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Film Review: Breaking down key plays from Week 6


In another comeback victory, the Giants defeated the Ravens, 24-20, at Metilfe Stadium. The Giants scored the final 14 points of the game.

1. If you just look at the yardage numbers in this game, the Giants had no business winning. The Ravens outgained them by 168 yards, but the Giants managed to defeat them thanks to superior situational and complimentary football.

The Giants converted seven of 13 third downs, not including the kneel down at the end of the game. Two crucial third-down conversions of 14 and 12 yards came just three plays apart on the Giants' first touchdown drive in the second quarter.

The first play featured max protection and just a three-man route against a two-deep zone defense. Darius Slayton wins outside on an in-cut against Marlon Humphrey. The second play features a blitz pick-up by Saquon Barkley against a five-man pressure, which gives Daniel Jones time to find Wan'Dale Robinson, who shows off his quickness on a whip route that sent rookie safety Kyle Hamilton to the ground.

The Giants got help from another running back on a 3rd-and-4 that helped lead to field goal on their second third-quarter drive. Matt Breida picked up Patrick Queen on his blitz, which gave Jones time to hit Daniel Bellinger for the first down.

2. The Giants gave up some pressures earlier in the game, but the protection improved as the game went along. The Giants went on a 12-play, 75-yard TD drive that lasted 6:53. These three pass plays each resulted in first downs (including the two longest plays of the game) and totaled 43 yards.

On the first two plays, the Giants' front five successfully block four rushers to give Jones time to find Marcus Johnson and Robinson for gains of 18 and 17 yards. On the third play, Barkley picks up safety Ar'Darius Washington on the outside blitz to give Jones time to hit David Sills for an 8-yard gain and the first down.

The Giants allowed only a 29.4% pressure rate, according to Pro Football Focus, which was 15th among the 26 teams that have played in Week 6. Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas allowed only a pair of pressures each, while Ben Bredeson didn't allow a pressure. It was especially impressive given the Ravens blitzed on half their pass-defense snaps, which was the third-highest rate in the NFL.

3. The Giants also succeeded in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on three of their five trips, while the Ravens only scored on one of their three appearances. The Giants ran it on 12 of their 19 red zone plays, but their first two scores came on pass plays.

The Giants first touchdown came on a designed rub route, with David Sills getting in the way of cornerback Damarion Williams to free up Robinson in the flat. On the second play, the Ravens failed to communicate the coverage of two crossers, Daniel Bellinger and David Sills and the former was wide open for the touchdown.

The first is seldom-used 32 personnel (3 RBs, 2 TEs, 0 WRs) with play-action and a throw to Matt Breida on a wheel route.

And finally, a direct snap to Barkley, who hands it to Daniel Jones. Then Jones fakes an end around to Matt Breida before throwing it to Daniel Bellinger for a valuable 7-yard gain in the red zone.

4. The Giants' defense was far from dominant in this game but they made enough plays at crucial times. The Ravens scored just one touchdown on their three trips into the red zone and two late-game takeaways clinched the victory. Two players come up with plays in some of those critical situations: Kayvon Thibodeaux and Julian Love.

On the Ravens' second possession, they took a shot on a 1st-and-10 from the Giants 32. Love sticks with the coverage and gets all the way across the field to knock away the pass, but the more important part of the play comes at the line of scrimmage. Robinson is open for a potential touchdown earlier in the play, but pressure from Thibodeaux coming around the edge forces Lamar Jackson to move in the pocket and prevents him from hitting Robinson when he first gets behind the defense.

Justin Tucker would end up missing a 56-yard field goal three plays later and Baltimore walks away with no points.

Dane Belton quietly made a key play in the third quarter. On 2nd-and-goal from the 5, Lamar Jackson hits Mark Andrews in the chest for what looked like an easy touchdown, but he can't make the catch. Why? Belton ever-so-slightly gets his hand on the ball on its way to Andrews, changing its trajectory enough to force the drop.

If both, or even one of those drives end in touchdowns, the Giants are not leaving MetLife Stadium on Sunday with a victory.

5. The Giants ended the game with two takeaways, including their first interception of the season. The Giants caught a break when a Ravens illegal formation penalty nullified a third-down conversion on a Lamar Jackson quarterback sneak, forcing a 3rd-and-5. A bad snap sent Lamar Jackson scurrying for the ball, but Julian Love played his responsibilities in his zone, kept his eyes on the quarterbacks and jumped the pass to Josh Oliver for his first interception of the season.

On the Ravens' next possession, they started at their own 25 with 1:43 remaining and three timeouts, needing a touchdown to win the game. On the second play, Kayvon Thibodeaux continues to work through the initial block from right tackle Patrick Mekari (subbing in for the injured Morgan Moses) and get his hand on the ball, knocking it away from Lamar Jackson and forcing the fumble. The Giants' man-to-man coverage forced Jackson to hold it long enough to allow Thibodeaux time to get home.

The Giants managed pressure on 27.8% of the Ravens pass snaps on Sunday, tied for 18th among 26 teams that played so far in Week 6. Dexter Lawrence was once again the star of the pass rush, with a sack, quarterback hit, and three hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. Thibodeaux finished with his lone sack and a pair of hurries.

The Giants were not hesitant to play man-to-man against the wide receivers. According to PFF, the Giants ran Cover-1 a league-high 45.8% of their pass defense snaps.

Game Notes

* The Giants had tough sledding running the ball early in the game, with Saquon Barkley running it just six times for 14 yards in the first half. But in the second half, Barkley ran it 16 times for 69 yards. The adjustment seemed to be more runs away from the center of the defensive line, which held up well. Rookie Travis Jones was especially hard to move in the middle of the line.

* The Giants went to more 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) in this game, running that group on 53% of their snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. They ran 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) 14 times, their second-most frequent group.

* Daniel Bellinger continues to block well on the edges of the offensive line and helped clear the way on a couple of successful Saquon Barkley runs.

* The Giants failed to gain 20 or more yards on any offensive plays in the game, and finished with only three plays for more than 15 yards. Those came on the Giants' first have touchdown drive after Gary Brightwell 47-yard kickoff return as their second touchdown drive featured 18 and 17 yard receptions by Marcus Johnson and Wan'Dale Robinson. Their final touchdown was aided by a short field created by Julian Love's interception.

* In addition to Kayvon Thibodeaux's big plays, he continues to play well against the run, including an excellent play setting the edge and making a solo tackle against JK Dobbins in the first half.

* Darius Slayton led the team in wide receiver snaps with 45, with Marcus Johnson playing 40 snaps and David Sills playing 23. Richie James and Wan'Dale Robinson split the slot snaps at wide receiver with 22 and 15 each.

* Julian Love, Adoree' Jackson and Fabian Moureau each played 100% of the defensive snaps. Dexter Lawrence played 97% - for a man of that snaps to play 57 of 59 defensive snaps and maintain a high-level of play is truly impressive. Kayvon Thibodeaux played on 83%.


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