It’s OK to let yourself dream a little bit about the possibilities after the New York Giants routed the Washington Redskins, 24-3, on Sunday. Don’t go putting the 2-2 Giants in the playoffs just yet, though. The heavy lifting is yet to come.
Instead, just enjoy a Victory Monday and a mostly happy edition of “Kudos & Wet Willies.”
Kudos to ...
Wayne Gallman — He’s not Saquon Barkley. Just ask him. He was, though, plenty good enough on Sunday. Gallman had 118 total yards on 24 touches (18 rushes, 6 receptions) and 2 touchdowns. If Gallman can give the Giants this kind of production that will help the offense immensely as Barkley heals.
You also have to love Gallman’s “I’m Wayne, and I can do whatever it takes to win” post-game quote. Extra “Kudos” for that classic.
Sterling Shepard — Seven receptions in nine targets for 76 yards, including a pair of 23-yard grabs. He also ran 23 yards with a jet sweep. He has 20 catches and 218 yards receiving in three games, putting him on pace for 100 receptions and nearly 1,100 receiving yards.
David Mayo — Acquired at the beginning of the season, Mayo was pressed into the starting lineup Sunday by injuries to Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis. The start was only his fifth in 62 career NFL games, and he responded with a team-leading eight tackles. He had only 37 career tackles entering the game. Admittedly, tackles are not the best way to judge a defensive player. Mayo, though, was solid. That could end up being important for the Giants if Ryan Connelly is lost for the season, as might be the case after his knee injury on Sunday.
Daniel Jones — I’m going to take serious issue with Chris’s statement that Jones “lucked out and had a poor game against a team that simply could not capitalize on rookie mistakes.” Because, in my view, Jones did not have a poor game. He made two poor decisions that led to interceptions. Otherwise, to my eyes he had a very good game.
Jones was unfazed by those back-to-back second-quarter interceptions, playing solidly the remainder of the game. He completed 74.2 percent of his passes (23 of 31) and ran for 33 more yards on five attempts. Two of those, a 12-yard run and a 16-yard Houdini act on a third-and-13, resulted in first downs.
Even for the biggest Eli Manning booster (ahem, like me) it is easy to see how much Jones’ mobility and ball placement have added to the offense. He is a big reason, maybe the biggest reason, the Giants have won two games in a row. Hard to ask for more than that from a kid who had made two NFL starts.
Janoris Jenkins — Jackrabbit rebounded from an awful game in Week 3 to have a huge impact Sunday’s. He had two interceptions and created a third when he knocked away a pass that Ryan Connelly intercepted to set up the Giants’ first touchdown.
“I just played football, man, like I told you last week. Ain’t no pressure; you have games like that,” Jenkins said. “I came out this week and worked in practice, critiqued what I did wrong last week, and I came out and played football.”
Jabrill Peppers — After not making any splash plays in the Giants’ first three games, Peppers said during the week he was trying not to press and was “just going to let them come to me.”
A huge one came to him Sunday as he had a third quarter 32-yard Pick Six against Dwayne Haskins that put the Giants up by three scores and pretty much sealed the 24-3 victory.
Peppers also had a second-quarter pass breakup in the end zone that denied Washington a touchdown on Haskins’ first drive. The Redskins, with a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, ending up settling for a field goal.
Riley Dixon — Considering everything else the Giants did on Sunday, the punter’s performance may have gone unnoticed. He punted three times, each for more than 50 yards, averaged 55 yards per kick, gave up just 6 return yards (a net average of 53.0 yards) and had all three of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line. As a punter, that’s a pretty outstanding day of work.
Defensive tweaks — Pat Shurmur wouldn’t say what they were, but he admitted the Giants made some changes to help a defense that gave up 94 points in its first three games. Now, the Redskins are bad. Case Keenum missed badly on what should have been two long touchdowns. Dwayne Haskins was playing for the first time. Washington’s best wide receiver, Terry McLaurin, and most of its starting offensive did not play.
Whatever those changes were, though, they worked.
Wet Willies to ...
T.J. Jones punt returning — Two muffed punts. Only 8 total yards on four returns. No snaps on offense. You have to wonder if Jones, re-signed earlier in the season when Cody Latimer was out with a concussion, will be a roster casualty with Golden Tate coming back from his suspension.
Injuries — I hated, make that HATED, seeing Ryan Connelly down on the field Sunday.. Connelly is a really good young player, and from my brief interactions with him a really nice young man. At Pro Football Doc, former NFL team physician Dr. David Chao predicted Sunday evening that Connelly tore his right ACL. Connelly’s play Sunday undoubtedly was worthy of “Kudos.” He had a sack, an interception and five tackles Sunday before the injury. He won’t be easy to replace.
Lorenzo Carter — Before Carter left the game he had only two assisted tackles in 31 snaps. The Giants thought Carter, a 2018 third-round pick, was ready for a breakout season. That still might happen. So far, though, it hasn’t.