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5 Things We Learned

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5 things we learned in Week 10: DJ highly efficient


Following their bye week, the Giants were back on the field Sunday and defeated the Houston Texans, 24-16.

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley both put together one of their most productive outings of the season in the win. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the defense picked up four sacks and two turnovers in order to help the Giants secure the victory.

"I think certainly after the game, you got to enjoy the wins and reflect a little bit on where we are," said Jones. "Certainly, it's a lot better on this side of it than how we've been in years past. You got to enjoy that and appreciate it, but at the same time, know there's still a lot we need to improve on, there's a lot still out there for us to do, especially on offense. That's where we're focused."

The Giants are back at home next week when the Detroit Lions come to town. Meanwhile, the Texans will play their third consecutive game against the NFC East when they face off against the Washington Commanders in Houston.

Here are five things we learned in the Week 10 matchup.

1. Grinding out the W

The Giants emerged victorious on Sunday as they outscored the Houston Texans, 24-16, to pick up their seventh victory of the season. And for the seventh time this season, the Giants won a one-possession game. Eight of their nine games this season have been decided by one score.

Starting strong has been an issue for the Giants this season, but not on Sunday. The defense began the game with a three-and-out, including a sack, and quickly got the ball into the offense's hands. The offense responded with a 10-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that ended with Daniel Jones finding Lawrence Cager for his first career touchdown from nine yards out. Then when the Giants got the ball to start the second half, Barkley and Jones led the offense down the field quickly, with Darius Slayton making a catch and taking it 54 yards into the end zone for a score.

The Giants ended up outscoring the Texans in both halves. Brian Daboll's squad went into the locker room at halftime with a 7-3 lead. In the second half, the Giants put up 17 points to Houston's 13. Due to the lead for basically the entire game, the Giants finished with a whopping 47 rush attempts.

"Good to get another win," Coach Brian Daboll said after the game. "(It was a) hard fought game. I thought we did a lot of things well. (There's) some things, obviously, to clean up on like there always is. But today's my youngest daughter's birthday, so I was asking her what she wanted for a present the other day. And she said, 'A win. Give me a football with my name on it, dad.' That's pressure more than anything else. So, I want to wish her a happy birthday, and good to get a win. The guys played hard, played physical. (They) made some timely turnovers. (They) came out in the second half (and) had an opening drive touchdown. (They) stalled a couple times in the fringe. (They) got hit on some bigger plays in the second half, but overall (it) was a good team win. (We'll) get ready to play (the) Detroit (Lions)."

View photos from the Giants' Week 10 win over the Houston Texans.

2. DJ has most efficient game of season

The Texans came into this game with the league's worst rushing defense, so it should come as no surprise that the Giants ran the ball 47 times. While the offense didn't need to pass the ball too often on Sunday, Daniel Jones was highly efficient when it did come time to use his arm to help the team move the ball down the field.

Jones attempted just 17 passes on Sunday. However, he completed 13 of those passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. The passing yardage was the third-highest of the season for the fourth-year quarterback. More impressively, Jones earned an near-perfect 153.3 passer rating against Houston. Not only was this easily his best passer rating of the season, but it also set a new career-high for Jones. Additionally, it was the highest passer rating of any quarterback in the NFL this season.

"I think it helps when we run the ball that well and that effectively," the quarterback said about his outing. "Just try to convert on the opportunities I had, and I thought guys made great plays. You talked about the Slayton one and a couple other key plays for us."

Jones did not commit a turnover in Week 10, marking the sixth game this season in which the young signal-caller has taken great care of the football. The 25-year-old quarterback also ran the ball 5 times for 24 yards. He is now up to 388 rushing yards on the season.

One reason for the offense's success on Sunday was the unit's efficiency on third down. Thanks to both Jones and Barkley, the Giants converted on seven of 14 third down attempts. They came into this game ranking 17th in the league with a 39.6 conversion rate on third down.

3. Saquon keeps rolling

Saquon Barkley put together a stellar first half of the season leading up to the bye. In the team's first game in the second half, Barkley picked up right where he left off. The fifth-year running back registered a career-high 35 rush attempts in this game, gaining 152 yards (4.3 avg.) and scoring a touchdown. Today was just the second-time Barkley rushed the ball over 30 times in a game in his NFL career, with the first game coming in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. He also added one reception for eight yards.

Barkley entered Week 10 ranking second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. Following his 160-yard output against the Texans, the talented running back leapfrogged Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry for the second-most in the league. Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill sits atop the league with 1,173. Barkley did have his lowest receiving game of the season with only one reception. He is now up to 29 receptions for 197 yards on the year.

"The thing, I think, with him is (he) takes a lot of shots. So, we try to do the best job we can – the medical staff, the sports science – of practicing him the right way," Daboll said about Barkley's high-volume day. "And this week, he was fresh. So, he had a really good week of practice. We were handing him the ball at the 20 (yard line) and he was running the ball to the end zone, 80 yards, and then coming back and doing it again. So, I thought that the stuff he did during the week carried over. Obviously, he's having a good season for us. He had a good day."

4. Great situational football on defense

As good as the offense was at converting on third down, the defense did an even better job of stopping Houston in the same situation. Wink Martindale's unit was able to hold the Texans to just three conversions on 10 attempts. The defense has been able to find a ton of success when it comes to situational football this season. Heading into Week 10, the Giants ranked fourth in the NFL in third down defense (33 percent).

The unit also continued its red zone defense success. Houston got the ball inside the Giants 20-yard line on four occasions on Sunday, but was able to punch it into the end zone only once. Martindale's defense went into this game allowing a touchdown on just 42.9 percent of opponents' trips inside the red zone, good for the third-best mark in the league.

For the fourth consecutive game, the defense as able to register a turnover. In fact, they did it on back-to-back Houston possessions. First, defensive lineman Leonard Williams punched the ball out of Texans RB Dameon Pierce's hands, which linebacker Jaylon Smith recovered. Just four plays into Houston's next drive, rookie safety Dane Belton leaped up and snagged a Davis Mills pass in the end zone for his first career interception.

"Dane's smart. That's why we drafted him," said Daboll. "We thought he was a good player, and he's very intelligent. So, you're always going to miss your captains, your really good players, like X is. But I thought throughout the week, Dane was practicing well. He was ready to go. We had no choice. That's what we expect."

5. Lawrence continues stellar season

Dexter Lawrence is in the middle of his best season since joining the Giants in the 2019 draft. On Sunday, he kept the momentum going with yet another dominant outing. The fourth-year defensive lineman picked up another sack to go with a pass breakup and an impressive five quarterback hits. Lawrence broke two career-highs with today's performance as he now has five sacks and 16 quarterback hits on the year (previous highs were four sacks and 11 QB hits).

"No, I wouldn't say I'm surprised at all by the level of success he's had this year," Jones said about Lawrence. "He's played really well, I think, since he's been here. This year, he probably has a couple more sacks and getting a couple more pressures, but he's been extremely consistent for us since we came in here. He's a heck of a player and hats off to him."

Lawrence wasn't the only defensive lineman to enjoy a strong game. Leonard Williams played a big role in the run defense's success, finishing with a team-high nine tackles (five solo) while adding a half-sack. Additionally, outside linebacker Jihad Ward picked up his second sack of the season, while safety Jason Pinnock had 1.5 sacks.

"Two good players for us. Two good leaders," Daboll said about Lawrence and Williams. "I think, if I'm not mistaken, Leo got that first one out (to force a fumble) in there in the pile there. And then (safety Dane) Belton made a big play after they hit a couple good plays. Red zone defense, we've been playing it fairly well this year. This was in the fringe area, high red zone. Good plays. Everything starts up front, whether it's the defensive line or the offensive line. And Dexter and Leo, along with some other guys that have been playing in there, have been doing a good job for us. We're going to continue to need that."

With Xavier McKinney now on injured reserve, safety Julian Love wore the green dot on defense for the first time in his career. This meant he relayed defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's calls to the players on the field. Love performed well in this role, finishing second on the team with seven total tackles (four solo). hands out game balls to the top performers from the team's Week 10 victory over the Houston Texans.


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