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Giants-Patriots ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’: Doling out praise and, well, not praise

Who played well and who did not in preseason opener

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots
Daniel Jones and the Giants had reason to smile Thursday night.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants played a game Thursday night, beating the New England Patriots, 23-21. It’s Friday morning and if you have been around these parts for a while you know what time it is. It’s ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ time.

Let’s get to it.

Kudos to ...


Daniel Jones — He looked decisive. He would have led the Giants to a touchdown on their first drive if not for a bad play by Kenny Golladay. He took a couple of hits and didn’t get hurt. Good enough for a preseason opener.

Saquon Barkley — Barkley ran hard and got north and south instead of dancing. He had a nice reception for a first down. Like Jones, he took a couple of hits and came out healthy. That works.

Tyrod Taylor — Hooray! We knew this already, but Taylor showed Thursday night that the Giants have an honest to goodness, capable backup quarterback. He went 13 of 21 for 129 yards and a touchdown, and operated like a veteran quarterback who knew what he was doing.

Gary Brightwell/Antonio Williams/Jashaun Corbin — Barkley had a short night. Backup Matt Breida did not play. That left lots of opportunities for Brightwell, Williams and Corbin. Each took advantage.

Williams ran hard and ended the night with 61 yards on nine carries (6.8 yards per attempt) and a touchdown.

Brightwell, who has gotten limited opportunities at running back during training camp, had seven rushes for 40 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and two receptions for 19 more yards. This was a good step for Brightwell to show he is more than a special teams player.

Corbin, an undrafted free agent, had six carries for 23 yards (3.8 per attempt) and caught five passes in six targets for 28 yards.

It is unlikely there will be room for all three on the initial 53-man roster. Each, though, did a good job on Thursday night making a case for sticking around.

Graham Gano — The veteran placekicker made field goals of 25, 40 and 24 yards, and sent the Giants home happy with his game-winning kick.

Darrian Beavers — The rookie sixth-round pick continued his impressive summer. He had three tackles, one for loss, and displayed good instincts and play recognition. Fifth-round pick Micah McFadden was also active, making four tackles.

Ben Bredeson — Shane Lemieux got hurt. Jamil Douglas got hurt. Had they not, both might have seen some reps at center Thursday night. Since they did, once Bredeson replaced Jon Feliciano for the Giants’ third offensive series, he played the rest of the night at center. To my eyes, he played well. No poor snaps, and no obvious egregious blocking issues.

Collin Johnson — Except for one fumble that nearly knocked him into the ‘Kwillie’ category, Johnson had an outstanding night. He caught seven passes in eight targets for 82 yards, an average of 11.7 yards per catch. Johnson had the kind of impact the Giants would like to see Golladay have when the games count.

Richie James — Three catches for 44 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown and a 17-yard grab off a deflection that showed terrific reflexes and awareness.

Roy Mbaeteka — Played the first three snaps of his football life. Congrats to him!

Wet Willies to ...

Aaron Robinson — Rough night for the second-year cornerback. The Patriots picked on Robinson during a first-half scoring drive, throwing at him at least five times during an eight-play, 55-yard touchdown drive.

Robinson gave up three completions, including a 33-yarder and a 2-yard touchdown, and committed holding and taunting penalties.

Hopefully, it was educational. The Giants need Robinson to be a good player.

To be honest, most of the backup cornerbacks weren’t very good — with Darren Evans perhaps being an exception.. That, though, was kind of expected.

Kenny Golladay — Ya gotta do better than this, Kenny.

Injuries — Shane Lemieux (toe). Jamil Douglas (ankle). Cor’Dale Flott (groin). Yikes! And why do injuries always have to pile up at one position? The Giants are getting hammered by offensive line injuries.

Keelan Doss — Two drops and just one catch for 6 yards in five targets is not how a wide receiver earns a roster spot.

Preseason challenges — C’mon, Dabes! A challenge in the fourth quarter of a preseason game? Brian Daboll lost when he challenged a completion late in the game Thursday night. We all lost, to be honest, because that just made the game take longer.

Kick/punt coverage — The Giants gave up 53 yards on three punt returns (17.7 yards per return), including a 30-yarder. The kickoff coverage (94 yards on four returns, 23.5 yards per return) wasn’t great, either.