This was the way it was supposed to look with Eli Manning distributing the football to his multitude of weapons. He completed 25 of 29 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns and the Giants did not turn the ball over. Saquon Barkley flashed as a dual threat with 127 all-purpose yards, Odell Beckham Jr. had nine catches for 109 yards and Sterling Shepard had six catches for 80 yards. There was a lull in the second half when the Giants punted on their first four possessions, but when they needed to kick it back up they put together a nine-play, 77-yard drive for a late touchdown to seal the win. Pass protection remains an issue, as the Texans had four sacks.
You look at those yardage amounts, 427 total for the Texans and 385 passing for Deshaun Watson, and it’s hard to believe the Giants won the game. But they came up with two pieces that had been missing from their repertoire in the first two games – takeaways and sacks – and that’s how they were able to do enough to win the game. The Giants were especially clutch deep in their own territory. Both takeaways came with the Texans in scoring position and they were kept out of the end zone on three of the five times they had goal-to-go. There was a big but overlooked stop on the two-point conversion, too.
Special teams: C
Aldrick Rosas looks like a completely different player than he was last year and drilled field goals from 44 and 30 yards to remain perfect on the season. Newly acquired Stacy Coley handled all of the punt returns and most of the kickoffs, too. There wasn’t a lot of room for him to make plays and he muffed his first attempt at a punt but recovered it himself. Punter Riley Dixon had four attempts and didn’t put any inside the 20. The Giants did allow one big punt return, a 27-yarder by Tyler Ervin in the third quarter, but at least they stopped him before he reached midfield.
Good job by Pat Shurmur to finally pull the trigger on a change that has been years in the making and benching Ereck Flowers. Replacing him with Chad Wheeler didn’t make everything perfect, but it allowed the Giants’ offense to function. The defensive coaches did a good job keeping dangerous WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller from making big game-changing plays against a secondary that had a few backups on the field. They caught a lot of passes for a lot of yards but no touchdowns until the fourth quarter. Shurmur kept the Giants believing in themselves even when the rest of the world was giving up on them at 0-2. That’s an important part of his job.