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Giants-Falcons ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Once again, the Giants beat themselves

There are a couple of bright spots worthy of ‘Kudos,’ but not many

Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Here we are again. Yet another New York Giants’ loss that should have been a victory. Yet another ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ that will have an unhappy tone. Let’s review the Giants’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Kudos to ...

Collin Johnson — Active for the first time, Johnson stepped up when Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard went down with injuries. The former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver had five catches in seven targets for 51 yards.

Azeez Ojulari — Ojulari provided a bright spot for the Giants, with a strip-sack of Matt Ryan late in the first half. The second-round pick is off to an impressive start with sacks in all three games thus far.

  • Ojulari is the first Giants player ever with at least one sack in each of his first three games with the team. And, of course, he is the first Giants player with a sack in each of his first three career games.
  • Ojulari is the first NFL player with at least one sack in each of his first three career games since Cleveland’s Myles Garrett in 2017.
  • Ojulari is the first Giants player with at least one sack in at least three consecutive games since Olivier Vernon had one in five straight games from Nov. 6-Dec. 4, 2016. Vernon totaled 7.0 sacks in that stretch, including 2.0 in each of the final two games.
  • Ojulari is the first Giants player with at least one sack in each of his first three games of a season since Osi Umenyiora had one in each of his first four games in 2011.

Eli Manning — Just because I can. The halftime ceremony honoring Manning at least gave Giants’ fans at MetLife Stadium something to go home feeling good about.

Tae Crowder — I don’t want to judge a player simply on tackles, but Crowder had a career-best 11 tackles and a pass defensed. He was a defensive bright spot.

Wet Willies to ...

Evan Engram — It’s harsh, but I can’t blame the fans for the way they treated Engram on Sunday. He has just given them too few reasons to be happy with him over the years, and Sunday was his latest disappointing effort. A first-half fumble. A second-half drop of an easy throw from Daniel Jones. Engram got booed when he was on the field. He got cheered when he was leaving it. I can’t argue because, unfortunately, nothing good happened when the balll went his way Sunday. That has been the story too often in his career.

Adoree’ Jackson — You just cannot drop game-altering interceptions in the end zone. That’s what Jackson did Sunday in the fourth quarter, getting two hands on an errant Matt Ryan pass and then letting it hit the MetLife Stadium Field Turf. A few plays later, the Giants’ 7-point lead was gone, and the game followed a few minutes later.

Logan Ryan — The veteran safety had chances for two interceptions that he couldn’t complete. He also had a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone that contributed to Atlanta’s game-tying touchdown.

Ryan is a Giants’ leader, a pretty much self-appointed position that he claimed just about the time he walked in the door a year ago. Thing is, words and work ethic don’t really matter when you don’t make the plays. So far this season, Ryan is too often failing to make the plays.

Two-minute defense — The Falcons got a touchdown after taking possession with 2:09 to go, albeit at the Giants’ 44-yard line. The drive featured a Xaviier McKinney unnecessary roughness penalty and what looked like a blown coverage that left Olamide Zaccheaus wide open to haul in a 4-yard touchdown pass.

On the game’s final drive, the Giants gave up 28 yards on Atlanta’s first play. Two plays later, a 25-yard pass to wide open Kyle Pitts put the Falcons in position for the game-winning field goal.

The Giants’ defense is simply not getting it done in critical situations.

Running game — This was just not good. Saquon Barkley had a long run of 15 yards, but finished with 16 carries for just 51 yards (3.2 yards per carry). From my press box seat it sure looked like Barkley did a lot of dancing in the hole and looking for things that weren’t there instead of just hitting the hole, pushing the pile and taking what he could get.

Of course, there were also too many times Barkley was hit in the backfield as the Giants’ offensive failed to give him anyplace to go.