Takeaways from the Giants' first win of the Joe Judge era:
John Schmeelk: I am here to tip my cap to Jason Garrett. When I sat down and looked at the box score after this game and saw the Giants gained 240 yards of offense and had just three plays of 20 yards or more, I didn't think I would be writing this. After watching the tape, and digging a bit deeper into the numbers, here I am.
The Giants averaged 5.2 yards per play. If the Giants averaged that over the course of an entire season, they would have the fourth-best yards per play average in the NFL. The Giants only had six legitimate drives during the game, and punted on just two of them. They had no three-and-outs. Scoring no touchdowns in three red zone opportunities muted the final results of an otherwise efficient offense.
The numbers aside, Garrett schemed up the offense to give his team the best chance to win. Daniel Jones had 21 dropbacks in the game – 10 of those featured play-action to try and slow down the Washington pass rush. Many of those featured six- or seven-man blocking schemes, including double-teams of Chase Young. According to Pro Football Focus, Washington managed pressure on only one of those play-action dropbacks, which was the Daniel Jones interception in the red zone.
Jones only finished the game 5-of-10 for 45 yards on those play-action passes, but it wasn't because of pressure up front by the defensive line. Garrett also included a couple of RPO's and read-options to try and slow down Washington's defensive line from getting into backfield.
On the 11 dropbacks when the Giants did not use play-action, Jones was pressured on eight of them. The lone sack of Jones came on one of these plays. Washington only had to blitz on three of those plays to create such a high-pressure rate. The three plays when there was no pressure, Jones got rid of the ball in an average of 1.73 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus. The defense was not given a chance to pressure since Jones was getting the ball out of his hands so quickly.
This was a game plan that did its best to neutralize the strength of Washington's defense. One way that Washington was going to win on Sunday was with their defensive line wrecking the game, and forcing turnovers by harassing Jones. The game plan did not allow it to happen.
Dan Salomone: Forcing an incomplete pass from Kyle Allen intended for Terry McLaurin on a late two-point conversion all but ended Sunday's game, but it is not where the Giants won it. They won it on Daniel Jones' 49-yard run. They won it on their three sacks. They won it on Tae Crowder's scoop-and-score. They won it by Graham Gano making all of his field goal attempts after Dustin Hopkins missed one on Washington's opening drive. They won it by executing better than their opponent for the totality of 60 minutes. Coach Joe Judge was asked heading into the game about “learning to win” after losing the first five games of his tenure, piggybacking off a 12-36 record for the franchise in the previous three seasons.
"I've heard that a lot lately, everyone talking about learning how to win, teaching them how to win," Judge said. "This is my belief on that: You don't win in the 60th minute. There is not some magic formula, there's not some grand scheme playbook that you come out with that this is how you win games. The way you win games is playing every play with the best technique, assignment and focus you can, eliminating mistakes and capitalizing on your opponent's mistakes. That's really the secret. It's not easy, but it's simple. I say that to our team a lot. We just try to keep football for what it is."
On Sunday, it was winning football.
View photos from the Week 6 matchup between the Giants and Washington at MetLife Stadium.
Lance Medow: Entering Week 6, given the struggles of both offenses, I was asked several times "How would this game be decided?" My constant response: In the trenches and that's exactly how things played out. Washington recorded 15 sacks in the first five games of the season, which was the sixth-highest total in the NFL, and showcased five first-round picks up front. The Giants limited that group to just one sack (Ryan Kerrigan) and five quarterback hits. Keep in mind, Daniel Jones had been sacked at least twice in each of the first five games of the season and the Cowboys recorded 10 quarterback hits the previous week. In comparison, the Giants collected three sacks and eight hits on Kyle Allen, so they topped Washington in both categories and one of those sacks forced a fumble, which the Giants turned into a defensive touchdown that ultimately proved to be the winning score.
New York also outran Washington (132-86) and the Giants averaged over five yards per carry with a season-high 10 runs for five yards or more – big reasons why Jones and Co. had their most efficient performance on third down (7-of-11 for 64%). It's no coincidence that the Giants faced eight downs for six yards or less, including six for five yards or less. A consistent rushing attack and favorable down-and-distances go hand-in-hand. In fairness, Washington was struggling to stop the run, ranking 23rd in the NFL in that category, had surrendered 130 yards per game and allowed the second-most sacks (21) in the league through the first five games of the season. But from the Giants' perspective, you have to take advantage of the opponent's weaknesses and New York capitalized.
On a related note, the Giants turned two Washington turnovers into touchdowns. James Bradberry's interception set up a 23-yard scoring pass to Darius Slayton and Tae Crowder went in on a 43-yard fumble return. Takeaways are great and translating them into touchdowns can be the difference between a win and a loss, which proved to be true Sunday.