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Giant Takeaways: Giants Defense Silences Washington

The New York Giants’ winning streak extends to two games after defeating the Washington Redskins 24-3 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

New York set the tone early on the opening drive. A pass from Redskins quarterback Case Keenum was deflected by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and hauled in by rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly.

Daniel Jones and the Giants capitalized on the Redskins turnover, as an eight-play drive culminated in a six-yard touchdown reception from running back Wayne Gallman.

The rest was history for the Giants, as even a Washington quarterback switch didn’t deter them. Here are takeaways from New York’s relatively easy win on Sunday.

Jones Shines, but Brought Down to Earth

Giants fans attending Sunday’s game got their first look at Daniel Jones under the lights of MetLife Stadium. There were moments that generated flashbacks from his first career start down in Tampa. However, rookie mistakes did make it’s way into the spotlight.

Let’s start off with the positives. The Jones-led offense continued to thrive in third down conversion situations. On the day, the Giants were 8-for-13, which is a complete flip of the switch compared to the first two games of the season.

But when watching Jones, one thing sticks out: his ability to extend plays with his feet. Perhaps the best example came in the third quarter. Facing third-and-13, Jones stood in the pocket, and looked to be on the verge of getting sacked. Instead, Jones escaped Washington’s grips and hustled for a huge 16-yard rush up the middle for the first down.

While Jones completed 23-of-31 pass attempts for 225 yards and a touchdown, he showed the world rookie growing pains in the form of two interceptions.

In the second quarter, Jones looked for receiver Sterling Shepard on a cross route. Yet, the throw missed it’s target, and landed directly in the hands of Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar.

Jones’ second interception came on his very next pass attempt. With pressure placed by defensive tackle Tim Settle, Jones’ threw another pass intended for Shepard. And just like the previous attempt, Dunbar jumped directly in front for another pick.

Not to mention, Jones almost had three interceptions on the day. As he targeted receiver Bennie Fowler, Redskins corner Josh Norman jumped directly in front of the pass. Much to Norman’s dismay, he dropped the Duke. That right there was the riskiest pass of Jones’ early career, and luckily for him, he was bailed by the turf.

The first home start for Daniel Jones wasn’t as perfect as his debut last week, yet he showed positives.

Defense Delivers

The Washington Redskins were just what the doctor ordered for the Giants’ struggling defense.

Prior to kickoff, reports indicated that Washington offensive guard Brandon Scherff was ruled out for Sunday’s game. Add that to holdout Trent Williams and injured Chase Roullier, and you’ve got yourself a sieve of an offensive line. And the Giants absolutely feasted.

New York’s day started with Connelly’s interception, and they continued to give Keenum fits. After going 6-for-11 for just 37 yards through the air, a desperate Jay Gruden opted to bring in rookie Dwayne Haskins, whom he deemed “not ready to play.”

Unfortunately for the rookie out of Ohio State, that proved to be the case. While he did show flashes with his throws and mobility, Haskins had no chemistry with his offense, given he had taken no starter’s snaps in practice.

The floodgates officially opened after Haskins targeted tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, but safety Jabrill Peppers stepped in front, and took it 32-yards to the house for the pick-six.

Haskins’ struggles didn’t go away in the fourth quarter, as he threw not one but two interceptions to cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

James Bettcher properly adjusted to the gameplan, even with the Haskins curveball being thrown their game, as Washington was limited to just 176 yards of offense. More impressively, the Giants defense has held the opposition to just six points in the last six quarters.

Wayne’s World

Saquon Barkley is expected to miss the next four-to-eight weeks due to a high ankle sprain. Yet, head coach Pat Shurmur didn’t panic, as he placed his vote of confidence in Wayne Gallman. Barkley agreed with that sentiment, as he sent out a simple tweet of “22 gonna go crazy today.”

That proved to be true.

Gallman rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. But Gallman really stuck out in the passing game. The third-year running back out of Clemson hauled in six passes for 55 yards and his aforementioned opening drive touchdown.

Shurmur has all the faith in the world in Gallman’s talent, and it showed on Sunday. Granted, against a bad Washington defense.

Connelly Believed to Have Torn ACL

The rookie linebacker shined in Week 3, and picked up where he left off in Week 4. Connelly recorded the opening drive interception and a sack in the game, becoming the first Giant linebacker to do so since Kawika Mitchell did so against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 23, 2007. Connelly took over for Alec Ogletree admirably with his ability to relay the plays to his teammates.

Connelly’s positive ride came to a sudden halt in the fourth quarter. When attempting to tackle Dwayne Haskins, Connelly planted his leg awkwardly and fell to the turf grabbing his leg. After being carted off, Connelly was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

To make matters worse, Connelly was spotted in the locker room on crutches. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants fear that Connelly suffered a torn ACL. The rookie will undergo an MRI on Monday in order to determine the severity of the injury.

With Alec Ogletree dealing with a hamstring strain and Tae Davis in concussion protocol, Connelly’s injury could not have come at a worse time. If the fifth-round rookie is to miss significant time, the Giants will have some options.

  1. Both Ogletree and Davis return for Week 5.
  2. The Giants promote someone from the practice squad.
  3. New York signs an inside linebacker via free agency.

New York will wait with bated breath for an official diagnosis, but so far, it doesn’t look promising.

Gettleman the True Winner

Who had a better day than Giants general manager Dave Gettleman? Seriously?

The longtime NFL executive was derided for a number of his offseason decisions. Gettleman was dubbed a laughingstock for selecting Daniel Jones instead of Dwayne Haskins, taking a “run-stuffer” in Dexter Lawrence instead of a pass rusher, and allowing Landon Collins to walk in free agency and replacing him with Jabrill Peppers, via the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.

Well, Gettleman won the NFL’s version of the Mega Millions on Sunday.

Jones outplayed Haskins. Lawrence rushed the passer on numerous occasions. Jabrill Peppers forced a crucial turnover, while Collins failed to do so and was burned by tight end Evan Engram. Oh, and the Giants got the decisive 24-3 win.

Dave Gettleman will be strutting into the Giants facility come Monday morning.

What’s Next?

The New York Giants continue their home stand next Sunday, as they face the 2-2 Minnesota Vikings at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Giants offense will face a Minnesota defense that ranks in the NFL’s top ten. On the flip side, New York faces a struggling Vikings offense. Can the Giants increase their winning streak to three games? Or will the Vikings bring the Giants back down to earth?

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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