Let’s get to the “Kudos & Wet Willies” after yet another disappointing Sunday for the New York Giants, one that resulted in a 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Kudos to ...
T.J. Jones — A 60-yard punt return. A gorgeous tap dancing along the back of the end zone 4-yard touchdown reception. Not bad work for a guy the Giants cut a couple of weeks ago and who was only brought back because of the concussion suffered by Sterling Shepard. You get the idea Jones will be sticking around.
Saquon Barkley — Do I have to explain? The young man just keeps doing everything he can possibly do, and the Giants just keep wasting his efforts and his talents.
Cody Core — Three catches for 28 yards and a tremendous tackle in punt coverage. Still wondering why the Giants added Core and cut Alonzo Russell? Sunday offered you a hint.
Markus Golden — Sunday was the kind of effort the Giants need to see from Golden consistently. He was credited with one sack, but was actually in on a pair of them and credited with a half-sack each time. Golden had two other hits on Josh Allen and was credited with six overall tackles. He was impactful, and that’s what he has to be.
Lorenzo Carter — Four tackles, a half-sack and two quarterback hits. The second-year EDGE was in the Buffalo backfield quite a bit.
Wet Willies to ...
DeAndre Baker — Honestly, I felt bad for the young man Sunday afternoon. And I feel bad writing this. But, Baker belongs here.
The young man was completely lost vs. the Bills. Reputed to be a press corner coming out of Georgia, Baker was often [too often?] in soft, off coverage on Sunday. In those scenarios, he surrendered several non-competitive, easy completions. When he was placed in position to press, he didn’t. As he had done against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, rather than try to be physical with his opponent at the line of scrimmage he simply bailed and tried to mirror. He was also the closest one in coverage when the Giants appeared to bust a zone coverage that led to a 51-yard pass to Cole Beasley.
Unofficially, I had the Bills targeting Baker nine times, including two or three when he was in zone coverage. I have him giving up six completions, many for first downs, and committing a pass interference penalty.
I truly believe Baker will eventually figure it out and be a good NFL cornerback. Right now, though, it’s painful.
Dexter Lawrence — Rookies suffer growing pains. While Lawrence’s struggles aren’t as obvious as Baker’s he is definitely not off to a fast start. He did get in on four tackles in 38 snaps Sunday and find his way into the backfield a couple of times. He also committed an unnecessary roughness penalty on a field goal that cost the Giants four points, hitting the Buffalo long snapper on a field goal. Doesn’t matter that he didn’t hit him hard. He intentionally moved to his right and made contact, perhaps to the helmet. Can’t do that.
Mike Remmers — The veteran right tackle probably didn’t play horribly. As I re-watched the game this morning, though, Remmers seemed to miss two blocks that could have led to big plays. One was on a swing pass to Barkley that Eli Manning ended up throwing into the ground. The other was a screen to Evan Engram that could have gone for a big gain and actually lost 2 yards because of a missed Remmers block.
Kwillie to ...
Janoris Jenkins — I absolutely appreciate Jackrabbit’s post-game fire. Good for him. He wants to win, and he vented. I think he was wrong to call out the pass rush after a game in which the pass rush had three sacks, six hits and a decent amount of overall pressure on Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen, but I applaud the passion.
The problem is Jenkins needs to look in the mirror. While he was calling out the pass rush and a miserable performance by DeAndre Baker provided him some cover, Jackrabbit didn’t play well. Not close to well.
A quick look at the game book shows that Jenkins gave up four completions of more than 10 yards, and there’s no way he can blame all of that on the pass rush. On Buffalo’s fourth-quarter scoring drive after the Giants had closed within 21-14, Jackrabbit surrendered completions of 12 and 17 yards to John Brown and committed a defensive holding penalty that gave Buffalo a first down.
Memo to Jenkins: Your words carry more weight when you play well.
I’m not giving “Wet Willies” to Eli Manning or the Giants receivers. It was, though, pretty easy to see why Buffalo defensive back Micah Hyde said the Bills wanted to force the Giants to “be one-dimensional and throw the football.” Manning and the Giants wide receivers are what they are, and it showed vs. the Bills.
The Giants, woefully inadequate right now at wide receiver and with an immobile, competent quarterback but not one who can elevate the players around him, are not as good when games are in Manning’s hands rather than Barkley’s.
Without Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and rookie Darius Slayton, the Giants simply have no wide receivers who threaten a defense. I admire the professionalism and work ethics of Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler, but neither is really capable of being a primary target. Manning spent a lot of the day throwing into really tight windows. The one time Fowler looked wide open, on a third-down play that would have given the Giants first and goal, he took a brutal hit and couldn’t hold the ball.