Finally, Daniel Jones and the Giants offense have joined the fun.
After nine games of being carried to competitiveness by the defense, Jones and the offense showed on Sunday that they can play a little, too. Jones went 21-of-28 for 244 yards and no turnovers, the Giants ran for 151 yards, and they opened the game with two touchdown drives and opened the second half with another. It all led to an impressive, 27-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
In what was arguably the Giants’ biggest game in four years, they gave their best performance of the season. And as a result, they are very much in the thick of the race in the NFC East.
In many ways, this is what the Giants have been building towards all season. All that progress, all those close games, all those times when they kept saying they were close to winning. This was really the first time Joe Judge’s entire team put it all together. The offense had been the missing ingredient most of the way. But they even managed to put together a field goal drive late in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Whether it was a fluke or a sign of things to come remains to be seen. For now, here are some more takeaways from the Giants’ biggest win in years …
- Jones was definitely in game-manager mode, but that’s good enough right now for the Giants. He continues to be efficient in short passes, and this time he even was able to connect on a few deep shots – like his 40-yard strike to Darius Slayton in the fourth quarter. Little by little, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is finding things that Jones does well and making him comfortable. As a result: No turnovers. And really, that’s the key.
- The best play in the Giants’ arsenal remains the Jones run, especially when it’s a “zone-read” play. He bot the entire Eagles defense on his 34-yard, first quarter touchdown run. He faked the handoff to running back Wayne Gallman who was going to the right, then pulled the ball back and took off through a gaping hole on the line to the left. It looked like the entire Eagles front was focused on Gallman. Jones finished with nine carries for 64 yards.
- The Giants’ run blocking was an absolute disaster early in the season and, once Saquon Barkley went down, their run game was nonexistent. But now it’s all become a strength. The run blocking in particularly has been outstanding for more than a month now. And though it’s not a huge bar, the Giants have topped 100 rushing yards in five straight games and six of the last seven after they finished with 151 yards against the Eagles – their third-best total of the season. That’s hugely important since they always wanted their offense to be run based and it takes some of the pressure off Daniel Jones, who isn’t quite ready to carry an offense yet.
- Wayne Gallman has spent the last couple of years seemingly on the Giants’ roster bubble, but he’s starting to solidify his future in the NFL, maybe even with the Giants (though his contract expires after the season). He rushed 18 times for 53 yards and had two short touchdowns. He’s just not good enough to be an every down back, which is why the Giants continue to split his time with the 31-year-old Alfred Morris (8-34). But he might be good enough to be a solid backup and role player when Barkley comes back.
- The Giants’ defense may get a little overlooked in this game because of the team’s offensive revival, but it shouldn’t. Other than one 56-yard touchdown run by Giant-killer Boston Scott, Patrick Graham’s group was terrific. They gave up only 346 yards to the Eagles – 56 of which came on one play – and frustrated Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (21 of 37, 208) even though he finally got some of his weapons back.
- The Giants offensive line gave up a sack on the first play of the game and then on the last play of the second quarter. The first was a coverage sack and the second was basically the same, since it came on a Hail Mary attempt and Jones was attempting to step up to buy a little time. Other than that? Only one more. Not bad.
- Golden Tate was targeted just five times in his return from his mini-suspension and caught only two passes for 44 yards. Clearly he and Jones were out of sync early. That was clear late in the second quarter when Jones threw a little high to him twice, and both times the ball went off of Tate’s hands. The second deflection nearly resulted in an interception. But he made up for it with a leaping catch of a 38-yard pass on the Giants’ first drive of the second half. Typical Tate: No separation at all, but a tough catch made.
- Giants CB James Bradberry had the play of the game, deflecting Carson Wentz’s 4th-and-10 pass late in the fourth quarter, stopping what could’ve been a game-tying touchdown drive for the Eagles. It was perfect coverage by Bradberry, who looked back at the last second and was already in position to knock the pass away. If the Giants send anyone to the Pro Bowl – a big “if” – Bradberry should be the guy.
- Boston Scott’s numbers against the Giants are just ridiculous. In four games against the Giants he now has six touchdowns. He has 44 carries for 222 yards and five touchdowns, plus another 14 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles have had a lot of “Giant killers” on their team over the years. He’s right up there with them.