second-year undrafted free agents, and a 2017 3rd-round pick who was acquired via trade from ATL for a safety who has been off and on the practice squad in SF and a 7th-round draft pick. They are really weak at the second level and it has been a huge miss by that front office.
  1. If I was a betting man, the NFC East race will come down to PHI and NYG. One could make the argument that PHI has a tougher schedule from here on out, but not by much. And the Eagles do have the current standings advantage. PHI is battle tested and remember, they were do or die for 4 straight weeks last year with a very injured roster and they went 4-0 to seal it. That kind of experience and culture does mean something.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. The late injury to Kevin Zeitler and seeing Will Hernandez come into the game led me to thinking about next year and beyond. This offensive line took a turn for the better in mid-October. They still aren’t quite there and still have ugly stretches. However, compared to the last 3-4 years and the first month of 2020, they are a much more productive group. Looking around the league, one should assume your offensive line is going to take at least 1-2 serious injuries at some point in a given season. Seeing Zeitler go out and Hernandez come in got me thinking how this group needs to be addressed in the coming offseason. I can see NYG going after a top-notch guard (Joe Thuney from NE for example) in free agency and possibly even drafting another day 2 offensive lineman who has some inside-out versatility (Rashawn Slater from Northwestern for example). One may say this is too much overload with other issues on the roster. I won’t agree. Make no mistake, much of the recent “surge” in quality play is a direct result of the offensive line improving. Keep that group strong and deep, don’t forget the latter. I would have no issue signing a Thuney-type and drafting a Slater-type while also keeping Zeitler and Nate Solder on the roster as backups for another season.
  1. Are we happy about all of the designed runs from Daniel Jones? Part of me says it is absolutely vital for this offense to move down the field. After all, he leads the team with 384 yards on the ground, he is averaging 7.8 yards per carry, and he is slightly changing how defenses play him along the first 2 levels. The other part of me says that he needs to take less hits if he is going to last for the long term. I am all about the designed run, but I think both he and Jason Garrett need to look ahead now that defenses will start keying in on him and will try to knock him into yesterday. At some point, it will no longer be a surprise and NFL defenders will be able to gear up with anticipation.
  1. Big picture, the Giants offense is still the weak point of this team. They rank 31st in both points and yards. The good news? All but their week 16 opponent (BAL) rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed and/or yards allowed. That’s right, 5 of their 6 remaining opponents can be scored on at an easier-than-average rate. Their defense will face a stiffer test (especially against ARI and SEA) but if this NYG offensive trend continues, they have a shot. That emotional loss in PHI on a Thursday night is what currently keeps them out of first place. They’re that close.
Nov 152020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (November 15, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 17…
The New York Giants soundly defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-17 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. Yes, you read that correctly. After losing 13 of the last 14 and seven in a row to Philadelphia, the Giants actually beat them for a change. Remarkably, the 3-7 Giants are now in second place in the NFC East behind the 3-5-1 Eagles.

Statistically, the game was pretty even. Neither team turned the football over. The one stat that did stick out is the Giants held the Eagles to 0-of-9 on 3rd-down conversion opportunities.

The Giants received the football to start the game and immediately went up 7-0 with an 8-play, 85-yard drive that culminated with a 34-yard touchdown run by quarterback Daniel Jones. The Eagles responded with a their only scoring drive of the first half, driving 53 yards in 12 plays to set up a 40-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Eagles 3.

New York ate up the rest of the 1st quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took six and a half minutes off of the clock. The possession ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Wayne Gallman on 4th-and-1 on the first play of the 2nd quarter. Giant 14 – Eagles 3.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the first half. The Eagles punted three times. The Giants punted twice and had their final possession end with a sack on 4th-and-14 with four seconds left near mid-field. The Giants led 14-3 at the break.

Philadelphia immediately tightened the game with their first possession in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles drove 84 yards in five plays, culminating with a 56-yard touchdown run by running back Boston Scott. The Eagles also converted on their 2-point conversion attempt, cutting the score to 14-11.

The Giants impressively responded with a touchdown drive of their own, gaining 75 yards in six plays. Jones threw a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard and followed that up with a 38-yard completion to wideout Golden Tate. Gallman finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-goal. Giants 21 – Eagles 11.

Not to be outdone, Philadelphia scored again with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Corey Clement. This time the Eagles’ 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants led 21-17.

Both teams then each punted the ball away twice. After a 20-yard punt return by Jabrill Peppers, the Giants began a drive a the Eagles’ 41-yard line with 11 minutes left to play. New York gained 24 yards in six plays to set up a 35-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. The Giants now led 24-17.

The Eagles then drove from their own 25-yard line to the New York 36-yard line. But the drive ended with one run for no gain and three straight incompletions. Philadelphia turned the ball over on downs with just under five minutes to play. New York then gained 38 yards on six plays, the key play being a 40-yard strike from Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. This set up Gano’s 44-yard field goal. The Giants now led 27-17 with just over three minutes to play.

Philadelphia gained one first down on their final possession before turning the football over on downs. The Giants then ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Jones completed 21-of-28 passes for 244 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also led the team in rushing, carrying the ball nine times for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jones’ leading targets were Shepard (6 catches for 47 yards) and Slayton (5 catches for 93 yards). Gallman rushed the ball 18 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Giants did not force a turnover. They held the Eagles to a field goal in the first half, but allowed two back-to-back touchdown drives in the 3rd quarter. However, Philly’s last two drives ended with turnovers on downs. New York also forced five punts. The Giants sacked quarterback Carson Wentz three times and hit him 13 other times. Defensive end Leonard Williams had five quarterback hits.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Dante Pettis, OL Kyle Murphy, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

Right guard Kevin Zeitler left the game in the 4th quarter with a concussion.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 132020
 
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Game Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, November 15, 2020

THE STORYLINE

Are you Red or are you Andy Dufresne?

Red: “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Andy: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

The Giants have lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Eagles, including the last seven in a row. This has gone well beyond which team is more talented at any point in time. It’s clearly mental. Look no further than the last time these two teams met. The Giants were up by 11 points with six minutes to play. And they still lost. The defense broke and with a chance to ice the game, Evan Engram dropped the ball.

Two bad football teams play each other on Sunday. One believes they will win. The other does not. What the X’s and O’s say at this point is immaterial.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • RB Devonta Freeman (ankle/hamstring – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (toe/hip)
  • WR Golden Tate (knee – questionable)
  • TE Kaden Smith (concussion)
  • CB Isaac Yiadom (calf – questionable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

    As we near the bye week and then the final six game stretch run, I think we can start to look at the big picture and what the Giants accomplished and failed to accomplish in 2020.

    Without spring mini-camps and OTAs, no preseason, and a limited summer training camp, it was always going to be a challenge for a new coaching staff with massive roster turnover to have this team primed and ready by the time the regular-season started. Worse, and catastrophically, the Giants lost their best player on the team early. We can debate the reasons why, but the Giants have a bottom tier offense that struggles to put 20 points on the board every week in a league where scoring doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    Regardless of the reasons, Daniel Jones has not progressed as hoped or expected. He was better last week simply because he didn’t lose the game. He teases with the “wow” plays and there is still a good chance that he develops into a very good quarterback. But stating the obvious, he has to string together games where he does more to win the game than lose it. One game does not make a trend. Can he build upon his “success” from last week?

    Before the season, I talked about how it would be interesting to watch the dynamic between Golden Tate and the coaching staff since Tate has a history of wearing out his welcome. I think it’s clear that Tate is on his way out, leaving the Giants with major question marks at wide receiver heading into 2021. Darius Slayton is not a #1 receiver. Sterling Shepard is at best an injury-prone slot receiver who doesn’t stretch the field. Austin Mack may not even be in the NFL next year.

    The Giants carried four tight ends this year and there was talk and hope of Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens getting the best out of Evan Engram and Kaden Smith as receivers, and of Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson being huge blocking assets. It didn’t happen. Engram is who he is… a coach killer. I expected more from Smith but it just never happened. The two big guys have also been disappointments.

    Once Saquon Barkley went down, the entire picture changed on offense. I warned everyone about this. The team has done an admirable job of picking up guys off of the street and at least presenting some sort of a running game, culminating in last week’s season-high performance. But it’s doubtful that Devonta Freeman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis will even be on the roster in 2021. The good news is Wayne Gallman is showing some signs of life as a capable back-up.

    Which brings us to the one emerging positive from 2020 on the offensive side of the ball: the line. While the specific components did not take the path that I expected, the line as a whole progressed as I predicted: very rough start with real chemistry and cohesion starting to develop by mid-season. I should have taken into account the murderers’ row of defensive fronts the Giants faced this year. I also did not expect Kevin Zeitler to fall off a cliff like he has. But Nick Gates has played far better than expected. Andrew Thomas has been far shakier than anticipated, but he is improving and the Giants now have three rookies to team with Gates as the foundation of what looks to be a promising offensive line for years to come. There will be still ugly moments. The very good Giants offensive lines of the past did not become what they were in one season.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

    This side of the ball has been steadier than the offense, but it also has major talent deficiencies that cannot be addressed in one offseason. The Giants botched the rebuild in the secondary with their terrible 2019 draft. And we all have harped on the problems at edge rusher.

    The good news is the Giants appear to have the horses up front on the defensive line. And assuming that Tae Crowder can build upon his fast start, the Giants have a nice complementary combo at inside linebacker with tackling-machine Blake Martinez and the athletic Tae Crowder. The loss of Lorenzo Carter was a major blow outside, however. He will be coming off of a major injury and had yet to prove himself regardless. The Giants have not been able to evaluate Oshane Ximines either due to his injury. The Giants need a difference-making pass rusher in the worst way. Those are extremely hard to come by.

    Thankfully the Giants not only made the right call on Blake Martinez in free agency, but also James Bradberry. Can you imagine the state of the defense without these two guys? Darnay Holmes is developing at nickel corner, but the rest of the corner situation is a joke. The Giants don’t need one new corner, they need two or three. The 2019 draft really screwed the team here. Worse, Julian Love hasn’t worked out at safety either. Xavier McKinney is going to miss most or all of his rookie season. Will Logan Ryan want to re-sign with a rebuilding club? Jabrill Peppers keeps alternating between good and bad play.

    Sy’56 already talked about it. The Giants defense allowed three straight scoring drives against an anemic Washington offense in the second half before Alex Smith threw two horrible interceptions. The good news is the defense finally made plays late in the game to seal the deal. The bad news is they almost collapsed again.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

    Graham Gano has been a godsend. I was skeptical about him, but boy was I wrong. He’s the MVP of the team.

    FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

    Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham on his reaction to losing the first game against the Eagles: “Each game is so different. I consider myself a teacher, first and foremost. I happen to teach football. I think like any teacher, whether you’re a kindergarten teacher or a professor, you’re trying to do your best job so your students can learn. You want to see them have success. To see them fight so hard, to give up that lead. Usually what happens, as a coach, obviously I didn’t get the right calls in there. I failed them. If I’m being honest with you, I was just disappointed in letting them down personally, that’s just me. In that moment of honesty, that’s where I was at, we have to figure this out. For me right there, it was more I look at these guys as I’m a teacher than as a coach. I felt bad I let them down and I had to figure out a way to make sure they can taste success and get the reward of all their hard work. They’re working really hard for Joe. I felt bad. They’re working hard for Joe, working hard for all of us, and we didn’t come away with the win. The beauty of this and division opponents is you get to play them twice. We got them this week, not that the last game has anything to do with this week. We got another shot at them. Looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and compete against them. Hopefully, we do enough to put ourselves in that position again to have a chance to win the game.”

    THE FINAL WORD

    Without trying to sound insulting, some of the “we are turning it around” reactions to the Giants win over Washington were comical. We went through the EXACT same thing less than a month ago after the Giants beat Washington and before they played the Eagles. And yet fans keep falling into the same trap, especially after wins against that team in Maryland.

    Can the Giants build upon last week’s success and beat the Eagles on Sunday? Sure. The Eagles are a losing football team with their own Jekyll and Hyde quarterback. But history says no. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 13 times…

    At the end of Shawshank, Andy proved to Red that hope was indeed a good thing. I’m not there yet.

    Oct 252020
     
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    Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

    Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

    Philadelphia Eagles 22 – New York Giants 21

    QUICK RECAP

    Over the past decade, there haven’t been many team-to-team match-ups that are as one-sided as NYG vs PHI. To say the Eagles have had the Giants’ number would be an understatement worthy of laughter. No matter who the quarterbacks are, no matter who the head coaches are, NYG has been seeing PHI in their nightmares. In fact, the last time the Giants beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in consecutive match-ups was 2008. Brandon Jacobs led the team in rushing, Kevin Boss led the team in receiving, Antonio Pierce led the team in tackles, Corey Webster led the team in pass break ups, and Eli Manning was 27 years old. A lifetime ago. Despite that history and the fact that NYG came into this Thursday Night game with a 1-5 record, there was some hope and extra energy. The NFC East was crumbling, and the Giants were coming off a win against Washington. Had they won this one, they had a credible shot at being tied for first place in the division by the end of week 7. This had a “big-game” feel to it and the Eagles entered the night as arguably the most banged-up team in the NFL.

    The aggressive Eagles’ offense had their downfield weapon and Giants killer, DeSean Jackson, back in the lineup. They went to him on the first two plays of the game as they marched down the field. They converted a 4th-and-1 attempt en route, as PHI leads the league in 4th-down attempts since Doug Pederson became their head coach in 2016. Carson Wentz powered his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run to put the home team up early.

    The first blunder of the night occurred as the NYG punt team came onto the field following their initial offensive drive. They kept the offense on the field for 4th-and-3 before making the switch to punt at the last moment. PHI was scrambling as they tried to hurry and get their punt return team on the field as the defense darted off. They left the NYG gunner, Corey Ballentine, uncovered. He was, literally, all by himself with nobody between him and the first down marker. Punter Riley Dixon noticed, somehow Ballentine didn’t. The ball was snapped, and Dixon had no choice but to boot the ball back to PHI. An enormous missed opportunity! Winning teams capitalize on mistakes made by opponents. It is one of the simplest, basic, and everlasting components to the game. NYG isn’t there yet.

    PHI went 3-and-out on the next drive and thanks to a 14-yard punt return, NYG began with the ball at the PHI 39. If you have paid attention to Jason Garrett’s tendencies while with DAL, this is a part of the field he loves to get aggressive on first down. On the first play, Jones threw a dime just over the head of the Eagles’ defender into the hands of Golden Tate, who made a strong catch and broke the tackle to easily jog into the end zone. NYG tied it up. The lead didn’t last long, as PHI used an inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot approach with the screen game being featured numerous times to put up another 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.

    Daniel Jones got the Giants to midfield on the next drive, as the game plan was clearly heavy on getting the ball to Evan Engram. They were handing the ball off to him and they were throwing to him often in the passing game. On this 8-play drive, Engram was targeted four times, possibly one too many. PHI showed an aggressive double inside gap blitz on 3rd-and-7 and Jones took the shotgun snap and wanted to get rid of it in a hurry. He rifled the ball to Engram, with maybe too much juice on it, and Engram was slow to get his head around and just couldn’t grab the ball in time. It deflected off his hands and was intercepted by Jalen Mills. Turnover number 9 on the year for the second-year quarterback.

    PHI failed to take advantage of the interception, as Carson Wentz threw one back to NYG on an ill-timed decision. James Bradberry came down with his third interception of the season and his second in as many games. Only two players in the league have more interceptions than Bradberry, a fantastic free agent signing for this team and maybe one of the best in the NFL this past offseason.

    The two offenses traded possessions before NYG had one more shot with just under a minute left in the first half starting at their own 35. On Dion Lewis’ first touch of the game, he fumbled and gave PHI the ball at the 42. The third turnover in 5 drives reminded everyone watching what exactly the NFC East was in 2020. PHI got the ball close enough to take three shots at the end zone but had to settle on a 29-yard field goal attempt. Elliott lined up and missed it. An ugly second quarter was over with PHI up 10-7.

    The two teams traded 4 straight three-and-outs to start the second half. NYG then started to take over. Daniel Jones dashed 80 yards before getting tripped by the turf. He was heading toward the end zone but lost his balance and fell. They ended up scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard Wayne Gallman run so this can now be laughed at. Even the best athletes in the world have the occasional slip up but NYG needed 4 plays and a PHI pass interference to get the 8 yards needed for the score. Had they not punched it in, this would have been the poster-play that sums up current state of the Giants organization.

    NYG stopped PHI two more times as the Eagles offense was stalling. Already up 4, NYG put together a 15-play drive that began at the PHI 3-yard line after PHI failed on a 4th-and-goal attempt. PHI helped out with a 3rd-down pass interference and a too-late challenge by Pederson that would have went in their favor. Jones ended up hitting Sterling Shepard on a zip-line 2-yard pass to put NYG up 21-10 with just over 6 minutes left against an offense that looked completely broken. They were without multiple receivers, their starting running back, multiple offensive linemen, and their top two tight ends. It then took just over 1:30 for PHI to score a touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Greg Ward. A failed two-point conversion attempt maintained the NYG lead at 21-16, however. PHI would need a defensive stop and a touchdown in the final 5 minutes to win this one.

    NYG gained 27 yards on their first three plays, all Gallman runs. On 3rd-and-7, Jones dropped back and threw one downfield to Engram. Many have been banging the table for more downfield passes to the gifted Engram, one of the top athletes in the NFL at the position and the most-targeted pass catcher of the night. They had the match-up and space they wanted. The throw was on the money. Engram reached out his arms and hands but dropped it. The clock stopped, it was 4th down, and NYG had to punt.

    PHI needed 71 yards with just over 2:00 left. They got 53 of those yards on three plays using their third string tight end and backup running back. They were inside the NYG 10-yard line just like that. A face mask penalty pushed PHI back to the 18-yard line which may have ended up hurting the NYG defense more because they struggled to defend space. On the next play, Wentz hit Boston Scott on a top shelf throw just over the hands of Jabrill Peppers. PHI was up 22-21. They failed the two-point conversion attempt again, as NYG continued to defend short spaces well, and there was 40 seconds left but NYG didn’t have a timeout.

    NYG got the ball to their own 32 on the first play but Will Hernandez was called for a hold. Instead of 2nd-and-3 from the 32, it was 1st-and-25 from the 15 and they had used 6 seconds. Two plays later Jones was sacked for the third time on the night and fumbled, giving the ball back to PHI. His third lost fumble of the season and 10th turnover.

    NYG loses 22-21.

    QUARTERBACK

    -Daniel Jones: 20-30 / 187 yards / 2 TD-1 INT / 91.9 RAT

    Jones added 92 yards on 4 carries, including 80 of them on one run that will be on blooper reels for years to come. He also added a lost fumble on the final NYG offensive play. Another game, another performance where we saw some really good things and some really bad things. The Jones apologists will say that Engram should have caught the pass that was intercepted and the fumble at the end of the game didn’t matter because there was little to no chance of them advancing the ball far enough for a game-winning field goal attempt. The haters will simply add them to his massive career turnover total. This is the deal; the pass on that interception had too much on it because Jones thought pressure was coming before it was actually coming. I do think Engram could have turned his head sooner but very few, if any, players are catching that ball. I keep saying we need to see Jones make improvements with his ball security. The fumble at the end of the game, albeit it did not directly lose NYG the game, further strengthens this is an enormous problem that can prevent NYG from winning when the roster is better. He made a few nice throws, he made some athletic plays, but he isn’t putting it all together yet.

    RUNNING BACK

    -Wayne Gallman: 10 att / 34 yards / 1 TD and 5 rec / 20 yards

    Devonta Freeman suffered an ankle injury and Gallman was the one who took over in the backfield. All 10 of his carries were from the 3rd quarter on. Gallman’s stat line isn’t overly impressive but he was a big part of the NYG offensive “surge.” He ran the ball really well and gained several yards after contact. He has been a better back than advertised despite limited opportunities and unfortunate team circumstances. With Dion Lewis’ fumble and overall lack of impact here, I expect Gallman to get more and more touches in future games.

    WIDE RECEIVER

    -Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 59 yards / 1 TD

    It was Shepard’s first game back since Week 2 on September 20th. He looked quick and shifty from the slot and came up with a few key grabs, including a 2-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter that put NYG up by 11. It is easy to forget the gap between Shepard and his replacements until you see him back out on the field after missing a few games. He is a really explosive short-route runner who can consistently gain separation. While he is limited and can now be labeled an injury prone player, he is a key piece to this offense moving forward.

    -Golden Tate had just 1 catch, which was a 39-yard touchdown. It was an impressive play on the ball but don’t let it cloud the fact he went the rest of the game without an impact. Not what you want from a starting outside receiver who has the third-highest cap number on the team. Speaking of no impact, Darius Slayton finished with 2 catches for 23 yards on 4 targets. PHI corner Darius Slay handled him well for the majority of the night.

    TIGHT END

    Evan Engram: 6 rec / 46 yards and 2 att / 3 yards

    It was clear that Jason Garrett wanted to make Engram the key focus of this game. He led the team with 9 targets and the Giants continue to try to get him the ball in space via outside runs. It is hard to ignore Engram’s potential impact with his size/speed/explosion combination that very few have. However, his greatest weakness in the passing game from day one has been his inconsistent hands. He had 7 drops as a rookie and it appears to have become a mental block. This was not an issue in college, I scouted him thoroughly. He has 5 drops this year, and it is near a point where you almost have to give up on him because of it. Pass catchers can be slower than ideal, you can work around it. Pass catchers can be shorter than ideal, you can work around it. However, if you don’t catch the ball consistently you cannot be focal point in a good offense. End of discussion.

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    -We have seen some shaky performances from Andrew Thomas and this one may have been the worst. We can only hope that this is the low point of his rookie year. He allowed 2 sacks, 3 pressures, and a TFL. The league is attacking his inside shoulder on a weekly basis, and he needs to clean that up right now. The quickest route to the QB from the edge position is through the inside shoulder of the tackle. You have to protect that first, then protect the edge. He is over setting and playing too top heavy. He has a lot of work to do on his pass protection.

    -Will Hernandez had a tough game against a really tough match-up. He allowed a TFL and a pressure and was also flagged for a hold on the final drive that really stung because of how ill-timed it was. Lateral movement just doesn’t come natural for him. Kevin Zeitler finished with his top grade of the season, which isn’t saying much. However, it was encouraging to see him play well on short rest against a tough opponent. He did allow a TFL, though.

    -Cameron Fleming allowed a TFL and a sack. Not much to say here other than I still think his days are numbered as a starter. I do wonder if there is a trade market for him out there. There are a few contenders that are really thin at tackle and I did hear there was a long list of suitors who wanted him as their swing tackle prior to signing with NYG.

    -Center Nick Gates was really good in this game. He has been evolving weekly and may be the best lineman on this team at the current moment. This was against a really tough PHI interior defensive line. He is the one guy who is constantly chasing the action downfield looking for a defender to pick off. Love the hustle and love the production he had in this one.

    EDGE

    -Kyler Fackrell is now in this position group as opposed to the linebackers. It looks like he has made the full time move to the outside. He had 3 tackles and 2 pressures to go along with 1 missed tackle. His ability to move inside and out is really special and rare, to be honest. There really aren’t many players in the league who can handle that kind of back-and-forth move. While we aren’t talking about an elite talent, his role is really important and hard to find. When looking at the draft prospects, I am constantly trying to find a credible skill set comparable to this and it doesn’t come around often.

    -Markus Golden had a 1 sack and 1 pressure and was promptly traded to ARI the day after. Even though NYG could not afford to lose any more EDGE talent, Golden wasn’t an ideal fit and he won’t be a long-term fix. I am actually impressed that NYG netted a 6th round pick for him. The Cardinals really needed talent at that spot with the loss of Chandler Jones, though.

    -Cam Brown played a career high 12 snaps and didn’t make an impact but his movement and size stand out. With the Golden trade now in the rear-view mirror, expect him to start seeing more and more snaps. That will be fun to watch.

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE

    -One thing that has bothered me is how often this group gets blown up. I think Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham is sending them on a lot of designed slants, and depending on what the play call is, they get completely washed out. The Eagles offensive line was playing multiple practice squad-caliber guys and they still held their own against a NYG line that is supposed to be the strong point of this team. The match-up just didn’t swing in the Giants’ direction the way I was expecting.

    -Leonard Williams finished with the top grade among the DL with 2 pressures and 1 tackle. He caused a lot of re-directing in the PHI running game. Dalvin Tomlinson had 3 tackles and a pressure in addition to a pass break up. He had a bad missed tackle however and was completely pushed down the field twice that opened up big running lanes. Dexter Lawrence had a tackle, a sack, and a pressure. B.J. Hill had 3 tackles and a sack that was negated by a NYG penalty. Lastly, Austin Johnson had 1 pressure and 1 tackle.

    LINEBACKER

    -Mr. Reliable Blake Martinez led the team in tackles yet again, this time with 9. He also added 2 pressures and a pass break up. Don’t take his play for granted simply because it happens every week. He is playing at such a high level.

    -Devante Downs got the start even though David Mayo was back. He finished with 5 tackles and a pressure that led to an intentional grounding penalty early in the game. For a guy who has struggled so far this year, it was his best performance. Mayo was on the field for just 10% of the defensive snaps and finished with 2 tackles, 1 of which was on special teams. I think this job will belong to Downs for the time being.

    CORNERBACK

    -This group struggled overall. James Bradberry did haul in his 3rd interception of the season on a nicely played ball in the end zone. I was actually curious to see if he could handle DeSean Jackson because of the shifty speed he brings to the table. Bradberry excels against bigger receivers who don’t get in and out of breaks as well. Jackson did catch passes of 12 and 9 yards on the first drive of the game, but was held pretty quiet after that until injured. Bradberry did miss a tackle and was flagged for a pass interference on the PHI game winning drive.

    -For the second week in a row, Ryan Lewis was torched down the field late in the game. He also got flagged for an illegal contact penalty. Teams will now test him more and more down the field.

    -Corey Ballentine allowed a 3rd-and-10 conversion early on. He played under 20% of the snaps and I think he needs to start getting phased out of this defense. He just isn’t playing well and he doesn’t seem to mentally grasp the speed of this game. Speaking of mental gaffes, the mistake of not realizing he was uncovered on the NYG punt was an enormous missed opportunity that could have really changed the complexion of this game. Ballentine was also responsible for a 15-yard illegal hit penalty on the punt before the game-winning drive by PHI.

    -Madre Harper, an undrafted rookie from the Raiders, saw a lot of playing time late and was promptly torched by the PHI passing game. In addition, he was flagged twice.

    SAFETY

    -Logan Ryan had a really solid game, as it looks like he played more safety than corner in this one. He had 2 pressures and a pass break up in the end zone. His biggest mistake, however, was a holding penalty on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line on the final PHI drive. It gave them new life and two plays later they scored the game-winning touchdown. Awful timing on what was really his lone glaring mistake.

    -Jabrill Peppers has minimal football sense. First of all, he fair caught two punts where he had 10+ yards of open space in front of him. Secondly, his man coverage of Boston Scott on the game- winning touchdown throw was atrocious. He came too hard downhill, knowing he didn’t have any help behind him against a back who accelerates quickly in a situation where you knew PHI was going to take a shot at the end zone. Talent at safety is useless if you don’t fully understand game situations. He did have 6 tackles and a sack.

    -Julian Love had 7 tackles and a pass break up. Solid game for him where he read the action well and flowed in the right direction consistently.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    -K Graham Gano didn’t attempt a field goal. He apparently strained a quad on a kickoff, and it would have been a struggle for him to go for a long game-winning field goal had NYG gotten far enough up the field on their final drive.

    -P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 44.2 avg / 42.0 net

    3 STUDS

    -LB Blake Martinez, OC Nick Gates, RB Wayne Gallman

    3 DUDS

    -OT Andrew Thomas, TE Evan Engram, CB Corey Ballentine

    3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

    1. Carson Wentz has become a completely different QB over these past two seasons, not in a good way. One can understand his happy feet in the pocket because of the poor OL play and lack of receiver-talent, but his poor decision-making should be alarming. He is trying to do too much and making throws that can’t be excused even by his biggest supporters. He leads the NFL in turnovers. They’re stuck with him for a while and they better pray this is a short-term speed bump.
    1. I respect the PHI coaching staff as much as any in the league. Their awful 2-point conversions play calls aside, these guys adjust to the game situation as well as anyone. They have been ravaged on offense with injuries two straight seasons. They don’t make it look pretty, but they get the job done.
    1. PHI is now the front runner of the division, no doubt. As they start to get some guys back on offense, I think they will be set up nicely to get to the 8-9 win mark, which we know won’t be touched by anyone else in the NFC Least. I wouldn’t want to play them in the playoffs, either. Their pass rush is top 3 in the league and they have a lot of guys who know how to win.

    3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

    1. Speaking of “knowing how to win,” that is the biggest component this young NYG team needs to acquire in the coming months. I think it is an overused line by the media at times, but when a team is making the most amount of mistakes late in the game (drops, penalties, allowed sacks, etc.), that is a sign of pressing and getting mentally defeated by the moment. Eli Manning played his best football late in games. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan came up big late in games. While the team needs to continue to add better personnel, these players need to step up when the game is on the line consistently. They won’t go anywhere worth getting excited about until that happens.
    1. Last week, I discussed how this would be a big test for this team in regard to the future. A short week, a big game that meant a lot to the divisional standings, and response to coming off a win. It went so well for 3 and two-thirds of a quarter. Their defense was coming up big, notably in the second half, and their offense was adjusting well and turning opportunities into touchdowns. Ultimately, they failed the tests. Is this something we will keep on seeing? Or will they adjust and grow from the experience and end up being on the other side of this next time?
    1. Joe Judge emphasized getting smart, sound players during his initial interviews after being hired. He did this moreso than most coaches and their cliché lines. After 7 games, I can see what he means more than ever. If Corey Ballentine, Cameron Fleming, and Jabrill Peppers had higher on field IQ, this team may have 3 wins. If Evan Engram had mental toughness, this team may have another win. If this offensive line handled stunts and twists more naturally, this team may have another win. I know the “if” department doesn’t get anyone anywhere. However, when scouting players for the upcoming draft, that is something I am really going to key in on. NYG will be placing more value on it than ever.
    Oct 232020
     
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    “Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!” – © USA TODAY Sports

    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 22 – NEW YORK GIANTS 21…
    The New York Giants snatched defeat from the claws of victory on Thursday night as they watched a 21-10 lead late in the 4th quarter vanish in minutes as the Philadelphia Eagles won 22-21 in dramatic style. The Giants fell to 1-6 on the season and have now lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Eagles.

    Despite the closeness of the score, the Eagles significantly out-gained the Giants in first downs (27 to 17), total net yards (442 to 325), and net yards passing (359 to 187). The Giants did out-rush the Eagles (160 to 96), but 80 of those yards came on one run by quarterback Daniel Jones. The Eagles also won the turnover battle (3 to 1).

    Philadelphia received the ball to start the game and promptly marched 75 yards in 11 plays, the possession culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Carson Wentz. The Giants gained one first down and punted on their first possession, pinning the Eagles down at their own 11-yard line. After an 8-yard sack by safety Jabrill Peppers on 3rd-and-9, Philadelphia punted and Peppers returned the ball 14 yards to the Eagles’ 39-yard line. On the very next snap, Jones threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate and the game was tied at 7-7.

    The Eagles followed that up by driving 57 yards in 13 plays on their third possession, setting up a 31-yard field goal that regained the lead 10-7. Both quarterbacks exchanged interceptions on the next two drives, with cornerback James Bradberry picking off Wentz in the end zone for a touchback. After each team punted, running back Dion Lewis fumbled the ball away to the Eagles with less than 50 seconds to play in the half. Fortunately for New York, the Eagles missed a 29-yard field goal with 15 seconds on the clock.

    At the half, the Eagles still led 10-7.

    Neither team could pick up one first down on four consecutive drives to start the 3rd quarter. On the first play of the Giants’ third drive of the second half, Jones broke off an 80-yard run which should have resulted in an 88-yard score, but he tripped over his own feet and was tackled at the 8-yard line. Nevertheless, three plays later, running back Wayne Gallman scored from 1-yard out after an Eagles’ penalty and the Giants led 14-10.

    Both teams went three-and-out again late in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles then began an 8-play, 66-yard drive that ended on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-goal at the Giants’ 3-yard line. With momentum on their side, the Giants appeared to put the game away with an impressive 15-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-goal. The Giants now led 21-10 with 6:10 left to play.

    However, a New York defense that has struggled all year late in halves did so once again. The Eagles quickly drove 78 yards in four plays to cut the score to 21-16 (2-point conversion failed). New York was flagged with two penalties on this drive, including an illegal contact infraction that wiped out a sack. The big play was a 59-yard pass by Wentz to the New York 14-yard line.

    The Giants got the ball back with 4:34 to go in the game. Gallman gained 24 yards and two first downs on the first two plays of this possession. It appeared the Giants would put the game away on 3rd-and-7 when Jones hit tight end Evan Engram for what should have been a big first down but Engram dropped the ball. The Giants were forced to punt.

    Philadelphia started their game-winning drive on their own 29-yard line with 2:02 left in the game. Again, it was far too easy for the Eagles as they drove 71 yards in six plays. The score came after a penalty on a perfectly-thrown 18-yard touchdown pass on 1st-and-goal against Peppers. The 2-point conversion failed again, but the Eagles led 22-21 with 40 seconds to play.

    The Giants did have one final shot to set up a game-winning field goal, but their first play resulted in a penalty, their second play resulted in an 8-yard completion, and their third play resulted in a sack-fumble-turnover to end the game.

    Jones finished the game 20-of-30 for 187 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and one fumble. His leading targets were Shepard (6 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown) and Engram (6 catches for 46 yards). Jones rushed for 92 yards on four carries. No other player gained more than 34 yards on the ground.

    The defense allowed two long, late 4th quarter touchdown drives to lose the game. The Giants picked up three sacks (Peppers, linebacker Markus Golden, and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence). The Giants also got 10 hits on the quarterback and defended seven passes.

    Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

    STERLING SHEPARD ACTIVATED OFF OF INJURED RESERVE…
    The New York Giants activated wide receiver Sterling Shepard off of Injured Reserve on Thursday afternoon. Shepard was placed on Injured Reserve on September 23rd with a turf toe injury.

    PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
    The Giants activated WR Alex Bachman and LB Trent Harris from the Practice Squad.

    Inactive for the game were WR C.J. Board (concussion), CB Darnay Holmes (neck), S Adrian Colbert (shoulder), TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and DE/LB Jabaal Sheard.

    RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) left the game in the 3rd quarter.

    POST-GAME REACTION…
    Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    WHAT’S UP NEXT…
    Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday.

    Oct 212020
     
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    Game Preview: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 22, 2020

    THE STORYLINE

    Yes, the stupid competitor in me says there is still a chance. Unbelievably, at 1-5, the New York Giants are only one game behind the division “leading” 2-4 Dallas Cowboys (who also currently own the head-to-head advantage too). Indeed, had the Giants not lost a very winnable game against the Cowboys, one where they led both early and late, New York would be in first place right now with a chance to go 3-0 in the division on Thursday night. That’s crazy.

    But this is fool’s gold. The Giants are not a good team. The offense has scored more than 16 points in a game only once. They are 31st in yards and scoring. (Thank you Jets!) While the defense is more respectable, they have continued an excessively annoying inability to stop the other team late in the 2nd and 4th quarters. As expected, fan ire has turned on the usual scapegoats, the quarterback and the coaching staff. Despite the attempts of myself and others to repeatedly warn others about the shocking lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball (especially after the loss of Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard), many fans simply refuse to accept reality. They don’t seem to recognize that defenses stacked the box against Barkley and put a linebacker and safety on him on passing plays, opening things up for everyone else.

    I told my wife this week, “If you put the skill position players from all 32 teams in a field and had the teams pick players one at a time from that group, you’d have a bunch of New York Giants left there at the end.” Yes, it is that bad. But we now have fans complaining that Jason Garrett doesn’t know how to use a tight end! (Actually, think about that statement for a moment). Or Daniel Jones is a bust because he’s not putting up 30 points a game with a washed up Golden Tate and undrafted rookie Austin Mack playing wide receiver. The team’s leading rusher isn’t a running back. And the Giants are still playing musical chairs on the offensive line. Dave Brown had much better offensive talent around him in the 1990s, and that’s saying something.

    One of the craziest posts I saw this week is the suggestion that the Giants trade for a wide receiver. This is a 1-5 team that is probably going to win about 3-4 games this year and one that has already traded away two of its seven 2021 draft picks (we have five picks left). Even if by some miracle the Giants were able to win the NFC East with a 5-11 or 6-10 record, so what? You can’t rebuild a ball club by trading away picks, even low ones. How far away are the Giants from being a serious contender? Look no farther than the Junior Varsity 49ers beating the Giants 36-9 last month.

    OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s look to the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles. They are obviously struggling too. And like the Giants, they come into this game with a lot of injury issues. Statistically, the Eagles are better on offense than the Giants but worse on defense. On paper, this looks like a toss-up. But there’s that ugly, little sticking point: the Eagles own the Giants. They have won 12 of the last 13 games. And until proven otherwise, the Giants will continue to be their little bitches. It sucks. One of my son’s best friends is an Eagles’ fan. Do you think he wants to hear it from his friend again?

    THE INJURY REPORT

    • RB Dion Lewis (hand – probable)
    • WR Darius Slayton (foot – probable)
    • WR C.J. Board (concussion – out)
    • LB Tae Crowder (hamstring – out – on Injured Reserve)
    • CB Darnay Holmes (neck – questionable)
    • S Adrian Colbert (shoulder – out)

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

      The curious decision by Joe Judge to carry four wide receivers is starting to impact the Giants. At one point last Sunday, the team was down to two healthy wideouts: the washed up Golden Tate (19 catches for 156 yards and no touchdowns) and undrafted rookie free agent Austin Mack who was playing in his first game (Mack finished with one catch for one yard). With below average journeyman C.J. Board out and Darius Slayton still battling a nagging foot injury, the Giants are on shaky ground here. Unless they activate Sterling Shepard from IR, they obviously need to bring up another body from the Practice Squad such as Binjimen Victor, Alex Bachman, or Derrick Dillon. Needless to say, even a mediocre Eagles defense is not trembling in their sneakers.

      As I expected and predicted last week, the Giants featured the ground game as New York ran the ball more than they passed. This includes Daniel Jones, who has now become a viable weapons with his feet. Opponent game plans are obvious, don’t let Slayton or Evan Engram beat you. Once again, I would think the Giants go into this game on Thursday with a heavy emphasis on the ground attack. Not only has it been easier to run on the Eagles than throwing (just like the Redskins), but by doing so, the coaching staff protects the weapon-deprived Daniel Jones and the still-evolving offensive line. It’s boring. It is isn’t conducive to scoring a lot of points (see last Sunday). But in a game that will probably be decided by the turnover margin (again, like the game against the Redskins), it’s probably the smart choice.

      Say what you will about the Eagles’ defense (12th against the pass, 21st against the run), they are still well-coached and are filled with players who are simply used to owning the New York Giants, especially up front at the line of scrimmage. If Joe Judge and Jason Garrett are going to turn this “rivalry” around, then it must come up front. Judge says the Giants will continue to rotate at offensive tackle, with Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Cam Fleming all receiving playing time. The Giants need a strong game from the interior trio against old nemesis Fletcher Cox and company.

      Run the football. Keep down-and-distance situations manageable. Don’t do anything stupid.  In a low-scoring game, punting and winning the field position battle are often the right choice.

      NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

      Patrick Graham is doing a darn good job given the issues the Giants have at edge rusher and in the secondary. The one glaring exception to that is the continued inability to play respectable defense at the end of both halves of each game. That has bitten the team in the ass repeatedly this year, costing them games and almost costing them their first win. They have to clean that up. It’s becoming a mental thing.

      The problem that Graham is facing now is that the linebacking position has taken a big hit. In a matter of a couple of weeks, they have lost Lorenzo Carter (starter who was playing better), Oshane Ximines (who was starting over Markus Golden), and Tae Crowder (a new starter who won the game last week). Yes, the Giants are still getting good linebacker play out of Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, but to lose three starters at one position is a hit that even good teams can ill-afford. The loss of Crowder stands out in this contest as he is the type of mobile, athletic linebacker the Giants have lacked in their match-up with Eagles’ tight ends and running backs in coverage.

      Darnay Holmes also dealing with a neck injury has also complicated matters. Last week, the Giants were forced to shift Logan Ryan inside to corner and play Julian Love, who had been benched, at safety. The good news is that Ryan Lewis appears to have settled down the corner spot opposite of James Bradberry somewhat. Still, this is a very shallow group that simply cannot afford another injury.

      The Eagles are really beat up on the offensive side of the football. Some of their key injured players will play, but some important ones who have killed the Giants in the past such as tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders will not. Nevertheless, it always seems like some no-name player on the Eagles makes a name for himself on national television against the Giants. Again, if Judge wants to turn this “rivalry” around, that shit has to stop.

      The Eagles are 27th in offense (26th in passing, 13th in rushing). Stating the obvious, stop the run. Make Carson Wentz and his injured receiving corps beat you. Control the line of scrimmage against an offensive line that has also been dealing with injury issues and struggling. This is the time for the big boys up front to earn their paychecks. Most importantly, with the game on the line late in the halves, stop the other team!

      One final note, I hope the defense keeps an eye on quarterback Jalen Hurts. He can be used in a variety of ways on trick plays.

      NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

      If the Giants are going to win this game, I think they have to win the turnover battle and I think they have to make an impact play on special teams. And this would be typical of a Giants-Eagles game. Now would be an opportune time for a blocked kick.

      FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

      Head Coach Joe Judge on Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense: “It all goes through No. 11 for them right there. He’s a big armed quarterback, can make any throw he needs to on the field, so you have to defend the entire field. What that does is that opens up the deep balls with guys like (DeSean) Jackson coming back this week and Alshon (Jeffery – late note: Jefferey won’t play). It also opens up the tight ends underneath and the running backs. They’re great catch-and-run running backs. You can create a screen or a check down for these guys… I think Carson’s doing a really good job. I think when he runs the ball, he’s a big, physical, tough guy. He can extend plays. You can’t just tackle this guy like any quarterback. You have to treat him like a running back in the open space. You have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. This guy runs physical. You watch that run against Baltimore last week, he’s not looking to get out of bounds. He’s looking to extend it vertically and gain as many yards as he can. This guy is a good quarterback.”

      THE FINAL WORD

      The Eagles may be struggling, but if you watched them against the Ravens last week, you see there is no quit in that team. They are one of the very best coached teams in the game on offense, defense, and special teams. And probably most importantly, they expect to beat the Giants. Why wouldn’t they?

      I wrote this last week: “If the Giants beat Washington and go on to win several more game this year, that will be a positive step in the right direction. But if this is another case of a meaningless, temporary feel-good win against a bad Washington team followed by loss-loss-loss-loss, then it won’t mean much.”

      What will it be New York?

      Dec 312019
       
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      Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 29, 2019)

      Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

      Philadelphia Eagles 34 – New York  Giants 17

      QUICK RECAP

      Week 17 approached and NYG fans have become embarrassingly used to it meaning absolutely nothing. The most exciting part of the year for this franchise has been the offseason and this game didn’t host any implications beside the fact we were that much closer to a new head coach, the free agency period, and the NFL Draft. Arguably the darkest days in the history of the organization are here. We are living them. On a rainy Sunday, PHI came to town needing a win to lock up their NFC East title for the 9th time in 19 years.

      With a depleted offense and more injuries on the way, PHI came limping into this one, to say the least. One of the most aggressive teams on 4th down in the league, PHI opted to try and set the tone early on a 4th-and-7 from the NYG 38-yard line but it was stuffed thanks to pressure from rookie Oshane Ximines. The NYG offense responded by reaching midfield being forced to punt.

      The second PHI possession resulted in 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. NYG then responded with a drive that was a true microcosm of their 2019 season. On 2nd-and-4, Barkley was taken down for a 4-yard loss on a run that was intended to be between the tackles and then Daniel Jones was sacked because of a 2-man stunt by the PHI defensive front that Nate Solder and Will Hernandez looked helpless against. Three and out.

      The two teams traded 6 straight scoreless drives combined. On the three NYG drives, the team gave the ball to Barkley two times for a total of -7 yards. Fortunately PHI was playing with the backups-backups on offense and their top play-maker over the past 4 weeks, Miles Sanders, was out of the game with a lower body injury. Their sloppy play kept NYG in it. The Giants were able to put 3 points on the board via a 37-yard field goal. PHI then responded with a 8-play, 75-yard, touchdown-scoring drive. Carson Wentz hit third-string tight end Josh Perkins for the 24-yard score. Perkins has 9 receptions on the year, all of them are against NYG.

      There were 2 minutes left in the half and NYG had more than enough time and timeouts to try and get this game back to even. They responded with 8 plays that got them to midfield before having to punt. Barkley touched the ball one time (a 7-yard rush). PHI took their 10-3 lead into halftime.

      NYG began the second half with the ball and they were able to score their first touchdown of the game. Jones hit Golden Tate in the back corner of the end zone for the 20-yard score and the game was tied up. You could feel the sigh of relief coming from Dallas, as they were handling the Redskins but needed the NYG win to secure their division title. This game was, at least, competitive. Oh have the barometers for success within this franchise changed!

      That lead didn’t last long, however. The Boston Scott show reappeared just as it did Week 14 on Monday Night Football in Philly. In that game, he totaled 128 yards and a touchdown, almost all of which came in the second half. PHI scored a touchdown on their second possession of the second half on a 7-yard scamper into the end zone by Scott. The lead was 17-10. But then the big-play back from NYG struck once again, as he’s made a habit of in recent weeks. Barkley was given the first carry of the drive and took it to the house for a 68-yard score. The burst into space and runaway speed was something to marvel at. Man, what could be with this kid if they were able to constantly get him in space!

      The 4th quarter opened with a PHI field goal, a NYG fumble, and then a PHI touchdown – all within the span of 2 minutes. The PHI play-makers on this drive other than Carson Wentz? Scott, Greg Ward Jr., Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Jordan Perkins. None of them were on the active roster until October 11.

      The next two NYG drives did not pick up a first down, the second of which was a turnover on downs as a 4th-and-2 rushing attempt that took way too long to develop resulted in no gain. PHI took advantage of the blood in the water, and needed just four plays to get into the end zone again via another Scott touchdown, his third of the day.

      The wind was out of the sails one last time in regard to the 2019 season, and also the Pat Shurmur era. NYG put together a few garbage drives, one of which ended in an interception.

      Giants lose 34-17. The worst team in the NFL over the past three seasons (12-36).

      QUARTERBACK

      -Daniel Jones: 28/47 – 301 yards – 1 TD/1 INT – 76.6 RAT. Jones was also charged with his 18th fumble / 11th lost fumble of the year. One could argue this one was more on the shoulders of Jon Halapio as it all started with a shotgun snap that went knee-high. Jones did re-gather possession and ended up losing it, however. Jones was inaccurate for most of the day, notably on downfield passes. He had Sterling Shepard twice and Darius Slayton once “wide” open (in NFL terms) but he just didn’t get the ball to the right spot. He was also late to see and throw on a few underneath passes where NYG was either on 3rd/4th down. Compared to what we have seen this year, it was a poor game by Jones.

      RUNNING BACK

      -Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 92 yards / 1 TD – 3 rec / 25 yards. It was heading toward another horrid day for Barkley until his 68-yard touchdown run livened up the box score. While we know Barkley has been big play-dependent when it comes to his total production over his first two years, it is still amazing what he can do for an offense when the space is there. There were a handful of attempts where Barkley had defenders at his feet upon his approach to the line of scrimmage – an image we all just got sick of seeing. There is a lot of potential with this offense because of what Barkley can do and the new coach better figure it out upon arrival.

      WIDE RECEIVER

      -Golden Tate: 5 rec / 68 yards / 1 TD. Tate had an awful 3rd down drop early in the game but he woke up and ended strong. His touchdown catch was high-difficulty as Rasul Douglas was draped all over him and was actually called for pass interference on the play. Tate’s role on this team moving forward is interesting to me. He can’t be the #1 or even the #2 guy in the passing game. But if he can be you’re #3, you are talking about a high-ceiling attack. The issue? Nobody on this roster is head and shoulders ahead of him and it forces him into the expectation tier that he simply will not fulfill. My conclusion? Keep him here and hope for development elsewhere and/or a new face that can be a #1 or #2.

      -Sterling Shepard: 5 rec / 39 yards. Shepard got a little banged up when he landed hard on his hip early in the game but he toughed it out and stayed in the game. Watching the All-22, he did pull up multiple times. Shepard was missed by Jones downfield two times and twice underneath. This could have been a huge game for him if Jones had been on. Something to chew on: Shepard has been in the league for 4 years. He is averaging 11.6 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns per season. While I don’t think the long-term contract was a bad decision, everyone needs to be on the same page that this team needs a better number one threat in the passing game. He won’t ever be that guy.

      -Darius Slayton: 4 rec / 50 yards. Slayton had two opportunities deep with one of them being an underthrow and the other being Slayton just getting beat by the corner. Slayton’s rookie year is something to be pleased about, but not necessarily excited about if that makes sense. The speed and route running were effective all year but the book is out on him a bit. He really struggles to get off the jam and doesn’t play through contact well. He deserves an opportunity to be a guy here but I wouldn’t make plans around it; rather he can be the speed/deep threat accessory.

      TIGHT END

      -Kaden Smith: 8 rec / 98 yards. Smith led the team in targets, yards, and catches. Not bad for a 6th rounder who cut from SF. In all seriousness, Smith is one of the best finds this front office has had in awhile. While opportunity certainly created some of his production, Smith looks like a keeper. Having him as the number two guy next year while Evan Engram gets one more shot is going to be a nice roster asset.

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      -The left side of this line was a disaster, as the dumpster fire here just continues to intensify. Will Hernandez and Nate Solder combined for 4 pressures and a simple stunt resulted in 2 sacks where they both looked lost. They also allowed 1 TFL each. This has been an issue for 32-straight games. Lack of chemistry can no longer be blamed. I will be very disappointed if Solder is the starting left tackle in 2020. I think Hernandez will have to be the left guard another year, but the issues I had with him on my scouting report out of UTEP popped up left and right all year. Buyer beware.

      -Jon Halapio had his third-worst game of the season, which is hard to believe because he played really, really poorly in 2019. This position is another no-brainer when it comes to 2020 mandatory replacements. He allowed a pressure, a sack, and 2 TFL. I should be getting OL stats from around the league from my guys and I am going to guarantee Halapio grades out as one of the worst three OCs in the league. He was pitiful. All year.

      -Kevin Zeitler also struggled in this one, his second-worst game of the year. He allowed a TFL and a pressure but most glaringly just didn’t get any movement off the ball for almost the entire game. Not a good way to end the year. Nick Gates allowed a pressure but other than that, ended the game pretty cleanly. He was the top NYG OL in this one and based on what we have seen this year, he deserves to be in the discussion for an OT spot or a 6th OL spot next year, the latter being preferred. I feel much better about him than I did Chad Wheeler for what it is worth.

      EDGE

      -Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter didn’t get to the QB but they each finished with a pressure and a TFL, respectively. Golden has been a consistent force all year that, similar to Tate. He can’t ever be THE guy on your pass rush but would be a solid secondary weapon. The cost of bringing him back and the scheme that is implemented will have a say in that decision obviously. Carter ended the year stronger than he started, but I can’t say I am overly optimistic about him heading into the offseason.

      -Oshane Ximines had a key pressure on the first drive, but was pretty quiet otherwise. My expectations were not that high for a 3rd rounder who I had graded lower. Nevertheless, I didn’t see a lot out of him that gets me excited. The Giants need a lot of help at the edge-rushing position, especially if Golden leaves. Priority B behind the offensive line.

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      -Dexter Lawrence surprisingly played awful upon my re-watch. He was playing high and slow and even had a few plays where he looked disinterested. After a really strong year, I didn’t like seeing him end the season with Boston Scott running untouched behind an offensive line that was 40% injured. A big part of that was on Lawrence.

      -Leonard Williams continued his solid play and ending to the season. He had 5 tackles – a half sack – 1 pressure. He did miss a tackle in the first half and there are still too many plays where he is rendered ineffective by a lone blocker, though. This is going to be a big decision for David Gettleman, as he just isn’t worth anything more than $10-12 million per year in my eyes. But Gettleman already gave up a 3rd-round pick for him in a hopeless season.

      -Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill both finished with 2 tackles. It’s funny how people coming into the year overrated Hill after his solid but opportunistic rookie season, yet now some are overlooking his value to the team. The NYG defensive line was really healthy all year and he happened to be the guy who didn’t get on the field much. I don’t see it as an indictment of poor play at all. The NYG DTs are solid and deep as we head into 2020.

      LINEBACKER

      -The best inside linebacker in the Giants home blue was David Mayo, not Alex Ogletree. I have to give Mayo credit for being a consistent hustler and blue-collar defender. He has athletic limitations and I’m not sure he is a guy I want penciled in as a starter in 2020, but he is a good guy to have on the team. He finished with 6 tackles and a half-sack. Ogletree finished with 4 tackles and was a liability in coverage. His time in NY needs to be over.

      -Deone Bucannon finished with 2 tackles and a TFL where he made an extremely athletic and physical play. He has been impressive enough to warrant an opportunity at a backup job depending on the new scheme.

      CORNERBACK

      -Antonio Hamilton – according to the box score – had a really good game. 5 tackles and 4 pass break ups. But this is where watching the game is important. While he did make impressive plays on the ball a few times, Hamilton was burned a few times but luckily Wentz wasn’t looking his way. Also, can we stop with the taunting after you break a pass up just plays after you missed a tackle and allowed a first down while your team is losing by 10? Losing culture right there. But yes, let’s root for losses.

      -Deandre Baker showed impressive coverage throughout but was burned badly on a crossing route where he simply did not recognize the route combination. That was a clear sign that he just doesn’t have it all mentally down. He was beat on that touchdown by a 3rd-string tight end. It wasn’t a speed issue, it wasn’t a ball skill issue, he just didn’t recognize.

      SAFETY

      Another quick glance at the box score and you will see that Michael Thomas led the team with 11 tackles and added a TFL. Solid game right? Wrong. He missed 3 tackles, was flagged twice, and was beat on three 3rd-down conversions in coverage. He was a guy who was brought in for character and special teams prowess so I can’t knock the personnel decision too bad here. But he can’t be a guy you are trotting out there for a meaningful volume of snaps.

      -Antoine Bethea, another head-scratching veteran acquisition, missed 2 tackles and was completely run over by the 207-pound Scott for the final PHI touchdown. He takes bad angles and has almost no range in deep coverage. What exactly does he offer? Being a good guy can only get you so far. Hopefully NYG has a real safety tandem for the first time in years in 2020 and he won’t be a part of it.

      -Julian Love was a mixed bag as we have seen in recent weeks. He had 8 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 PD. He also missed a tackle and was getting beat, routinely, by Greg Ward, Jr. in coverage. I am optimistic with Love when it comes to his potential to impact the team. The question is, where? He played a similar safety role to Jabrill Peppers and I wouldn’t want either of them in the deep FS-type role that Bethea was playing. I think Love could do it more than I believe in Peppers, but they may need to find a nickel role for him depending on, once again, the new scheme that is coming.

      SPECIAL TEAMS

      -K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 37). Real inconsistent year for Rosas and a leg needs to be signed to compete with him in camp. No doubt.

      -P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 42.8 avg / 42.3 net. For the second year in a row, Dixon statistically finishes as a top 10 punter in the league.

      3 STUDS

      -OT Nick Gates, RB Saquon Barkley, DT Leonard Williams

      3 DUDS

      -OC Jon Halapio, S Michael Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence

      3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

      1. Before we go and hand the NFL Coach of Year award to the team with best record, can someone please find me a coach that did more than Doug Pederson did with this banged up PHI squad? Would Harbaugh be the #1 seed if he was without Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, 2 starting OL, 2 starting corners, and his top 3 wide receivers? Or would Shanahan be coaching the #1 seed if he was without George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and his top 2 RBs? Pederson orchestrated 4 straight wins to end the year with 400+ total yards (first time PHI did that since 2013). All of this with the most depleted offensive roster in football.
      1. There is another feather in Pederson’s cap, but this has more to do with the winning culture that has been built from the top on down. PHI is 12-2 from week 15 on in do-or-die games (regular-season and playoffs). Winning culture is derived from avoiding losses guys. Another reason why you do not ever, ever root for losses.
      1. With all of this said, I can’t see PHI getting out of the Wild Card weekend alive. Even though they get a SEA team that has been slowly dying over the second half of the year, they are matched up favorably. I think SEA takes that game by 7+ points because their defense will be able to handle the group of backups with ease. It will be an ugly game, but I think PHI is just too beat up to defeat a quality team at this point like SEA.

      3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

      1. As I write this, the news of Pat Shurmur being fired is out in the open and the 3rd coaching search in 5 years is under way. Unfortunately this time of the year has become more fun than the actual season, a true sign of a losing franchise. I have 2 front runners (zero inside information, just preferences). My first is Eric Bieniemy, the OC from KC. I started to discuss him 2 years ago even though it may have been a bit early for him. I like the Andy Reid coaching tree, I like his offensive background, I like this guy’s attitude, I like his ability to relate to players but also put them in their place. My second preference is Matt Rhule, the NY local and current Baylor coach. I like his idea of building culture and sticking to tough-guy football with a dose or two of modern era tendencies.
      1. Daniel Jones. Overall this was a very solid rookie year. He earned the right to get 3 seasons (what I think every 1st rounder deserves if they show some things as a rookie) but I am not going to glorify him as the leader of the future just yet. I love the toughness. I love the sneaky athletic ability. I love the footwork and throwing mechanics. However, the turnovers are absolute killers in the NFL and setting a record for lost fumbles needs to be fixed. I also saw some arm power things that popped up during scouting and during training camp (both of which I addressed and got knocked for) during the season when it came to deep balls. He has a ways to go and I think he can be the guy, but I am not labeling him the guy yet.
      1. As much as this league has turned offensive, you have to get guys that make plays on defense. Even guys like Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Aaron Donald (none of which are in the playoffs) won’t turn a team around but every good team has guys on defense who make plays or strike fear into opposing offenses. The Giants don’t have any. Literally. None. While the offensive line needs to be addressed first and foremost, NYG needs to be aggressive with their abundance of cash in getting at least 2 play-makers. CB / EDGE / S / LB…any of those spots. Spend big, twice.
      Dec 292019
       
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      Philadelphia Eagles (December 29, 2019)

      Philadelphia Eagles celebrate their dominance over New York Giants – © USA TODAY Sports

      PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 17…
      An injury-depleted Philadelphia Eagles team humiliated the New York Giants 34-17 at a rainy, dreary MetLife Stadium on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants could have ended the Eagles’ season, but instead Philadelphia won the NFC East. New York’s 2019 season ends with a 4-12 overall record. The Eagles now have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Giants.

      Aside from a few plays, the Giants largely slept walk through the game. The Eagles were not overly impressive; the Giants were simply that bad.

      The Eagles received the football to start the game and drove 55 yards on their opening drive to the New York 38-yard line. But on 4th-and-7, linebacker Oshane Ximines pressured quarterback Carson Wentz into an incomplete pass and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. The Giants gained one first down due a defensive holding penalty on the Eagles and then punted. On their second drive, Philadelphia drove 69 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 31-yard field goal. Eagles 3 – Giants 0.

      The Giants and Eagles then combined for six punts on each team’s next three possessions. At this point in the contest, the Giants had gained only one first down (by penalty) and five net yards.

      Finally, midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants moved the ball, gaining 67 yards in seven plays to set up a 37-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The game was tied at 3-3. However, the Eagles quickly regained the lead on their next possession as the defense surrendered an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to tight end Josh Perkins. Neither team scored on their final possessions of the half.

      At halftime, the Eagles led 10-3 with the Giants only gaining six first downs and 108 yards of offense, punting the ball away five times in six possessions.

      New York offered a glimmer of hope in the 3rd quarter before fading fast. The Giants drove 76 yards in 10 plays on their opening drive of the second half, with quarterback Daniel Jones finding wide receiver Golden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10-10. After a punt by the Eagles and a turnover on downs by the Giants, Philadelphia once again regained the lead 17-10 with a 9-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Boston Scott. Nevertheless, the Giants tied the game in one play when running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 68-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 17-17.

      It was all downhill after that. The Eagles responded with their second scoring drive in a row, moving 43 yards in eight plays to set up a 50-yard field goal. Then disaster struck when an errant snap from center Jon Halapio was fielded by Jones but quickly snapped out of his hand by another defender. This resulted in a fumble that was knocked backwards 25 yards and recovered by the Eagles at the New York 2-yard line. Scott scored on the very next play and the Eagles were quickly up 27-17 early in the 4th quarter.

      After both teams went three-and-out, the Giants turned the ball over on downs again when Barkley was stuffed on 4th-and-2 at the New York 38-yard line. Four plays later, Scott scored his third touchdown of the game and the Eagles led 34-17 with just over six minutes to play.

      The Giants’ seventh possession of the half ended with an interception at the Philadelphia 6-yard line when wide receiver Darius Slayton slipped on the play. The Eagles went three-and-out. The Giants threatened on their last drive but couldn’t make the final score more respectable.

      Jones finished the game 28-of-47 for 301 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was also sacked four times and officially hit 10 times. Jones’ leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (8 catches for 98 yards), Tate (5 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 39 yards). Barkley carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

      Defensively, the Giants allowed 25 first downs and 400 total net yards (121 rushing and 289 passing). The Giants only accrued one sack and did not force a turnover.

      Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

      INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
      Inactive for the game were RT Mike Remmers (concussion), CB Sam Beal (shoulder), QB Alex Tanney, RB Wayne Gallman, WR David Sills, OG Chad Slade, and NT Chris Slayton.

      FB Eli Penny (back), WR Cody Core (concussion), and OC Jon Halapio (Achilles) left the game and did not return.

      POST-GAME REACTION…
      Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

      POST-GAME NOTES…
      The Giants finished in third place in the NFC East.

      The Giants’ were 2-6 in home games in MetLife Stadium for the third consecutive season. They also lost there as visitors to the Jets.

      The Giants were 2-4 in NFC East games.

      The Giants have lost seven consecutive games to the Eagles.

      The Giants did not intercept a pass in any of the final five games.

      Daniel Jones  led all rookie quarterbacks with 24 touchdown passes this season, the fourth-most by a rookie quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018), Peyton Manning (26 in 1998), and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) had more.

      Jones threw a touchdown pass in each of his last 12 games – all starts – the longest streak by a Giants quarterback since Eli Manning threw for a score in 12 straight games in 2008. The Giants’ record is 15 consecutive games from 1962-64 by Y.A. Tittle.

      Jones rushed for 289 yards in 2019. That is the third-highest total by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era, surpassed only by Fran Tarkenton in 1967 and 1968 (306 and 301 yards, respectively).

      Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,003 yards in 2019. He is the first player in Giants history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and the first with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since Brandon Jacobs in 2007-08.

      NEW YORK GIANTS 2020 OPPONENTS SET…
      The New York Giants’ 2020 opponents have been set:

      Home:

      • Dallas Cowboys
      • Philadelphia Eagles
      • Washington Redskins
      • Arizona Cardinals
      • San Francisco 49ers
      • Cleveland Browns
      • Pittsburgh Steelers
      • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

      Away:

      • Dallas Cowboys
      • Philadelphia Eagles
      • Washington Redskins
      • Baltimore Ravens
      • Cincinnati Bengals
      • Los Angeles Rams
      • Seattle Seahawks
      • Chicago Bears

      NEW YORK GIANTS TO PICK 4TH IN 2020 NFL DRAFT…
      The New York Giants now hold the 4th pick in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

      ROSTER MOVES…
      On Saturday, the New York Giants placed tight end Scott Simonson on Injured Reserve. Simonson suffered a concussion during last Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. To fill that roster vacancy, the Giants signed tight end Garrett Dickerson to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

      Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. Simonson spent time with the Raiders (2014-2015) and Carolina Panthers (2015-2017) before signing with the Giants in June 2018. He had his best season with the Giants in 2018, paying in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. The Giants placed Simonson on Injured Reserve in August 2019 with an ankle injury, cut him from Injured Reserve in September, and re-signed him to the 53-man roster in November. He played in five games in 2019 with one start, catching just two passes for 11 yards.

      The Giants originally signed undrafted rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson in June 2018. He spent a couple of stints on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2018. Dickerson made the 53-man roster in 2019, but was waived in October and then re-signed to the Practice Squad in November. Dickerson has played in seven regular-season games for the Giants, but he does not have a catch.

      WHAT’S UP NEXT…
      There is unspecified media availability to the team on Monday. General Manager Dave Gettleman told the press after the game that he would speak to them on Tuesday.

      Dec 272019
       
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      Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

      Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

      Game Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, December 29, 2019

      THE STORYLINE

      Here we are again. Seven of the last eight years with no playoff appearance. Yet another season over before the bye week. Soon the third head coach fired during a five-year span. Just eight years ago, this team was considered one of the model franchises in the NFL with it’s eighth NFL Championship firmly in tow. Now, almost unbelievably, the butt of a bad joke.

      I almost always find myself agree with Sy’56. But I have to at least partially disagree about winning always being better than losing. I get it. There is no such thing as a “can’t miss” prospect. There is no guarantee that the #2 pick will be better than the #5 pick. And if a team doesn’t start creating a culture of winning, it will never turn the corner because it will always expect to lose. But the potential marriage of the pass-rush desperate Giants with potentially defense-altering Chase Young seemed too perfect. Young is not the next Lawrence Taylor, but the Giants changed the entire course of their franchise by selecting LT with the #2 pick in the 1981 draft. Overnight, he turned the defense into one of the best in the league. The Giants needed that then, and they need that now.

      Young is all but officially out of the picture unless some weird shit happens. If he is, I do find myself now in Sy’s camp in thinking that winning this game against the Eagles on Sunday is more important than the difference in picking #3 versus #4 or #5. There are a number of defensive players and offensive tackles who can help the Giants. And unless players such as Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Dexter Lawrence, and Deandre Baker start believing they can beat the Eagles, nothing the Giants will do in the draft will matter. The Giants must get over this big, ugly, green mental hurdle that humiliates them twice a year now. You can’t get to the playoffs if you lose more division games than you win. And if the Cowboys defeat the Redskins, the Giants will be in position to ruin Philadelphia’s season. That would represent some sweet payback for all of those ultimately meaningless losses to the Eagles in the past eight years.

      The 2019 Philadelphia Eagles are not a good team. They just aren’t. Just four weeks ago, the sad sack New York Giants had a 17-3 halftime advantage over them in Philadelphia. Then New York saw their own shadow, got frightened, and let the Eagles score the next 20 points en route to a 23-17 overtime loss. That pathetic shit has to stop. And this game is as good a place to start as any.

      Moving away from the little picture to the big, Pat Shurmur most likely will be fired by Monday or Tuesday. The big question is does Dave Gettleman follow him out the door? It’s tough to see John Mara and Steve Tisch firing another general manager for the second time in three years. Some will point to the improved drafting, especially the election of Jones and Barkley. But Gettleman’s free agent decision-making has been dreadful and that’s a red flag for a team heading into an offseason with tens of millions of dollars to spend. He also picked Shurmur just two years ago. Finally, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, shouldn’t the GM who will head this team for the next 10 years (obviously not Gettleman given his age) pick the next head coach now? Potentially influencing all of this is the pie-in-the-sky, but not totally unrealistic possibilities that the Giants may finally be able to lure away Bill Belichick or Nick Saban. The timing matches up right for all parties. But those big fish will want more control. Don’t rule out options that seem like a pipe dream!!!

      GIANTS ON OFFENSE…

      Four short weeks ago, for one half, Eli Manning and Darius Slayton were tearing apart the Eagles. Slayton caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Then nothing in the second half as the offensive line started to break down. It was also this game where Saquon Barkley showed signs of coming out of his funk, but Pat Shurmur forgot he was on the roster in the 4th quarter. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard had a down game. Kaden Smith dropped two passes. And perhaps the goat of the game was Nate Solder, who simply was dreadful, allowing pressure on half of New York’s 11 second-half passing plays. How bad was New York in the second half? The Giants punted all six times they had the ball, gaining only two first downs and 30 yards.

      Jones, Barkley, Slayton, Tate, Shepard, and Smith are quite capable of ruining Philadelphia’s season if (1) the offensive line can just play an average game, and (2) Pat Shurmur doesn’t turn stupid again. But the New York OL has a long history of getting weak in the knees when playing against the Eagles, and Shurmur’s play-not-to-lose style usually rears its ugly head late in games.

      GIANTS ON DEFENSE…

      You’ve heard me bitch about it for months. The Giants lose because they can’t field a reliable offensive line. They lose because of bad coaching. But perhaps more than anything, outside of one year (2016), they can’t play good defense. We saw it again last Sunday. The offensively-challenged Redskins marched up and down the field against New York, scoring five touchdowns, including a 99-yard drive with the game on the line at the end of regulation. It’s nauseating. While I have confidence that the offense can pull off the upset, I have none that the defense can do the job. This despite the fact that the Eagles only scored three points in the first half just a month ago against this same pathetic defense.

      At this point, the Giants’ defense has to prove it to the fans that they can do the job. Stop the other team on 3rd down. Make that crucial sack or clutch short-yardage play. Pick off a pass. Force a fumble. Create field position for your offense, or even better, score on defense.

      For the love of God, cover the tight ends. Don’t let a no-name back-up like running back Boston Scott beat you both running and catching the football. The defense did its job for one half the first time, wore down in the second half, and collapsed in humiliation in overtime. Enough. Play a full 60 minutes or more if needed. Get the job done. For once.

      GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS…

      C’mon Aldrick, let’s finish a disappointing season for you and the team on a high note. This would also be a great time for a special teams touchdown.

      THE INJURY REPORT

      • WR Darius Slayton (knee)
      • TE Rhett Ellison (concussion – out)
      • TE Scott Simonson (concussion – out)
      • RT Mike Remmers (concussion – out)
      • OG/OT Nick Gates (shoulder)
      • LB Lorenzo Carter (knee)
      • LB Alec Ogletree (back – questionable)
      • CB Deandre Baker (knee)
      • CB Sam Beal (shoulder – questionable)
      • CB Corey Ballentine (back – questionable)

      THE FINAL WORD

      Both teams are beat up. I’ll probably regret making this prediction, but the Giants are going to kick the Eagles’ ass on Sunday. And the win will knock the Eagles out of the playoffs, ruining their season, in a venue that will feel more like an Eagles’ home game. All three elements of the team will come to play. Who could potentially screw this up? Shurmur. His game-day instincts are just awful.

      Just a word of warning to Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch. If the Giants do pull off the upset, don’t read anything into it. The needle is not pointed up on this franchise yet simply because you beat two dreadful and one mediocre team down the stretch. Your coaching staff stinks. So does your defense and offensive line. You need to bring in people capable of fixing these issues.

      Dec 112019
       
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      Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

      Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

      Philadelphia Eagles 23 – New York Giants 17 (OT)

      QUICK RECAP

      The NFC East has been abysmal in 2019 and it is surely a fair statement to label it the worst division in football. As week 14 was just one game on the NFL schedule away from being complete, not one team in the division had a winning record. DAL was in first place with a 6-7 record and PHI, with a win over the 2-10 NYG, would get to the same point. They would have to do so against Eli Manning, in for the rookie Daniel Jones because of a high ankle sprain. That fact alone actually created some hype for this game as NYG fans needed something to stimulate them after watching such poor football week after week for what seems to be the 100th year in a row. Manning confirmed in interviews leading up to the game he had no interest in being a backup and even less interest in being a coach. This was his best shot at a true showcase of his current abilities, making this his Super Bowl on a Monday Night. And we all know how he has played in those situations.

      The night started off quietly for both offenses, as a total of 0 points were produced over the first five drives that took up the entire first quarter. PHI entered the game with just three wide receivers on the active game-day roster and their main leading rusher, Jordan Howard, was sidelined with a shoulder injury. NYG opened the 2nd quarter with a 3rd-and-13 from the PHI 35-yard line. Manning hit rookie Darius Slayton on a quick slant that was short of the first down marker, but a broken tackle and burst that outran the rest of the PHI secondary resulted in the first score of the night.

      PHI, now without Alshon Jeffery because of a non-contact foot injury, started to finally create their own offense on the next drive. Even though Carson Wentz continued to look sloppy as he has all year, he was able to take advantage of broken NYG coverages to connect with tight end Zach Ertz for a combined 54 yards on two plays. NYG escaped a PHI touchdown on the next play thanks to a phantom holding call on PHI right guard Brandon Brooks and held them to a field goal.

      The NYG offense was starting to click consistently and in multiple ways. Manning hit Slayton with an on-the-money deep ball for a 42-yard gain and Saquon Barkley was running as hard and efficiently as we have seen all season. While they shot themselves in the foot with a fumbled snap (that Barkley recovered), Aldrick Rosas re-lengthened their lead to 10-3 with a 34-yard field goal. Three straight 3-and-outs by both offenses put the ball back in NYG’s hands with under 2 minutes left starting at their own 16-yard line.

      These next few plays would be the highlight of the night and maybe one of the top moments of the season for NYG. Barkley gained 15 yards on 2 carries and then Manning hit Slayton for 12 yards to bring the ball near midfield. On 3rd-and-8, Manning dropped back and lofted up one of his infamous deep balls to the young speedster Slayton, who got behind the PHI secondary. The throw was on the money yet again and it resulted in a simple, easy looking 55-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 17-3 lead as halftime was a short moment away. Manning, whose first NFL action was in this stadium back in 2004, was running downfield pumping his fists and enjoying successful football. Nothing on this night could hide the fact this team is an NFL bottom feeder over the past 5 years and this may be the worst NYG team ever. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant distraction to see Eli, host of a 10-20 record against PHI lifetime, celebrate on their turf while the Eagles were losing a game by 14 at home in a game they absolutely had to have.

      NYG started the second half with the ball after nearly doubling PHI in total yards and winning the turnover battle. It was almost, quite literally, the complete opposite of what we have seen all year. We forgot what this actually felt like but something in the air suggested this wouldn’t last more than 2 quarters and that instinct was about to be proven right.

      The two offenses traded short, 3-4 play drives, 5 times combined to be exact. PHI was dealing with a depleted receiver corps and NYG’s former high flying and efficient offense literally just stopped. The offensive line started to fall apart and they couldn’t get the ball to Barkley in space or Slayton, anywhere. PHI running back Miles Sanders had to leave the game with cramps and in walked Boston Scott, a 5’6”, 203-pound, 2nd-year, undrafted back with 94 career rushing yards along with 1 career catch. He was a key cog on the first PHI touchdown scoring drive that rounded out the 3rd quarter as he dashed into the end zone on a 2-yard run. NYG led 17-10 as the 4th quarter began, but after a quick possession, the ball was back in PHI’s hands.

      Thanks to another 38 yards on four touches, Scott helped the PHI offense enter NYG territory. The Giants were missing tackles, blowing assignments on tight ends in coverage, and just not getting it done when rushing the passer. Thanks to a drop in the end zone by Greg Ward, PHI lined up for a 47-yard field goal but Jake Elliot pulled it left. Always nice to see him miss a field goal against NYG because that 61-yard game winner from 2017 still stings.

      This was the kind of a game where having a top tier NFL running back should make winning borderline easy, if not completely so. The Giants had a touchdown-lead in the fourth quarter with under 10 minutes to play. NYG opted to call three straight pass plays. The first resulted was a sack, the second resulted in a 7-yard completion, the third resulted in an attempted flea flicker that had potential downfield. But Nate Solder couldn’t hold his block for more than 2 seconds, which forced Eli to quickly give the ball back to Barkley, who had just took the handoff and tossed it back to Manning. Play that out in your head. The play resulted in a 1-yard loss and NYG punted the ball back after taking a whopping 1:30 came off of the game clock. Pathetic.

      The Eagles, not so coincidentally, went on to a 6+ minute, 14-play drive. Cornerback Sam Beal was flagged twice on 3rd down. PHI lost yet another wide receiver leaving them with just one and NYG couldn’t cover Ertz. This resulted in a game-tying touchdown pass to him, making it 17-17 with under 2 minutes. If this wasn’t a set up for one last Eli Manning career highlight, I’m not sure what was.

      The Giants then went 3-and-out.

      This was their 6th possession of the second half. It was their fourth 3rd-and-out and the other possessions resulted in 4 plays each, one first down each. It was a disgraceful second half performance.

      PHI opted to try and use the last 1:25 of the game to go for the win. After all, they had completely dominated NYG after their adjustments were filed at halftime. They were left 1 yard short of the first down at their own 36-yard line with 45 seconds left. There was a moment of indecision: would PHI risk going for it or just punt it back to NYG and hope for overtime? Pat Shurmur didn’t realize the game was in is hands at this point. He stood there, waiting to see what PHI would do. He was unsure, unprepared, unable. 30 precious seconds ticked off and then he opted to use a timeout with 19 seconds on the clock. What a complete waste and clear sign of ineptitude.

      The game went into overtime and there wasn’t a person in the stadium or at home who believed NYG would win this. After all, it had been over 30 minutes of game clock since NYG was remotely competitive. PHI needed just two plays, mainly thanks to a 25-yard run by the Darren Sproles clone with the first name Boston playing against New York. PHI slowly but surely inched their way up to the NYG 2-yard line. They were still without all but one undrafted wide receiver, but Wentz dropped back and found Ertz, the number one target, wide open and all alone in the back of the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

      Giants lose 23-17.

      QUARTERBACK

      -Eli Manning: 15/30 – 203 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 94.2 QBR. Take a look at those stats and also take in that in the first half, Manning was 11/19 – 179 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 124.7 QBR. So for those who don’t want to do the math, he was 4/11 – 24 yards – 0 TD in the second half despite having 6 possessions. The way this game started was exactly what I was expecting to see. Manning coming out hot and on fire with a couple of lethal downfield “dimes”. Manning has a lot of pride, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that he has been a casualty of a disastrous organization the past 8 seasons. While his performance was far from flawless, he played a solid game. However, once the offensive line fell apart, it was more of the same that he has dealt with in the past. Do I think Manning can win with a good offensive line and strong supporting cast? Absolutely. He can still make the throws and he knows the game as well as anyone mentally.

      RUNNING BACK

      -Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 66 yards – 3 rec / 1 yard. For such an unimpressive stat line, I came away from this game as encouraged as I have all year about Barkley. This was the hardest we have seen him run all year (despite being taken down for a 3-yard loss on his first carry). It was just a slight sigh of relief to see him live up to his abilities again. Barkley looked healthy and strong. Not calling any plays designed for him on two straight fourth quarter drives was just maddening because he was clearly playing better, and remember, YOU USED THE SECOND PICK OF THE DRAFT ON HIM!

      WIDE RECEIVER

      -Darius Slayton: 5 rec / 154 yards / 2 TD. All of that production was in the first half. This kid continues to make big, big plays despite the fact that the PHI secondary was bracketing him. His first touchdown was the result of a broken tackle in space, something we have seen several times now. The second was pure speed and excellent ball tracking, something we discussed about him around draft time. Slayton is really showing something this season and if I had to pick one bright spot in regard to the young players on this team, it is him. If he can shore up some little things, which I think he will, we could be looking at not just a good, but a VERY good WR. His production when considering playing time and targets is right up there with the best rookies in the class.

      -Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate combined for 5 rec / 39 yards. Very underwhelming performance from two guys who this team really needed in their dismal second half.

      TIGHT END

      -Kaden Smith had 2 catches for 9 yards but also dropped 2 passes and allowed a TFL. He took a step backwards in this one after opening some eyes at how well he stepped in for Rhett Ellison. Scott Simonson was a non-factor and was flagged for a false start.

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      -In the past two years, Nate Solder has been responsible for more losses than any other player on this team. In the ultimate team game maybe that doesn’t mean much, but it does to me. What a weakness he has truly become to this entire team! He was decent in the first half (and NYG dominated) but then his true form came out in the second half where he allowed 2 sacks and 3 pressures. The Giants only threw the ball 11 times! Almost one half of the passes were impacted by his poor play. If he could have held on to his man 2 seconds longer on the flea flicker, that would have likely been a score. Just an awful, awful performance and it’s getting old writing about his poor play.

      -Mike Remmers, Will Hernandez, and Kevin Zeitler all graded out above average. Remmers allowed 1 pressure. Zeitler went down with a foot injury late and it will be interesting to see if the team trots him out there in the coming weeks.

      -Based on the subpar standard he sets, Jon Halapio played an OK game. However, “OK” still grades out as below average. He allowed a pressure and was flagged for a holding penalty on Barkley’s longest run of the night.

      EDGE

      -Really solid game from Markus Golden, maybe his best of the year. He had 4 pressures and a sack to go with 2 tackles. His run defense left a bit to be desired but this was a very solid performance for the pending free agent.

      -Oshane Ximines had 2 sacks. Those were the only 2 impacts he made all night but it was a good job by him taking advantage of his limited opportunities, as he played under a third of the snaps. His lack of ability to defend the run appeared twice when he was washed out by blockers coming down from his outside shoulder, which we have seen a few times this year. However, he may have passed Lorenzo Carter on the depth chart. Carter finished with just tackle and at this point, simply just looks like a run-and-chase kind of player.

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      -Dalvin Tomlinson is playing the best football of his 3-year career, during the same timeframe the Giants added Leonard Williams. More on that later. He had 5 tackles, 4 pressures, and a forced fumble. This PHI interior offensive line is one of the best in football and he was winning one-on-one match-ups repeatedly.

      -Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams were both impactful in very different ways. Williams started the game on fire and finished with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pressures. He had a bonehead personal-foul penalty on a late, dirty hit to Wentz’s sternum after a pass. Lawrence had 3 tackles, 1 PD, and 1 pressure but was more disruptive than that when it came to eating blockers and taking up space.

      LINEBACKERS

      -Alec Ogletree finished with 9 tackles and a pressure while David Mayo added 5 tackles and recovered the fumble on Wentz’s failed 4th-and-1 QB sneak in the first half. They did a fine job overall but they had a hard time locating and filling the lanes when Boston Scott got involved.

      CORNERBACK

      -Have to be happy about the play of Deandre Baker albeit against a depleted wide receiver group for PHI in a game where Wentz was fleeing pressure for most of the night. He had 3 pass break ups and seemed to be very comfortable in his assignments on all levels of the defense.

      -Sam Beal was this weeks whipping boy in the secondary. Corey Ballentine a few weeks ago, Grant Haley last week, Beal this week. He wasn’t targeted a lot but when he was, twice on 3rd down, he was flagged. He simply didn’t trust his footwork and recovery speed, thus got way too grabby. I am surprised they didn’t attack him more often when the game clock was dwindling. How Beal responds will be important for his future on this team.

      -Janoris Jenkins played some physical football in this one. He finished with 6 tackles and a pass break up. He really stuck his head in there a few times. Props to him for adjusting his style as the players he had to cover were tight ends more so than receivers.

      SAFETY

      -Antoine Bethea played solid football for the second week in a row. He led the team with 13 tackles, including 1 for a loss and also broke up a pass. Fortunately for him, Greg Ward dropped a touchdown pass that would have been on him, but overall Bethea deserves credit. He stepped up hard and made two impressive tackles against a downhill running back. Nice job for a guy who lacks size.

      -Julian Love continues to flash but he missed two tackles and they both stood out. He finished with an impressive 6 tackles and 1 for a loss and also showed impressive coverage. He has impressive footwork and you can see signs of his former cornerback skills.

      -Michael Thomas, who played just under a third of the defensive snaps, was roasted in coverage on a couple of occasions. The standout play was the final one of the game where a miscommunication appeared to be culprit but Thomas looked to be at fault. He let the one guy you think PHI would target in key moments roam free in the end zone.

      SPECIAL TEAMS

      -K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 34)

      -P Riley Dixon: 9 Punts / 46.1 avg / 43.6 net. That is a REALLY good game for Dixon.

      3 STUDS

      -WR Darius Slayton, EDGE Markus Golden, DT Dalvin Tomlinson

      3 DUDS

      -OT Nate Solder, CB Sam Beal, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

      3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

      1. If I am PHI, I’m not getting very excited about this win and/or this team. They aren’t good, they haven’t been good all year, and the injuries are really starting to pile up. They may sneak in to the playoffs but they aren’t going anywhere. A good offense can march up and down the field with ease against them and their pass catchers are among the worst in football.
      1. What is Carson Wentz? We are in year 4 now and he looks even worse than what he showed as a rookie in 2016 after two strong seasons in between. I have to think the issues here are correctable because he has shown too many positives in the past. But it goes to show you that it is amazing how bad a QB can look when the pass catchers aren’t there and the offensive line takes a step back.
      1. Doug Pederson embarrassed the NYG coaching staff on Monday night and I am kind of glad it happened on national TV. His back and forth “punt or go for it” took advantage of Pat Shurmur and his usage of useful timeouts was just the start. The entire second half, NYG looked like they had no idea how to adjust their plan once PHI altered their approach. This is a partial dig at Shurmur, but I respect Pederson a lot and his awareness of game situations on a weekly basis is what every team needs, but most do not have.

      3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

      1. The Giants seemed all but locked into the #2 spot in the draft, potentially #1 or #3. I think the need for a pass rusher, a true difference maker on defense, paired with the belief that DE Chase Young is going to be there makes this approach to the offseason rather simple from a big picture perspective. The Giants need to improve in the trenches, and Young seems like the obvious choice if NYG can find a new left tackle in free agency. And I don’t care how much it costs. My early favorite: Trent Williams.
      1. The emergence of Dalvin Tomlinson over the past month-plus needs to be talked about. He has another year on his rookie deal. But how the NYG approach his situation should be impacted by whether or not they will re-sign Leonard Williams,who could cost $12+ million per year. Big picture, Tomlinson will be cheaper. But the question needs to be asked, is he playing this well because Williams is next to him or did the light go on for Tomlinson? A lot of film analysis will have to go into that but my initial thought is Tomlinson is a guy you want to keep around no matter what scheme you implement.
      1. I am indifferent on whether or not I want to see Eli Manning play the rest of the year. It doesn’t seem like Jones’ ankle injury is serious enough to shelf him for the rest of the year but there is no point in pushing him through any kind of injury. We have enough to work with moving forward and his platform is set. If Manning does play in front of the NYG crowd, I think, out of whoever actually shows up, the NYG fans need to show respect and keep the booing to a minimum.