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5 Things We Learned

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5 things we learned in Week 6 win: Rookies emerge

WAN'DALE-ROBINSON

The Giants welcomed the Baltimore Ravens to MetLife Stadium on Sunday for a Week 6 showdown.

Once again, the Giants mounted a late comeback to pick up the 24-20 victory after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter. The game-winning touchdown was set up by the defense's first interception of the season.

"Good, hard-fought win," Coach Brian Daboll said after the game. "60-minute game. We made a few more plays than they did, particularly in the end and give credit to our players. They played for 60 minutes. It's good to get a win."

Here are five things we learned in the Week 6 win.

1. Giants continue to show resilience

Brian Daboll's squad went down 20-10 with just over 12 minutes remaining after Ravens tight end Mark Andrews caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson. But as we've seen time and time again this season, the team continued to fight until the final whistle. The Giants put together a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in response to Baltimore's score, bringing the team to within three points.

Just five plays into Baltimore's next drive, safety Julian Love registered the defense's first interception of the season when he picked off a pass from Jackson and returned it 27 yards. This set the offense up on the Ravens 13-yard line, where it took just three plays for Saquon Barkley to punch it into the end zone. The defense then sealed the victory with a strip-sack of Jackson, but more on that later.

"I'm just proud of the way they compete," said Daboll. "We talked about trying to play fast, trying to play physical, being resilient and finishing. Throughout the game, I thought those showed up – obviously not perfect. There's certainly a lot of things we can fix; that's why we'll be in tomorrow, to try to fix them. And I'm just proud of the way the guys competed."

The Giants have now overcome a double-digit deficit in three games this season. Brian Daboll's 5-1 start is the best from a new Giants head coach since Dan Reeves in 1993, and only the seventh time in the Super Bowl era the Giants have won five of their first six games.

View photos from the Giants' Week 6 game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium.

2. Rookies step up big

The Giants had several rookies step up big on both sides of the ball. Let's start with the offense, where tight end Daniel Bellinger once again played a crucial role in the passing game. Bellinger caught a team-high five passes (on five targets) for 38 yards and scored his third touchdown of the season. Wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson was able to return to the field after missing the previous for games with a knee injury. The rookie wide receiver reeled in three receptions for 37 yards and scored his first career touchdown to get the Giants on the board in the first half.

"I think he's found ways to make key plays here and there and heads up, instinctual, football plays," Daniel Jones said about the rookie tight end. "He's got a knack for getting open, finding space, and making key plays for us. So, he deserves a lot of credit. We'll continue to try to get him the ball and let him make those plays."

"He made a couple of big plays for us there," Jones added about Robinson's performance. "Good football player, smart player, and he'll definitely help us out going forward."

Now let's move over to the defense. Outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux had registered four total pressures in each of the last two games, but had yet to register his first career sack. That changed on Sunday when he got to Jackson in a crucial moment of the game. With the Ravens down four and with the ball, the No. 5 overall pick strip-sacked Jackson with 1:40 left in the game, which Leonard Williams recovered to help clinch the win. Rookie safety Dane Belton also contributed with six tackles (five solo) and a pass breakup.

"It's a blessing," Thibodeaux said about his contributions. "It was the greatest moment. I really sat out there and cried just because the emotion I felt that now, I'm in the NFL. Now that you can really contribute and this is what they pay me to be here for, so the fact that I was able to get it done is a great feeling."

3. Jones leads another game-winning drive

Daniel Jones completed over 70 percent of his passes (19 of 27) for 173 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. With the Giants facing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, Jones calmly led the offense down the field and found Bellinger in the end zone for a touchdown. On that drive, Jones completed all five of his pass attempts for 57 yards and the score.

"His job is to compete, to lead his football team down, particularly the offense, make good decisions with the football, take care of it, execute in the red zone," Daboll said about the quarterback. "And this was another fourth quarter one for him. Again, when you're a quarterback, you love to throw it 60 times a game. But we have to, each week, we have to play the way we think we have to play. Look, it was far from perfect. It really was. That's a hell of a football team over there, but I appreciate the way he competes. And I think his level-headedness really helps him."

After beating the 2020 and '21 league MVP last week in Aaron Rodgers, Jones led the Giants to a win this week over the 2019 MVP in Jackson. According to NFL Research, Jones became the first QB to beat the last two MVP QBs in back-to-back games since Sam Bradford beat Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newtown in Weeks 2 and 3 in 2016. Jones is now 8-3 in his last 11 starts. His four game-winning drives this season is the most in the National Football League.

"It's just a tough group," Jones said after the win. "We've got a competitive spirit, a competitive stamina, something Dabs has preached since he got here in the spring. I think guys have really taken to that and really tried to make that something we show every time we get on the field. It's a tough, gritty group. It wasn't perfect again today, a lot of things we can clean up and do better but found a way to win down the stretch."

4. Love, Lawrence keep rolling

The Giants defense has played a very significant part in the team's 5-1 start, due in part to the contributions of two key defenders from their 2019 draft class. Safety Julian Love, a fourth-round pick in 2019, came into Week 6 as the team's leading tackler on the year. He finished fourth on the team with his five tackles (three solo) against Baltimore, but came through with the biggest play of the day when he intercepted a pass from Jackson. It was the team's first interception of the year and helped set up the game-winning touchdown.

"Wink has said for weeks that once we get a turnover and once, we start creating turnovers, they're going to come in bunches," Love said about the defense's two turnovers. "That stuff is contagious. I made a play on the previous drive, and you see our team just make a play immediately right after that. That's how football works; it's a game of momentum, it's a game of building off of each other, and this team has done such a great job of doing it across all sides of the ball; offense, defense, and special team capitalizing on each other. That's what that was; the epitome of what that was for us."

Then there's defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Lawrence picked up his team-leading fourth sack of the season when he took down Jackson in the first half. The defensive lineman has now matched his previous career-high sack total, and he did it in only six weeks. Lawrence came into the season with nine sacks total in his first three seasons, making his performance thus far this year even more impressive. Lawrence finished the game with two quarterback hits. Both young defenders seem to have made jumps in their development under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

"I thought they played the best when it counted the most," Daboll said about the defense. "Obviously, we gave up some plays there to (Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark) Andrews and in the run game a little bit, tightened down up in the red zone, but when it counted the most, the players and Wink dialed up a couple of good schemes and the players executed well in the fourth quarter. That's what we thought it would be – a fourth quarter game."

5. Saquon does Saquon things

Saquon Barkley entered Week 6 as the league's leader in total yards from scrimmage with 676. The fifth-year running back extended his lead in that category on Sunday with his 95 all-purpose yards (83 rushing, 12 receiving). Barkley scored the game-winning touchdown when he punched it into the end zone from one yard out inside the final two minutes, marking his fourth touchdown of the season. He was able to do this after injuring his shoulder in the team's Week 5 win, which led to him being limited in practice throughout the week.

"It feels good," Barkley said following the win. "Dabs said it, it's okay to be happy. You can be happy being 5-1. It's hard to win in this league, you can enjoy it. At the end of the day, you can't get too overconfident. You got to keep taking it week by week, keep following the process and that's the mindset we are going to continue to have."

Barkley also displayed his high football intelligence with his final play of the game. Facing a second-and-five from the Ravens' eight-yard line with 1:24 remaining, Barkley bounced it outside and picked up the first down before sliding at the three-yard line, despite having an open lane to the end zone. By sliding after picking up the first down and not scoring, Barkley kept the ball out of Jackson's hands and ensured the Giants' victory. Considering some of the crazy endings we have seen across the NFL this season, Barkley made the high football IQ play by going down.

"Our coaches do a really good job not only in that situation but throughout the week," Barkley said about the final play. "We practice all those situations. The run before that, I feel like if I really wanted to, I could have went this way and kind of scored but I was focused on protecting the ball. I ran up to Dabs and was making sure, "We're not scoring here. We're not scoring here, right?" And he told me, "Yeah." Did a spin move, had an opportunity and just got down. I knew once you get the first down, that secures the win."

Giants.com hands out game balls to the top performers from the team's Week 6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

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