By Aaron Weiss
The New York Giants squeaked out a victory against the Baltimore Ravens 27-23, snapping a 3 game losing streak. Let’s break down the game, and look towards week 7!
Odell Beckham Jr. – After weeks of frustration and failing expectations, Odell dragged the Giants to victory with a monster game of 8 receptions on 10 targets, 222 yards, 2 TD’s. Odell had 75 and 66 yard touchdown receptions, showing off his speed and ability to shed tackles, despite playing hurt most of the game with an injury his hip in the 2nd Quarter. Going forward he will continue to be a top 3 wideout in the league, especially as this offense stabilizes.
The Giants’ Defense – This defense continues to be one of the most underrated and most sturdy units in the league, despite being overshadowed by losses the past few weeks. The Ravens’ two touchdowns were setup by a short field situation after Odell fumbled the ball, and on a ridiculous defensive pass interference call on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The red zone defense remains impeccable, holding the Ravens to a 40% red zone touchdown efficiency, and stopping Terrance West on a critical 4th & Goal. They held Baltimore’s yards per catch down to 6.4, and kept their 3rd down efficiency to 27%. The only truly bad moments for this defense were a blown coverage on Mike Wallace that led to a 70 yard catch, and a bad roughing the passer penalty on Owa Odighizuwa on a successful 4th down stop that would’ve ended the game (more on that later).
The Rushing Game – The Giants totaled 38 yards on the ground on 17 plays, with the longest run going for 6 yards. Nothing was working on the ground, which would be understandable if it was just Rashad Jennings who was struggling, as he was a game time decision while still battling a thumb injury, but both Bobby Rainey and Paul Perkins struggled, after playing decently in the past few games. While this showing is most likely an aberration, it’s no stretch to say that this unit has been mediocre all season, and needs to step it up.
The Passing Game (minus ODB) – If we remove the two touchdowns by Odell, which were short throws that most receivers couldn’t turn into big plays, this passing game would’ve thrown a mere 262 yards on 44 attempts. The Giants only completed 28% of their 3rd downs, failed to score a touchdown in the red zone, and only made it to the red zone twice. While this team is blessed with a talent like Odell, this team has other pieces that are better than the non-Odell stat line suggests. Victor Cruz made a few key receptions, including one on 4th down, Sterling Shepard made a key 4th down reception, rookie Roger Lewis got a nice touchdown catch, this offensive line only surrendered one sack, and Eli Manning looked as good as he has all season. But there is no doubt that the Giants’ lose this week without Odell to bail them out.
The Refereeing – The Giants were plagued with a couple of terrible pass interference calls and non-calls, such as the pass interference call on DRC that led to a 30 yard gain. This led to a bad penalty line of 7-119, which would fit with the Giants’ recent run of undisciplined play, but in reality the Giants’ did not commit too many legitimate egregious penalties, a good sign for the future.
Owa Odighizuwa – As mentioned earlier, Dig gave up a roughing the passer call on 4th down the last drive of the game. His err will be forgotten in time due to the fact that it didn’t cost the Giants’ a win, but there is no doubt that had the Giants lost he would face the same ridicule that Andrew Adams did in week 3 after his unforgiving penalty on a blocked punt against Washington. Owa also failed to record a single stat, but that isn’t necessarily a reflection of his play. Considering how talented he is, this game and this mental mistake should not be a reflection of his play going forward.
Injury Report – There were only four players injured in the game, a low number for a Giants fan, and remarkably all four returned to action. LS Zak DeOssie hurt his ankle, WR Odell Beckham Jr. had a hip pointer, CB Trevin Wade hurt his ankle, and LB Keenan Robinson hurt his knee.
NFC East Standings – Despite their win, the Giants remain 4th in the division at 3-3. The Eagles are 3-2 after losing to Washington, who is now 4-2, and the Cowboys are first at 5-1. The only division with no team below .500, the race for the NFC East is heating up, especially with the possibility of Tony Romo returning in the near future.
Next Week – The Giants are “at” Los Angeles next week at 9:30 AM EST, as the game is taking place in Twickenham Stadium, London. The Rams are coming off of a loss to Detroit, 31-28. Look for the Giants to exploit the 16th ranked passing defense and see if (or more likely when) Odell beats Trumaine Johnson. Note that the last time these two teams played the Rams took out their frustrations at being unable to cover Odell by attempting to turn his skeleton into dust, leading to a brawl on the sidelines. While it’s not likely things will get that out of hand, especially with the ex-Ram Janoris Jenkins wearing a Giants uniform, it will be interesting to see if the Rams play dirty like they did back then.