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Giants vs. Ravens: What can we learn from snap counts, PFF grades?

What can we learn from who played and who didn’t in the Giants’ win over the Ravens?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants won on Sunday and the morning after just seems a little brighter than the previous three weeks.

One of the major story lines throughout the Giants’ season was the number of snaps played by the defense, and the starting defensive line in particular.

The defense as a whole was on the field for a fairly ridiculous 83 snaps, though only cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Landon Collins were on the field for all of them - not coincidentally, those two have arguably been the Giants’ best players through the first six games of the season. They also happened to get Pro Football Focus’ top grades for the Giants’ defense with an 86.3 and 84.7 respectively. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has been playing through injuries, played “just” 56 snaps, but still garnered an 82.7 grade from PFF. The Giants’ starting secondary might be beat up, but they have been playing very well. (And no, I don’t know what Jeff Triplette was talking about when he said DRC pulled the receiver down by the waist to prevent him from getting the ball. Perhaps he has a prehensile tail we don’t know about?)

Jason Pierre-Paul was on the field for 77 snaps (93 percent) and Olivier Vernon saw 71 snaps (86 percent). While they still played a lot of snaps overall — aided by a pair of drive extending big plays by the Ravens’ defense and Odell Beckham’s fumble putting the defense right back on the field — this still represents a decrease in their share of snaps. On the flip side, DT Jay Bromley saw 23 snaps and defensive ends Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Romeo Okwara were on the field for 22 and 14 snaps respectively, an increase over previous weeks.

Interestingly, nickel linebacker Keenan Robinson played the sixth-most snaps on the defense at 61, but it was nominal starter Kelvin Sheppard (34 snaps) who earned the higher PFF grade with an 83.9 (third highest on the defense).

On the offensive side of the ball, the Giants had a much more normal 67 snaps. Other than the offensive linemen, only Victor Cruz and Eli Manning never came off the field. PFF gave Manning a 75.7 grade, made possible by solid pass protection from his linemen. Three of them rounded out the Giants’ top graded offensive players: LG Justin Pugh (84.0), RG John Jerry (74.8), and RT Bobby Hart (65.7).

Odell Beckham only played 55 snaps, having to come off the field after suffering a hip pointer in the second quarter. He eventually came back on the field, playing through the pain to the tune of 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns (the second being the game winner) in the second half. How he responds to the injury as the team prepares to travel to London will be important to watch. But despite carrying the team to victory, and tying the second most receiving yards in a half along the way, PFF didn’t give Beckham the highest grade on the offense. While that distinction went to Pugh, Beckham was the second highest at 76.2.

Undrafted rookie receiver Roger Lewis Jr. played 14 snaps, catching the first touchdown of his career, and the 300th touchdown of Manning’s career.

Tight ends Larry Donnell and Will Tye had 33 and 23 snaps respectively, with the remaining 11 snaps going to Jerell Adams. Running backs Rashad Jennings and Bobby Rainey had a fairly even split, with Jennings getting 32 snaps and Rainey getting 27. Rookie Paul Perkins only received 7 snaps, but that number will likely go up as the season progresses.