At the risk of drawing a comparison, when I was a kid growing up in upstate New York, there was an electronics salesman named ‘CRAZY Eddie’ who used to do television commercials screaming that his prices were “INSANE!”
I couldn’t help thinking about that Sunday. The final few seconds of Sunday’s 23-17 victory by the Giants over the Jacksonville Jaguars were INSANE. The fact that the Giants are 6-1 is INSANE.
Nobody saw this coming. The Giants, though are 6-1. I think it is impossible at this point not to think they actually are a good football team. Las Vegas oddsmakers didn’t believe it entering Sunday, having made the Giants underdogs to Jacksonville, which entered the game 2-4 and left 2-5.
We have now seen the same basic scenario play out week after week for the Giants. Keep games close, rely on Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and their defense late, watch the other team make more mistakes down the stretch, and make just enough plays to get the job done.
I can’t help but think about the conversation I had recently with former NFL GM Michael Lombardi. Here is part of what Lombardi said:
“I think they’ve done a wonderful job of managing the game, of staying attached to their opponents, of getting the game into the fourth quarter. And then in the fourth quarter, they’ve been very good. And they’ve been able to win the fourth quarter and overcome some obstacles.”
The 9-1 dream is alive. Until it isn’t. How good can the Giants be and how far can they go? I suspect we will learn a lot more about that over the season’s final seven games when the Philadelphia Eagles (twice), Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts will be on the schedule. Oh, yes, also two games with the Washington Commanders.
I’m buying that there is a chance the Giants can get to 9-1. I don’t think I’m ready to buy — yet — that the Giants are a team that can make a deep playoff run.
I think, though, that it is becoming increasingly obvious that what they are doing is not a fluke. It’s happening far too often, and in far too similar a fashion.
The Giants, for what it’s worth, are justifiably tired of the ‘when will you start getting some respect’ question.
“I really don’t even care for that question anymore,” McKinney said. “I’m kind of tired of answering it because it’s the same thing every week. Obviously, we know that. I really don’t care. We don’t care as a team. The only thing we can do is keep focusing on what we can do and keep getting better.”
Nothing to apologize for
Daniel Jones said after the game that he was “disappointed” in himself for his uncharacteristically emotional reaction when wide receiver Marcus Johnson dropped a third quarter fourth-down pass that should have been a first down and might have been a touchdown on Sunday.
Most animated I’ve ever seen Daniel Jones.— Coach Jimmy Randazzo (@JimmyRandazzo) October 23, 2022
“Catch the ball!” pic.twitter.com/x73QErbf7k
I think, quite honestly, Jones has nothing to apologize for. Giants’ fans, and the Giants themselves, should be thrilled that Jones — who showed some fire a few times on Sunday — is becoming comfortable enough to demand better of his teammates.
Here is what Jones said about letting his emotions show:
“Heat of the moment. I wish I could have that situation back. I pride myself on being composed in those situations and I wasn’t there. I’ve got full faith and confidence in Marcus, and disappointed I let that happen.”
Sorry, but the way Jones is playing and as much as he is doing for a limited Giants’ offense, he has every right to want more from his teammates.
Jones has had better statistical performances than Sunday’s 19 of 30 for 202 yards and a touchdown game. It was never more apparent Sunday, though, that Jones has become a leader, maybe THE leader, of the Giants. Oh, and it is becoming increasingly hard to argue that Jones is not playing like a quality NFL starting quarterback.
Keep telling yourself Daniel Jones isn’t any good. Or actually watch a Giants game this year.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 23, 2022
This just in: Daniel Jones is a damn good player. #Giants— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) October 23, 2022
Yes, there was an interception by Jacksonville’s Devin Lloyd negated by a penalty. Yes, there was a “fumble” — that I believe to have been an incomplete pass that would have been overturned by replay had it been necessary.
Jones, though, did everything he could have. Call them drops, missed opportunities or whatever you want, but there were FIVE incomplete passes (two by Johnson, two by Darius Slayton, one by Richie James) that should have been caught by Giants’ receivers on Sunday.
Jones used his legs for 107 yards on 11 carries. He threw a beautiful 32-yard touchdown pass to Slayton. He led yet another comeback, his fifth game-winning drive and fourth come-from-behind victory, of 2022.
Coach Brian Daboll said Jones was “quite good” on Sunday.
“Played really the way we needed to,” Daboll said. “He’s really been consistent since we’ve had him in all these games. Makes the right decision. Throws it to the right guy. He’s operating our offense way we need him to operate our offense.”
And, oh yeah, he is earning the right to yell at a teammate once in a while.
Wide receiver issue
Slayton made a big play for the Giants on Sunday, hauling in a 32-yard touchdown pass. Wan’Dale Robinson had six first-half catches for 50 yards. If was brutally obvious, though, that the Giants are largely playing around the deficiencies of their receivers.
There were five plays on Sunday that should have been made. Johnson had no receptions and dropped two passes — the fourth-and-goal play and another ball that would have gone for about 20 yards. Slayton had two balls he should have caught, one which would have gone for a big play. Richie James couldn’t come up with a nicely thrown third-and-14 pass in the first quarter that would have been a first down.
The Giants being off to this incredible 6-1 start despite this glaring problem makes the upcoming trade deadline increasingly interesting. The Giants haven’t got much cap space and can’t mortgage significant draft resources, unless they can land a long-term solution like D.J. Moore of the Carolina Panthers, a top-tier receiver who is signed through 2025. Would they be willing or able to use a sixth- or seventh-round pick on a potential upgrade like Denzel Mims of the New York Jets or Terrace Marshall of the Panthers?
Giants fans are certainly enjoying the ride.
Mannnn it felt like a home game! Shout out to the fans, y’all had that stadium rocking!! We appreciate y’all— Carter Coughlin (@Cmoe34) October 23, 2022
They’re still chanting! https://t.co/Cju0h8LahM— Charlotte Carroll (@charlottecrrll) October 23, 2022
Yeah, I think it’s fun to be a Giant — and to root for the Giants — right now.
Offensive line issues
I think I was blown away by how well the Giants’ offensive line played on Sunday after losing both starting left guard Ben Bredeson and starting right tackle Evan Neal to knee injuries.
It’s too early to know how much, but I think it is pretty obvious that both Bredeson and Neal are going to miss some time.
I also couldn’t help but think that the potential return of Nick Gates just went from a nice story to think about to something that the Giants might actually really have to count on.
That crazy ending should never have happened
If you want to re-live the Giants’ final defensive stand, we have the play-by-play, and Bob Papa’s call of the final play, right here.
Thing is, I think we all know that it never should have come to that.
All of the attention has gone to the review the Giants’ final offensive play, when Saquon Barkley was ruled to have gone out of bounds and the clock was changed from :25 remaining to 1:07 remaining.
Thing is, Barkley had two other chances on the final giants’ possession to stay in bounds and keep the clock running, and didn’t do either time. He was knocked out of bounds on a 13-yard run, then again after a 7-yard run on the following play. Both times I thought he could have — no, should have — gotten down.
Barkley knew it.
“Obviously I’ve gotta be way better in situational football there,” he said. “Just gotta be better. I’m not making excuses.
“I’m expected to understand the situation. I knew the situation. I tried to get down, but gotta do a better job of it.”
On the flip side, I think it was a sign of how things have changed with the Giants Daboll wasn’t alone in talking about how the Giants need to be better, especially in closing the game out. Jones, Barkley, and Xavier McKinney all talked about it.
Times certainly are changing with the Giants.
[NOTE: Story updated to reflect that ‘Crazy Eddie’ was indeed an electronics salesman.]