Giants head coach Joe Judge looks on in the first...

Giants head coach Joe Judge looks on in the first half against the Raiders at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 7. Credit: Jim McIsaac


The Giants are a running team. Imagine that! Even with one true halfback active on gameday (Devontae Booker churned out 99 yards on 21 carries) they managed to control the ball with a season-high 31 rushes for 149, their second-highest total of the year. All of that made for a rather plodding offense that managed just one touchdown. Daniel Jones threw for 110 yards, the lowest total of his career as a starter, but he did hit on 15 of 20 passes to tie his career-high completion percentage. He was 9-for-9 in the first half, the first Giants QB to go into the break without an incompletion since Phil Simms was 9-for-9 in 1993. Jones did not throw an interception but he did fumble on a sack that led to a Raiders field goal early in the second quarter.


When they needed to make plays, they did it. Xavier McKinney did it, really. His two interceptions, one of which was returned for the team’s first defensive TD of the season, were the types of game-changing plays the Giants had been needing all year. They allowed just one touchdown and stopped the Raiders from scoring touchdowns at their own 7 three different times; two led to 25-yard field goals, the third to a 25-yard field goal miss. There wasn’t a lot of pressure put on Derek Carr (just three hits), but at the end Quincy Roche came up with a huge strip sack to seal the win. It was the third consecutive game in which the Giants did not allow a second-half touchdown.


Where have you been all year, Pharoh Cooper? The former Pro Bowler was signed to the practice squad this week and made an immediate impact on the return game, averaging 13 yards on his two punt opportunities. His kickoff returns were a bit less impactful. Trusty Graham Gano kicked three field goals. Riley Dixon did well punting after a shaky performance in Kansas City. It would have been even better had Keion Crossen not downed one of his kicks at the 12 in the second quarter rather than let it roll closer to the goal line. Crossen thought it was touched by the Raiders (it was not). Crossen did do some of his own touching, though, with a heavy pop that leveled punter A.J. Cole and drew a 15-yard penalty.


Navigating a short week with all that happened regarding the COVID-19 testing was a success in itself. The creativity of formations in the first quarter was astounding, including a Wing-T that had Jones in a shotgun flanked by fullbacks on either side with Booker behind him. After that scripted spate of plays, a mis-timed Wildcat snap to Kadarius Toney, they mostly leaned on a straightforward running philosophy. Defensively the Giants are starting to draw on their experiences, which is a very good sign. Patrick Graham was able to pull some calls and schemes that were not specifically included in this week’s gameplan and fashion them for situations that came to pass on Sunday.

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