The New York Giants came out on top of the Washington Redskins 24-3 Sunday, getting to 2-2 on the season. What did we learn from watching the game?
It was not a good, well-played game by either side. Both New York and Washington struggled to get out of their own way, but ultimately the the Giants capitalized a few more times and came out with the win. It can be a bit risky to draw too many conclusions, but let’s take stock of what we see.
Daniel Jones is a rookie
The Giants quarterback looked like a rookie against Washington. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because, well, Daniel Jones IS a rookie.
He is going to have games like this as he goes through the growing pains of becoming an NFL quarterback. There will still be games like this even after he becomes a veteran quarterback.
Jones lucked out and had a poor game against a team that simply could not capitalize on rookie mistakes. Right now the important part isn’t that Jones made mistakes, but whether or not those mistakes are addressed in practice. Mistakes are to be expected and are part of the learning process, they only become a problem if they aren’t addressed and continue to happen going forward.
Washington is a very not-good team
There is no such thing as a bad win and thankfully the NFL doesn’t rely on style points.
The Giants’ took advantage of the opportunities that came their way. And if we are looking for things to learn about the Giants, that they were able to take advantage of those opportunities and didn’t play down to their competition is a good sign.
And Washington was not playing very competitive football. They don’t have their franchise left tackle due to a holdout. Nor do they have many of their best players thanks to a spate of injuries stretching back to May. But even so, they simply could not get out of their own way. Between an embarrassing 12 penalties (they only had 15 completed passes), attrocious tackling, constant giveaways, and a routine inability for players on both sides of the ball to keep their feet undeneath them, the Redskins hamstrung themselves on nearly every snap.
We might have learned more about the Giants if they had gotten a competitive game from Washington, but at least they got back to .500.
Wayne Gallman Jr. is a starting running back
This is one we already knew, but it’s nice to see it reinforced. Granted, Washington missed a lot of tackles, but Gallman also had more than a few nice runs. He was patient behind the line of scrimmage as his blocks solidified, then decisive and explosive through the hole. Gallman showed the same hard-charging, determined running style we have come to expect from him, the same running style which helped Clemson win the National Championship. But what we haven’t really seen before is an increased quickness and agility making his cuts.
Gallman contrbuted to the Giants’ four turnovers on the day, but he also had 118 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Nobody will mistake Gallman for Saquon Barkley, but the Giants are in a good place with Gallman starting for them.
Sterling Shepard is proving himself as WR1
Whether or not Sterling Shepard assume the mantle of the Giants’ number one receiver was one of the major storylines entering this season, and so far he has risen to the challenge. He hasn’t played all of his snaps from the “X,” but that doesn’t define a number one reciever in the modern NFL.
Shepard has proven to be reliable and occasionally dynamic as the Giants’ first and best receiving option, and that is what they need from him. He probably isn’t going to be making any game-breaking plays, but Shepard is capable of turning a routine catch into a big play with the right play design.
Ball security is an issue
As mentioned above, Jones threw two interceptions and should have thrown a third. Running backs Jon Hilliman and Wayne Gallman both fumbled the ball, and T.J. Jones muffed several punts.
The Giants were fortunate that for as sloppy as they played, Washington not only matched but exceeded them. However, this is NOT sustainable and if the team wants to do much more winning this year, they need to address their continued problems with ball security soonest. Any true playoff caliber team isn’t going to make the mistakes Washington made, but they will capitalize on the Giants’ mistakes.
This is starting to become a regular feature of this piece, and I would much rather be writing about ... Pretty much anything else. Last week the Giants lost Saquon Barkley, Alec Ogletree, and Tae Davis to injury. This week they lost rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly to a bad-looking knee injury in the third quarter.
Making matters worse, Connelly was in the midst of a breakout game as the Giants’ MIKE linebacker and already had a sack and an interception in his first start for the Giants. Then he went down, and the injury was bad enough that nearby players immediately took a knee and the cart wasted no time coming out onto the field. As of this writing we don’t know the extent of Connelly’s injury and hopefully Connelly can return to health soon.