Giants Defeat Lions 30-17 for First Preseason Win
The New York Giants bounced back in a strong way at Ford Field, defeating the Lions 30-17. As what is stressed in nauseam, the score is not what matters, it’s the performance on the field.
There was no Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, or Odell Beckham Jr. on the field, as many expected heading into the game to prevent the risk of injury, which we have seen all too much this preseason. But that didn’t limit the action we saw from New York.
Here are some takeaways from the Giants’ first victory of the preseason.
In the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, Davis Webb was shaky, to put it lightly. His passes were all over the field and off target, which head coach Pat Shurmur attributed to Webb being “too amped up.”
The start of Webb’s day in Detroit started off on a bad note. The second-year quarterback was left prone to a sack and fumble by former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard. However, Webb was left off the hook, after officials determined his arm was moving forward before losing the ball.
After that, it was like a flip of a light switch. Webb was on. He was making plays in and out of the pocket and hitting his targets with extreme precision. Most notable was his third down pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard, for a huge 27-yard gain.
Webb finished the night completing 14-of-20 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown, successfully silencing his critics from the week prior. If he keeps it up, he should win the backup quarterback job come the regular season.
Lauletta Shows His Footwork
While Webb had a strong night, the same could be said for fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta. He didn’t do much in the passing game, but he did make up for it on the run.
Let’s get to the most talked about play from Friday night. Finding himself ten yards outside of the end zone, Lauletta could not find an open receiver. So what he did was rush to the left sidelines, juked out three Lions defenders (causing linebacker Steve Longa to lose his balance), and stroll with ease into the end zone for the score.
In the fourth quarter, Lauletta also contributed with some run blocking. Handing off the ball to running back Wayne Gallman, Lauletta lead the way, getting in the way of two defenders to allow Gallman to put six points on the board.
Overall, a strong night on the ground for the rookie signal caller.
Right Side of O-Line Has Bad Night
The Ereck Flowers experiment on the right side of the offensive line took a massive hit.
The same issues persisted for the fourth-year tackle, as he was beaten on multiple occasions. Most notably, against Kennard on the overruled sack and fumble on Webb. If Webb had not moved his arm forward, the Lions would have scored a touchdown on their recovery.
Flowers was not the only guilty party, as Patrick Omameh struggled as well. During his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was always praised for is run blocking. His pass protection has always been a question mark, which showed in Detroit.
There’s still plenty of time to get it working. But for now, opposing defenses are going to attack the right side of the line throughout the regular season. That’s only if the Giants can’t solve those lingering issues with Flowers and Omameh.
Gallman Solidifies Spot as Backup RB
This isn’t even a question anymore. Wayne Gallman will be Saquon Barkley’s backup this season.
Against the Lions, Gallman rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Not only that, but he showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield as well, hauling in two receptions for nine yards and a score. Gallman’s reception touchdown came in the aforementioned strong Webb drive.
Gallman has shown he is more effective finding the hole and making the most of his carries, especially over veteran Jonathan Stewart, who plodded for -1 yards on four attempts.
If Gallman keeps it up for the remainder of the summer, his spot as the backup will be etched in stone.
Wynn Continues Strong Summer
Kerry Wynn impressed against Cleveland last week, and he continued that role against the Lions.
Wynn recorded two total tackles, as well as one sack and hitting the quarterback once. It didn’t just end on defense, but also on special teams. While on the field for three Giants kickoffs, Wynn tackled the ball carrier all three times. That shouldn’t come as a shock, as he was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the second best special teams performer in the league last season with a 90.5 overall grade.
Expect to see a lot of Wynn on the field. Not just on the defensive line, but on kick returns as well.
Bettcher’s Rush Defense is Legit
Giants defenders have praised new defensive coordinator James Bettcher ever since he joined Shurmur’s coaching staff. He is a players coach who encourages and inspires his players, which was exemplified by his time with the Arizona Cardinals.
Bettcher’s run defense has proven to be rock solid this preseason, and that showed in Detroit. The Giants allowed just 67 yards on 22 carries between seven eligible rushers on Friday. Most of the damage came from LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 32 yards on 11 attempts. Factor that out, and the numbers are impressive.
Ogletree Continues Struggles in Coverage
The Giants acquired Alec Ogletree with the hopes of bringing a captain’s presence at middle linebacker. While he has proven to be a team leader at the start of his Giants career, his play in pass coverage continued to be questionable in Detroit.
Most notably, Ogletree was smoked by running back Theo Riddick for a huge 42-yard gain. Riddick and quarterback Matthew Stafford saw the opening Ogletree left in the middle of the field, and struck.
There is still plenty of time to get things clicking, but if it continues, New York’s opponents this season will attack Ogletree in the passing game.
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