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New York Giants' Week 1 Takeaways vs Titans

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Photo Credit: Giants Wire

The 2022 version of the New York Football Giants looked very much like the 2021 version. But after a terrible first half, the Giants came alive and stole a victory in Tennessee against the Titans. New head coach Brian Daboll gambled his way to his first victory as a head coach as a missed field goal with less than 0:04 seconds on the clock sealed it. There is a lot of work to do heading to next week, but there were many good takeaways from Week 1. Let’s get to it!

Daboll's guts overcome missed opportunities and miss-ques

Photo Credit: Giants Wire

The Giants have chances to make plays and put points on the board. But much like last year they left opportunities on the table. The first of Daniel Jones’ two turnovers was classic Jones; a strip sack that resulted in a lost fumble. It was a crusher as the Giants went no huddle and began to get a little rhythm on offense. After stealing momentum in the second half with a long Barkley run and then eventual touchdown plunge by Barkley, Giants kicker Graham Geno missed an extra point after a bad snap. Later in the second half, the Giants had an opportunity to score after driving into the red zone. But Daniel Jones threw an interception and wiped any points off the board.

One the last drive, the Giants kept the Titans offense on the field with multiple holding penalties. The Giants needed a missed field goal to seal the victory, but the defense almost squandered the Giants bid 4th quarter drive. The Giants offense struggled in the first half but made the plays when it counted. Daboll's gutsy 2-point conversion call after the potential tying touchdown was the difference. When asked about the decision to call the 2-point conversions, Daboll replied, "F*** yeah!" The Giants former coach who will remain nameless would have kneeled down on that play. Daboll was aggressive, took chances and more importantly is changing the culture that has plagued the Giants since Tom Coughlin resigned.

Putting his trust in his players is something Judge (ok I said his name) never did. In the postgame interview, a reporter asked Daboll, "By going for two at the end, you put yourself in a situation where you could be criticized." Daboll replied, "That's okay. You have to coach without the fear of consequence. You take the good with the bad." The Giants aren't good enough to squander opportunities, especially when it's so hard for me to score. They must take advantage and take care of the football. But the coach trusting his players and still playing to win in spite of their mistakes is a great sign.

Saquon Barkley is back

Photo Credit: Giants Wire

Much like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley is playing the 2022 season on a "prove-it" year. He didn't get the contract extension he wanted but he did have his 5th year option picked up. There were even rumors he was on the trade block to create salary cap relief. But there is also the massive injuries Barkley is working back from. There's a typical two year period after a serious injury where in year 2 is when you really feel 100%. You trust your body enough that you can be your old self. This is year 2 for star RBs Saquon Barkley and Week 1 was his wake up call. Barkley looked fast, strong and made dynamic cuts that reminded fans of his first two years. Barkley paced the Giants’ 238 rushing yard attack as he finished 164 rushing yards, 1 TD, and 6 catches for 30 yards.

Barkley had two long runs that set up touchdowns for the New York Giants. But his best play of the game was the two-point conversion inside of a minute to go that gave the Giants the lead. Barkley should have been dead in the backfield, but made a move kept this balance and got in the end zone for a two point conversion. He looked like the Barkley of old on that play and it was a sight to see. He carried the Giants in the second half, almost willing them not to give up. This is a contract year and if he continues to play like this, we'll have a very interesting decision to make.

Jones is mystery at Quarterback

Photo Credit: Giants Wire

Daniel Jones' 5th year option wasn't picked up this past off-season, and for good reason. His inconsistency has long been an issue for the New York Giants, whether it's injuries or erratic play on the field. Jones did not have a terrible game, as he finished 17 of 21 for 188 passing yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. But he was so up and down it's hard to get a good read on him. He did throw the go-ahead touchdown and two-point conversion after throwing an interception in the red zone. But two turnovers, the before mentioned pick and a fumble in the first half, could have taken the Giants completely out of the ball game. Just when you think the Giants have momentum, Daniel Jones comes to take it all away. He's like a needle popping a hot air balloon.

The Giants had the momentum swing in their favor when the Giants recovered a muffed punt deep in their territory. The Giants have the ball inside the red zone and are looking to score, but a miscommunication with Barkley leads to an interception. Points are taken off the board and it's another turnover. Instead of reading a throw to the back of the end zone, Jones reads a back shoulder throw.

Offensive line woes continue

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One of the big offseason to-do's was to rebuild the offensive line. The Giants brought in some players, but preseason injuries in the interior line proved to be problematic for game one against the Titans. The Giants allowed 4 sacks in the first half and 5 for the game, including a strip sack on Jones. While there were rushing lanes to be had against the Titans, playing from behind forced the Giants to throw more than they wanted. The pressure held up at times but you could see the Titans defensive line was far superior.

Tackle Andrew Thomas of course played well as expected as he continues to improve. Thomas is the cornerstone of the offensive line. The rookie tackle Evan Neal showed flashes but often was put in position to be exposed as a rookie. According to Big Blue View, PFF’s initial review saw Evan Neal allowing just 1 pressure in 31 pass-blocking snaps, so my hope is with experience you'll see him improve. The big issue was the interior line, especially at the guard position. Constant pressure up the middle put Daniel Jones under duress, especially in the first half. Adjustments in play calling helped the Giants move the ball especially by running the football more up the middle, but the Giants still have work to do.

The defense showed flashes, but the secondary is a work in progress.

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The Giants had a lot of work to do in the off season to fix the defense that was consistently gashed on the ground or cut up in the air. After the first possession I looked like it was going to be more the same as the Titans marched right down the field for an opening drive touchdown. But the Giants held tough, especially in the run game, and kept the offense in the game until they could get going in the second half. Wink Martindale’s aggressive style kicked in and the Big Blue Crew allowed only 13 more points after the first drive.

The Giants “contained” star RB Derrick Henry to 82 yards rushing as he was somewhat effective but didn’t have the game that was expected. Lineman Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams quietly held down the interior and kept Henry from going off. QB Ryan Tannehill had an effective game and put the Titans in position to win the game with 0:04 seconds left. Linebacker Tae Crowder had a nice game with 4 tackles, and one big hit on Derrick Henry near the goal line. A lot of pressure is on him to lead the defense after the Giants released linebacker Blake Martinez before the season started. He looks up to the challenge.

Photo Credit: Giants Wire

But the secondary held up as much as they could, even if WRs were running open down field. Darnay Holmes had a rough game and the other CBs needed to tighten coverage. Without their top two pass rushers in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, the Giants had trouble getting to the QB. This left the backend exposed often, but getting them back will hopefully cover that up. The final Titans drive was almost a disaster as 2 defensive holding penalties could’ve spelled their doom. But a missed field goal bailed out the defense.

Golladay just isn't a fit in New York

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Kenny Golladay was the big off-season pick up in 2021 as the Giants were in desperate need of a WR1. But ever since he got that contact, he's done absolutely nothing. We hoped he would turn the page on a disappointing year with new coaching, but Week 1 was more of the same. He only had 2 catches for 22 yards and it was like you forgot he was on the field. The game plan didn’t favor him as he was doubled most of the game as Richie Jones (5 catches for 56 yards) and Sterling Sheppard (2 catches for 71 yards and 1 TD) took advantage of single coverage. Hopefully Daboll can find ways to get him involved.

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