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Grading the Giants: Offense lags a little; nice marks otherwise

Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants

Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants throws a pass in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on November 08, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. Credit: Getty Images/Greg Fiume

OFFENSE: C

They didn’t make the big plays, but they didn’t make the big mistakes either. Daniel Jones was as game-managerish as he has been in his career and the running game was productive behind Wayne Gallman (68 yards, one TD) and Alfred Morris (67 yards). That led to a season-high 166 rushing yards (their fourth consecutive game with more than 100 yards on the ground) and helped them post a season-high 402 offensive yards. They need to score more than three points in the second half, though, and Evan Engram, despite an early touchdown reception, again had some drops that could have cost them the game.

DEFENSE: B+

Had they tackled Terry McLaurin and prevented the 68-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that made the game way more interesting than it needed to be, they would have gotten an A. As it was, the defense had four takeaways and held Washington to 37 rushing yards. That’s the lowest total by a Giants opponent since the Vikings ran for 30 on Oct. 21, 2013. Leonard Williams recorded his fifth sack of the season and is playing like the guy the Giants wanted when they traded for him. The four takeaways (plus one on special teams that we’ll get to later) was the most — and the highest differential — since Sept. 25, 2014, when they had six takeaways (four interceptions and two fumble recoveries) against one giveaway. That game also was at Washington.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

Cam Brown and Cory Ballentine forced a fumble on a punt return that was recovered by Madre Harper and set up a big early touchdown for the Giants. Graham Gano hit the crossbar on an extra point, but it went through. He also connected on field goals of 38, 48 and 42 yards and has succeeded on 18 consecutive attempts. Riley Dixon did a nice job on his next-to-last punt, pinning Washington at its 11 on the drive that ended with the Jabrill Peppers interception. The Giants could have done a better job covering his last effort, which was returned to the 30 to set up the final drive. Dion Lewis again looked good on kickoff returns. C.J. Board got a shot at a punt return.

COACHING: B+

Should we call plays that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham comes up with late in the week and then uses at key moments — as he did on the call that led to Logan Ryan’s game-sealing interception — Insta-Grahams? It’s not the first time that’s happened; the Giants did the same thing to stop Washington’s two-point conversion in the final minute and seal their win a month ago. Jason Garrett played it calm and cool on offense. Not a lot of flash, plenty of patience. Joe Judge’s decision to bench Golden Tate for the game probably was the biggest coaching call of the week, possibly of his career. He sent a message not just to the receiver but the entire organization that it’s his way or no way at all.

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