The Giants went old school this week in their designated Legacy Game and decided that the gameplan should be a throwback too with a hard-hitting ground and pound style offence that ensured their trip to London next week sees them arrive with a winning record. Let’s take a look at how it unfolded:
Stay Outta Our Endzone
3-1 is not something many Giants fans are used to after years of slow starts and disappointing seasons. In fact, this is the best start by a Giants team in 11 years. The strangest thing to note here is that there is only one team with a better record than the Giants currently, and that is one of their hated divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, who are the only remaining team with a perfect 4-0 record.
After the disappointment of the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the bounce back win against the Chicago Bears was well deserved but wasn’t what you would call convincing. The Giants limped away from this injury-ridden game and were able to hold on to the win despite Chicago’s under-pressure quarterback, Justin Fields, being allowed to record multiple season-high stats in passing attempts, completions, and yards.
Thank God for Saquon Barkley. In this young season, there have been few positive points to make about our playmakers. However, Saquon Barkley has been everything he promised and more. Not a day went by in the preseason without someone questioning if Barkley would ever be able to return to his rookie season form. Barkley’s reply so far? Deafening.
His most impressive play was on a third-down screen pass that should have been blown up for negative yardage, but Barkley shed the would-be tackler and turned it up field for an outstanding first down. It was so good I’ve had to put it in below.
Barkley finished the game with 146 rushing yards on 31 carries, taking his season total so far to an NFL leading 463 yards on 84 carries (also a league high), just ahead of the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb. He also leads the league in all-purpose yards, just ahead of Chubb and the Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill.
Wide Receiver Woes
Well, if the aforementioned Barkley is the star of the show, then the wide receivers are the outcasts, and while some of the blame may be placed on the weather conditions, lack of attempts, or the injuries to the quarterbacks, this is not the first time this season.
Kenny Golladay once again failed to prove his worth with another zero-reception showing before he went off injured. Golladay was targeted once with a high throw, but he didn’t even attempt to go up for it, which either shows his lack of effort or his lack of enthusiasm. Another receiver that should have had a point to prove but failed to grasp his opportunity was Darius Slayton, who finished with one reception for 11 yards and, though he drew a pass interference call, he dropped the makeable catch on the same play that would have likely gone for a touchdown.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Giants had a grand total of three sacks and zero interceptions across three games. This improved massively by the end of the game as the Giants’ defensive front suffocated Bears quarterback Justin Fields, finishing with six sacks and nine quarterback hits which helped restrict Fields to 11 completions on 22 attempts.
Individually, there were outstanding performances across the defense. Dexter Lawrence continued his dominant start to the season with an outstanding showing as he registered two sacks and three QB hits; Jihad Ward and Julian Love continued to both make plays with a sack each; and finally, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux combined for a strip sack and recovery to halt a promising drive from the Bears in the first quarter.
In what seems to be a recurring theme, the Giants looked like the walking wounded once again as Evan Neal, Julian Love, Mark Glowinski, Kenny Golladay, Aaron Robinson, Henry Mondeaux, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Tyrod Taylor, and Daniel Jones were all looked at by the medical personnel.
At the moment, it is too early to know how much time some of the players will miss, but the biggest impact from Sunday’s win was without doubt the injuries to the two quarterbacks.
Jones sprained his ankle during a sack as the Bears’ Jaquan Brisker landed on him awkwardly which meant backup Taylor came into the game. Taylor however was quickly removed from the game as he took a shot to the head and was ruled out with a concussion. This meant Jones returned to the fray, but due to his injury, he was unable to do anything but hand the ball off for rushes. Luckily this was enough to help secure the win.