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Giants’ grades: Good showing except for offensive gaffes

Eli Manning of the New York Giants hands

Eli Manning of the New York Giants hands the ball off to Shane Vereen against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on Sept 18. 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Mike Stobe


There were some impressive numbers, like Eli Manning having his 40th career 300-yard passing game, leading the Giants to a 30th career win while trailing or tied in the fourth quarter, and Sterling Shepard’s first career 100-yard receiving game. Manning actually had more passing yards in this game (368) than last year’s shootout in New Orleans (350). But they didn’t score. They fumbled the ball away three times and dropped a number of passes including two in the end zone. There are too many weapons for this offense to keep stalling, especially against a depleted Saints secondary. At some point it has to click.


Holding the Saints to 13 points is a pretty good feat no matter the situation. Doing it on the heels of allowing 51 points to them last year just further illustrates the changes this unit has undertaken in a short period of time. They did not allow a rush of longer than 9 yards and let up only two passes of 20 yards or more (with none longer than 23). They’ve yet to register a takeaway in two games and have not had a sack from anyone in the front seven, but they’re disruptive. S Landon Collins controlled the early part of the game, rookie CB Eli Apple is an emerging beast in coverage, and Janoris Jenkins continues to show that he is one of the top corners in the NFL.


Johnathan Hankins’ block of a field goal attempt by the Saints was recovered by Jenkins and returned for the first points of the game and the Giants’ only touchdown in the win. Josh Brown, in his first game back from a one-game suspension, kicked a 48-yarder in the third quarter then a 23-yard game-winner as time expired (he had a 19-yarder in between). Brown did miss a 53-yard attempt wide left, which is the only reason the unit does not get an A.


We’re seeing what Steve Spagnuolo can devise now that he has players on defense, and the coordinator sent multiple blitzes at the Saints that resulted in plenty of pressures and two sacks by defensive backs Leon Hall and Landon Collins. There were times the offensive play-calling was a bit too conservative — two runs into the line of scrimmage on first-and-goal from the 1 in the fourth quarter and a couple of go-nowhere runs after back-to-back holding penalties in the third — but Ben McAdoo was aggressive early attempting a fourth-down play on the doorstep of the end zone. More importantly, McAdoo has the team believing that the travails of last year are ancient history. That can’t be understated.


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