This was the Giants’ first 40-burger since they and the New Orleans Saints put on a track meet back in week 8 of 2015. And unlike that game, 40 points was more than enough to win a game against an injury-ravaged Washington team.
We did learn a lot from the game, and not all of it was as reassuring as the score would lead us to believe.
The Giants can win the games they should
I said in our weekly predictions that this is a game that the Giants should win. That this team hasn’t been winning in a sustainable way, but the Giants should be able to sustain it one more week, and they could.
In fact, even before Odell Beckham was ruled out, I thought I was being ambitious when I said the Giants would score 32 points. After all, the Washington defense manhandled them the last time these two teams squared off. But that was about a gajillion injuries ago for Washington and the Giants have found some offensive rhythm after adding Jamon Brown.
Despite winning four of their last five games, The Giants have NOT been beating the top teams in the league. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite, but being able to beat bad teams, to grind out wins against teams you are supposed to be able to beat, is a good starting point for a team building for the future.
The next step will be playing for 60 minutes in those games, but we’ll get to that later.
Evan Engram should be a bigger part of the offense
Can Engram block a 270-pound defensive end cold as an in-line tight end? No. But how many tight ends who can do that can turn a mesh concept into a 39-yard catch and run?
With Beckham out, Engram emerged as the Giants’ top receiver, though Eli Manning spread the ball around well and Engram only made three receptions, but he still totaled 77 yards, which was enough. And while the Giants probably shouldn’t rely on him to block defensive ends, they can ask him to chip before doing things like this:
The Giants cannot play with a lead
The Giants checked out when they sprinted out to a huge lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ryan Fitzpatrick was replaced by Jameis Winston and that game turned into a nail-biter. The Philadelphia Eagles overcame a big deficit in the second half to beat New York. Chicago Bears nearly did the same thing last week.
The Giants absolutely dominated this game, but they Giants’ defense once again checked out when the starting quarterback was pulled. The Giants had shut Washington out for the first three quarters of the game, and apparently the defense decided that was enough. Their effort was absolutely atrocious when Josh Johnson took the field. We can forgive rookie Kamrin Moore for hesitating and taking a bad angle to give up a touchdown catch and run — he had only been on the field for a single snap this season. But there were experienced defenders just standing around while Vernon Davis picked his way to a first down.
As much as James Bettcher’s unit should be lauded for their work through the first three quarters and making sure Washington paid for each of their offensive mistakes, they should be read the riot act for how they played in the fourth.
Good teams don’t check out just because they’re winning. But that has been a consistent theme for the Giants in the second half of the season, and it’s one that needs to end before they’re actually in contention for something.
Giants’ fans should be happy to have Barkley and Beckham together for years to come
The question of whether or not the Giants made the right move by drafting Saquon Barkley can (and probably will) be debated for years, and there won’t be an answer for years. But for now, the Giants might just have the best WR/RB tandem in the NFL. Barkley is the first Giant since Ahmad Bradshaw to have 1,000 yards in a season and reset the rookie TD record. He is likely the Offensive Rookie of The Year, and he is already one of the best offensive players in the NFL.
At the very least his highlight package is already impressive with plays like these:
This guy is unstoppable. @saquon stiff arms his way for a gain of 52 yards to the Washington 6-yard line! #SaquonBarkley | #ProBowlVote#SaquonBarkley | #ProBowlVote#SaquonBarkley | #ProBowlVote#SaquonBarkley | #ProBowlVote#SaquonBarkley | #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/Ql646z3zaH— New York Giants (@Giants) December 9, 2018