There is a lot for the New York Giants to feel good about after Thursday's 45-14 thrashing of the Washington Redskins. Their offense is humming, they are 2-2 after an 0-2 start, 1-0 in the division and now have 10 days to rest before facing the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium.
Let's get right to our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' review.
Kudos To ...
Eli Manning -- Can Manning play any better than he has the past two games? He was brilliant Thursday night against the Redskins. The three touchdown passes to Larry Donnell were perfect throws that enabled Donnell to adjust and go get the ball. Manning ran for a score. He said after the game he is "starting to like the offense," and why wouldn't he? He got hit only twice in 40 drop backs and he looks like he is in complete control. He completed 28-of-39 for an even 300 yards, four scores, should have had a fifth on the fluky "interception" to Rueben Randle, and ended up with a passer rating of 117.5.
Larry Donnell -- What more can be said about Donnell? The guy catches absolutely everything Manning throws to him. He's a 6-foot-5, 270-pound guy with strength, athleticism, leaping ability and the willingness to use all of those things to go get the football. The guys gives the Giants a red zone weapon unlike any they have had in a long time, and is a nice security blanket for Manning underneath and on third downs. So much for the Giants' tight end problem.
Offensive Line -- This group was put together mostly by accident or attrition, but in the past two games has been utterly dominant. Manning, as I said above, was sacked one and hit only one other time in 40 drop backs. The Giants ran 38 times for 154 yards (4.1 yards per carry). Will Beatty, Weston Richburg and J.D. Walton were dominant. I guess you can throw out the whole 'Richburg is over-matched at guard' thing, a belief I know I had a couple of weeks ago.
Rueben Randle And The Touchdown That Wasn't
•Big Blue ViewShould the Rueben Randle play, ruled an interception, actually have been a touchdown for the Giants?
Defensive Line -- Phil Simms kept talking about the depth of the Giants' defensive front during Thursday's broadcast, and as tiresome as Simms can be sometimes he was right. The Giants just keep bringing in waves of defensive ends and tackles and don't seem to ever suffer a drop-off in play. The resurgent Mathias Kiwanuka had a strip-sack to force the first Washington turnover. Damontre Moore got his first career sack. Robert Ayers quietly continues to play spectacular football. Jason Pierre-Paul doesn't rush the passer like he once did, but the man is a monster against the run. The Giants pushed the pocket all night and made Kirk Cousins uncomfortable, leading to six Redskins turnovers.
Trumaine McBride -- McBride is the starting slot cornerback now with Walter Thurmond down for the season, and the Giants are lucky to have him. He had an interception Thursday and continued to play solid football.
Prince Amukamara -- The one knock on Amukamara entering the season was that he had yet to really become a play-maker, a guy who could force fumbles or get game-changing interceptions. Well, enough of that. Amukamara has been spectacular in the first four games, and had an interception Thursday for the second straight game.
Preston Parker -- He might have gone a little under the radar, but Parker is becoming a solid player for the Giants. He had three catches, a 34-yard kickoff return and lost a 30-yard punt return to a penalty. He will eventually lose playing time to Odell Beckham Jr., but he is a nice guy to have.
Wet Willies To ...
Mark Herzlich -- Herzlich can play the run, but twice appeared to get burned by Washington for sizable gains on short passes to running backs that turned into big plays. He gave up three receptions in three targets for 81 yards.
John Jerry -- The only member of the offensive line who really had a tough night. The one sack of Manning was not credited to Jerry, but it really was his responsibility. Jerry lost him man, forcing Manning to step up right into the arms of Ryan Kerrigan. Jerry also committed a holding penalty and gave up a pair of pressures.