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Giants-Rams ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’: Some good, some bad in a fitting end to 2023 calendar year for Giants

Let’s start 2024 with our traditional post-game review

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
Dane Belton
Photo by Mike Lawrence/Getty Images

Let’s start the new year with a traditional review of the New York Giants’ final game of 2023, a 26-25 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It’s our first ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ of the new year.

Kudos to ...

Wan’Dale Robinson — The second-year wide receiver certainly looks fully healthy after last season’s torn ACL. He had a 24-yard touchdown run on a reverse and caught six passes for 55 yards.

Dane Belton — The second-year safety took advantage of a first-quarter injury suffered by Jason Pinnock to have his best game as a pro. Belton finished with two interceptions of Matthew Stafford, who had not been picked off in the previous four games, a fumble recovery and two passes defensed.

Gunner Olszewski — I still don’t know how Olszewski did what he did on that 94-yard punt return for a touchdown. He basically pulled an Eli Manning-esque Houdini act at about the 20 yard line, giving the Giants a shocking chance to win.

Olszewski has been a nice midseason pickup for the Giants as a punt returner.

Darius Slayton — Four catches for 106 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown from Tyrod Taylor. Slayton is now over 700 yards receiving for the fourth time in five NFL seasons.

Bobby Okereke — The linebacker continued to have a fantastic season. he had 1.5 sacks, his only ones of the season, to go with 10 tackles (one for loss) and two quarterback hits.

Wet Willies to ...

Pass protection — The Giants gave up six sacks. They would likely have given up more without the escapability of Taylor, who spent much of the day on the run.

That second-and-10 draw play — Even Brian Daboll said he would like to have the second down draw play where Saquon Barkley lost 2 yards in the final minute back. It pushed the Giants, out of timeouts, back from the 34 to the 36-yard line, a bridge too far for 39-year-old Mason Crosby to make a game-winning 54-yard field goal.

Jalin Hyatt — Had the 47-yard catch he made counted, this would be a ‘Kwillie’. That, though, was negated by a Giants holding penalty. Officially, Hyatt had a drop and a strange fourth-and-1 catch where he somehow ran a drag route and caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Kwillies to ...

Tyrod Taylor — If the word ‘Kwillie’ ever makes it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it needs a picture of Taylor next to it. Or, at least a description of the game Taylor had on Sunday.

Taylor threw for 319 yards, completing 27 of 41 passes. He had a gorgeous 80-yard touchdown pass. He ran for 40 yards, including a 31-yard scramble that set up a game-winning field goal try.

Yet, he misfired on what should have been an easy flip to Saquon Barkley for a 2-point conversion. He fumbled a center snap on a fourth-and-1. He threw an interception. He missed a couple of other throws.

Taylor did a lot of things that could have helped the Giants win. He also did a few that led them to losing. Classic ‘Kwillie’.

Adoree’ Jackson — The veteran cornerback had seven tackles, a pass defensed and a forced fumble. He also missed a tackle on Puka Nacua, turning a short 3-4-yard completion into an 80-yard play that set up a Los Angeles touchdown.

Daniel Bellinger — The second-year tight end had four receptions for 39 yards. That’s the good news. He had a drop and two holding penalties, one negating that 47-yard Hyatt catch. That’s the bad news.