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Just win ugly baby! It wasn’t pretty but the New York Football Giants managed to hang in to grab their 3rd win of the season. The Giants head into their bye week with a 3-6 record but are starting to turn a corner. The Giants defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 23-16 by capitalizing on Raiders' mistakes and more importantly not committing their own mental mistakes. The Giants walked out of Monday Night’s contest with the Chiefs and had no one to blame for the loss but themselves. On Sunday, they finally “cleaned up the mistakes” to gut out an ugly win at home.
The Giants hung around, capitalized on mistakes, miscues, and turnovers. The mistakes that normally the Giants would make were gifted to us this time around. Let's be clear, the Giants can't win against complete teams like the Rams, Cowboys, etc. But any given Sunday, as evidence this past week, a team can be had.
Defense played a “bend don’t break” style game and took advantage
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The Giants defense, particularly in the redzone, came up with another stellar performance. This is their 3rd straight solid performance as the Giants are starting to put it all together. The Giants were a bend don't break defense against the talented Raiders offense. The Raiders made 6 trips to the red zone on Sunday. They scored a touchdown on their first red zone possession to your the game at 7-7. The Raiders were forced to settle for field goals on the next four redzone trips, then even the last scoring chance was a missed field goal inside the 10 years line.
The red zone defense for the New York Giants was huge as it held the Raiders to 16 points. The defense came up huge in the fourth quarter with under a minute to go, as DE Quincy Roche forced a sack fumble by Carr that was recovered by Leonard Williams to seal the victory. The defense only tallied that one sack and 3 QB pressures on Sunday. But they were in the backfield often and defended/defected at least 8 passes to be disruptive. The two rookie defensive ends, Quincy Roche and Azeez Olijari for the New York Giants have emerged as viable starters in the league. Roche was a waiver pick up when he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers and has proven to be the answer at DE as Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter have not been effective consistently in their young careers.
Safety Xavier McKinney had the game of his life recording two interceptions, one for a pick-six against QB Derek Carr. McKinney's 2nd interception was a big one in the fourth quarter to get the Giants the ball back with 5 minutes to go, and stopping a potential go ahead scoring drive for the Raiders. Adoree' Jackson and James Bradberry play great games for the Giants as Bradberry had the assignment of covering star TE Darren Waller. According to Pro Football Focus, McKinney scored a PPF grade of 94.5 (which in fact was the highest defender grade in the NFL on Sunday). OTher PFF grades on defense were DT Dexter Lawrence (88.8), DE Quincy Roche (75.0) and DT Leonard Williams (73.3), S Julian Love (70.8) and CB Adoree’ Jackson (63.0)
The Giants’ rushing attack was key to pacing the offense
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The Giants’ offensive play calling really struggled to find consistency throughout the contest. The Giants, outside of a couple drives, really didn't move the ball down field for scoring opportunities. They continued to struggle to find the end zone and drives ended with Graham Gano field goals. But the run game was an offensive game plan that the Giants were able to lean on. The Giants tallied 149 rushing yards for a 4.8 yards per carry average against the Raiders defense.
Despite not having star running back Saquon Barkley, the running game for the second week continued to pace the New York Giants offense. RB Devontae Booker put together his second straight strong performance, this time against one of his former teams the Raiders. Booker was effective in the run attack, as he rushed for just under 100 yards. Booker also was effective catching passes out of the backfield. Booker ended up with 122 total yards against the Raiders, his second straight game with more than 120. He left the game with an injury and wasn't able to return.
FB Elijhaa Penny was also effective in the rushing attack as Booker was unable in the 4th quarter. Penny was key in the fourth quarter against the worn-down Raiders defense and was able to get some tough runs. His runs in the fourth quarter were for first downs, and forced the Raiders to start burning timeouts. Daniel Jones also sprinkled in a few scrambles.
Also give credit to the Giants offensive line that was really effective in the run game at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line struggled to protect Daniel Jones in the past attack, but was able to get push up front in the rushing game. The offensive line, who I have killed consistently, opened enough holes for Booker and Penny. Running the football limited Daniel Jones to having to stare down the Las Vegas pass rush which was getting home often. The tackles Matt Peart and Nate Solder were getting beaten off the edge, but running the ball helped limit them also.
Unfortunately the wide receiving core weren’t as effective, even with WRs Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney getting on the field. Outside of a big 3rd and 8 catch by Golladay, who saw his first action in a month, they were held down to a total 37 receiving yards. The group is still limping into games as several players are less than 100%. The Giants were taking advantage of the front 7 of the Raiders as the running game and TEs saw the biggest impact. Evan Engram continues to shine as he scored his 2nd straight game with a TD catch. He made a tough catch down the sideline for a 30 yards TD to open the scoring for the G-Men. However, even as the flow of the game was to look away from the WRs, Garrett has to get the high priced WR Golladay involved in the offense. He only had 2 catches for 28 yards, that’s not what he was brought into New York to do.
Key offensive plays in the 4th Quarter
The Giants needed a big play to extend a key drive in the fourth quarter. The Giants were staring 3rd and 7 deep in their own territory with just over 8 minutes left. Daniel Jones scrambled for 9 yards on a nie individual effort to pick up the first down. The Giants avoided a three-and-out to give the Raiders the ball back with over eight minutes to go in the 4th quarter. The Giants were able to extend the drive, run more time off the clock and give the defense a little rest.
The same drive the Giants faced another third-and-seven at midfield. Unfortunately Daniel Jones had a miscommunication with receivers and the Giants had to punt the ball away. But Jones was able to protect the ball and not make a stupid play to keep the Giants in the lead.
Elijah Penny's fourth-quarter runs four first downs under five minutes to go help Pace the Giants. He forced the Raiders to start burning timeouts and conserving time as he started to wear down the Raiders defense.