Sunday, the New York Giants earned their first win of 2020 in a tight defensive battle over Washington. Their 20-19 victory taught us a lot about this team, especially because of two major defensive plays in crucial spots.
Even though Daniel Jones and the Giants offense only produced 240 total yards, they were bailed out by a fumble recovery touchdown by Tae Crowder. They also benefited from a questionable decision by Ron Rivera to go for the win on a two-point conversion. Luckily, the Giants defense stood strong on that final defensive play.
After all of that, there are some key takeaways we learned from this performance.
Daniel Jones can RUN
The Giants run game has seriously hampered their offensive production in the first five games. We’ve seen some juice from Daniel Jones pulling it on read option plays. Today we witnesses his longest run of the season thanks to a fake that was so good it fooled Fox’s camera crew.
Even fooled the camera man— New York Giants (@Giants) October 18, 2020
Watch Live: https://t.co/y8glCzPbFy pic.twitter.com/NE0of3GYwR
Jones had a few other designed runs and scrambles, finishing with 74 yards on the day. These rushing attempts by Jones continue to be sparks for a struggling rushing attack. While Jones can’t run the ball 15 plus times per game, it does help open up other avenues of play calling. Devonta Freeman had success on some shotgun hand offs because Washington’s aggressive defensive front had to second guess who was getting the ball.
For a team that has endured so many problems when running the ball, they could benefit from more rushing attempts by Jones.
Daniel Jones can’t throw the ball away
It’s turning into a reoccurring trend of Daniel Jones making terrible decisions when facing pressure. Despite starting the game strong, Jones marred his performance with a sloppy throw while facing pressure from Chase Young.
It's REALLY REALLY nice to have @KeFu11er back— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) October 18, 2020
#WASvsNYG on FOX pic.twitter.com/jM1nBNUcyL
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jones throw the ball into a mob of defenders instead of out of bounds or taking a sack. It’s becoming harder and harder to defend Jones as the large sample size of similar bad throws continues to grow.
This particular interception was a huge momentum shifter in the end of the third quarter. He orchestrated a long drive that placed the Giants in strong scoring position to take a possible 20-10 lead. Instead, this sparked an eventual field goal for Washington that tied the score at 13-13.
Red zone woes
An inability to finish in the red zone. has diminished the Giants scoring production this year. More importantly, it has allowed opponents to hang around in games the Giants were close in. Today was no different as they went 0-for-3 in the red zone. The Giants one offensive touchdown was a Darius Slayton reception from the 23-yard line.
While two of these red zone possessions resulted in field goals, they were still impactful. Had the Giants scored a touchdown on at least one of these drives, the game might not have come down to the wire.
Matt Peart is good enough to play
A surprising storyline popped up that rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas wasn’t starting the game. Instead, fellow rookie and former third rounder Matt Peart started in his place.
The expectation is that rookie LT Andrew Thomas will not start Sunday vs. Washington, per source. Rookie third-round pick Matt Peart will take his spot. We’ll see if it’s a temporary change.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) October 18, 2020
Thomas eventually took over in the second quarter, but was replaced again by Peart in the third.
Despite the confusion with Thomas’s situation, Peart made it very clear he’s more than capable of playing as a rookie. Peart handled himself well while facing off against Washington’s elite pass rush group. Maybe not next game, but at some point Peart should earn more reps to aid his development.