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Takeaways from New York Giants Week 7 Win

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The New York Giants played their most complete performance of the year as they notched a 25-3 victory against the Carolina Panthers. They got their first home win of the season and answered the call of their head coach Joe Judge. The Giants after the 38-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams were challenged to step up, play for pride and 60 minutes. The week of practice leading to the Panthers game was physical and was geared around attention to details. Even New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Jonathan Tisch were seen on the practice field on Friday speaking to Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman. You can see the team is under pressure to produce now. Judge’s team responded with their best defensive effort and a mostly solid offensive performance against a good defense. It's nice to have one article after a Giants game where I don't have to mention GM Gettleman.

Defense played their most inspired game of the season

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The Giants defense had been abused by opposing offenses the last 2 weeks. They gave up an average of over 450 total yards on defense. The defense yielded 44 points to the Cowboys and 38 points to the Rams. On Sunday, the Giants gave up 173 yards of total offense and 3 points to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers had a solid opening drive that ended in a field goal, then the defense forced 3 straight “3 and outs.” The Panthers needed to put together a solid drive to get the offense going. The Panther offense then moved the ball down the field to sit just outside the redzone. The Giants defense stepped up and forced an interception by James Bradberry inside the 25 yard line to stop the drive by the Panthers. The Giants also got a safety as they got pressure on QB Sam Darnold in the end zone and he was called for intentional grounding. The Giants coming into Week 7 had given up 42 points to opponents inside of 2 minutes to go in the first half. This was the first game they hadn't let up any points.

The Giants defense really came to play as they were able to get some pressure on Sam Darnold and also cover up in the secondary. The key to the game was able to keep the Panthers running game at bay. Why they've got gashed for some 5+ yard runs early, for the most part the defense was able to hold down the running game and offense into second and third and long. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said during the week he wanted to run the ball 32 times against the Giants defense. With the way the Giants had trouble stopping the run against the Cowboys and Rams, that was a sound game plan. But the Giants held the Panthers rushing attack to 56 yards rushing on 17 attempts (3.29 yards per rush).

The Giants were able to get pressure on Darnold and Walker (who came into the game in the 4th quarter) all game. The Giants would have had multiple sacks if not for holding penalties against the reshuffled Panthers offensive line. DTs Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams were able to press the pocket, and rookie DE Azeez Olajari was applying pressure from the outside. Olajari finished his best game in his young NFL career with 2.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 4 quarterback hits. He was able to pin his ears back in the 4th quarter as the Panthers were forced to throw and he was all over QB Walker. Leonard Williams has continued to answer the call since the Cowboys game in Week 5 as he also finished with 1.5 sacks, 6 tackles and 3 quarterback hits.

This was probably one of the defensive lines most complete game of the season. The defensive line still needs to apply pressure earlier in the down, preferably under 3 seconds. But with good coverage down field they were able to get home and get to the quarterback. The Giants finished with 6 sacks on the day and we're able to get off the field consistently on 3rd and 4th down. The Panthers were only 2 for 14 on 3rd downs and 2 of 4 on 4th downs.

Play calling was solid and cashing in at the redzone

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The Giants finally found the end zone as Daniel Jones threw his first redzone touchdown to WR Dante Pettis. The play of the drive was the one handed catch by Daniel Jones on a throw from Pettis that got the drive into plus territory. Despite the lack of points on the board, Jason Garrett found ways to use Jones's strengths: his legs and arm talent. He also found creative ways to get Ingram involved in the offense. Using Jones on bootlegs to hit TE Evan Engram on crossing routes, leak out routes and on screens. Getting Engram involved in the offense, especially with injuries at receivers, was critical to keep drives alive and keep the ball moving.

Garrett was able to mix RPO plays and roll outs to keep the speedy Panthers defense off balance and running around. The Panthers' speed was used against them as they had to stop and react to multiple option plays. Garrett even called an option play inside the red zone that got a nice chunk run for RB Devin Booker. Garrett found the perfect way to slow down a fast defense. Jones was on multiple rollouts all day as the Panthers defense was having issues adjusting. A big play in the 4th quarter on 3rd and 9 was a rollout to the left to hit WR John Ross near the sideline and was able to make a move to get a first down. They were able to keep the drive going, run another 3 ½ mins of the clock and ended in a Graham Gano field goal.

The play calling was there, the execution still needs a little bit of cleanup. Receivers were open down field, as Daniel Jones missed a big play to Darius Slayton, but it would be offensive line protection that would betray him and not allow him to step up in the pocket. The line for the most part struggled with stunts and blitzes and Jones would need to get rid of the football quickly or leak out of the pocket to keep plays alive.

Daniel Jones continues to improve

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Daniel Jones did not have great statistics this Sunday, but he continues to be a solid quarterback that we can rely on. The big thing with Jones is he’s taking care of the football. Jones finished the game 23 of 33 for 203 yards and 1 TD. He also added 28 rushing yards and 16 receiving yards on that insane one-handed catch. Jones has shown all season that he can be a franchise quarterback, especially after bouncing back from his worst game of the season against the Rams.

Jones made plays with his arm when they needed, with his legs, and even with his hands! What makes it more impressive is that he’s making plays with his main weapons unable to play. The Giants were without WR Kenny Golladay, WR Sterling Shepard and RB Saquon Barkley. It was nice to see WR Darius Slayton back on the field for the first time in a few weeks as he tallied 5 catches for 63 yards. But all that being said, Jones is making plays, not forcing the issue, taking what the defense gives and is being a leader for the Giants.

Missed opportunities are still an issue

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The Giants are celebrating a good win against a good football team, but it's still not without it's share of mistakes. The mental mistake and not taking advantage of scoring opportunities are the difference in this team being a 4-3 team and 2-5. The Giants are not capitalizing of scoring chances in the redzone and Sunday was yet another reminder of that stat. But long drives for the offense are great as they can move the ball down the field on anyone, yet they are forced to settle for field goals or no points. The Giants also have not scored any points inside of 2 minutes in the first 7 games of the season, a trend that must change if they want to make some noise this season.

The Giants had 4 drives in the first half on the other side of the opponent's field inside the 50 yard line but only had 3 offensive points to show for it. While it's not turnovers that are killing drives, it is penalties and mental mistakes. Kyle Rudolph's first Giants touchdown was wiped off the board as he stepped on the out of bounds line before crossing the end zone. Then three plays inside the 1 yard line resulted in no points as a Giants were shut out of the end zone by the tough Carolina Panthers defense. The 3 plays were either not executed by the offense or poor play calling; a run to Booker that lost a half yard because of missed/poor blocking, a rollout pass that went for incompletion as you only sent one receiver into the end zone for pass, and a run to RB Devin Booker up the middle that netted no yards because of poor blocking at the point of attack.

The Giants redzone offense is atrocious this year scoring less than 30% of the time inside the red zone. Daniel Jones had yet to throw a Red zone touchdown until Sunday on a pass to Pettis at the goal line. A drive that started in Panthers territory ended with no points. Other drives were stalled because of two penalties on offensive lineman (Nate Solder and Matt Peart called for illegal lineman downfield). The Giants moved the ball but just couldn't cash in when opportunities arose.

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