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The players deserve immense credit for improbably gutting out these three wins to engineer the best start to a Giants season since 2011. But the effect of the coaching early in Daboll’s tenure can’t be overstated.
“I credit all of this to the coaches,” safety Xavier McKinney said. “I think from the jump they brought in that mentality of us being who we are right now. They make sure that we’re on point. It’s really helping us out.”
The Giants never worked on the three-back package with Barkley at the controls during the training camp practices that were open to the media. But they drilled the unusual plays leading up to the Bears matchup as part of the game plan. There was no way of knowing how important those reps would become in a crucial moment.
“Some of those plays we’ve run in practice before,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “Obviously, it’s not something we want to be in for a full-time offense. But we were prepared, and I think the guys did a good job of handling it.”
Adjusting on the fly is a hallmark of a well-coached team. But more encouraging, the offensive coaching staff has entered each game with a plan that best identifies a path to success for a group that has glaring deficiencies.
The Giants recorded six sacks of mobile quarterback Justin Fields, held dynamic second-year running back Khalil Herbert to 77 rushing yards and didn’t allow a touchdown for the first time in 14 games, stiffening up on three trips into the red zone. They forced two takeaways, with the future edge rush duo combining on one and Belton’s fumble recovery accounting for the other.
“We knew we needed turnovers,” safety Xavier McKinney said. “We emphasized it, and we got it done.”
The fact that the Giants play in London next Sunday adds to the problem of potentially needing to find a backup quarterback.
“We didn’t see any panic from anybody,” cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said. “I feel like with the coaches that we have we know their minds are trained to think, ‘What if? What if?’ What if?’ ”
It’s a pretty rare “what if?’’ not to have a healthy quarterback to play, something Daboll said he can’t recall ever happening to him before.
“He is ready for every scenario, and that trickles down to the entire team,” guard Ben Bredeson said.
“I don’t know if I’m really better. I would say I’m probably a smarter player,” said Barkley, now 25. “I have a better understanding of the game than I had my rookie year. My rookie year is when you come into the best shape of your life – you’re 21, you’re young, I hadn’t had any injuries in the past or anything like that. I probably was in better physical shape than I was but just understanding the game, slowing down the game.”
When RB1 becomes QB1
"When I saw Tyrod go down, I kind of realized, 'oh I'm up next. I'm the quarterback.'"— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) October 2, 2022
- Saquon Barkley pic.twitter.com/SuGRTSeAg2
Cue the Benny Hill Music
The NFL announced on Saturday that Shepard has been fined $10,609 for leaving the Giants bench after Daniel Jones took a late hit from Sam Williams. Meanwhile, Williams was not fined for hitting Jones after he was already out of bounds, though he picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play.
This week’s opponent
In an NFL October classic, the Packers and Patriots slugged it out for three hours and were still tied, before an overtime period that saw Aaron Rodgers march his team down the field and Mason Crosby kick the game-winning field goal to give the Pack a 27-24 win before they head to London to play the Giants on Sunday.
Already flush with career accomplishments and awards, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has added another milestone to his resume. Rodgers became the fifth player in NFL history to throw for 500 career touchdown passes (including postseason) when he connected with Romeo Doubs on Sunday against the New England Patriots.
With wide receiver Christian Watson back from injury against the New England Patriots on Sunday, that threat is back, and Watson delivered for the first time on the immense promise and potential he carries.
Early in the second quarter, Watson took a jet sweep around the right side of the line, using his ludicrous speed to get to the edge. With an assist from fellow rookie Romeo Doubs, Watson outraced all of the Patriots’ defenders for a 15-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Around the league
Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt played against the Carolina Panthers, hours after he tweeted that he went into atrial fibrillation Wednesday and had to have his heart shocked back into rhythm Thursday. He said he tweeted the information because the news of his heart condition and the procedure was leaked.
The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement on Saturday night indicating that the league's concussion protocol will be changed in the wake of the controversy surrounding the handling of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's recent injuries. The statement was released after the NFLPA had exercised its right to terminate the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant who was involved in the handling of Tagovailoa's injury during the Dolphins' Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills.
Pittsburgh's rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett entered the game for Mitchell Trubisky on the first offensive possession of the second half in their 24-20 loss to the New York Jets. Trubisky's benching came after a listless first half from a Steelers offense that mustered just eight first downs in seven possessions, and failed to reach the red zone.
The Seahawks and Lions combined for 93 points, 1,075 yards and Geno Smith and Jared Goff both passed for more than 300 yards in a wild game at Ford Field. Seattle, though, walked out the winner, holding off Detroit 48-45 in the highest-scoring game in the NFL this season. The Seahawks evened their record to 2-2, while the Lions fell to 1-3.
Arizona G Will Hernandez, the former Giant, was ejected for making contact with an official while trying to join in a scuffle with the Panthers that started when Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu threw Cardinals running back James Conner down to the ground well after the whistle. Luvu was penalized, but Hernandez’s foul meant that the Cardinals wound up losing yardage in the exchange.
In case you missed it
- Giants-Packers odds: New York opens as 7.5-point underdog
- Giants-Bears ‘things I think’: The Giants are 3-1, and it’s hard to explain
- 4 Downs: Takeaways from the Giants’ 20-12 win over Chicago
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