Kudos to ...
Giants’ defense — While the offense was bumbling, and literally fumbling, its way through Sunday afternoon the defense kept marching back onto the field and turning Drew Brees and the Saints away. New Orleans punted on its first five possessions and seven times overall, scored just one touchdown, and finished with 288 total yards of offense.
- Janoris Jenkins — Jackrabbit was terrific in coverage, had eight tackles, and returned Johnathan Hankins’ blocked field goal 65 yards for the Giants’ only touchdown. Per Pro Football focus, Jenkins gave up only 49 yards while being targeted 10 times.
- Landon Collins — Had a sack blitzing off the edge and six tackles. He’s a howitzer coming downhill against the run, and has been respectable in pass coverage. As Chris wrote Sunday, Collins is justifying the Giants’ 2015 decision to trade up in the second round of the draft to select him.
- Johnathan Hankins — Big Hank came up huge on special teams, blocking a Wil Lutz field goal in the second quarter. Hankins collapsed the inside of the Saints’ protection and got his left hand on Lutz’ low 38-yard kick. Jenkins scooped and scored.
- Victor Cruz — For the second straight week, Cruz made the game-changing offensive play. He caught the game-winning pass last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday, his 34-yard catch with 1:32 left put the Giants on the New Orleans’ 2-yard line and allowed them to run the clock down for the game-winning kick by Josh Brown. The Giants have gotten more from Cruz, who had four catches vs. the Saints for 91 yards, then they could have dreamed possible, in his first two games back.
- Eli Manning — Aside from a fumble when he was sacked, Manning was terrific. He went 32-of-41 for 368 yards, and could probably have completed another half-dozen throws with help from his receivers. I will have to go back and watch the film to get the exact count, but the Giants dropped several passes.
- Sterling Shepard — Eight targets, eight catches, 117 yards. Just about the only thing he did wrong was stumble at the Saints’ 17-yard line and fail to score on a 32-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Shepard had a pair of 32-yard catches and a critical 6-yard first down catch on third-and-1 during the Giants’ final drive.
Wet Willies to ...
Giants’ treatment of The Duke — The Giants fumbled on three straight first-half possessions. Odell Beckham dropped a potential touchdown pass one play before Victor Cruz bailed him out with a terrific catch. Larry Donnell dropped a touchdown pass. The Giants dropped a number of passes. They missed a field goal. They really weren’t nice to the ball at all.
The Giants’ running game — One week after running the ball impressively against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants couldn’t find that running game against New Orleans. They ran for just 2.0 yards per carry Sunday (32 carries, 64 yards). Even if you take out Manning’s -4 yards on four carries (three kneel downs) the numbers don’t look good. Rashad Jennings had only 27 yards on 13 carries, 2.1 yards per attempt.
Marshall Newhouse — One week after, according to Pro Football Focus, having the best game of any NFL right tackle Newhouse had a rough day. Matched up against New Orleans’ best defensive lineman, Cameron Jordan, Newhouse was overwhelmed at times. Jordan had a sack and a hit on Manning, and finished with eight tackles. To make it worse for him, Newhouse left the game in the fourth quarter with a strained calf. Bobby Hart finished up at right tackle.
Odell Beckham — This is harsh, I know, especially when Beckham had an eight-catch day. He had two huge chances to impact the game, though, and missed on both. Beckham dropped a perfectly thrown Manning deep ball that, at the least, would have set up the game-winning field goal. When you’re a super star, best player on your team, and your quarterback puts the game right in your hands you have to make that play. Beckham also missed a first-quarter opportunity on fourth down from the Saints’ 3-yard line in the first quarter, unable to haul in a Manning pass with tight coverage from Sterling Moore.