Ok, so I'm happy today. For as exciting as it can be for the #GiantTankJob (yes, I just hashtag'd this to keep up with the times), for the first time in a solid eight weeks, I slept on a Sunday night with a bit of a smile on my face. Sure, it was only the Tennessee Titans and sure, we still do stink to high heavens, but I prefer to look at this game as one that gives Giants fans some hope in the future as several young players shone.
So let's take a look at what Pro Football Focus saw this week:
Guarding the Franchise (Offensive MVPs)
Weston Richburg (+1.3) - Step on up, young man. He had his first really good game in quite some time, but he was solid in this game. He allowed only one QB hit and QB hurry as a pass protector, but he got his grade in the run game. He finally showcased the athleticism that got him drafted so high by getting on his pulls with time to spare and getting downfield to help spring the running game.
John Jerry (+1.3) - What's this? Both starting guards get identical positive grades? Madness! Jerry was slightly worse than Richburg as a pass protector, allowing a hit and two hurries, but he was also slightly better as a run blocker. The big man also got down field to help Andre Williams to his first 100-yard game of his career.
A Pleasant Surprise (Key Offensive Contributor)
Preston Parker (+1.3) - Out of all the wide receivers that played for the Giants on Sunday, one would've expected Odell Beckham here instead of Preston Parker. Beckham, for what it's worth, would've been on this list as well, had he not received a -0.9 grade for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Now it's up for debate whether or not that one play is bad enough to warrant penalizing him that much, but that's what it is.
Going back to Parker, he caught five of six targets, many of which were contested. He made several nice chain-moving catches, and while none were of the spectacular OBJ (or ODB, whatever you prefer) variety, he quietly did his work. He's not a starting WR in this league, but I think he's shown to be a nice depth player.
Hey, You Stink! (Offensive Goat)
Nobody - Hey, whaddya know, nobody stank this week. Hard to believe it to be true, but here we are!
It Doesn't Matter Who The Opponent Is (Defensive MVP)
Jason Pierre-Paul (+5.2) - I'm sticking by that title. Jason Pierre-Paul had a great game, and regardless of who the opponent was, it would've been a great game on its own. He was one of the most effective pass rushers on the team, racking up two QB sacks and three hurries. Add to that the fact that stud rookie running back Bishop Sankey got nothing on his side, and it was a complete performance. This was his third game where he was rated +5.0 or better, and fifth game at +2.4 or better. His year to date grade is +17.9 which puts him fourth in the league among all 4-3 DEs. We underrate him far too often because he isn't an elite pass rusher, but if he moves on to greener pastures, that run defense is going to be sorely missed, no matter who replaces him.
Big Names Come Up Big (Key Defensive Contributors)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+2.8) - He allowed three catches on 5five targets for a paltry 17 yards, almost no YAC, and got a pick six (that was called back because of penalty). That's about as good as you can do, and DRC completely shut down his side of the field. No coincidence that this was his first game in some time where he played almost all the snaps. I guess this means this is the DRC we get when he's fully healthy. If that's the case, if we've paid our debt to the 'Injury Gods,' 2015 looks pretty damn bright for the secondary.
Devon Kennard (+2.6) - Only 34 snaps but that doesn't matter. He came away with two sacks, four defensive stops in the run game, and allowed onlyone catch for 13 yards. He's the first "do-everything" linebacker the Giants have had in a long time and should be a bright part of the future of this team going forward.
Stevie Brown (+1.4) - After coming back from his benching, Brown has quietly been an asset for the team. He had a perfect day in coverage, as he was targeted once, allowing nothing. He popped off screen several times in making stops, especially on third down.
The Defensive GOAT, But He Doesn't Care (Defensive GOAT)
Antrel Rolle (-1.5) - Had a decidedly average afternoon, but the only reason he's on here is because he was heavily penalized by PFF for the end zone celebration following DRC's pick six. That's pretty much it.