The New York Giants are 2-0! Yeah, it’s only preseason but I would think it feels nice for them — and for victory-starved fans — to say it. Let’s get to the ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ from Sunday’s 25-22 victory over the backup Cincinnati Bengals, who did not play their starters.
Kudos to ...
Daniel Jones — Coach Brian Daboll thought about not playing the quarterback due to the team’s offensive line injuries. He went ahead and let Jones play into the second quarter because “I just thought he could use it. Our offense could use it with him out there.”
Jones had an excellent night. He went 14 of 16 for 116 yards and one interception. He went 8 of 9 for 78 yards on an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive.
“He played really well,” Daboll said. “Was in good command.”
What about the interception? It was a ball that may not have been perfectly placed, but slid through the hands of rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger.
“We need to catch it,” Daboll said.
David Sills — A fan favorite and training camp superstar the past couple of years, Sills was at it again Sunday night. He caught five passes for 56 yards. Most significantly, he worked with the first team offense.
Alex Bachman says Davis Webb told him earlier in the week he'd be looking for him in the preseason game:— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) August 22, 2022
"We just had that look in our eyes. At the end of the game, we looked at each other like, 'Hey, man. We made it work.'" pic.twitter.com/ZLcUZ3fibr
Alex Bachman — With his mom and dad in the stands, Bachman put on a show. He had 11 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner, a sweet solo tackle on special teams and an 11-yard punt return. All in one half of game action.
More importantly, Bachman, a practice squad player most of the past three seasons, might have earned himself a closer look in the competition for a roster spot.
“All this guy’s done is the right thing since he’s been here. He’s showed up in the spring and worked as hard as he possibly could and got better each day. He’s one of the first guys in the weight room each day,” Daboll said. “He was down, down on the depth chart, rep chart if you will, and all he does is compete and play hard. And I appreciate guys like that. I think his teammates do, too. It was good to see him have some success out there. He’ll get more chances.”
Davis Webb — What a night for the No. 3 quarterback. He went 22 of 27 for 204 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Giants to 18 second-half points.
“He was in pretty good command,” said Daboll, who coached Webb in Buffalo the previous three seasons. “He’s been in this offense for, again he hasn’t been it for six months. He’s been in it for years. So, who we’re playing, when we’re playing them, he has full command of what we’re doing. He understands. Davis has a firm grasp of what we run, how we run it. We know what he likes. There’s time invested. Right, three years’ time invested with a player. That goes a long way.”
Backup offensive line — How did this makeshift group accomplish what it did on Sunday night? Giants’ quarterbacks threw the ball 54 times and got hit three times. Yes, just three times.
The first-team offensive line was Andrew Thomas (LT), Devery Hamilton (LG), Max Garcia (C), Mark Glowinski (RG), Evan Neal (RT). When Thomas exited after the first quarter, Hamilton moved to left tackle and Will Holden slid in at left guard.
The second half offensive line was Roy Mbaeteka (LT), Josh Rivas (LG), Holden (C), Chris Owens (RG), Eric Smith (RT).
Mbaeteka was playing the second football game of his life. Rivas was cut eight days ago and re-signed Friday. Holden, a lefty snapper, had never played center until Friday. Owens, an undrafted rookie, signed Friday. Smith has been a Giant since Aug. 8.
“Give credit to these front guys that played,” Daboll said. “I mean Roy’s basically been playing football for a few weeks like with pads on, in his entire life. Chris Owens just came off the airplane to play pretty much a whole half. (Will) Holden’s playing center for us. So, give (offensive line coach) Bobby Johnson and (assistant offensive line coach) Tony Sparano – those guys have worked the last two days to get those guys ready. They played an entire half and then allowed Davis to play.”
I think a group ‘Kudos’ counts as credit.
Tomon Fox — The undrafted free agent rookie edge defender flew in like a missile and laid a massive hit on Bengals wide receiver Trenton Irwin, forcing a fumble that Olaijah Griffin recovered to seal Sunday’s victory. It almost looked to the naked eye like Fox had come in off the bench.
Jamie Gillan — The left-footed punter did fine Sunday when called upon to do his day job. It’s the overtime work he did that was really impressive. Gillan handled the kickoff and placekicking duties after Gano’s concussion. By my count, three of his four kickoffs were blasted for touchbacks. He also made a pair of extra points and a 31-yard field goal. This was the first time Gillan had handled those duties since his collegiate days at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Julian Love — When Gillan, Gano’s holder, was forced to kick the Giants needed a holder. Love who had never done it before, volunteered. He took a quick lesson at halftime from long snapper Casey Kreiter, then handled the job flawlessly during the second half.
He loved it.
“So fun,” Love said. “Are you kidding me? It was one of my favorite plays. Probably ever.”
Antonio Williams — With Saquon Barkley, Gary Breida and Gary Brightwell not playing, Williams took full advantage. He ran five times for 26 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and caught all seven passes thrown his way for 46 more yards. The former Bills’ practice squad player keeps increasing his chance of making the 53-man roster. Jashaun Corbin had nine carries for 27 yards and four receptions, but it was Williams who really stood out.
Wet Willies to ...
Backup defensive backs — Once again, it seemed apparent Sunday night that the Giants are going to have to supplement their cornerback position. None of the backup cornerbacks really did anything to distinguish themselves in the competition for spots on the 53-man roster.
Olaijah Griffin, just claimed via waivers last week, gave up four completions for 59 yards, per Pro Football Focus, with three of those going for at least 15 yards. Darren Evans committed two penalties in the second half and gave up a 16-yard completion.
The Giants almost certainly will be looking for more help at this position.
Daniel Bellinger — All we have done since the Giants made the rookie tight end a fourth-round pick is talk about how Bellinger catches everything thrown his way. Well, Sunday night he didn’t. Bellinger gets a ‘WW’ for the Evan Engram flashback, failing to catch a Jones pass that turned into an interception after he deflected it. Just like his predecessor did far too many times in five seasons with the Giants.
Kickoff coverage — A 73-yard kickoff return by Cincinnati’s Chris Evans ended up with kicker Graham Gano suffering a concussion when he dove to attempt a tackle. Yes, the Giants are mixing and matching and trying to give young players opportunities but when the poor coverage gets your kicker hurt that is definitely not good.