Sep 172021
 
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NFL: New York Giants at Washington Football Team

The second time is the charm – © USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 30 – NEW YORK GIANTS 29…
The New York Giants lost an absolutely heart-breaking contest to the Washington Football Team at FedExField in Maryland on Sunday night, losing on the final play of the game 30-29 when Washington’s place kicker got a second chance to kick the game-winning field goal. The Giants are now 0-2 for the fifth season in a row.

Worse for New York is that on a night that they placed left guard Shane Lemieux on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, they also lost center/guard Nick Gates with a broken left leg. Gates started at left guard in this game with Billy Price starting at center.

Quarterback Daniel Jones and offense had one of their best games during the brief Joe Judge era, but saw two potential touchdowns wiped out, one by a questionable holding penalty and another on a dropped pass. Nevertheless, it was the defense that really let the team down, allowing over 400 yards and 30 points to a Washington team led by back-up quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The defense simply could not hold any lead the offense provided in the game.

The defense actually started off strong, forcing two three-and-outs on Washington’s first two possessions. In between, the Giants scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game, driving 79 yards in 11 plays, culminating with a 6-yard touchdown run by Jones on 2nd-and-goal. The Giants threatened on their second possession as well when running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 41-yard run to the Washington 35-yard line. However, Jones was sacked on 3rd-and-2 from the 32-yard line and the Giants punted. Washington responded with a 13-play, 90-yard effort that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass by Heinicke. Washington converted on 4th-and-1 on this possession. The game was tied at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, New York drove deep into Washington territory on a 10-play, 73-yard possession. However, the drive stalled in the red zone and the Giants settled for a 23-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. It was on this possession that Jones had a 58-yard touchdown run nullified by a holding call on wide receiver C.J. Board.

With four minutes to go before halftime, the defense once again collapsed late in the second quarter, just like they did last week against the Denver Broncos. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham’s unit allowed Washington to march 84 yards in 12 plays to take a 14-10 lead at the half when running back J.D. McKissic ran for an easy touchdown on 3rd-and-1 from the 2-yard line.

The Giants received the ball to start the third quarter. They picked up 46 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 47-yard field goal by Gano to cut the score to 14-13. The defense forced a three-and-out, and it looked like the Giants were in the process of taking control of the game when they put together yet another scoring drive, this one 65 yards in seven plays and resulting in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Giants 20-Washington 14.

Washington responded with a scoring drive of their own, moving the ball 44 yards in seven plays to set up a 49-yard field goal. The Giants now led 20-17 near the end of the third quarter. Back came New York with their own field goal drive, this one traveling 41 yards in six plays to set up a 52-yard field goal by Gano. The Giants were now up 23-17 early in the fourth quarter.

The tit-for-tat field goal drives continued. Washington drove 56 yards in 11 plays with the 37-yard field goal cutting the score to 23-20. New York picked up 38 yards in eight plays and Gano impressively connected from 55 yards out. The Giants were up by six points with 4:50 left in the game. However, the Giants missed a tremendous opportunity to put the game away here when Slayton dropped what should have been a 43-yard touchdown catch. That would come back to haunt New York.

Once again, the defense collapsed. In just two plays, Heinicke first found McKissic for a 56-yard reception, and then immediately followed that up with a 19-yard touchdown. It took just 17 seconds for Washington to regain the lead, 27-26.

It looked bleak for the Giants when they were forced to punt on the ensuing possession after gaining just one first down. Washington got the ball back, with a 1-point lead and 3:13 on the clock. After allowing 14 yards on two rushing plays, the defense finally made a play when cornerback James Bradberry, who had been abused all night, intercepted Heinicke on 2nd-and-7 at the Washington 20-yard line with 2:16 left in the game.

Two runs by Barkley only picked up three yards, and Jones’ 3rd-and-7 pass fell incomplete. Gano kicked his fifth field goal of the night, this one from 35 yards out. The Giants were up 29-27 with exactly two minutes left to play.

Again, the defense folded as Washington moved from their own 25-yard line to the New York 30-yard line in nine plays. Washington also converted on 4th-and-1 for the second time in the game on this possession. With five seconds left, Washington’s kicker attempted a 48-yard field goal to win the game. The kick sailed wide right. However, defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence was offsides. Washington’s kicker did not miss the subsequent 43-yard kick with no time on the clock.

Jones had a strong game. He completed 22-of-32 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He also ran for 95 yards on nine carries. Jones should have had two more touchdowns had it not been for a holding penalty and dropped pass. His leading receiver was Sterling Shepard with nine receptions for 94 yards. Barkley had a 41-yard run, but only gained 16 yards on his other 12 carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed Heinicke to complete 34-of-46 passes for 336 yards. They only sacked him once. Washington also ran for 87 yards on 22 carries.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
LG Shane Lemieux (knee) was placed on Injured Reserve before the game and OC Matt Skura was signed from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

WR C.J. Board and TE Chris Myarick were activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were TE Evan Engram (calf), LB Cam Brown (hamstring), WR Collin Johnson, LB Quincy Roche, LB Justin Hilliard, CB Sam Beal, and CB Josh Jackson.

OC/OG Nick Gates broke his lower left leg in the first half and did not return.

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.

Sep 152021
 
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New York Giants Fans (September 12, 2021)

Losing Patience – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
The honeymoon is over. Giants’ fans have begun to turn on Joe Judge. It was predictable development as the need to scapegoat eventually had to move past just Dave Gettleman, Jason Garrett, and Daniel Jones. In some ways, it is humorous to watch. Fans who only weeks ago said they loved his press conferences now call him a blowhard.

So what’s going on? The obvious answer is the team isn’t winning. If the team had won last Sunday, fans would keep their negative comments directed at Garrett and Jones. But if you don’t win, the grace period will last only so long. Social media has destroyed time horizons. Fans don’t see the brief Joe Judge era (2020-present) as distinct from the sad end of the Tom Coughlin era (2012-2015), Ben McAdoo era (2016-2017), and Pat Shurmur era (2018-2019). Notice a pattern here? See the risk? If many fans get their way, Judge and Jones will be gone soon. The team will have to start over, but these fans won’t really see it as starting over. They will expect immediate results because the team has been bad for a decade. Unfortunately for these fans living in a figurative drunken stupor, it doesn’t work that way. When you start over, you start over. It’s 2017 all over again. Screaming “fix it now” isn’t living in the real world.

Joe Judge may or may not be the right head coach for this team. Jason Garrett may or may not be the right offensive coordinator. Same with Patrick Graham. Same with Daniel Jones. Most fans have already made up their minds. But truth be told, none of us really know. Certain posters in The Corner Forum will scream from the rooftops that they know for sure, but they really don’t. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen Giants’ fans try to get rid of Bill Parcells, Phil Simms, Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, etc. Think of the tragedies if those fans were listened to at the time.

My educated guess on what is going to happen is this: the NFC East is going to suck again this year. Because of that, every team in the division will be mathematically alive for most, if not all, of the season. I think the Giants are going to look and play a lot more impressively in November and December than they will in September and October. Why? Because injuries and shortened camps/preseason kept many of the team’s new component parts from developing chemistry and cohesion. Once again, the offensive line is out of sorts. The Shane Lemieux injury was a big deal. Kenny Golladay and Daniel Jones are not in sync. Saquon Barkley is rusty as hell. Kadarius Toney is so far behind that it isn’t funny. He still has no idea how to run professional routes. “Blah, blah, blah…these are just more excuses!” Yup, but it’s also the truth.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (knee – questionable)
  • TE Evan Engram (calf – out)
  • OG Shane Lemieux (knee – out)
  • LB Cam Brown (hamstring – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Full disclosure. One of my all-time pet peeves is fans saying the reason an offense sucks is the coaching staff when it is obvious there are larger on-field talent issues. One of the few things I’ve learned over the years is that a competent offensive line “miraculously” makes it easier to call a game. It’s hard to play defense when the other team is generating five yards per carry and you are constantly in 2nd-and-5 situations. The internal alarm clock in your QB’s head isn’t going off prematurely because he’s afraid he won’t have time to throw. Your red-zone offense is a lot more difficult to stop when you push the pile on 3rd-and-goal.

My point is you will be amazed at how good an offensive coordinator becomes when his players execute. Look no further than how fan opinion of Kevin Gilbride changed from game-to-game, season-to-season from 2007 to 2013. Hell, I’ve seen the same posters who wanted the guy fired now lament that he is gone. Remember the 4th-and-1 deep shot to Amani Toomer against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in 2008? Objectively speaking, that was a stupid, high-risk play. But it worked. And fans thought the call was “brilliant.” Why did it work? The OL blocked. Eli threw perfect pass. Amani Toomer made a fantastic catch. Execution at all three levels.

How are the Giants going to get out of this funk and score more than 20 points on a consistent basis? Run the football. When the Giants were at their best last year, they were able to run the football. I saw posters claim in The Corner Forum that the problem with the offense against Denver was that it wasn’t “aggressive” enough. What does that mean? The team only handed off to running backs 14 times in that game. “You can be aggressive with the passing game!” Again, what does that mean? I think fans are conflating “aggressive” with what actually results in chunk yardage plays. If your quarterback is bird dogging receivers or inaccurate, if your receivers drop the ball, if your offensive line misses a block or gets called for a penalty, being “aggressive” doesn’t work.

The Giants are not going to get out of this funk until the offensive line gets its act together and creates some holes for Saquon Barkley. And Barkley has to get that rust off quickly and hit the freaking hole. If not, don’t re-sign him. “This offensive line can’t block!” If fans are right about that, the team is screwed. But I think it is far too early to tell. I’m afraid Shane Lemieux is going to have to end up on IR soon. He couldn’t even make it through the first game. Andrew Thomas had a strong game last week. I think those writing off Matt Peart are doing so way too prematurely. Again, Peart was raw coming out of college and he didn’t get a lot of snaps in full pads this offseason (NFLPA doesn’t allow it). He will continue to see his reps increased as the season progresses. (BTW, Nick Gates snapped the ball early on the play where everyone wants to knock Peart). I suspect we’ll see a lot of Ben Bredeson and Billy Price soon. There is a good chance Price will be the new center with Nick Gates shifting to guard. If Will Hernandez falters, Bredeson will take his job.

As for Daniel Jones, as Sy’56 pointed out in his game review of the Denver game, 1 down, 16 more games to go to determine his future here. The fumble last week was a game-altering turnover. If he can’t fix that, it’s time to move on. I will say this: Jones’ turnover issues briefly disappeared last year when the team ran the football. Funny how that works.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Full disclosure. Because I am an old Giants fan, I will always hold the defense to a different standard than I do the offense. It sounds stupid to blame the defense for losing a game that the offense only scored 13 points (6 of which came in garbage time). However, it’s a different game if the Giants had held on any of those three fourth-down conversions last week. It’s a different game if the defense holds at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half. If a defense wants to be great, it has to win games when the offense is not getting the job done. We saw that repeatedly under Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick from 1984-1990 and in spurts under Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin.

You’ve heard me say this repeatedly over the years. You will forever look at football differently when you realize there are only so many offensive possessions per game. Denver only had eight offensive possessions last week, four in the first half and four in the second half. That’s it. Three of those drives took 22 minutes off of the clock. So while we can lament New York’s offense only running 20 plays in the first half, some of that also had to do with the fact that the defense needs to get the ball back quicker for the offense. The Giants actually moved the ball in the second half of the Denver game. But the pressure to score touchdowns increased dramatically when what had been a 7-3 game quickly turned into a 20-7 game with the Giants offense only having ONE possession during that span. You can’t score when you don’t have the ball.

I talked last week about an early season trend last year by the Giants’ defense of allowing scoring drives at the end of halves. And that unfortunately reared its ugly head again in the opener. As much as the Daniel Jones’ fumble was game-altering, so was the defense’s inability to stop Denver at the end of the first half, including on 4th-and-2. Then at the start of the 3rd quarter, Denver scores on 4th-and-goal. (Also keep in mind that Denver’s first field goal drive occurred after converting on 4th-and-7). That’s 17 points. Denver was 3-of-3 on 4th down and 7-of-15 on 3rd down (it actually felt worse than that given when those conversions came in the game).

I can talk until I’m blue in the face about this match-up or that match-up, but we all know what the problem with this defense has been: they can’t get off of the field on 3rd down (and now sometimes 4th down). Yes, that is related to the pass rush. Against Denver, the Giants actually were buzzing around the QB more than fans realize and had six official quarterback hits. The Giants are spending a lot of money on that secondary. They have to make more plays on the football. And ideally, pick off some passes. Get the ball back for the offense on a short field. The defense must be the strength of the team this year or the Giants have no chance.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
C.J. Board gained 66 yards on two kickoff returns last week. That’s very good. Jabrill Peppers gained two yards on one punt return. Joe Judge and Thomas McGaughey may need to break into their bag of tricks soon if the offense continues to struggle.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Joe Judge on Washington’s defense:They play off what the disruption of the front causes in front of them and they do a good job right there limiting big plays. You play against this team, you have to be prepared to go down the field tick by tick by tick. They’re a very good team situationally getting off the field on third down and red area. They’re a very good team of not allowing explosive plays.

THE FINAL WORD:
It won’t surprise me if the Giants fall to 0-2. It won’t surprise me if the Giants soundly beat Washington. This is not a good division. The quarterback change means nothing to me as a Giants fan. We’ve seen plenty of times where that bites us in the ass. But the Giants have won five in a row against Washington despite their very strong front seven on defense. For whatever reason, Washington doesn’t intimidate New York.

This is a big game for a number of reasons. The most important being that the division title will likely be determined by the division record.

(One last piece of advice to fans… stop overreacting to a small sample size. If a player plays a good game in the latest game, it doesn’t mean anything. He has to string a bunch of good games together. The reverse is also true, if a player has a bad game, it doesn’t mean anything unless he strings a bunch of bad games together. Look for trends not snapshots).

Nov 102020
 
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Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (November 8, 2020)

Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 23 – Washington Football Team 20

QUICK RECAP

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones took on the Washington Football team for the fourth time in his young career. He entered the matchup 3-0 against the fellow NFC East basement dwellers while having a 1-16 record against everyone else. The Giants last played Washington on October 18, a matchup they won by 1 point. Since then, they lost two games by a combined 3 points and WAS defeated DAL by 22 points before entering their bye week. A home game following a week off against a team playing on short rest (NYG played the previous Monday night) is historically a very advantageous situation.

NYG reached the WAS 35-yard line on the opening drive and were faced with a 4th-and-1 . They opted to send Dion Lewis, their least powerful back, up the middle where he was stuffed for a no gain. Fortunately, WAS gave the ball right back on a fumble by rookie running back Antonio Gibson on their very first offensive play. NYG took advantage of the that first turnover, creating 3 points out of it via a 38-yard field goal by Graham Gano. The key play on the drive was a 50-yard pass, the longest of the season for NYG, from Jones to rookie Austin Mack. Mack saw an uptick in playing time after Joe Judge made the decision to keep Golden Tate at home after showing up the team last Monday night against the Bucs.

NYG forced a 3-and-out on the next WAS drive before punting themselves just two plays after tight end Evan Engram dropped a pass and had it nearly land in the hands of a WAS defender. The play was originally called an interception, but the replay review overturned the call. On that NYG punt, rookie Isaiah Wright muffed the catch and the ball was recovered by Madre Harper. Four plays later Wayne Gallman crossed the goal line to give NYG a 10-0 lead, both scores coming off WAS turnovers.

WAS then made it to the NYG 10-yard line but multiple WAS penalties pushed them far enough back that the field goal attempt ended up being 48 yards. Dustin Hopkins nailed it through the uprights to cut the NYG lead down to one score, 10-3. On that drive, however, Jabrill Peppers broke the ankle of WAS quarterback Kyle Allen. It was a gruesome injury and the irony behind it was the fact that Alex Smith was the backup who trotted onto the field. Smith had a career-threatening, even life-threatening, injury to his leg just two years ago.

NYG marched down the field on their next drive to set themselves up for another field goal, this one being 48 yards. Gano put it through the uprights again to lengthen the lead back to 10 by a score of 13-3. The NYG defense then forced another 3-and-out, setting up the steady Big Blue offense to put more space between them and Washington. Alfred Morris, a former Pro Bowler who saw his best days in WAS, took over in the backfield for the next drive. He gained 35 yards on his first 3 carries of the possession. NYG kept the momentum going, with Jones hitting Engram in the end zone up the seam for a 16-yard touchdown.

The WAS offense, with under 2 minutes left, got deep into NYG territory. But the drive ended with an interception by Smith as a result of running back J.D. McKissic slipping and falling as the ball was being thrown. Blake Martinez came up with the pick. NYG had as 17-point lead at the half.

Washington then scored on their first three drives of the second half. Despite a slow first half marred by turnovers, they came out converting third downs and neutralizing the NYG pass rush. They scored 2 touchdowns, one on a short run by the rookie back Gibson and the other on a freak pitch, catch, and run to Terry McLaurin. They also added 3 points via a 44-yard field goal by Hopkins. NYG was able to put up three points of their own from Gano’s 18th consecutive successful attempt but the lead was just now three points, 23-20.

The NYG offensive line had been solid until this point, but the WAS defensive front started to get consistent pressure and an offensive pass interference call on Engram killed NYG’s next drive. They punted back to WAS, who had the ball back, down 3, with over 5 minutes left. Their offense was red hot, coming off three straight scoring possessions that netted 17 points.

The NYG defense has shown signs of life all year but they came up short in key situations multiple times and they just haven’t been able to come up with the big, timely play. Well, that was another trend that was about to end. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham has been finding creative ways to create pressure all year despite not having a true edge presence. A Logan Ryan blitz forced Smith into throwing an interception to Jabrill Peppers. On the final WAS drive of the game, a Leonard Williams pressure forced yet another interception, this one to Ryan. The NYG defense put the breaks on the WAS offensive surge and won for the 4th time in as many tries with Jones at the helm.

NYG wins, 23-20.

QUARTERBACK

Daniel Jones: 23-34 / 212 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 94.2 RAT

The Giants’ leading rusher added just 4 yards on the ground. Two things are most important from this one: Jones didn’t turn the ball over and he got the win. It is amazing that he is 4-0 vs WAS but 1-16 elsewhere. Some guys just have a team’s number and vice versa. Jones didn’t have many opportunities to really throw the ball downfield in this one. It was obvious he was trying to get the ball out faster and that he did. He was accurate short and intermediate in addition to appearing decisive. A good step in the right direction for Jones and he was fortunate he didn’t turn the ball over on his fumble where a defender didn’t come in contact with him. That could have changed the outcome of this one. Jones has turned the ball over in every one of his starts outside of this game and the 12/22/19 matchup against WAS. One can easily see just how much more winnable these games are when they don’t lose that intra game battle.

RUNNING BACK

Wayne Gallman: 14 att / 68 yards / 1 TD and 1 rec / 9 yards

Gallman is another one who seems to have his best volume work against WAS. He now has 294 career yards against them; he doesn’t have more than 125 against any other team. Gallman was impressive inside where he seemed to be one broken tackle away from breaking off a big play on multiple occasions. He also pushed the pile twice, showing good power and grit. Gallman continues to impress with the ball but he is the one back who seems to struggle when pass blocking.

-Alfred Morris played a huge part in the win. He gained 67 yards on 9 carries while adding 4 yards on a catch. His 7.4 yards per carry were the highest of his career since September 15, 2013 in games where had had more than 2 carries. Talk about coming out of nowhere. Morris made a couple key blitz pickup blocks as well and I think that presence and reliability back there are key reasons why he is on the roster and seeing time. The production on the ground is simply icing on the cake.

WIDE RECEIVER

Austin Mack: 4 rec / 72 yards

Mack was a few inches shy of his first career touchdown in the first quarter. It was an impressive scamper after the catch where he broke a tackle and lunged for the end zone, but his knee was ruled down just prior to crossing the goal line. Mack also brought in a 50-yard reception, the longest of the year for NYG. Much of his opportunity came from the Golden Tate situation and it may end up being a blessing in disguise. Always good to see a young talent get looks and capitalize on them at the expense of a disgruntled, unhappy, and overpaid veteran.

-Sterling Shepard added 39 yards on 6 catches as he was featured on several short passing plays. He came up with a couple of key 3rd-down conversions and he made key blocks on long NYG running game gains. His impact isn’t seen in the box score but he was a key part to the win.

-Darius Slayton was targeted just one time. That is the first time that has happened in his young career. In 4 career games vs. WAS, he has 4 catches for 54 yards.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram has gotten his fair share of roller coaster reviews over the past few years and we can only add to it at this point. In a week where it was confirmed multiple teams tried to trade for him last week, NYG decided to hold onto the talented playmaker. He led the team in targets with 10, catching 5 of them for 48 yards and a touchdown. There were multiple bumps in the road, however. Engram dropped 2 passes that were literally right in front of his face. One of them was just inches away from resulting in an interception. He also allowed a TFL and was flagged for offensive pass interference. Engram’s touchdown was a huge play and it was a high-skill level catch. I have been banging the table for this offense to send him up the seam more because that is where I think he does the most damage athletically, that is where he can be nearly impossible to cover. Hopefully Jason Garrett can see that now. It’s hard not to think about what Engram and this offense can be if he gets rid of these focus-drops.

-Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo saw the field a considerable amount. They were excellent in sealing off the edge on some of the longer NYG runs.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Center Nick Gates continues to impress and grade out as the top OL on this team. This is now becoming a week after week occurrence and one has to think this can be the norm here. He had never played center before and obviously the preseason was shortened to the point where those first few weeks could have been erased in a normal year. Gates is a tone setter for this group. His energy, hustle, and attitude are making a difference and he is quickly becoming a key leader and component to the direction in which this team is heading.

-Rookie tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart both put out solid efforts and performances. Thomas allowed 1 sack but was pretty clean otherwise. I still see mechanical issues with his pass protection sets but he was able to maintain good contact for the most part for the second week in a row. Two of his three best performances on the year have come over the past 2 weeks. Peart played 31% of the snaps, mostly for Cameron Fleming but he did step in for Thomas for a drive. I think that was pre-determined, as the staff is clearly trying to get Peart in the mix more at both spots. The move did occur after Thomas’ worst series, however.

-The two veterans of the group, Kevin Zeitler and Fleming, both finished with below average grades. Zeitler was better, however. He allowed 2 pressures and a sack, although the sack could be put on Jones. Zeitler came up with multiple key blocks in the running game and he showed some juice as a lead blocker to the outside. That was the best I’ve seen him move this year athletically. Fleming allowed a pressure and a TFL. His down blocking in the running game was really poor. I think we see one more start out of him.

-Rookie Shane Lemieux got the start at left guard for the second week in a row as Will Hernandez was kept on the Covid-19 list. Similar to last week, there was a lot of good and some really bad. He allowed a sack and a pressure in addition to getting flagged for a holding penalty that ended up being declined by WAS. Lemieux looks really solid from a balance and technique perspective. His hands and feet are very in sync with each other and he seems to pick up what the defense throws at him schematically. I think another year in the pro-strength/conditioning program will put him where he needs to be. He looks like a player who can be counted on.

EDGE

-Another quiet day for the NYG edge defenders. Kyler Fackrell was the one who saw the field the most and he ended with 3 tackles and 2 pressures. Not a bad day at all. He was flagged for an offsides penalty as well.

-Jabaal Sheard and Trent Harris saw the next tier of EDGE snaps, neither making a strong impact. Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown barely saw the field again.

DT

-Big day for Leonard Williams, one of his best as a Giant. His stat line read 3 tackles / 3 pressures / 1 sack. He also created penetration that led to a TFL by Dexter Lawrence and his pressure at the end of the game forced the game-ending interception. Williams was all over the field and continues to dominate one-on-one blocking. If this defense can find a true EDGE threat, Williams is going take off.

-Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson both made plays behind the line of scrimmage. WAS only ran the ball 9 times but these two were still very effective up front.

-B.J. Hill had 1 tackle and a pressure while Austin Johnson added a tackle in his limited role.

LB

-Tackling machine Blake Martinez led the team with another 10 in this game. He is just so automatic and reliable. He also came up with a key interception in the red zone toward the end of the first half. Big play, great timing, as WAS was heading toward at least 3 points.

-Devante Downs played the majority of the other ILB snaps when NYG used that personnel. He recorded 3 tackles but was exposed badly in coverage two times. This is a growing hole in this defense that may need to be addressed this offseason unless the staff is confident in Tae Crowder when he gets back on the field.

CB

-Isaac Yiadom had his finest day as a Giant. Although he is still limited in coverage, he made a couple impact plays. He split a sack with Tomlinson and recorded 8 tackles. He allowed a freak touchdown to McLaurin and a 3rd-down conversion but he played a sound, aggressive game.

-James Bradberry wasn’t thrown at much. WAS clearly tried to attack elsewhere in the NYG secondary. He did allow a 3rd-and-1 conversion pass where he simply lost track of McLaurin. Otherwise, quiet game from him in a good way.

-Rookie Darnay Holmes is quietly improving. He made 5 tackles, most of which came on plays where he allowed a catch in man coverage. He did get beat on 3rd down a couple times, but I like how well he is staying in phase and maintaining body control. He plays in a really fast and aggressive fashion that impacts his game as a cover man, blitzer, and run defender.

S

-Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan both came up with multiple key plays in NYG’s 5-turnover performance. Peppers recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in addition to breaking up 2 others. Ryan had the game-sealing interception and created pressure via a blitz that rushed WAS QB Smith into rushing a throw that ended up being an interception. Ryan also forced a fumble and added 6 tackles and Peppers added 6 tackles of his own. Impact game by these two, even though they both played balls poorly in coverage that resulted in big plays for WAS.

-Julian Love played just under half the snaps. He made 1 tackle and was beat in coverage a couple times in addition to a poor angle on one of WR Cam Sims’ big gains. Not a great game for him and I question what his role is on this defense right now with the hope he is taking notes on the versatility of Ryan, who may not be here next year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 38, 48, 42). Gano has made 18 straight, the longest active streak in the NFL this season.

-P Riley Dixon: 4 punts / 39.5 avg / 36.5 net

3 STUDS

-S Jabrill Peppers, DT Leonard Williams, OC Nick Gates

3 DUDS

-OT Cameron Fleming, S Julian Love, EDGE Jabaal Sheard

3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

  1. About a month ago, I discussed how poor I thought this WAS team really was and just how dark of a time they were entering. Since then, they did beat an awful DAL team in a game where the Cowboys backup QB was injured and taken out of the game, then they had a bye week, then they lost to NYG again. I’ve seen their last 4 games in full in addition to 2 others. Unless they find a solution at QB (Haskins won’t be it from what I hear), we may be looking at the next NYJ or JAC. They are about to hit a point where they can’t pay all of their DL, the best part of their team, and “QB Hell” is approaching.
  1. One player on this team who I have liked since last year, but who hasn’t received a consistent number of opportunities, is Cam Sims. He finished with 3 catches for 110 yards. The third-year receiver from Alabama has played in just 16 games (primarily on special teams) but has seen 11 targets that has produced 9 catches / 198 yards / 1 TD. I think they have something in him and it would be wise to use the rest of this season to expose him to regular snaps and opportunities.
  1. Chase Young, the number 2 overall pick, got off to a nice start prior to injuring his groin. For those that don’t know much about soft tissue injuries to that area, it isn’t fun and they heal very slowly. The snap out of his stance and torque when involved with blockers just isn’t there. He looked much differently early in the year and just doesn’t seem 100% right now. Tough to get an evaluation on him knowing that.

3 THOUGHTS ON NYG

  1. Check out these numbers. NYG gained 350 yards, WAS gained 402. NYG had 74 total offensive plays, WAS had 50. NYG averaged 4.7 yards per play, WAS averaged 8.0. NYG had 2 sacks, WAS had 5. NYG averaged 4.7 yards per pass play, WAS averaged 8.9. NYG punted 4 times, WAS punted 2 times. If you showed me just these numbers and I didn’t know anything else about the game, I would have said there was little-to-no shot NYG won this game. This is how vital the turnover battle is in the NFL. Giants did not turn it over once, WAS turned it over 5 times (and the margin if victory was still only 3 points). So when I bring up just how vital it is that Daniel Jones is not a turnover machine, do not bring up Brett Favre. If Jones keeps the turnovers away, NYG can win right now, not just down the road.
  1. The Golden Tate situation was a breath of fresh air. I’ll be honest, Tate yelling “Throw me the damn ball” last week wasn’t a huge deal. Was it notable? Yes. It wasn’t a big deal, though. The fact that Judge took that (and perhaps some stuff behind the scenes we don’t know about) and used it to bench him / keep him home from practice for a day / put him on the scout team / keep him home from the game was great to see. I think he is laying the foundation for anyone and everyone to see that the little things that other coaches overlook won’t be tolerated. They can morph into bigger issues down the road. Young players can take it in and realize that won’t be acceptable in the future. Another check in the box for Judge who, I will say, has this team feeling different than what we have seen in recent years.
  1. The Giants’ defense is getting a little bit of a pass because of the turnovers and because of the win itself. Truth told, they were awful in the second half against an offense that ranked 30th in the NFL. They are right there with NYJ and NYG as the worst offense in football. Alex Smith passed for 260 yards in the second half alone. What happened? NYG played a lot of zone coverage and it didn’t pan out. I think Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham has done a fine job mixing things up, playing matchups, and creating a pass rush with a lack of true pass rushers. I just don’t think he has the horses right now to be effective in every-down man coverage. James Bradberry is solid but the other corners can’t be relied on in that kind of role. In addition. I’m not sure the safeties are good enough over the top to even somewhat make up for it. That is going to need to be a key focal point to the upcoming NYG roster build.
Nov 082020
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 8, 2020)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 23 – WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 20…
The New York Giants earned their second win of the 2020 season by sweeping the Washington Football Team in Maryland on Sunday, 23-20. With the win, the Giants improved their overall record to 2-7.

The Giants dramatically out-rushed Washington 166 to 37 while Washington dramatically out-passed New York 365 to 184. The Giants’ team rushing figure was a season high. The real difference in the ball game was the Giants won the turnover battle 5-0. It was the first time quarterback Daniel Jones did not turn the football over in his 21 NFL starts (although he did fumble the ball twice).

The Giants received the ball to start the game, picked up two first downs, but turned the ball over on downs when running back Dion Lewis was stuffed on 4th-and-1 at the Washington 35-yard line. Nevertheless, New York got the football right back when on Washington’s first offensive play, defensive back Logan Ryan forced a fumble after a long reception by running back Antonio Gibson. Safety Jabrill Peppers recovered the fumble at the New York 19-yard line. On their second possession, highlighted by a 50-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Austin Mack, the Giants were able to set up a 38-yard field goal to take a 3-0 early lead.

Washington went three-and-out on their second possession. The Giants picked up one first down and punted. However, the Washington returner muffed the punt with cornerback Madre Harper recovering the loose ball at the Washington 16-yard line. Four plays later, running back Wayne Gallman easily scored from two yards out. Giants 10 – Washington 0.

Washington’s only scoring drive of the first half occurred on their third possession as they drove 44 yards in nine plays to set up a 48-yard field goal. On this drive, starting quarterback Kyle Allen suffered a serious ankle injury after being sacked by Peppers. He was replaced for the rest of the game by Alex Smith. The Giants responded with their own field-goal drive, traveling 45 yards in nine plays, and place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 48 yarder of his own. Giants 13 – Washington 3.

After another three-and-out by Washington, New York took charge of the game with a 10-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jones to tight end Evan Engram just before the 2-minute warning. Washington threatened to score in the final two minutes of the half, reaching the New York 18-yard line, but linebacker Blake Martinez ended this threat by intercepting Smith.

At the half, the Giants led 20-3.

The Giants did not make it easy on themselves in the second half. Washington received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and easily drove 75 yards in six plays to cut the score in half, 20-10. Gibson ran the ball in from one yard out. The Giants responded with a 12-play, 51-yard drive that took over seven minutes off of the clock and resulted in a 42-yard field goal. This would be New York’s last points of the day.

Washington scored again on their second possession of the half, gaining 53 yards on nine plays to set up a 44-yard field goal. New York 23 – Washington 13 early in the 4th quarter. The Giants gained two first downs and then punted. But it took only three plays for Washington to go 84 yards with wideout Terry McLaurin breaking free for a 68-yard score. With just over 10 minutes to play, the Giants only led 23-20.

Once again, the Giants gained a couple of first downs. But a holding penalty on Engram and a sack pushed the Giants back and forced a punt. With five minutes to go, Washington was looking to tie or win the game. They gained 49 yards in nine plays, but on 3rd-and-10 from the New York 40-yard line, Smith threw a high pass that was tipped an intercepted by Peppers.

The Giants’ offense could not run out the clock and Washington got the ball back at their own 28-yard line with 1:48 left to play. Two plays later, Logan Ryan intercepted Alex Smith at the Washington 30-yard line to end the game.

Jones completed 23-of-34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He was sacked five times. His leading targets were wide receiver Sterling Shepard (6 catches for 39 yards), Engram (5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown), and Mack (4 catches for 72 yards). Gallman rushed 14 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. Running back Alfred Morris also gained 67 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, the Giants forced four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble). Washington only gained 37 yards rushing on nine carries. The Giants picked up two sacks, one by defensive lineman Leonard Williams and a sack shared by defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson and cornerback Isaac Yiadom.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
Activated from the Practice Squad for this game were RB Alfred Morris, G Chad Slade (COVID-19 Replacement), and S Montre Hartage.

Inactive for the game were RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), WR Golden Tate, TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, OG Kenny Wiggins, DE R.J. McIntosh, and CB Brandon Williams.

TE Kaden Smith left the game in the second half 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 062020
 
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Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: New York Giants at Washington Football Team, November 8, 2020

THE STORYLINE

These two teams played less than one month ago, supplying the New York Giants with their only win to-date in the 2020 NFL season. In recent years, Washington has become New York’s “feel good” opponent, a rare bright spot in otherwise dreary seasons. That said, only a highly-questionable coaching decision to go for a failed 2-point conversion on October 18th prevented the “Football Team” from keeping the Giants winless.

As I wrote about in last week’s preview, the Giants are still clutching defeat from the jaws of victory. Three times in the last four weeks, they have squandered 11-point leads against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At times they have regained the lead only to see it evaporate again in a series of heart-breaking defeats. The Giants could easily be 4-4 right now. But they aren’t. And it is hard to argue against the notion that this is a team that expects to lose.

Publicly, many of the players say they are close to turning this around. But ultimately those are just empty words until they decide collectively to make plays in the clutch on offense, defense, and special teams to win football games. This is a bottom line business.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • RB Devonta Freeman (ankle – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe)
  • OG Will Hernandez (COVID – out)
  • LB Blake Martinez (hamstring)
  • LB Devante Downs (shoulder)
  • CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring – placed on IR – out)
  • S Logan Ryan (hip)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

    It’s pretty much a consensus that Daniel Jones’ two interceptions and missed opportunities in passing game cost the Giants the game last week. On the flip side, he continues to tease with sometimes incredible plays to keep drives alive both with his right arm and legs. The mounting media and fan frustration with Jones is palpable. Right or wrong, the quarterback is always the target of fan venom when football teams lose. The problem for Jones is twofold: (1) he is playing in an era where there is almost zero patience level for “developing” a quarterback. “Look at so-and-so on this other team, he’s playing great in his second year!” (2) the more the Giants lose, the more likely the team is going to have a good opportunity to draft another “franchise” quarterback. Everyone is already talking about it. Daniel Jones knows it. The pressure on him to perform for multiple reasons is now immense.

    Unlike many, I still have not given up on Daniel Jones. Perhaps its a function of my age and the football era I grew up in, but I don’t think it is wise to form a definitive judgment on a quarterback in less than two seasons. Daniel Jones’ issues are not his character, work ethic, competitiveness, intelligence, athleticism, arm, or ability to make difference-making plays. As we all know, his main issue been turnovers. Jones also suffers from some deficiencies that are not abnormal for young quarterbacks such as bird-dogging primary receivers, waiting for receivers to come “open” before throwing the football, not reading what the defense is giving you, not throwing the football away instead of forcing the mistake. Can those things be fixed? Sure. Happens all of the time. Will they be fixed? Unknown. The NFL graveyard is filled with failed 1st-round quarterbacks who couldn’t do so.

    I still get the feeling that if you put Daniel Jones on a team with a respectable offensive line, an average running attack, and some decent weapons to throw to, he can develop into a very good quarterback in this league. But given we’re living in 2020, time is running out for him. He has to stop making stupid mistakes. At this point, unless the situation calls for him to take more risks, he has to be more of a game manager. Throw the football away, take the sack (while holding onto the football with two hands), don’t make that super-risky throw on 2nd down.

    Sterling Shepard is not an outstanding receiver. But he is solid, viable, professional target. Even though the injury-prone Shepard is battling a turf-toe injury that will likely nag him the rest of the season, his return has helped the offense. When you add talent the football field, it opens things up for everyone. His presence makes life a little easier for the other receivers, the running backs, and the quarterback. Breaking the 20-point barrier is a big deal for this team, and the Giants did it the last two weeks with Shepard on the field. That said, we will have to hope that Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, and Golden Tate can build upon last Monday’s performance. Those three tend to disappear. (Note: There is a chance Tate will be benched for this game due to disciplinary reasons).

    The upside to Devonta Freeman’s injury is that it forced this coaching staff to give Wayne Gallman an extended look. It’s pretty obvious that the last two coaching staffs – for whatever reason – were not enamored with him. He has eight more games to change minds.

    The performance of the offensive line against an outstanding opponent last Monday was encouraging. Most were ready to dump Nick Gates after only a few games, but the coaching staff seems to have made the right call with him. Expect growing pains but he is trending rapidly in the right direction. Andrew Thomas also settled down, but one game does not make a trend. He has to start stringing solid games together. Shane Lemieux’s NFL debut was predictably inconsistent, but encouraging. The coaches usually know best, but I’m anxious for the team to make the switch from Cam Fleming to Matt Peart. One thing to keep in mind when judging the OL this year is that they have played a series of outstanding defensive fronts almost all year.

    As for Washington, as I covered in my game preview from less than a month ago, the strength of their team is their defense. Washington has improved since these teams last met, now ranking 4th overall in defense (1st against the pass and 17th against the run). They have a bunch of 1st-round talent and are very well coached on that side of the ball. They badly mauled the Dallas Cowboys (held to a field goal) before their bye week and have had two weeks to prepare for a struggling New York team.

    The last time these two teams played, the Giants ran the ball more than they passed. They kept it conservative and it worked out (barely) for them. I expect more of the same. It can be boring, but often times boring is good.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

    I strongly felt the biggest question mark on this coaching staff was Patrick Graham. It’s still very early, but my worries seem to have been misplaced. To be honest with you, I have no idea how he has this defense ranked 13th in yards allowed and 15th in points allowed, given the personnel issues at edge rusher and in the secondary. Outside of 2016, the New York Giants defense has ranked near or at the bottom of the NFL in defense with more talent. Graham has these guys playing above their level of ability. It just shows you what solid coaching can do.

    The one thing killing this defense right now, and you can tell it is eating Graham up inside, are the breakdowns at the end of each half. Yes, I keep harping on this, and I will continue to do so, because it is also a major factor in why the team is 1-7. Good defenses make the critical stop in the clutch with the game on the line. This has been an issue for the Giants for years, spanning multiple head coaches and defensive coordinators. Obviously it is related to the pass defense issues (lack of pass rush, issues in the secondary). But it’s happening each and every game. Stop the bleeding!

    Like the Giants, Washington remains a miserable offensive football teams. Washington is ranked 30th, the Giants 31st. Both teams struggle run and pass. Keep James Bradberry on wideout Terry McLaurin, cover tight end Logan Thomas, and cover the backs out of the backfield as Washington loves to dump the ball off to them. Because of the final point, it may be better to get the more athletic, younger linebackers on the field in obvious passing situations.

    The Giants are a bit banged up on defense with three linebackers on Injured Reserve (Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Tae Crowder) and two limited in practice on a short week (Blake Martinez and Devante Downs). CB Ryan Logan is out so Isaac Yiadom is on the spot again. Logan Ryan is also dealing with a hip issue.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

    The NYG return game is starting to pick up steam. The Giants have a history of big returns against Washington. This will be a close game and special teams could very well make the difference. Is this the week Jabrill Peppers finally breaks one?

    FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

    Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett on teaching Daniel Jones when to give up on a play: “I think that’s the nature of most quarterbacks. Quarterbacks who are worth their salt have a play-making instinct in them. They want the ball in their hands and they want to be the guy who’s guiding the offense but making an impact on what goes on on the field. I would say every quarterback I’ve been around who’s been a really good player has that same instinct. Over time, you learn through experience what plays you simply have to fold on, and you have to get the ball out of your hand and live for another day. Whether it’s punting on the drive or just simply going to second and 10, I think that’s an important thing to understand. The more situations you’re in, if you approach them the right way, you’ll learn from those experiences. Daniel continued to do that. Most guys I’ve been around have gone through that very similar process.”

    THE FINAL WORD

    I’m literally going to copy and past what I wrote when these two teams met less than a month ago:

    Two bad football teams with two bottom tier offenses that lack talent. This will likely be a low scoring game with the team making fewer turnovers and more plays on special teams wins the game. It will be one of those ugly games where even winning won’t feel particularly good.

    Oct 202020
     
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    James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

    James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

    New York Giants 20 – Washington Football Team 19

    QUICK RECAP

    Since the 2017 season, the Washington Football Team and New York Giants have hung out together at the bottom of the NFC East standings. They’ve both undergone coaching and front office regime changes, they both drafted a new first-round quarterback in 2019, and they both rank in the bottom 3 among all offenses in the league. The similarities go on, but the point is these two historic franchises have been the bottom feeders of the NFC East for quite some time now and 2020 appears to be no different.

    Kyle Allen, who played under Head Coach Ron Rivera and Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner in 2019 in Carolina, started under center for the second week in a row. Dwayne Haskins was benched, as rumors are now surfacing he has not been putting in the time to learn the scheme on his own. Since he was demoted, Haskins has apparently been coping with a non-Covid 19 sickness, keeping him away from the team at all costs. Now there are trade rumors circulating among people I trust.

    On to the game, though. Allen led WAS on a 12-play drive that put them in field goal range. Kicker Dustin Hopkins, whom has never missed a field goal attempt against NYG in his 14 tries dating back to 2015, missed the 47-yarder. This gave NYG the initial field position advantage and it took them just one play to pass midfield. They gained 50 combined yards on their first 5 plays, putting them in the red zone. From there, two of their next three plays combined for -7 yards and it made the home team settle on a Graham Gano 33-yard field goal.

    Momentum remained on the NYG side, as Allen threw an interception to James Bradberry on the second play of the next drive, giving NYG the ball at the WAS 27-yard line. Three plays later Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton on a beautifully-thrown ball in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. NYG was up 10-0 as the first quarter expired. It was the second game in a row NYG had a double-digit lead in the first quarter.

    Both WAS and NYG got into the red zone on their next respective drives but couldn’t punch it in. They traded field goals to make the score 13-3. WAS then went on its second longest drive of the day, 13 plays, that netted 70 total yards. NYG had them stopped but a running into the kicker penalty on their punt from midfield encouraged River Boat Ron to opt for a 4th-and-4 attempt. They converted and 5 plays later Allen found tight end and former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas for a 5-yard touchdown. That was the end of the half and NYG held a 13-10 lead. This was the first lead NYG had at halftime since they faced WAS on December 22, 2019. Teams that have a lead at halftime win 80% of the time.

    The two teams traded scoreless possessions to begin the 3rd quarter. On the Giants second drive, their offense was really clicking. They made it 73 yards via 14 plays, 9 of which were handoffs to Devonta Freeman. They were spreading the ball out, using misdirection, and the offensive line was controlling a very solid WAS defensive front. On 1st-and-goal from the WAS 7-yard line, Jones was pressured by 2020 #2 overall pick Chase Young. He couldn’t step into his throw as he tried to get it out and beyond the end zone on a throw-away attempt. Kendall Fuller intercepted the pass. Rather than NYG putting 7 more points on the board, they came away with 0. Three possessions in the red zone and they had just 6 points to show for it.

    WAS began the fourth quarter with another long drive, this one being 14 plays long. The bend-don’t-break NYG defense allowed them to march down the field little by little and all the way to the 10-yard line. But they were able to stop them on third down, a rarity in this game, to hold them to 3 points. It was tied up at 13 and NYG and was searching for a big play. Their offense just wasn’t able to put things together well enough after their quick 10 points to start off the game. Jones had a couple of bad throws that led to a punt and all of the sudden WAS had the ball in their hands with the game tied.

    As they breached midfield, the Giants defense sent an aggressive blitz on 3rd-and-9. Kyler Fackrell got to Allen and jarred the ball loose. Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder scooped it up and scampered into the end zone. The big play this team was in desperate need of came from the unlikeliest of sources and NYG had the commanding 7-point lead with just over 3 minutes left.

    WAS then took the ball and continued to chip away at the Giants defense steadily but with assurance. They gained yards on 6 straight plays, which put them at the NYG 22-yard line with 0:46 on the clock. Allen then hit Cam Sims on a nicely thrown ball up the left sideline over the hands of Logan Ryan for the touchdown. They were an extra point away from a tie with 0:36 left. River Boat Ron quickly decided to use their momentum and go for 2. All or nothing. Win or lose. No ties, no overtime. Allen took the snap and too-quickly evaded the pocket, cutting the field in half for the NYG defense. His targets were vastly outnumbered and with an angry Dexter Lawrence closing in, he aimlessly chucked it into the end zone with nobody near it. NYG took the ball back after the onside kick recovery by Ryan and that was it.

    NYG wins 20-19.

    QUARTERBACK

    -Daniel Jones: 12-19 / 112 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT

    Jones also added 74 yards on the ground via 7 carries, including a long of 49 on a designed run. It is a rarity to see a team run the ball more than pass, but that is exactly what happened in this one. His 19 attempts were the fewest of his career over his 18 starts. In fact, he had never attempted less than 31 passes in a game prior to this. The last time NYG threw the ball under 20 times was 2018 in a 38-35 win over TB. Jones started the game off nice and clean. He was 11-for-13 but after Darius Slayton went down, he finished 1-for-6 and an interception. The interception was a costly one. Had NYG not won, this would have been the focal point. You can’t throw an interception on 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line in a tight game. One can make the argument it “wasn’t his fault” yet again because he got pressured, but from my eyes, he needs to be quicker with the decision when you know the blocking scheme is going to put a tight end on Chase Young. Jones played well enough to win, he looked outstanding on the ground, and he played tough.

    RUNNING BACK

    -Devonta Freeman: 18 att / 61 yards and 1 rec / -4 yards

    No other running back carried the ball so it is safe to say Freeman is now the “Bell-Cow” on this team for the rest of the year unless someone trades for him. Freeman is showing his old-school, aggressive downhill style that we saw when he was with Atlanta. He gets north in a hurry and can show the occasional jump cut that makes defenders miss. His blocking has also been very good. Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman were on the field for a combined 13 plays and they touched the ball a combined one time.

    WIDE RECEIVER

    -Darius Slayton: 2 rec / 41 yards / 1 TD

    -Good to see Slayton make a couple of big plays, the standout being a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He aggravated an ankle injury on that play but was able to jog off the field. Later on, he went down again and didn’t get back up until the NYG medical staff came out to assist him. At the time of this writing, my guess is he may miss some time. It is pretty easy to see this offense without him out there, in particular the passing game, really struggles. No other wide receiver scares the opposition half as much as he does.

    -Golden Tate had a catch for 11 yards and C.J. Board brought one in for 8 yards. Austin Mack caught his first career ball for 1 yard, and that was it for the NYG receivers. One cannot expect a lot of production in a game where they throw the ball 19 times but the issue remains, this group of receivers may be one of the worst 5 in the league. And that is being kind. Sterling Shepard likely won’t return until November.

    *Board was taken off the field on a stretcher with a concussion and was released from the hospital Monday.

    TIGHT END

    -Evan Engram was targeted just 3 times. He caught 2 of them for 30 yards. He was covered pretty well by the WAS defense. From my perspective, it looked like he was the focal point of their pass defense. He saw a lot of bracket coverage. I expect teams to replicate that coming up. The Giants seemed to keep him off the field on running plays more than what we have seen this year.

    -Kaden Smith led the team with 3 catches. They combined for just 15 yards. Smith was brought here for his blocking prowess and he really has done a poor job there. He allowed a pressure that led to the WAS interception and he allowed a TFL.

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    -The story of the day was Andrew Thomas being benched for being late to a team meeting. A one-time occurrence isn’t anything to freak out about. All signs have pointed toward Thomas being a good kid who has maturity beyond his years. With that said, extra eyes are on him now. He allowed 1 TFL and 1 pressure. Overall his performance on the field, which was about 50% of the snaps, was average. He got good push in the run game and he was really hustling down the field. His pass protection sets still look inconsistent, however.

    -As much as that may have frustrated some, the good news is that rookie 3rd ounder Matt Peart stepped in as the starter at left tackle. He played about half of the game and looked really solid. More on the comparison between Thomas and him below in my closing thoughts but tp be blunt, he proved he should be starting on this line. I predicted mid-season would be that starting point. It may be sooner.

    -Cameron Fleming allowed a TFL, sack, and pressure. He was the weak point in this one and continues to be someone we would much rather see as the swing tackle, not a starter. He doesn’t adjust well, he doesn’t recover well.

    -Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez were up and down. Zeitler allowed 2 TFLs and Hernandez allowed 1 in addition to a pressure. I’ve said this a few times but as long as I keep seeing it, it will keep showing up in the review. Apologies if it seems repetitive: Zeitler looks close to being done. No knee bend, no sustaining with his hands, too many recovery steps to keep himself upright.

    -Nick Gates at center is growing on me. He is the one offensive lineman who is getting better each week and that is really important. Do I think he is the answer long term? Not yet. But when you have a guy who proves himself at multiple positions over multiple years, that is huge for the long-term planning and spending. His growth has been a big reason why this NYG running game actually looks pro-caliber after a few nightmarish weeks.

    EDGE

    -The first game without Lorenzo Carter went as expected. Nobody stepped up. Markus Golden was on the field for 24 plays. He broke up a pass and hit the quarterback one time. He was single-teamed on nearly every one of his pass rush attempts and didn’t make a sound.

    -Rookies Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin were on the field for 5 and 3 plays, respectively. It is hard to get a true evaluation with so little action but Brown’s tool set, as expected, stands out. I think we are going to see a lot of him over the second half of the season.

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE

    -Because NYG is so deep at this spot, they can somewhat afford to get away with keeping pure edge guys out of the game plan. Dalvin Tomlinson was all over the field. He finished with 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pressure. It isn’t common to see a guy in the middle get involved in so much action, especially one who sees so many double teams against the run. Really solid gamer for him.

    -Leonard Williams also had an impressive game with a little but more visible impact. He had 5 tackles, a sack, and 1 pressure. There is some hit-and-miss in his game against the run, which is something I have noticed frequently this year. That may be scheme based, as they send him on a lot of slants post-snap. It can cause him to get ridden out into space, creating big lanes that NYG doesn’t have the linebackers to fill outside of Blake Martinez.

    -Dexter Lawrence had 3 tackles and a pressure. Not much to say about him besides the fact he is continuing to show reliability against the run and an occasional flash of athleticism as a pass rusher. B.J. Hill added a pressure and seems to be getting more and more playing time. That may be part of their plan to help offset the pass rush woes coming from the outside.

    LINEBACKER

    -Kyler Fackrell is really hitting his stride with the club. He was on the field for every snap, moving all over the place schematically. He had 3 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble that led to a touchdown, and 3 pressures. He was their top pass rusher, as they sent him from all angles. He is a physical, hard-nosed enforcer. That mentality did net a personal foul penalty on a blow to the head of Logan Thomas, but I like what he brings to the table.

    -Blake Martinez led the team with 14 tackles while adding a pressure. It looks like the spot next to him may be filled for good. Tae Crowder added 10 tackles and a fumble recovery that he brought all the way back for a touchdown. David Mayo returned from IR and Crowder out-snapped him 62-11. He brings a different level of speed and twitch and he should evolve into a better player in the coming weeks. This is his job for the taking and if he keeps playing like this while cleaning up space-tackling issues (2 misses), Mayo will be the backup.

    -This is the best LB core we have had in awhile. Props to the front office, gotta give Gettleman credit where it is due.

    CORNERBACK

    -James Bradberry and Ryan Lewis played a fantastic duo game at cornerback. Each had 3 tackles with Bradberry bringing in an interception. He nearly had a second one, but he landed out of bounds with the ball. Lewis added a nice pass break up and was excellent in downfield coverage. These two really controlled the outside passing lanes.

    -Logan Ryan had a really up and down game. He had a bad missed tackle, a really big-time pass break up in the end zone, and then gave up the WAS touchdown that nearly tied it up. Overall, he remains a key cog and leader of this defense but there are occasional plays that leave me wondering if there were concentration and discipline issues that led to him not being signed in free agency until really late. His versatility does help a lot, however. When a safety goes down, he steps in. When a corner goes down, he steps in. He had 8 tackles and a sack in addition.

    -Darnay Holmes only played 3 snaps before injuring his shoulder/neck area. At the time of this writing, his status is unknown.

    SAFETY

    -Jabrill Peppers was back to a full-time snap load, as was Julian Love. Love is the one who may have saw a boost in playing time as a result of the Holmes injury. Peppers had 6 tackles including a couple of nice range-plays against the run. Love had 3 tackles and a missed tackle.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    -K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 33, 20). His elite season continues.

    -P Riley Dixon: 2 Punts – 35.0 avg / 34.0 net

    3 STUDS

    -LB Kyler Fackrell, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, CB James Bradberry

    3 DUDS

    -OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Golden Tate, EDGE Markus Golden

    3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

    1. Funny how things work in today’s NFL both with the media and fans. After WAS beat PHI week 1, everyone and their mother claimed that WAS had arrived and they were the favorite in the division. This happens every year and it is simply laughable at this point. How come there is such a strong desire to make definitive statements about things that lack definitive information? Just a month later, WAS has benched their 2019 1st-round quarterback, they haven’t won another game, and their young up-and-coming talent is no longer up-and-coming. This WAS football stinks, plain and simple.
    1. The Giants need more talent on the defensive edge. That is no secret or new information, I know. One would assume that more draft resources need to be put there, but no real issue is simply solved with personnel alone. Washington has more 1st round talent along their DL than any team in the league. Chase Young (#2 overall), Montez Sweat (#26 overall), Ryan Kerrigan (#16 overall), Jonathan Allen (#17 overall), and Da’Ron Payne (#13 overall). All that talent and WAS is dead last in the league in QB knockdowns and 20th in pressure percentage. Those are all quality players, too. Not one of them can be considered a bust. It takes so much to get these NYG pass rush woes moving in the right direction, they need to get it going. One positive is that the blitzing schemes seem to be working well.
    1. Where does WAS stand now? 2020 will be a wash in my opinion but this NFC East will leave a lot of doors open. Is Dwayne Haskins (a product of the previous regime) really done there? What are they going to do at receiver/tight end? It seems they have an OK young guy in Terry McLaurin but continue to falter with middle/late round picks behind him. I think WAS is heading toward a 3-4 win season and will be heavily in the QB/WR market in the 2021 draft.

    3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

    1. In regard to the two young tackles on this offense, I’m not concerned like some are. I don’t see Thomas being another Flowers; meaning he won’t falter here because of immaturity. I am actually on the other side of the boat. The play of Matt Peart further strengthened the notion I had at the start of the season. Thomas/Peart are likely the long-term future at the tackle spots and that will be a very good thing. The difference between the two was obvious. Thomas has more power, twitch, and sheer ability. Peart does a much better job at staying within himself and trusting his technique. Both are big and powerful but playing tackle in this league is so hard. They will need this season to take their lumps, but I feel good about what they have here in regard to the long-term future. And the tackle positions, economically, are very expensive. If they can get away with quality play with these guys on a rookie deal while their QB is on a rookie deal, watch out in free agency in the coming year or two or three.
    1. I am really looking forward to the game against PHI coming up. It is going to be a very telling game for a couple reasons. One, how does the Joe Judge regime of NYG football respond to a win? The best teams become hungrier. They got the taste of a win and it makes them want it more. They lost 5 games and that can weigh on you throughout a week. All of the sudden, with a win, the energy in the building is different. Confidence in sports means more than most people understand. The second thing I am looking forward to is watching this regime on short rest. NYG has struggled in that department for years and I strongly believe this is where coaching means a ton. The best teams in the league have done well on short rest. Huge test for Judge in a very winnable game.
    1. Did anyone catch how happy the NYG players were for Joe Judge when Daniel Jones gave him the ball in the locker room after his first win? That wasn’t fake. These players love Judge and respect him and play hard for him. I don’t think I’ve seen this much spirited play since Tom Coughlin was here. And the genuine excitement these guys had for Judge was telling. They talked about culture change, as does pretty much every head coach when at the introductory press conference, but very few put that into practice.
    Oct 182020
     
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    Tae Crowder, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

    Tae Crowder – © USA TODAY Sports

    NEW YORK GIANTS 20 – WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 19…
    It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants finally got their first win of the 2020 season by defeating the Washington Football Team 20-19 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday. The Giants are now 1-5 on the season.

    Both teams came into the game with bottom tier offenses that continued to struggle in this contest. At the start of the game, the Giants actually benched rookie 1st-round pick Andrew Thomas for rookie 3rd-round pick Matt Peart at left tackle. Thomas was being penalized for being late to a team meeting on Saturday night. Meanwhile, it was the last player taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, linebacker Tae Crowder, who saved the day.

    Washington actually significantly out-gained the Giants in first downs (24 to 16), total net yards (337 to 240), net yards passing (251 to 108), and time of possession (33:30 to 26:30). The Giants did out-rush Washington (132 to 86), but that was mainly due to quarterback Daniel Jones gaining 74 yards on the ground. The key stat was the Giants won the turnover battle 2-1, with one of Washington’s turnovers leading to a defensive score late in the 4th quarter.

    Now counting the kneel down before halftime, the Giants only had the ball three times in the first half. And surprisingly, all three drives ended with points:

    • 9 plays, 48 yards, 33-yard field goal
    • 3 plays, 27 yards, 23-yard touchdown pass from Jones to WR Darius Slayton
    • 8 plays, 73 yards, 20-yard field goal

    Meanwhile, Washington had four first-half possessions:

    • 12 plays, 39 yards, missed 47-yard field goal
    • 2 plays, 0 yards, interception by CB James Bradberry returned 19 yards
    • 11 plays, 70 yards, 35-yard field goal
    • 13 plays, 70 yards, 5-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds before halftime

    On the last drive, it was another case of the Giants’ defense performing well until late in the first half. Nevertheless, New York led 13-10 at the break.

    The Giants’ offense did not score in the second half. Not counting the kneel down at the end of the game, the Giants again only had three possessions, two ending with punts and one ending with an interception on a play where Jones was trying to throw the football away after reaching the Washington 7-yard line late in the 3rd quarter.

    Washington went three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, but tied the game at 13-13 on their second possession after driving 70 yards in 14 plays to set up a 28-yard field goal with just 9 minutes left to play in the game.

    After New York punted the ball away on their last real possession of the game, Washington drove from their 25-yard line to the New York 45-yard line. On 3rd-and-9 with 3:41 to play, quarterback Kyle Allen was sacked by linebacker Kyle Fackrell. Allen fumbled on the play and rookie linebacker Tae Crowder scooped up the loose ball and returned it 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Giants 20 – Washington 13.

    But just as the New York defense has struggled all year at the end of the first half, it has also struggled at the end of games. And this contest was no different. With 3:29 left to play, Washington drove 75 yards in 10 plays with Allen throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to play. Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera decided to go for the 2-point conversion and win. Allen’s pass fell incomplete and the Giants escaped with the victory after recovering the onside kick.

    Jones only completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He did rush for 74 yards on seven carries, including a 49-yard effort. Tight end Kaden Smith caught three passes for 15 yards. No other player had more than two catches. Running back Devonta Freeman carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards.

    Defensively, the Giants picked up three sacks: defensive lineman Leonard Williams, safety Logan Ryan, and Fackrell, the latter leading to the fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Crowder. Bradberry also picked off a pass the set the Giants up on the Washington 27-yard line.

    Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

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

    Inactive for the game were LB Lorenzo Carter (Achilles), S Adrian Colbert (shoulder), TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

    WR C.J. Board (neck/concussion) and CB Darnay Holmes (neck) left the game with injuries and did not return. Board was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

    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:

    POST-GAME NOTES…
    Three of the Giants’ last four victories have been against Washington and they have beaten Washington four consecutive times.

    All three of QB Daniel Jones’ 2020 touchdown passes have been to WR Darius Slayton.

    Jones’ 49-yard run was the longest run by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era.

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

    Oct 162020
     
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    Kaden Smith, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

    Kaden Smith – © USA TODAY Sports

    Game Preview: Washington Football Team at New York Giants, October 18, 2020

    THE STORYLINE

    My formative years as a New York Giants fan was during the Bill Parcells-Joe Gibbs era during the 1980s. Big Blue Wrecking Crew versus the Hogs. Three hours of punch-you-in-the-face war between two physical teams who respected but despised each other. I was a nervous wreck before each game because each game between these two teams was immensely meaningful. Many of these games became legendary.

    Fast forward to October 2020. The 0-5 Giants host 1-4 Washington on Sunday. And I feel nothing. I’m rooting for the Giants to win, but I’m not even sure what’s best for the team in the long term at this point. Sy’56 and I are almost always on the same page, but we were not last year when the Giants and Washington played each other on December 22, 2019 in the “Chase Young Bowl.” Sy felt it was important for the Giants to start develop a winning culture. I wanted Chase Young. On Sunday, we’ll be constantly reminded of that “what might have been” scenario with both Young and Andrew Thomas on the field together.

    If Joe Judge is survive and thrive as head coach of the New York Giants, he has to start winning games. This is what Sy was talking about last year when he was addressing developing a winning culture. 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.

    THE INJURY REPORT

    • WR Darius Slayton (foot – questionable)
    • DL Dexter Lawrence (knee – questionable)
    • LB Kyler Fackrell (ankle – probable)
    • S Jabrill Peppers (ankle – probable)
    • S Adrian Colbert (shoulder – questionable)

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

      As I predicted in last week’s game preview, the bad Giants offense performed better against the bad Cowboys defense, but it was not productive enough. The defense scored one touchdown and set up another inside the 20-yard line. And the offense handed the Cowboys one defensive score and could not move the ball with the game tied late in the game.

      The good news that came out of that game is the running game showed some life, as did Darius Slayton. The bad news was continued issues with Daniel Jones, both tackles, Evan Engram, and the lack of any production from the other wide receivers. Other than the team not winning, my problem with watching the Giants offense right now is I know that many of the players we are watching won’t be on the team in 2020. Evan Engram is due for a monster game, but so what? He’s not the answer for this team. I can’t imagine Golden Tate being back. Or Devonta Freeman. Again, if they look good, so what? They’ll be on other teams next year.

      As I wrote about last week, all of my attention is on Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, and the offensive line. You can also now add Austin Mack to this list (for at least this week). But the lack of complementary talent is negatively impacting these players. And I now feel it’s just a matter of time before Matt Peart replaces Cam Fleming at right tackle and Shane Lemieux replaces Kevin Zeitler at right guard. Will this happen before or after the bye? The sooner this is done, the better. Endure the pain this year, minimize it next year.

      Washington isn’t a good football team, but they can present problems with their defense. Joe Judge provided a good scouting report:

      It really starts up front with the edge players and the interior. They have a number of first round draft picks on their line… That, complemented by their corners and their play-making safeties, really gives them fits for opposing offenses. They do a good job producing pressure up front and capitalizing on the opportunities produced from up front. This is a team that can get after you with just the front four. They can bring pressure, they do a really good job with their movement schemes, and they change up throughout the game. (Defensive Coordinator Jack) Del Rio does a really good job with (Head Coach) Ron (Rivera) as far as scheming for the opponent, changing up. The other thing they do is they really keep it simple for their players to play fast and play ahead.

      Andrew Thomas has had two rough outings in a row. Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo sounded sincerely confident in Thomas’ future this week. This will be another good test for him. But the entire offensive line will be under the gun. First-round picks Montez Sweat (3 sacks) and Chase Young (2.5 sacks) are disruptive and can get after the quarterback. Both starting defensive tackles – Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne – were also drafted in the first round. How deep are they? Former 1st-round pick and Giants-killer Ryan Kerrigan is now a back-up. Middle linebacker Jon Bostic is once again leading the team in tackles (42).

      Nevertheless, Washington has surprisingly been better against the pass (7th in the NFL) than the run (23rd in the NFL). This, combined with the Giants’ lack of play-makers and issues in pass protection, would suggest the Giants more heavily focus on the ground game in this contest. Personally, I would keep it boring and run a lot, sprinkling in passes to the backs and tight ends. Minimize the chances for turnovers. When throwing the football, former Giant safety Landon Collins can be exposed in coverage.

      NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

      While the Giants defense directly contributed to points on the scoreboard against Dallas, they also came up small again in the crunch. This has been an ongoing problem for the Giants under multiple head coaches and defensive coordinators for years. The defense can’t seem to hold late in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Obviously, this is tied to long-standing pass rush and pass coverage problems. Personally, I was expecting the Giants defense to give an injury-ravaged Cowboys offensive line more problems (though to be fair, Dallas has been the top offense despite offensive line issues all year). If this defense is going to reach the next level, Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams have to become more than “solid” and make game-changing plays.

      The defense and long-term planning took another hit when Lorenzo Carter suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon last weekend. Carter was never going to become a difference-maker, but it was possible for him to develop into a complementary piece. Now his future is up in the air. With Oshane Ximines also now on IR, the Giants will be giving playing time to another guy who probably won’t be with the team next year, Markus Golden. Personally, I’m hoping we’ll see the young guys such as Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin (if activated) steal some snaps. Again, my focus is more on 2021 at this point than beating Washington. Kyler Fackrell will undoubtedly receive more snaps outside, though he is dealing with an ankle issue.

      Ryan Lewis is not the answer at corner, but he settled down the position last week. Madre Harper still lurks in the wings at cornerback too. More troubling, as Sy pointed out, is that Julian Love seems to have fallen out of favor (the Giants need to start hitting on these draft picks or they will never get better… so much for the three defensive backs drafted in 2019). In addition, Jabrill Peppers is still hampered by injury and not making much of an impact. Adrian Colbert hurt the team last week. The loss of Xavier McKinney really looms large (even if he returns, he’ll have a ton of rust on him). To cut to the chase, safety was supposed to be a strength but has become a weakness again.

      Like the Giants, Washington has struggled mightily on offense. They are dead last in yards per game and 30th in scoring. Washington is a bit of a mess at quarterback. Dwayne Haskins was benched. Kyle Allen, who was with Ron Rivera in Carolina, started last week but left the game with an injury. He’s expected to return to the line-up this week. Wideout Terry McLaurin is the only real threat Washington has and I would suggest the Giants keep James Bradberry on him. Other than that, Washington throws more to their backs (Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic). As Joe Judge pointed out this week, they are very good at the screen game.

      Washington can’t run the football (31st in the NFL… ironically, the Giants are 32nd). There is no excuse for the defensive front of NYG to not shut down the running game. When Washington is in obvious passing situations, I would put my more athletic linebackers on the field to deal with the passes to the running backs. This could be an important game for rookies Tae Crowder and Cam Brown.

      NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

      I called it. The Giants knew they would have to score points last week and ran a fake field goal for what should have been a touchdown. I am pretty darn sure we’ll see a fake punt soon. Graham Gano has been fantastic. What we need now too is a big return.

      FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

      Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham on defensive breakdowns at the end of the first half and the end of the game: “I have to get better. I have to call it better, I have to put the guys in a better spot. Is it keeping me up at night? Yeah, it keeps me up a night, I have to figure it out. It’s Week 5 going to Week 6, I have to figure it out.”

      THE FINAL WORD

      Two bad football teams with two bottom tier offenses that lack talent. This will likely be a low scoring game with the team making fewer turnovers and more plays on special teams wins the game. It will be one of those ugly games where even winning won’t feel particularly good.

      Dec 232019
       
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      Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

      Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

      New York Giants 41 – Washington Redskins 35 (OT)

      QUICK RECAP

      After missing two games with an ankle injury, Daniel Jones got his first NFC East road start in Washington against the equally unimpressive 3-11 Redskins. They too were trotting out their 2019 first round quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, who got his first NFL action against the Giants all the way back in week 4. While this game obviously had zero playoff implications, this had been unofficially labeled the “Chase Young Bowl” as the two teams were lined up back-to-back in the 2020 NFL Draft order with the loser grabbing ahold of the #2 spot. More on that later.

      For a game that almost nobody outside of the WAS and NYG markets cared about, it was woefully entertaining early on. Jones, on his first drive back from injury, went 3/3 and ended it with a 23-yard pitch-and-catch score to Sterling Shepard. Haskins responded with a 9-play drive of his own that ended with a scramble and short toss to undrafted rookie Steven Sims, Jr. to tie the game.

      Saquon Barkley, who we saw run with different life last week in NYG’s win over MIA, took the first carry of the next drive for 8 yards. It was a positive sign considering he had rushed for 33 yards on 2 carries on the Giants’ first possession. What happened next was another feather in the cap for arguably the most talented back in the league despite a rough year. Barkley went right, made two adjustments, broke 2 tackles, and outran the entire WAS defense (in which 2 defenders had the angle) for a 67-yard score. It was the run we had been missing for most of the year. As the 2020 offseason approaches, it is something we can know, with proof, still exists in his game and that the 2019 debacle wasn’t about him.

      Haskins and the dead-last ranked WAS offense marched out onto the field and responded with a smooth, simple-looking 12-play drive that ended in another score. This time, Haskins hit undrafted rookie tight end Hale Hentges for the short score. Haskins began the game 8/8 – 72 yards – 2 TD.

      As the second quarter began, Jones and the NYG offense showed no signs of slowing down and made it a third straight touchdown scoring drive as he found Barkley running up the seam all by himself for the 33-yard passing score. Barkley, who I have been pounding the table for in regard to getting him out in space as a receiver, was on his way to a career game and it had that feel early on in the 2nd quarter with a lot of football left. The first five series of the game all ended in touchdowns, a first in the history of the NFL.

      The game slowed down a tad as the teams traded punts on three straight possessions. The Giants got one last possession in the first half starting at their own 27-yard line with just over 2 minutes left. On 2nd-and-10, Jones was tripped up as he escaped the pocket and fell to the ground. It was a sack, however the refs were late to blow the whistle and WAS linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton launched himself at Jones, who was on a knee, creating the first fracas of the game between the division rivals. After all was sorted out, NYG was given 15 yards and a first down. Former Giant Landon Collins was sought out by Barkley and Shepard for a dirty move in which he pulled down Kaden Smith to the ground from behind.

      On the very next play, Jones hit Golden Tate for a 31-yard gain. Two plays later he threw a perfect ball to Cody Latimer in the end zone but it went right through his fingers. Jones, who has shown maturation beyond his years all season, found Latimer two plays later in front of the goal line and the 6-year vet who weighs in at 223 pounds drove his way and defenders into the end zone for the touchdown. NYG took a 28-14 lead into the half.

      As has been the case for much of the year, this game was a tale of two halves. On the opening play of the second half, Haskins was sandwiched on a sack between Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden. He was bent around awkwardly and was soon after carted off. Two plays later, Morgan Moses went down with his own injury and WAS, the most injured team in football over the past three seasons, had the look of a team that simply wanted to throw up the white flag and get out of there. Case Keenum, the week 1 starter for WAS, was back to face off against his former QB coach, Pat Shurmur. Ironically, many say Keenum’s performance in 2017 was the reason why Shurmur eventually got offered the HC job in NY.

      On Keenum’s first full drive as the signal caller, WAS drove down the field and put up 7 more points for WAS. It was interesting to see the rookie WAS pass catchers against the rookie NYG defensive backs. Clear advantage went to the offense as they couldn’t seem to contain Sims who caught his second touchdown of the day.

      The lone NYG second half touchdown came on an impressive 9-yard toss to rookie tight end Kaden Smith, who has been making a name for himself to say the least. The score was 35-21 at the start of the fourth quarter but WAS kept on hanging around as the NYG offense fluttered while ignoring Barkley with the lead. Riley Dixon had a punt blocked, setting WAS up at the NYG 17-yard line. Two plays later, the ageless Adrian Peterson scored a 1-yard touchdown to put him fourth on the all-time rushing touchdown list.

      After another scoreless drive by NYG, WAS began their last drive of regulation from their own 1-yard line. A backup QB, 3 rookie receivers, a non-threat in the backfield, 3 backup offensive linemen, and a 3rd-string tight end on the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL. That is whom the NYG defense was up against. 14 plays later, WAS crossed the goal line via a 1-yard run by Keenum.

      NYG did have 30 seconds left and Pat Shurmur sent Aldrick Rosas out for a 62-yard field goal before changing his mind, having Jones throw a Hail Mary. His toss came up about 7 yards short and the game went into overtime.

      NYG won the coin toss, obviously electing to take the ball. It was the Jones-Shepard-Barkley show as only those three touched the ball for the first 10 plays of their drive. Those 10 plays took them to the WAS 3-yard line on 3rd down. Jones then found Smith for his second score of the game and NYG took their second win in as many weeks.

      NYG win 41-35.

      QUARTERBACK

      -Daniel Jones: 28/42 – 352 yards – 5 TD / 0 INT / 132.1 RAT. It was a historic day for Jones. He is only the third rookie QB in NFL history with 3+ games of 4+ TD. He set the NYG rookie passing TD record. He is the first ever rookie to pass for 350+ yards and 5 TD in the same game. He was on the money from the start and to see that after missing two games with an ankle injury puts another feather in the toughness-cap. Jones was on fire within the intermediate route tree and he spread the ball out plenty. His ball is so clean out of his hands and it adds some zip to his passes. Two negatives were (1) on five different occasions, it looked like Jones was late to see and anticipate throwing lanes, and (2) the lack of true downfield arm strength showed up on that Hail Mary attempt. Neither are a big deal but just worth noting. Excellent game for Jones on so many levels and this was a big deal for his QB maturation.

      RUNNING BACK

      -Saquon Barkley: 22 att / 189 yards / 1 TD – 4 rec / 90 yards / 1 TD. We talked last week about Barkley getting 25+ touches and how much it means to this team winning. While there is more to it than that simple fact, it is amazing what this offense can look like when he is clicking. Barkley’s explosion and speed are fully back and he is back to breaking tackles nearly every time he gets the ball. Now, lets see what he looks like against a very motivated and stingy PHI defense. Career game for #26.

      WIDE RECEIVER

      -Golden Tate: 6 rec / 96 yards. Tate led the team with 11 targets. I have to confirm this before stating it as fact but I believe Tate has been targeted more times per game than any NYG pass catcher. I think he can be an important player for this team next year as he and Jones clearly have a connection, notably on 3rd down.

      -Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 76 yards / 1 TD. Strong day for Shepard, as he caught all 6 of his targets and came down with the big TD catch on the opening drive. The underneath-only threat to this point in his career has made a habit of making the tough catch in traffic, which I believe could lengthen his career when his young twitch/explosion starts to decrease over the years.

      -Cody Latimer: 5 rec / 44 yards / 1 TD. The 5 catches were a career high for Latimer, who if you remember finished strong in 2018 week 17 vs DAL. I still think Latimer is a good player to have on the back end of a roster. He is a professional who plays strong and tough. He did drop a TD pass just two plays prior to his score.

      TIGHT END

      -Kaden Smith: 6 rec / 35 yards / 2 TD. Smith’s two touchdowns came after halftime and while they were big plays, his biggest impact was in the running game. Smith was a key component to Barkley going off and there is a credible discussion to be had here. Does Smith and his presence in the trenches offer more to an offense built around Barkley than Engram? I don’t lean either way right now but a case can be made for both sides.

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      -The best grade we have seen from Nate Solder all year. He was excellent in this one against a trio of pass rushers who have made plenty of impact this year and in the past against NYG. Mike Remmers was solid on the other side until he got hurt. In stepped the trustworthy Nick Gates, who is showing excellent versatility and assurance when it comes to NYG building a deep offensive line for 2020. It is amazing what happens to an offense when the OL is stable, particularly outside.

      -Kevin Zeitler returned after missing last week and I could tell he really wanted to be out there. There was some extra pep in his step and he made some key impact blocks on the big Barkley runs.

      -Will Hernandez had the lowest grade along the OL, but even that wasn’t an awful game. He was pretty average and similar to what he has been all year. He allowed a pressure and a TFL. Center Jon Halapio also allowed a TFL and a pressure. He remains overly stiff and slow out there against lateral pass rushers.

      EDGE

      -Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter were up against two low end tackles in the second half (after RT Moses went down) and they clearly took over. Golden finished with a half-sack and 3 pressures to go along with 5 tackles. Man, this guy made some serious money with his play in 2019. Carter had his best game of his young career. He had 4 tackles / 1.5 sacks / 5 pressures / 1 pass break up. He did it from both sides and was all over the place. While I can’t go into the offseason with confidence he can be built around, the fact he is flashing here and there is a positive sign in that he can, at least, be a solid rotational guy with elite tools.

      DEFENSIVE LINE

      -Leonard Williams, whether you hated or loved the trade, has been making his case to get the long-term deal that is sure to be debated here in the coming weeks. Even though it has mostly been against poor OL, Williams has been making a difference, plain and simple. He finished with 3 tackles and 2 pressures and was outstanding against the run. He was both stout and rangy, cutting off the lanes away from the intended target of the RB so there wouldn’t be any innovation that turned into big plays. You really have to zero in on him to appreciate all that he does right and his physical tools that everybody loved coming out of USC.

      -Dalvin Tomlinson finished with 2 tackles, both of which were for a loss, and B.J. Hill had a sack. Dexter Lawrence had 2 tackles / 1 TFL and looks his best when lined up over the center. He is so stout but also athletic enough to reach and cut off the “B” gaps. His consistency snap to snap when it comes to leverage and hand usage still leaves a lot to be desired, though.

      LINEBACKER

      -Alec Ogletree tweaked his back before the game began. This opened the door for Deone Bucannon to get a season-high 76% of the snaps. He played well, finishing with 7 tackles, 1 pressure, and I am pretty sure he forced the near-fumble on Keenum at the end of the 4th quarter. Had that been a turnover at that point in the game, he could have easily been labeled the hero. Not sure where he stands on this team down the road, but he has played pretty well in his opportunities.

      -David Mayo tied for the team lead in tackles with 10 and was on the field for every defensive snap.

      CORNERBACK

      -The young NYG corners got a little beat up in this one. Deandre Baker did have 10 tackles but that was largely a result of him being targeted often and allowing catches. He was also flagged for a pass interference that led WAS to the goal line where they scored on the very next play. He also lost outside contain on a couple occasions which we have seen too many times this year. Confidence wise, I still see Baker playing faster but he clearly isn’t there yet.

      -Corey Ballentine was torched in this one. Again, I just can’t see the fit at nickel with him because he is the kind of corner that needs the sideline to use as a boundary. He allowed 2 touchdowns and was flagged on a 4th-and-goal incomplete pass because of a blatant pass interference. If he simply turned his head to locate the ball, it would have been an easy pass breakup. He has been a major weakness in his rookie year and had this been an important game, he would be getting roasted today.

      -Sam Beal finished with 6 tackles and, in my opinion, looked the best in coverage all things considered. One thing I see with him too is the attention to detail on his run-defense assignments. He is almost always where he needs to be and he caused a TFL that stemmed from maintaining his outside leverage. He did go down with a neck injury late in the game but returned.

      SAFETY

      -Antoine Bethea made a couple nice open field tackles but also allowed a touchdown to a 4th-string, blocking tight end and missed 2 tackles on the day.

      -Julian Love finished with 7 tackles but whiffed twice and was beat on 3rd down a couple of times.

      SPECIAL TEAMS

      -K Aldrick Rosas: 5/5 XP – 0/1 FG (Missed 57). Man I wish we could have seen him go for the 62 yarder to win the game.

      -P Riley Dixon: 3 Punts / 45.0 avg / 33.8 avg. He had one called back because of a Michael Thomas hold which then turned into his next attempt getting blocked.

      3 STUDS

      -QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

      3 DUDS

      -CB Corey Ballentine, OG Will Hernandez, S Antoine Bethea

      3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

      1. The positive side of things for WAS centers around their QB. I’ve seen all of Haskins’ snaps this year. He did start off poorly, there was no questioning it. However ,this first half against NYG and the previous week against a motivated PHI defense was some of the best football we have seen out of a rookie QB in the league this year. He has been on steady incline since October and a lot now comes down to hard he works in the offseason. His biggest issue? Poor footwork. His biggest positive? Accuracy.
      1. With that said, being as unbiased as I can be, I don’t think WAS is in a better position moving forward than NYG. Especially if they lose Trent Williams long term, which appears to be the case (get on that NYG). They need 2 or 3 OL, they need a RB, they need depth along the DL, and they need a corner or two. Same can be said for the amount of holes on NYG’s team but the talent they have in place is a tier under what NYG has. Plus, Dan Snyder is their owner.
      1. Landon Collins signed with WAS last offseason. The 6 year / $84 million deal was way beyond what NYG was willing to offer and as much as I liked Collins, he was never worth that. Many NYG fans are conditioned to complain when the team doesn’t sign a homegrown talent in free agency but watching him all year and watching him in this game especially confirmed that it was one of Dave Gettleman’s right decisions in letting him walk. It was fitting that he was the one that allowed the touchdown in overtime to seal the WAS loss.

      3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

      1. I want to address the argument that fans should be cheering for this team to lose. The desire for a higher draft pick is something of fantasy land. This is a stretch of NYG football that has unfortunately left some fans conditioned to losing and reading through mock drafts and checking for future free agents for months. It fills the void that used to be filled by winning football. But I will bring this to my grave: rooting for losses to enhance a draft position is downright foolish and goes against what you want this team to do. Yes, you may get a better player if you are picking higher in the draft but don’t fall into the trap that it will bring this team back to playoff contention. The best teams, year after year, are NOT the ones picking at the top of the draft. The best players in the NFL are NOT the ones taken at the top of the draft. Repeated winning is built on culture, not top draft picks. Culture is built via winning games, even the mislabeled “meaningless” games at the end of the year. That performance by Daniel Jones, the offensive line, the pass rush, Saquon Barkley…etc is a positive step in their respective progressions. If you are still hell-bent on this team NEEDING to pick #2 overall, go take a look at the top 10 picks over the past decade. And see if you can convince yourself that the #2 overall pick was a difference maker over the guys taken in the next 5-6 picks.
      1. There is going to be a tough decision for NYG in regard to their edge rusher hole once the offseason comes. First of all, what scheme are you playing? Second, as well as Golden played, what if a better option becomes available via free agency? I think Golden is good but I don’t think he is in the first or second tier of edge rushers. The name I keep coming back to is JAC edge rusher Yannick Ngakou. I would rather pay him tier 1 money than Golden tier 2 money, but I know a case can be made either way.
      1. Are the Giants OK at cornerback? There is young talent and we have seen Baker and Beal flash especially. However, I think there are questions with both and two guys aren’t enough for a strong secondary. I’ve seen the neglect of CB just ruin teams over the years and there will be one, maybe 2 corners in the draft with top 5 grades. You have to understand the importance of a true shutdown corner in this game and I think NYG has a strong shot at one of those guys in April.
      Dec 222019
       
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      Kaden Smith, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

      Kaden Smith – © USA TODAY Sports

      NEW YORK GIANTS 41 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS 35 (OT)…
      In a game filled with terrible defense by both teams, the New York Giants defeated the Washington Redskins 41-35 in overtime on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. With the win, the Giants improved their overall record to 4-11 with one game left to play. The downside to the victory is the Giants probably lost out on any chance to land the #2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with the possibility of drafting highly regarded pass rusher Chase Young out of Ohio State.

      The story of the game for the Giants was the play of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones completed 28-of-42 passes for 352 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. He became the first rookie in NFL history with 350+ passing yards, five touchdown passes, and no interceptions in a single game. Barkley rushed 22 times for 189 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 4 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown for a total of 279 yards from scrimmage.

      The two teams combined for five straight 75-yard touchdown drives to begin the game, three by New York and two by Washington:

      • Giants: 5 plays, 75 yards, 23-yard TD pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard from Jones
      • Redskins: 9 plays, 75 yards, 10-yard TD pass from quarterback Dwayne Haskins
      • Giants: 2 plays, 75 yards, 67-yard TD run by Barkley
      • Redskins: 12 plays, 75 yards, 6-yard TD pass from Haskins
      • Giants: 10 plays, 75 yards, 33-yard TD pass to Barkley from Jones

      Haskins didn’t throw his first incompletion until midway through the 2nd quarter on a possession that resulted in Washington’s first punt of the game. Jones was almost equally perfect with one incompletion at this point in the contest.

      The Giants were finally forced to punt on their fourth possession of the first half. After Washington’s second punt, the Giants went ahead by two scores late in the half on a 9-play, 73 yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer with 38 seconds left.

      At the half, the Giants led 28-14.

      The Redskins lost Haskins on their first drive of the 3rd quarter when he suffered an ankle injury when he was sacked by linebackers Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter. Case Keenum then entered the game for Washington at quarterback.

      Both teams exchanged punts to start the second half before the Redskins tightened the game at 28-21 with a 7-play, 60-yard scoring drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass by Keenum. The Giants responded with a 5-play, 73-yard touchdown drive of their own that was sparked by a 51-yard screen pass to Barkley. Jones finished the possession with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kaden Smith on 3rd-and-5. Giants 35 – Redskins 21.

      Momentum began to swing Washington’s way in the 4th quarter. After a Redskins punt, New York punter Riley Dixon had his punt blocked and recovered by Washington at the Giants’ 17-yard line. Running back Adrian Peterson scored from 1-yard out and the Redskins were once again within one touchdown at 35-28.

      The Giants reached the Washington 35-yard line on the ensuing drive but place kicker Aldrick Rosas missed a 53-yard field goal attempt. Both teams then exchanged punts, with the Giants downing their effort at the Washington 1-yard line with 6:28 left to play. Nevertheless, the Redskins proceeded to drive 99 yards in 14 plays to tie the game up at 35-35 with 29 seconds left in the game. Washington converted on 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-1, and 4th-and-3 (pass interference on the Giants) on this game-tying possession. Keenum finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown scramble.

      With two seconds left in regulation, Head Coach Pat Shurmur originally had his field goal team line up for what would have been a 63-yard attempt. Instead, he called a time out and tried a Hail Mary by Jones that fell incomplete.

      The Giants won the overtime coin toss and proceeded to win the game with an 11-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a dramatic Jones-to-Smith 3-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal.

      The Giants finished with 552 yards of offense (206 rushing, 346 passing) and 28 first downs. New York’s defense allowed 361 yards of offense (80 rushing, 281 passing) and 25 first downs. The Giants did have three sacks: Carter (1.5), Golden (0.5), and defensive lineman B.J. Hill (1.0). The defense did not force a turnover.

      Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

      INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
      Inactive for the game were TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, RB Wayne Gallman, WR David Sills, OT Eric Smith, OG Chad Slade, and S Rashaan Gaulden.

      LB Alec Ogletree (back) did not play due to a back injury. RT Mike Remmers (concussion) left the game and did not return. WR Darius Slayton (knee) left the game, returned, sat out again, and returned late in the contest.

      POST-GAME REACTION…
      Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

      • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
      • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
      • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)

      WHAT’S UP NEXT…
      Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.