As far as Giants fans were concerned, the day was already a success when waking up to the news that Ereck Flowers had been benched ahead of Sunday’s game against Houston. A win on top of that would be icing on the cake.
And win they did. Sunday’s victory over the Texans prevented the Giants from a daunting 0-3 start, gave Pat Shurmur his first game ball since taking the helm, and provided Giants fans with some hope.
Sunday’s win was well deserved, and frankly quite surprising. Ahead of the game there were multiple red flags for the Giants. Though both teams were 0-2 headed into Sunday’s matchup, the Giants were certainly at a disadvantage considering their OL situation, a struggling offense, and a handful of vital injuries.
The Giants opened the game with a TD drive, establishing early on that the offense meant business this week. Barkley’s 15 yard touchdown run kicked off yet another stellar week for the rookie who finished with 17 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD, as well as 5 receptions and 35 yards receiving.
Despite numerous OL setbacks including Jon Halapio’s season ending injury last week and the last minute call up for Chad Wheeler in Flowers place at RT, the line looked perhaps the best it has all season. One of the most encouraging signs was how impressive the run blocking was, and how Saquon was able to find a lot of holes from the start.
Eli worked efficiently and effectively, putting the #PrayForEli tweeters to shame. As opposed to Week’s 1 and 2, Manning looked more confident and decisive in his passes, finishing 25/29, with 297 yards and 2 TD’s. In the first quarter, Eli dropped a dime to Odell against a cover 2 defense for a (beautiful) first down.
— RegularSZN Ethan (@EthanGSN) September 23, 2018
Later, in the second, he found Rhett Ellison in the endzone for the Giants second touchdown of the game. Ellison was forced to step up today after TE Evan Engram left the game with a knee injury early on. And step up he did, Ellison finished with 3 receptions, 39 yards, and a touchdown.
On the defensive side:
Going into Sunday, Giants ranked 11th in points allowed (40). Held Texans to a field goal on first drive.
Preseason star Kerry Wynn had an impactful game with five solo tackles.Wynn forced a fumble to slow the Texans roll, towards the end of the third when the Giants offense had taken a back seat.
The defense sacked Deshuan Watson three times, once by rookie B.J Hill. Following that sack, Alec Ogletree came up with a huge interception right outside the endzone when the Giants were leading only by 11.
Though the offense looked much improved, there’s certainly still some cause for concern. The Giants were able to avoid punting until the third quarter, where they then proceeded to have three straight drives ending with punts. As long as they’re rolling, the Giants offense is efficient and effective. When they find themselves in the hole after penalties and sacks, they struggle to dig themselves out.
It was expected that whoever was across from J.J Watt would be outmatched, and that proved to be the case on Sunday. Watt took Manning down three times, two of which came back to back. Considering Wheeler found out this morning that he would be taking over, and was immediately tasked with stopping the Goliath that is J.J Watt, I think his performance was on par with what we expected, and certainly gave me more confidence than watching Flowers across Watt.
All in all a good day for Big Blue, a must win game ahead of a very challenging schedule.
Next up, Saints.