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Saquon Barkley got off to slow start, then dominated

Giants running back Saquon Barkley rushes for a

Giants running back Saquon Barkley rushes for a 78-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday in Landover, Maryland. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Patrick Smith

Offense: A

It’s hard to remember that there was a time in the game when the Giants opened with a pair of three-and-outs, Saquon Barkley dropped a wide-open pass, and the Giants' defense was outscoring the offense. Scoring 27 points in the second quarter alone made those feel like artifacts from a different era. Barkley was dominant in a game in which Odell Beckham Jr. did not play because of a bruised quad and everyone knew the running back would be the focal point of the game plan. Eli Manning spread the ball around well. His prettiest pass of the day was a deep one down the left sideline to Corey Coleman. Kyle Lauletta looked like someone making his NFL debut, but his performance doesn’t count against this week’s grade.

Defense: B+

The Giants did a good job of letting Mark Sanchez act like Mark Sanchez. Curtis Riley’s interception and 9-yard return for a touchdown gave the Giants a 7-0 lead in a game that was shaping up to be a snoozer. Alec Ogletree’s fifth interception of the season set up a touchdown. The defensive line was swarming around the pocket all game long, with five different players getting at least part of a sack. Yeah, there was a letdown at the end when Josh Johnson came in. But how much time did the Giants really spend game-planning for Johnson? Probably about as much time as the Redskins spent game-planning for Johnson.

Special Teams: B

That first Giants touchdown on the Riley interception? It was set up by Riley Dixon’s punt that was downed at the 1 and pinned the Redskins deep in their own territory. Jawill Davis had a few nice punt returns, including a 23-yarder, although he needs to sharpen some of his decision-making skills. Aldrick Rosas kicked two field goals but missed his first extra point of the season. He hadn’t missed a kick since Week 6.

Coaching: A

Pat Shurmur got play-tackled by one of his own players. Sterling Shepard gave the coach the wrasslin’ treatment after he caught his touchdown pass in the second quarter, an illustration of how much the Giants like and appreciate Shurmur. He has them believing and feeling good about themselves, something that seemed impossible to imagine at 1-7. The Giants had to make a sight adjustment when Beckham couldn’t make the trip and wound up with their most prolific offensive game since 2015. Additionally, the defense had to replace a Pro Bowler in Landon Collins and had two safeties come up with key interceptions.

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