Preseason game two is in the books and another win for Big Blue this time over the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are five things to mull over:
Brian Daboll kept his cards close to his chest this past Friday, refusing to say whether Daniel Jones would play in the preseason game against the reigning AFC champions, but he will be pleased with the performance of his much-maligned quarterback after deciding to start him.
After multiple weeks of inconsistent practises and an up and down showing last week against the New England Patriots, Jones produced an assured performance, albeit against the Bengals’ 2nd string team as the starters were held out.
Jones was under centre for most of the first two quarters before Tyrod Taylor replaced him on the Giants’ fourth possession. During those three possessions, Jones played 24 snaps, completing 14-of-16 passes for 116 yards. The only mark on his stat sheet will be the interception. Nevertheless, Daboll was keen to express though that he thought rookie Tight End Daniel Bellinger should have caught the ball that ricocheted into the hands of Bengals rookie Safety Daxon Hill.
As the fourth quarter got underway last night, the Giants were 16-7 down and heading towards defeat. However, a quick field goal after a stalled drive that started in the 3rd quarter was converted, and the game was suddenly closer at 16-10.
The Bengals’ next drive ended around midfield when Evan McPherson missed a 58-yard field goal. This meant Davis Webb found himself with great field position, knowing that the team needed a touchdown. Nine plays later, Webb would connect with Alex Bachman for a 22-yard touchdown. He then followed it up with a run of his own to convert the two-point conversion, and suddenly it was 16-18.
The Bengals would answer that with a touchdown of their own, but a failed two-point conversion would give the Giants an opportunity to seal the game. In a drive that took just over two minutes, Webb would find Bachman again for the go-ahead touchdown, and Jamie Gillan converted the extra point. The final play of the game would come after undrafted rookie free agent Tomon Fox smashed into Trenton Irwin to cause a fumble that was recovered by newly signed Olaijah Griffin.
The Giants entered Sunday’s game with EIGHTEEN players unavailable due to injury. For the stats people out there, that’s 21% of the roster and it doesn’t include the five players either on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list.
It was due to these issues that the Giants had to start their sixth player at Centre Max Garcia, which subsequently put Daboll in two minds on whether to play his starters.
Most of the players did play, and unfortunately, things only got worse. In the first half alone Wide Receiver C.J. Board injured his ribs, Kicker Graham Gano suffered a concussion as a result of having to make a tackle on a returned kick, and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux was almost carted off with a knee injury but luckily only strained his MCL. Nothing changed in the second half as last week’s standout, Darrian Beavers, left with a knee injury, which has now been confirmed as an ACL tear, ending his season.
Take a Punt
As alluded to in my previous point, Graham Gano left the game in the first half with a concussion, leaving the Giants in the precarious position of not having their standout kicker available for the rest of the game. Normally, in a situation like this, you would start going for two-point conversions, but preseason allows opportunities for experimentation.
Punter Jamie ‘The Scottish Hammer’ Gillan took over kick-off duty and, on the whole, performed well, but the real experiment started early in the 4th quarter with the Giants facing a 4th and 9 on the Bengals’ 12 yard line. Gillan and versatile Safety Jullian Love trotted out to become Place Kicker and Holder respectively, and they connected with a 31-yard field goal. The pair returned late in the 4th to secure the XP that gave the Giants a 3-point lead.
Bach to Bach(man)
Wide Receiver Alex Bachman has been on the roster bubble the last two preseasons for the Giants, and he’s been a mainstay on the practise squad. He has seen game time with the Giants, but opportunities have been scarce, with a combined 56 snaps on Offense and Special Teams in four games. Last night, however, may have just shown exactly what Bachman can do.
In a breakout performance, he finished yesterday’s preseason game with 11 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, both from Quarterback Davis Webb. When asked prior to the game, Brian Daboll was complimentary about his attitude: “He showed up in the spring and worked as hard as he possibly could and got better each day. He’s one of the first guys in the weight room each day. He was down, down on the depth chart, rep chart if you will, and all he does is compete and play hard. And I appreciate guys like that. I think his teammates do, too. It was good to see him have some success out there. He’ll get more chances.”