Let’s take a detailed look back at the New York Giants 31-7 win over the Washington Redskins last week and discuss the highs, lows, and everything in between:
Overall, the Giants ran the ball well and stopped the run, controlled the clock, minimized mistakes, created turnovers, held their opponent to ZERO red zone opportunities… basically won the game handily playing hard nosed NY Giants football.
197 total yards rushing, the Giants controlled everything on the ground in the first half. It was great to see the offensive line open up huge gaping holes for Jacobs and Bradshaw to work with all game. In the second half though, the Giants let their third down conversion rating plummet by getting pass-happy for some reason even though the run game was working so well. The trend came to an end though when Brandon Jacobs took it in for a 28 yard TD run — the Redskins must not have expected it. That’s how much the Giants threw the ball in the second half on third downs.
Defensively, the Giants held the Redskins to 7 points but allowed them to convert 5 third downs and convert 19 total first downs throughout the game. Final score is all that matters, but against a better team and in a closer game, the defense will need to bend a little bit less so they can make a critical stop on third down when it matters.
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-0||3-5|
Recap – Defense:
Bend but don’t break, and create turnovers — that is the story of this Giants defense. When you allow 19 first downs but not a single snap in the red zone, you end up doing something right on defense. How the Giants have ever been atop the league in defensive 3rd down conversions allowed, I’ll never know. The last two games they’ve allowed teams to pick up first downs seemingly at will – it’s very frustrating to watch. Yet a missed field goal and zero red zone opportunities kept the game well out of reach for the Redskins, good enough I guess. Against a better team though, 19 first downs is enough to keep them in the game. It always helps when you force 6 turnovers too.
• Pass rush. JPP had another breakout game Sunday against the Redskins, his long arms came up big once again registering 3 total tackles and 2 sacks. Good for him. I like the way Perry Fewell keeps moving him around too like a wild card player, you never know where he’s going to be coming from or what’s in store from the pass rush. Tuck and Osi also carded sacks, and the Giants defense got 10 total other hits on McNabb throughout the game. To say he was under duress is an insult.
• Turnovers. The Giants came up with 4 fumble recoveries and 2 INTS — 6 total turnovers to go +5 for the day. Tom Coughlin should be proud of that accomplishment. Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas gave tremendous efforts against the Redskins receivers. Thomas also forced a fumble as did Deon Grant, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Dave Tollefson.
• Sacks. 4 sacks of McNabb for 32 yards, all the usual suspects. Tuck, Osi, and JPP. This D-line is really coming into its own this year even without Kiwi in the defensive backfield.
Recap – Offense:
When you amass 200 yards on the ground and 2 score for each member of your backfield, do you need to have a dynamic passing attack? No. And Eli didn’t have a tremendous day with just 160 yards and a forced throw to Kevin Boss that ended up as an INT in the end zone. But I thought Eli managed a good game, led his team to victory, and spread the ball around well to some players like Derek Hagan and Bear Pascoe that really needed the extra reps.
Eli did not have a “strong” day, but in cold December NY temperatures with winds in excess of 30+ mph, it’s called running the football. He still managed a good game. I would have liked to see more running, atleast better exectution in the second half when the Giants could not convert a 3rd down to save their lives even on quick short passes — Steve Smith is still sorely missed even though Derek Hagan had a great game. Next week in the dome, Eli will get back to airing it out.
Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, perhaps the best one-two punch in the business. Bradshaw took the bulk of the carries after Jacobs eclipsed 100 yards on just 9 carries, neither back fumbled for the second game in a row.
• Derek Hagan had a great game once again. Nothing extra-ordinary, just reliable security blanket style receptions to move the chains. The guy has been back on the team for 2 weeks and it looks like he never left.
• Mario Manningham didn’t get much work against DeAngello Hall. I don’t know why Eli gave Hall that much respect, but the Giants were able to move the ball downfield without Super Mario as a mainstay option. Against stiffer competition later in the season though, Eli is going to need to find a way to deliver the ball to his #1 receiver no matter who is covering him.
• Bradshaw/Ware/Jacobs – I would like to see more screen passes to RBs from Eli, and Kevin Gilbride either needs to call them more often or encourage Eli not run them if they are indeed options out of the huddle. Some QBs check it down too often, they can over-rely on this pass but the Giants have shown a willingness to atleast work it in from time to time, just not enough in my opinion. The pass to FB Bear Pascoe is a nice option, but after 3-4 times and not executing on the latter 2 it’s time to go with a variation on the theme — the defense is picking up on it. Hit Jacobs or Bradshaw out of the backfield whydoncha?
Danny “DJ” Ware has been a breath of fresh air in the return game. I don’t know what took the Giants so long to get a reliable, efficient, and competent returner in the game.
Dodge certainly got some reps in the second half, but was largely inconsistent for the bulk of the game. He had a couple of good punts, one inside the 5 yard line which was also his longest punt of the day. And he had several around the 40 yard mark that were low liners directly to midfield — not what you’re looking for with Brandon Banks on the other end. Thank goodness the return coverage teams were on red alert.