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Film Review: Breaking down Giants vs. Redskins

On Sunday, the Giants won their second straight game, defeating Washington, 24-3, in MetLife Stadium. The victory featured big plays by the offense and defense.

Here's what I saw from the game film:

*This was a team victory. The defense played its first complete game of the year, holding the Redskins to only 176 yards of offense.

*The first drive of the game was a good indicator of what would happen the rest of the way. On the first play of the game, the Redskins ran play action. The Giants were playing man to man with a single high safety. Antoine Bethea was watching Paul Richardson run a deep in-cut, which allowed slot receiver Trey Quinn to match-up one on one with nickel back Grant Haley. Quinn beat him deep, but Case Keenum overthrew his receiver by a few yards. Two plays later, Janoris Jenkins played perfect coverage on a Keenum-Richardson attempted slant and knocked the ball up in the air to linebacker Ryan Connelly for the takeaway.

*On the next couple of drives, the Giants played more zone coverage. They caught a break on the first play of the Redskins drive with 8:17 remaining in the second quarter. Playing cover-one (man to man with a single high safety), Quinn got over the top but Keenum again overthrew him, this time by five yards. The Redskins would go three and out and that was the last drive of the game for Keenum, who was replacedby rookie Dwayne Haskins.

*The Giants mixed up their coverages against Haskins, using some man to man, zone, and a mix of one or two safeties deep. They didn’t blitz much (only five times, according to Pro Football Focus) and played mostly coverage while sending only four to rush the passer. In obvious passing situations, the Giants played a “big dime” package, with Jabrill Peppers at linebacker and Michael Thomas replacing him at safety.

*The Giants’ biggest defensive stand came at the end of the second quarter. The Redskins had first and goal at the one, but the Giants defense kept them out of the end zone. On first down, Peppers knocked a pass away from tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on a ball slightly behind him toward the back of the end zone.

*On a second down run by Adrian Peterson, Michael Thomas set the edge on left guard Ereck Flowers, and Lorenzo Carter stood up tackle Geron Christian, which disrupted the lead block of linebacker Ryan Anderson, who was playing fullback on the play. Linebacker David Mayo scraped over the top to fill the hole, and he was helped by Dexter Lawrence and B.J. Hill to make the stop. On 3rd and 3, Haskins threw wide and out of bounds, which forced the Redskins to kick a field goal.

*Peppers got his first interception as a member of the Giants in the third quarter. He was covering Sprinkle across the field. Haskins’ pass was behind his intended target. Peppers turned on the speed, undercut the route and grabbed the interception. Dalvin Tomlinson also deserves credit on the play for pushing center Tony Bergstrom into Haskins lap, preventing him from fully stepping into his throw. Peppers had an outstanding day.

*The Giants had two more interceptions by Janoris Jenkins in the fourth quarter. The first came on an excellent play by Jenkins, who covered Paul Richardson one on one down the sideline. Haskins threw the ball anyway, and Jenkins got his head around and made a play on the ball. Markus Golden was bearing down on Haskins as he threw it. Jenkins got his second interception when a pass from Haskins was too early to Vernon Davis, and hit off his hands right to Jenkins for the easy pick.

*Connelly’s first quarter interception gave the Giants the ball at the Redskins 32-yard line, and the offense capitalized with a touchdown. After a Mike Remmers holding penalty made in 3rd and 17, Jones hit Wayne Gallman on a simple swing pass that went for 15 yards, thanks to good running from Gallman and a block downfield from Cody Latimer. The Giants went for it on 4th and 2. Jones read a Redskins blitz and hit Sterling Shepard, who beat man to man defense on a quick out. The other big play was a third and six, when Shepard cleared the linebacker, settled in the middle of the Redskins zone, and Jones hit him for the first down.

*On the touchdown play, Jones looked left first, where the Giants had a bunch set, but no one was open. He then looked to the middle of the field, but Latimer was covered coming over from the right side. Excellent protection gave Jones the time to get to his final read, where Gallman was wide open in the right flat for an easy touchdown. Jones continues to impress with his ability to get through his reads.

*Jones was helped by yards after the catch for much of the game. According to Pro Football Focus, 166 of his 225 passing yards were gained by the receiver after the catch. Some of the credit needs to go to Jones for accurate throws that allowed his receivers to make those plays, but the runner shouldn’t be forgotten. Shepard had 32 yards after the catch, Engram had 40, and Gallman had 68. Jones only had to attempt six passes where the ball traveled more than 10 yards in the air. He completed one for 13 yards, and had two interceptions. Jones was protected relatively well. According to Pro Football Focus, he was hit only four times, and pressured 11 times.

*Jones continued to use his legs to convert on third downs. He scrambled to buy time to find Evan Engram to convert a 3rd and 2 in the first quarter. He converted a 3rd and 11 by running in the third quarter, and got 16 yards on a 3rd and 13 later in the third. Teams are going to have to either refrain from playing man defense against Jones on third down, or put a spy on him if coverage doesn’t give other defenders a chance to stop him in the run game. The Redskins were the worst third down defense in the league coming into this game, and the Giants took advantage, converting 8 of their 13 attempts.

*The Giants won despite turning the ball over four times. Running backs Jon Hilliman and Wayne Gallman both fumbled late in the game. Hilliman’s came on a 2nd and goal from the five, and Gallman’s came in the fourth quarter when the team was trying to run out the clock. Otherwise, both Hilliman and Gallman ran downhill and were decisive getting the ball upfield. They combined for 96 yards on 28 carries, which is 3.4 yards per carry.

*Jones threw two interceptions. He told me in the locker room after the game that he didn’t see Quinton Dunbar coming down from his cover-three position to jump the deep crossing route by Shepard on his first interception. Pat Shurmur said in his postgame press conference that he hadn’t seen that coverage wrinkle from the Redskins heading into the game. Jones had defensive lineman Tim Settle in his face when he tried to complete the pass.

*His second interception also came on a throw to Shepard, who was being covered by Dunbar. Jones failed to lead Shepard enough to the sideline on the crossing route, and Dunbar undercut the route to pick it off. He also had an underthrown deep post to Bennie Fowler that was almost picked off by Josh Norman. Jones has been responsible for four turnovers in his first two starts, something he knows that he has to clean up.

*The Giants wide receivers continue to block well. In addition to the aforementioned Latimer block downfield, Bennie Fowler helped seal the edge on Gallman’s 22-yard run in the first quarter, and Darius Slayton had a block on Evan Engram’s 31-yard catch and run.

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