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Grading the Giants: Trending upward vs. Eagles

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants looks

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants looks on in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

OFFENSE: B

Things finally clicked for Daniel Jones. It was the first game in which he consistently made proper decisions passing and running, mixing in risky downfield throws with safer options, and performing the way the Giants have always envisioned him doing so. Wayne Gallman is running behind an offensive line that is churning out yardage and encountering very few negative plays. When the Giants needed big plays from their receivers, they got them, whether it was completions to Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Evan Engram and Darius Slayton or a key block on Jones’ TD run from Austin Mack, who coaches call "an enforcer" as a blocker.

DEFENSE: B+

They clearly can’t go an entire game against the Eagles without getting burned by Boston Scott, whose 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter almost changed the dynamic of the game. Before that, the longest run allowed by the Giants this season was a 30-yarder by Pittsburgh’s Benny Snell Jr. in the opener. But the Giants stood firm when it counted the most: on third downs (Eagles were 0-for-9), fourth downs (1-for-3) and at the end of the halves (two turnovers on downs in the final 4:52). There were no takeaways, but Dexter Lawrence picked up his third sack of the season when he tackled Carson Wentz for a 6-yard loss. Jabrill Peppers and Trent Harris split an 8-yard sack. The Giants also stopped a two-point conversion with a sack by Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson (though that does not get credited as a sack since it was, statistically, not a defensive play).

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

If Jabrill Peppers didn’t run into teammate Cam Brown, he might have scored on a fourth-quarter punt return. As it was, he brought the ball to the 41 to set up a critical field goal. Graham Gano connected on two field goals in the fourth quarter to extend his streak to 20 straight successful kicks. But the real star of the special teams unit was punter Riley Dixon who launched a 71-yarder that was downed at the 6 and saw all four of his efforts wind up inside the 20.

COACHING: B+

The Giants gave the Eagles a much different look on defense, confusing Carson Wentz with changing coverages rather than playing it straight the way they did last time against the Eagles. Not sure how many of those plays Patrick Graham installed at the Saturday walk-through like he did for the game-deciding scheme last week, but whenever he put them in, they worked. Offensively the Giants finally got through to Jones, it seems, and that has been their biggest (and most unforeseen) obstacle this season. He was aggressive when he was supposed to be, cautious when needed. The game management at the end of the first half wasn’t pretty, and that cost them an A, but Joe Judge has these guys believing not only in themselves but in what he is telling them. Listening to the players parrot Judge’s philosophy about the standings and what lies ahead after this game may have been boring, but it’s an indication that they bought in.

New York Sports