The Giants will be riding high as they go into their bye week, but what can we learn from the Giants’ second consecutive win? There was plenty of good, but also some concerns of which we need to be aware of and the team needs to address over the next two weeks.
The Giants can beat a team that doesn’t play in Maryland
The Giants are officially on a winning streak, and for the first time in a long time they beat a team other than the Washington Football Team.
The Giants came into this game with six wins since the start of the 2019 season and four of them were against Washington, and the fact that they finally beat Philadelphia, something they haven’t done often over the last decade. In fact, only Sterling Shepard was on the Giants’ team when they last beat the Eagles on Nov. 6, 2016.
We need to talk about the special teams
If we are going to give out game balls for the Giants’ win, the first one I’d have to give the first one to the special teams. Riley Dixon contributed several booming punts — including a ridiculous 71-yarder — which the Eagles were either unable or unwilling to return.
Then there was Graham Gano, who remains all but automatic on field goals. His kick to put the Giants up 27-17 was a nail-biter, but fortunately the winds died down enough that it was able to squeak inside the uprights.
The Giants’ coverage and return blocking were both good throughout the game.
All told, the Giants’ special teams were likely the difference in this game. Their work not only put points on the board, but lead to some massive hidden yardage for the Giants’ offense and defense and allowed the Giants to dominate the field position game.
We also still need to talk about the offensive line
This wasn’t a clean win for the Giants, but for the second week in a row, their mistakes didn’t hurt them. And we did see some improvement from the Giants’ offensive line, particularly in the first half, but there were still concerning signs heading into the bye week.
Wayne Gallman Jr. continues to make a number of former Giants coaches look pretty dumb with his play — and Jason Garrett too, if we’re being completely honest. While he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry by the end of the game, Gallman was great all game long. The offensive line was able to open holes at the line of scrimmage and Gallman’s burst let him hit them before they closed. At this point is is fairly ridiculous that he was riding the Giants’ bench for the first three and a half years of his career. He can obviously play and is giving the Giants tremendous value right now.
But those running lanes began to evaporate in the second half. By the end of the game, particularly after Kevin Zeitler’s concussion, the Eagles were meeting the Giants’ runners in the backfield and they were unable to find any room. The Giants’ pass protection was spotty throughout the game as well. From the first snap, the Giants’ blockers were getting bulled into the backfield and things began to break down completely by the fourth quarter. By the end of the game, the Eagles’ defense was blowing through the Giants’ offensive line on just about every play and it was all the Giants’ blockers could do to even slow them down.
The Eagles are a not-good football team
This isn’t to take anything away from the Giants for their win, but at no point did the Eagles come close to deserving to win this game.
They finished with an abysmal 11 penalties, most of which either extended Giants’ drives or sunk drives of their own.
The Eagles’ receivers dropped easy passes, while their running backs made mistakes in pass protection*, while Wentz did them no favors with high throws in the second half.
*Credit where it’s due, little 5-foot-6 Boston Scott actually handling Leonard Williams in pass protection was both hilarious and amazing. He is a Giant killer.
Jason Kelce has been one of the very best centers in the NFL for years now, but this was just a terrible game from him. By the fourth quarter he had 4 just terrible snaps, three of which turned into drive-killing plays. By the end of the game, their line seemingly gave up to watch Carson Wentz get sacked.
And the Eagle’s defense was little better. They were undisciplined early, contributing to their penalty total with several encroachment penalties as well as having breakdowns in both their run and pass defense assignments. Their secondary simply did not play the ball at the catch point, nor were they at all able to take advantage of the Giants’ own miscues.
There were also some curious (and bad) decisions from the Eagles’ coaching staff — such as only giving the aforementioned Giant-killing Boston Scott just 3 carries on the day.
Watching this team today, it’s almost difficult to imagine that this is almost the same team which won the Super Bowl less than three years ago. Hopefully the Eagles will put a patch on their problems and win some games over the final stretch of the season to limit the talent pool from which they can select in the upcoming draft.