The Giants’ confidence was sky high after coming off the massive high that was the shock win against the Green Bay Packers in London. Unfortunately, they once again started slowly and, although they walked away with the win here to take their record to 5-1 it wasn’t without drama. Let’s take a look at five things that stood out this week:
Convincing? No. Deserved? Yes.
Offensively, in the first half, the Giants looked largely off the pace as Balitmore constantly kept us from sustaining a drive. Aside from the touchdown drive, which was sparked by Gary Brightwell’s 47-yard kick-off return, the Giants had 14 plays across four drives, including two 3 and outs and one drive at the end of the half that ended with a fumble and recovery, albeit on a meaningless hail-mary attempt.
Continuing the recent trend, we were much better in the 2nd half of the game on both fronts, with the offence converting in the redzone when needed, but again it was the Wink Martindale-led defence that stepped up to the plate late in the 4th quarter. Time was running out after trailing for most of the second half. The breakthrough was made after the Giants secured their first interception of the season and a forced fumble plus recovery on the following Ravens drive, which ultimately stopped their potent attack from scoring again.
The Achilles Heel
As great as it was to get the win, we can’t ignore that for the majority of the game, the Ravens’ rushing attack and their tight ends were having a field day against our linebackers as they gave up chunk play after chunk play.
The Lamar to Mark Andrew connection was in full flow throughout the game, topped off as Andrews hauled in a touchdown early in the 4th quarter. He finished with 106 yards on 7 passes, for a ridiculous 15.1 yards per reception.
On the ground, both Lamar and Kenyan Drake had our number. The journeyman running back, Drake, sliced through our defensive front time and time again, finishing with 119 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Jackson had 77 yards himself on 7 carries, meaning they combined for almost 200 yards at a rate of 11.5 yards a carry.
Rookies Show Up
It’s been a slow start for some of our rookies thanks to niggling injuries. First rounder Kayvon Thibodeaux only made his debut in week three, and second rounder Wan’Dale Robinson was returning to the line-up after suffering an MCL injury in week one.
Robinson was the first of the rookies to make an impact as he caught a dart from Daniel Jones to tie the game up at 7-7.
Next up was Bellinger, who ended the game as the Giants’ leading receiver with 38 yards on five receptions. He also added a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter, which took his touchdown streak up to two games in a row.
Lastly, Thibodeaux was a menace all game and consistently got within grasping distance of Lamar Jackson but couldn’t get that elusive first career sack. Just when it looked like it wasn’t going to be his day, he got himself a nice double towards the end of the game as he recorded not only a sack but his first forced fumble too. The icing on the cake for him will have been that it was essentially a game-sealing play.
Barkley and Jones Tough It Out
Both Barkley and Jones came into today’s game nursing slight ailments, with Barkley still feeling the effects of the shoulder injury he sustained in last week’s London game and Jones dealing with both a niggling ankle injury and a scabby turf injury on his hand. On the surface, it looked like Jones’s injury barely bothered him, though it was clear he didn’t have that burst of speed he’d shown in the weeks prior, as he failed to take advantage of some of the holes the Ravens’ defence afforded him.
Barkley, on the other hand, was clearly feeling the effects of his shoulder injury as he had a quiet day compared to the lofty standards he has set for himself so far this season. His longest rush of the game was only 8 yards, as although he carried the ball 22 times, he finished with 83 yards and a touchdown against what had previously this season been a porous Ravens run defence.
As mentioned before, the Giants didn’t have a single interception coming into today’s game, and when Fabian Moreau dropped what looked like an easy interception after Mark Andrews’ drop/deflection of a Lamar Jackson pass, it looked like it would never come. Enter Julian Love.
The fourth-year safety from Notre Dame, who leads the Giants in tackles this season alongside cornerback Adoree Jackson, had already made an important play in the 1st quarter, denying what looked like a sure-fire touchdown to Demarcus Robinson by launching himself in front of the receiver. The most important play, though, came late in the fourth quarter, with the Giants still down by three points. Lamar Jackson fumbled a snap and after recovering it, he threw an ill-advised pass up into the air, which Love gratefully accepted and returned 27 yards to the Balitmore 13-yard line. Four plays later, the Giants took the lead, and after Saquon Barkley’s smart football play to slide down before the endzone, the Ravens never saw the ball again.