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Film Review: Offense makes plays when it matters


The Giants beat the Carolina Panthers in their home opener, 19-16, behind four Graham Gano field goals and another strong defensive effort.

1. The Panthers took a 13-6 lead when they scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half and had all the momentum having scored 13 straight points. The Giants responded by putting together their best drive of the game.

After gaining only one yard on their first two plays, Daniel Jones made his best throw of the game, finding Richie James over the middle for 15 yards and a first down. On the end zone copy of the play, it is easy to see Saquon Barkley's blitz pick-up and exactly how small the window Jones had to complete this pass between three Panthers defenders.

After that conversion, the Giants would go on to gain at least 10 yards on four of their next five plays, including three of 15+ yards. After Barkley gained 16 yards on an outside first-down run, the Giants went to the air on early downs.

Jones completed a pass for 12 yards on 1st-and-10 on a tough throw across his body to Richie James in the middle of the field after rolling to his right.

The Panthers went with only a three-man rush on the next first down, and Jones hit Tanner Hudson, who had gained separation from safety Xavier Woods, going towards the sideline.

After an incomplete first-down pass, Jones went back to the air on a play-action pass that led to Daniel Bellinger being wide open (using misdirection) near the sideline to dive into the end zone for the Giants' lone touchdown.

On this drive, the Giants had four of their six plays of 15+ yards in the game. The drive went 75 yards, which was the team's longest. They threw the ball on four of their five first downs and were aggressive. The touchdown tied the score at 13 and the Panthers never led again.

2. This was Jones' longest of the game and set-up the field goal to give the Giants a 16-13 lead. Watch how Jones slides in the pocket in the end zone copy to buy the time needed to find David Sills, who sat down in an open area of Carolina's zone defense.

A week after attempting only one pass that traveled 20 or more yards in the air, Jones' completion to Sills was the only successful one of three attempts against the Panthers, according to PFF.

3. The Giant' game-winning drive drive featured the running game, as their offensive line began to get into a groove going downhill. They completed only three passes for 15 yards but ran it eight times for 34 yards. The first three rushes of the drive accounted for 32 of those yards. A Barkley 6-yard run helped run out the clock . Here are those four runs that helped seal the victory.

The offensive line deserves credit to create the space needed for the running backs. After rushing for zero net yards in the first half, the Giants ran for 103 in the second half, including 69 from Saquon Barkley.

4. The offensive line allowed some pressure inside throughout the game, but there was incremental improvement in pass protection from what they unit did in Week 1 against the Titans. According to Pro Football Focus, Evan Neal allowed one sack against Brian Burns along with a pair of hurries. Andrew Thomas did not allow a sack but allowed a quarterback hit. Ben Bredeson played 33 snaps at left guard while Josh Ezeudu played 13 – and they combined to allow only one quarterback hit and one hurry. Mark Glowinski had his hands full with Matt Ioannidis the entire game, allowing a sack and four quarterback hurries. Jon Feliciano allowed two hurries. Overall, PFF tracked the Giants allowing pressure on 41% of their pass attempts, which ranked 26th in the NFL.

5. Wink Martindale flooded the field with defensive backs in the second half, but the Panthers still opted to throw it 19 times versus just six designed runs. It didn't change after Leonard Williams left the field with a knee injury. Panthers running backs finished the game with 17 carries for 111 yards.

Once the Giants were able to get the Panthers into second- and third-and long, Martindale unleashed his blitz packages and the Panthers' front allowed multiple unblocked pressures. Here are four of those blitzes where the Giants got free runners to impact the quarterback.

The Giants got pressure on 13 of the Panthers' 40 pass plays, which was the 12th-highest rate in the league. The Giants blitz rate was the seventh-highest in the NFL in Week 2.

The Giants got most of their pressure up the middle in non-blitz situations. PFF tracked Leonard Williams for three pressures, while Dexter Lawrence had a quarterback hit and three hurries. Oshane Ximines' sack came on a play where inside pressure by Williams forced the quarterback to Ximines who kept his motor hot, beat his man and got the sack.

The Giants allowed Baker Mayfield to complete 14 of 29 passes for 145 yards. Panthers wide receivers, spare DJ Moore on his two long catches for 29 and 16 yards, did not create a lot of separation when they were in man-to-man situations.

According to PFF, the Giants mixed up their coverages throughout the game, employing no single scheme on more than 33% of their snaps. Cover-1 was still their most predominant scheme (32.8%) but they also mixed in different zones that features single-high and two-high looks, in addition to other combination coverage.

Rookie Cordale Flott played 71% of the defensive snaps, while veteran Fabian Moureau played 17 snaps.

Dane Belton played 46 snaps (79%) in his NFL debut as Martindale went with a three-safety look for most of the game. Tae Crowder played 48 snaps, but fellow inside linebackers Austin Calitro and Micah McFadden played only 12 combined snaps. If the goal was to keep Christian McCaffrey silent in the passing game, it worked. He caught just four passes on five targets for 26 yards.

Other Notes

* Daniel Jones used his legs strategically in the game. He had 10 rushes for only 21 yards but four went for first downs, including the clincher.

* Brian Daboll said after the game it would be a competition for snaps at receiver and this week it was Sterling Shepard and David Sills who each played more than 60. Richie James and Kadarius Toney split the rest of the snaps with 31 and 28, respectively. Darius Slayton and Kenny Golladay each played a pair of snaps.

* Daniel Bellinger played 42 tight end snaps, Chris Myarick 23 and Tanner Hudson 27.

* Julian Love, Xavier McKinney and Adoree' Jackson were the only players to play every Giants' defensive snap. Jihard Ward played on 91%.

* Dexter Lawrence played 79% of the snaps. If Leonard Williams it out for an extended period of time, managing Lawrence's snaps could become a challenge.

View photos from the Giants' Week 2 game vs. the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium.