We don’t do grades around here. That’s for everyone else. We have our own traditional way of looking back at New York Giants’ games. You know what this is, Giants fans. So, let’s get right to the “Kudos & Wet Willies” review of Sunday’s game.
Kudos to ...
Landon Collins — You may never see a better interception return than the 44-yard touchdown return by Collins in the first half on Sunday.
The play energized a sleepy, lethargic Giants’ team and keyed their come-from-behind victory. Sunday was like a coming out party for Collins, just in case anyone had not noticed that he has turned into one of the best safeties in the league. Collins added a team-high eight tackles, many on ferocious hits, and two passes defensed
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — Interceptions in the end zone on the last two Rams’ drives, even if the last one was a gift. DRC also had three pass breakups.
Janoris Jenkins — Gave up one big play early in the game, but was terrifc against Kenny Britt after that. Like Rodgers-Cromartie, he had three pass breakups.
Pass rush — Three sacks. Seven hits on Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum in his 56 drop backs. Easily the most effective pass rush the Giants have generated in seven games. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were impactful coming off the edges. The Giants used a good amount of blitzes. Devon Kennard took some snaps as a pass-rushing defensive end. Maybe this is the way defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo wanted to play all along. Whatever the reason, the Giants seem to be have been more aggressive in dialing up pressure packages the last couple of weeks, and that is a positive development.
Keenan Robinson — Robinson tied Collins with eight tackles, and had two passes defensed. He made a handful of outstanding open field tackles. I have said it before, but he is the best coverage linebacker the Giants have had in a long time. Not to mention, a much better player than I thought he was coming over from the Washington Redskins.
Roger Lewis — It likely wasn’t noticed by many while watching the game, but Lewis is becoming quite a force for the Giants on special teams. He had three tackles and a forced fumble in coverage. The Giants are also working the undrafted free agent rookie into the offense more and more.
Odell Beckham Jr. — Beckham has had better games. His five-catch, 49-yard day actually seems rather pedestrian. Knowing that Beckham thought there was “a seed of doubt” in pre-game that he would be able to play and that his 22-yard catch that gave the Giants a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line and set up their game-winning score was the most important offensive play of the game, the temperamental wide receiver deserves props.
Wet Willies to ...
Giants’ offense — This is a blanket “Wet Willie” for the entire offense. Seriously, aside from a couple of plays by Odell Beckham Jr. and the fact that they didn’t let Aaron Donald completely wreck the game what did the Giants’ offense do well? What, for that matter have they consistently done well all season? Nothing.
Great line from NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about the vanilla play-calling of Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo:
"For a man with such a large play sheet, he only calls about 5 plays."
The problems on offense only begin there. I hit on the three major problems Sunday in the “Ten things we learned” column. To review:
— They can’t run the football. Rashad Jennings did manage a 1-yard touchdown run, but the Giants ran 20 times for 38 yards, a paltry 1.8 yards per carry. Over and over, they try that same shotgun run up the middle, and get virtually nothing out of it.
— There’s no imagination in the passing game, and virtually no movement. It’s just an endless series of slants, hitches and dump offs to the running backs or tight ends.
— They quite obviously don’t trust the offensive line to hold up long enough to allow them to push the ball down the field. They rarely take shots.
The Giants passed the ball for only 196 yards. They ran 20 times for only 38 yards, 1.8 yards per carry. They had the ball for only 24:57. They only had one drive of more than seven plays, a 14-play, 66-yard drive that sputtered to a field goal. They have, basically, one running play. They get little push, and they get no help in blocking from their tight ends or their diminutive group of wide receivers.
McAdoo needs to use the bye week to make an honest assessment of an offense that has been underwhelming all season. The Giants need to do better, much better, on offense to have a chance to make a playoff run.
Larry Donnell — C’mon, Larry! A fumble on the second play of the game? Really? At least you didn’t go flying upside down and land on your head. In all seriousness, the Giants are likely to have to look for an upgrade at tight end during the offseason. Donnell can’t block and is an absolute high-wire act with the ball in his hands.
Whoever let Odell Beckham return punts — Was that McAdoo? Was it special teams coordinator Tom Quinn? I don’t know who made that call with Dwayne Harris having suffered a back injury, but that should never have happened. Maybe if Beckham had been completely healthy, but no way should he have been back there while nursing a hip injury that nearly kept him on the bench. The only excuse would be if his job was to fair catch the ball no matter what, and he did try to return one of the two punts he was back to receive.