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That was some Brian Daboll gamble

Grading the Giants’ 20-12 win over the Commanders.


These are not the numbers that should produce a victory: 288 total yards, a dismal 2 of 10 on third-down conversions, 13 points scored by this unit. Daniel Jones (21 of 32, 160 yards) kept the ball and made some timely throws but his longest completion went for only 19 yards. His running (10-35) was a slog. Saquon Barkley (18-87, 1 TD) awakened on the final drive when he had 48 yards. He was active (5-33) as a pass-catcher. Jones was not sacked, a credit to the guys up front against a mighty defensive line. Rookie RT Evan Neal had two false start penalties in the first half. Richie James (4-42) came up big on a fourth-and-9 reception. Massive 18-play, 97-yard drive in the second quarter was a model of execution.

Grade: C+ 


Was that Kayvon Thibodeaux or Osi Umenyiora on that strip-sack, forced fumble and touchdown in the second quarter? Thibodeaux was on fire. He stopped Curtis Samuel for a 3-yard loss on the opening series, the first of three tackles for loss for Thibodeaux in the first quarter. Thibodeaux also saved a touchdown by stopping Taylor Heinicke at the 1-yard line. Dexter Lawrence and Azeez Ojulari combined for a sack on the Giants 5-yard line, Lawrence forced a fumble that Leonard Williams recovered in the fourth quarter. Ryder Anderson, signed off the practice squad, had a first-quarter sack. Landon Collins tackled Samuel 1 yard short of a first down in the third quarter. It is not easy to hold an NFL team to 1 of 10 on third-down conversions, but this unit did it. Jahan Dotson (4-105) beat Jason Pinnock for a 61-yard completion. Did Darnay Holmes get away with pass interference in the final minute?

Grade: A

Brian Daboll reacts during the Giants' win over the Commanders.
Brian Daboll reacts during the Giants’ win over the Commanders.
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Special teams

Giving up a 43-yard kickoff return to Antonio Gibson late in the fourth quarter was almost a killer. Thank goodness for Graham Gano, who hit two field goals both from 50 yards out. Richie James returned the first punt 23 yards. Jamie Gillan’s first punt traveled only 37 yards but his first punt of the second half sailed 49 yards for a fair catch on the 9-yard line. Backed up in his own end zone, Gillan uncorked a 56-yard punt.

Grade: B


Brian Daboll won a huge replay challenge with 6:06 remaining that gave the ball to the Giants after a Taylor Heinicke fumble. … That was some gamble by Daboll going for it on fourth-and-9 to keep alive the 97-yard touchdown drive. Mike Kafka kept with the running game and was finally rewarded late in the fourth quarter. All the mixing and matching on defense is dizzying but somehow Wink Martindale made it work in a much better showing this time around against the Commanders.

Grade: A

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