Well, ok, HOU scored 22. But if we deducted 10 Giants pts last week for garbage time, we can deduct the 7 Houston pts in garbage time too.
One of the things a good team does is they close out games with their offense in Q4. Houston got 7 pts in garbage time BECAUSE THE GIANTS OFFENSE SCORED 7 AND PUT THE GAME OUT OF REACH. The Giants are not a good team yet, but that was a very good sign.
Another good sign? How about scoring a TD on your first drive. Great stuff.
There are good wins. There are bad wins. There are good losses. There are bad losses. There were so many good things to note about this victory. This was a good win on so many levels.
While there were four sacks, the OL overall played a much better game. In the first half, the OL did a very good job of giving Eli just enough time. In the second half, Eli took a little more time and it cost him/Giants. I probably watched Wheeler more closely than any player on the field. Was he great? Of course not. But he was good enough. He went toe to toe with JJ Watt and won some battles. Watt bested him on more than a few snaps (2 sacks vs Wheeler). Living in Houston and watching Watt a lot, I can tell you it takes 2 or 3 guys to slow Watt down, and he still makes you pay. How is it possible that Watt got a total of 3 sacks and Wheeler did enough to help the Giants win? Because Wheeler was not getting blown up at 0.4 seconds after the snap (except one play, the sack strip) and also kept Watt from causing excessive and consistent mayhem. Wheeler wasn’t leg whipping or getting caught holding the pass rusher. Wheeler got thrown into the deep end of the pool. He survived. And the Giants thrived.
Scheme matters so much. The coaches gave Wheeler help early with a Tight End. They ran run plays between the B gap, which helped to take away Watt’s aggressiveness in trying to beat Wheeler on the outside speed rush. And I saw at least 3 times that I counted (likely more) that they rolled Eli out of the pocket to buy him additional time (for longer pass play options) and help the OL. This helps a guy like Wheeler immensely too.
Clowney? Crickets. He was playing through an injury and Solder kept him quiet.
Snacks was dominant against the run. The Texans became one-dimensional. The bad news was that the Giants got carved up in the middle of the field. The soft zone was a major liability. It will not be pretty vs Brees.
Pocket contain is a must. Watson extended so many plays by stepping through holes in the pocket. Brees is not as mobile as Watson but he will hurt the Giants because he likes to see his passing lanes. Brees will use those holes to squeeze out, see the field better and let the ball rip. Watson was inaccurate. Brees will be much more accurate.
Kerry Wynn was Michael Strahan-esque. He was ubiquitous. He was dominant. He made so many impact plays. The fumble turnover. A pass defensed. So many pressures. A great stop for a loss which set up the end of a drive.
Let’s talk about Eli. 25 for 29. 2 TDs. 0 INTs. 297 yds. He was efficient and accurate. Hmm, the OL gave him time and he did not cringe for the first two seconds.
Engram hurt his knee. Injury results Monday.
There was one part of the game I did not like. It looked like the playcalling became less aggressive in the second half until the lead was trimmed to 5. Then the playcalling opened up again and the Giants were able to drive down the field for a TD. You will not get away with that against better teams. You can’t just turn the Offense off and expect to be able to turn it back on again.
Speaking about aggressive playcalling, Shep, Latimer and OBJ looked very good. They caught everything thrown their way. They moved the sticks a lot. 27 points worth. Shep had only one transgression, which was to taunt one of the Houston players in the secondary after a Giants first down. 15 yd unsportsmanlike conduct. NO. NO.
Barkley is a beast. He needs more road graders. Even WITHOUT ROAD GRADERS, Barkley has run for ~4.7 yds per carry after 3 games. He continues to find new ways each game to make players miss. He is special to watch. Wait until he gets more isolation in 1 on 1’s in the flat… he will light it up. I am a bit concerned how Barkley gets dinged up a lot. He bounces back and gets back on the field routinely, but I hope it does not mean he is more susceptible to the pounding than we would otherwise expect.
Speaking about Engram and Barkley getting dinged- it’s clear that that horse manure rule about leading with the helmet is telling defenders to go for the legs more. You won’t get called for a penalty, but you’ll rip up guys knees. The net result is awful. It’s marginally better for brain safety but it’s a lot worse for the game.
Tight End in the Red Zone! Nice way to cap a drive in Q2.
BJ Hill and Lorenzo Carter, the Giants rookies taken in Round 3 this year, both collected their first NFL sacks. That should be the start of much greater things to come from each of them. These are the players to build a future with.
We were looking for 2 or possibly 3 wins in the first 7 games. This is now one of them. The Giants have separated themselves from the nightmare of 2017. They got better. If they keep improving from week to week they will lay the foundation for good things. If the OL becomes serviceable, even greater things will be possible.
We will be joining a Saints podcast this week to discuss that matchup. Onward to Week 4.