Jones, Defense Shine for Giants

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Jones, Defense Shine for Giants

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Stephen Lebitsch, Contributing Writer

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Last Sunday, it took an incredible comeback performance from rookie quarterback Daniel Jones in his first career start for the New York Giants to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their first win of the season. 

This weekend, Jones’ amazing performance continued, with a significantly improved defense, and it was a full team affair as the Giants took care of the Washington Redskins at home 24–3. 

Most importantly, they did it when expected to, despite being without their star running back Saquon Barkley and having a severely banged up line-backing core. Washington came into the game 0–3 and in a vulnerable position and Big Blue took advantage of that from the get-go. 

As they have done during their first three games of the season, the Giants got off to a fantastic offensive start following a quick interception by rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly on the Redskins’ first drive of the game. 

It was the Wayne Gallman show early, as the Clemson product, inspired by his chance to be the starter during Barkley’s absence, helped the team drive down the field before racking in a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 New York. Later, in the second quarter, he attached a second score to his stat sheet with a 1-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 14–0. 

Gallman continued to play well throughout the rest of the game, finishing with 18 carries for 63 yards, his longest run tallying 22 yards. 

Washington’s quarterback Case Keenum, one of Pat Shurmur’s former Minnesota players, started the game for the Redskins but could not develop any sort of consistency, leading head coach Jay Gruden to make a change that put sports fans on the edges of their seats. 

Rookie draft pick Dwayne Haskins was inserted into the game in the latter part of the first half, setting up the Haskins versus Jones matchup that football fans have been waiting to see since the Giants passed on Haskins back in April. 

Unfortunately for those in attendance looking to see a rookie quarterback showcase, the Giants defense continued to play aggressively keeping the Ohio State product in his place. Lacking any sort of run game, Haskins had to resort to the passing game, which was destroyed by the opposing defensive line and secondary. 

Following a pair of field goals by Dustin Hopkins and Aldrick Rosas, they were the ones who created all the big highlights of the second half. 

For the second game in a row, James Bettcher’s defense continued to create a consistent pass rush that resulted in quarterback hits, dangerous passes leading to turnovers and the chance for many players to make plays. 

Newly acquired safety Jabrill Peppers, who came over from Cleveland, made one of the biggest plays of the game with his 32-yard interception which he took to the endzone to make the Giants lead 24-3. Peppers has been trying to rebound and prove to the fanbase that he can play here, and this was certainly one way to do just that. 

Following a pitiful performance against Mike Evans the week before, cornerback Janoris Jenkins had the biggest rebound on the defense. Along with four tackles, he picked up two interceptions, one of which he foolishly highlighted with a punt into the stands, costing his team some yards afterwards. 

Overall, the Giants’ defense finished with 59 tackles and 3 sacks while holding Dwayne Haskins to 9 of 17 passing for 107 yards and 3 interceptions. 

Pat Shurmur spoke fondly of his defense’s dominance after the game, saying some minor adjustments made a big difference while admiring how they battened down the hatches all game long. 

“Our defense did a terrific job … we made a few tweaks this week that I think settled our guys down, helped them be more comfortable, and they were more disruptive and got to the quarterback,” he said. 

“They kept the noise out … we on the defense made improvements on the practice field that then showed up in the game. Now what we have to do is continue to build on that.”

The head coach of Big Blue also took some of the responsibility for Daniel Jones’ two concerning interceptions to Quinton Dunbar. 

“The two interceptions, they fell off on the post and jumped the over. That is something they really hadn’t done, and that’s partly on me.”

Certainly, the Giants will look to improve on any mistakes made and continue to do the things necessary to win. 

“This is where I hoped we would be after today, 2-2, and then we’ll figure it out from there,” said Shurmur. 

 The New York Giants now stand at 2-2 on the season and are at .500 for the first time since the 2016 season. Week 5 features another home game for them, as Pat Shurmur’s former team, the Minnesota Vikings (2-2), come to MetLife Stadium.