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Film Review: Youth propels Giants past Redskins

I am going to break from my usual format for the game review this week. If I went drive for drive through the Giants' 41-35 overtime victory over Washington yesterday, it would be time for kickoff for Sunday's against Philadelphia by the time you finished reading. Kickoff on Sunday is 4:25 p.m., by the way. This week, I broke it down by offense and defense.

Here's what I saw on tape:

Overview: Offense

*Saquon Barkley seemed to be building up to his performance for the past few weeks. He exploded for 189 rushing yards and 90 receiving yards. He flashed his tackle-breaking ability and agility on individual plays in recent games, but he had not put it all together in a singular performance like he did against the Redskins. Washington defenders had no chance to tackle him one on one, and he used a combination of power, speed and quickness to make five plays of 20 or more yards. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), 153 of his 189 rushing yards came after contact. He was special in the run game, on screens, and on passes down the field.

*The Giants offensive line was sound in their pass protection. The Redskins only registered one sack and had seven quarterback hits. Daniel Jones had time in the pocket to wait for his receivers to get open. Barkley had only three runs for zero or negative yards and was given room in the backfield to find his hole. It wasn't just the offensive line that made great blocks. The wide receivers and tight ends also made key blocks throughout the game. When a team has 552 yards of total offense, the offensive line is a good place to start.

*According to PFF, Jones was only pressured on 12 of his 47 drop backs. Tackles Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, and Nick Gates (who replaced Remmers after he suffered a concussion) allowed just one quarterback hit between them. Kevin Zeitler didn't allow a pressure of any kind, despite it being his first game back from an ankle injury.

*Jones did not turn the ball over, although he fumbled on one of his scrambles in the second half. He was very efficient, completing 67% of his passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns. The Redskins played primarily zone with their safeties deep for much of the game, and Jones was wise to take what was available to him underneath. He was accurate and got the ball out on time. His receivers got open throughout the game.

*Kaden Smith is developing into a good all-around two way tight end. He blocked well to help spring Barkley on a couple of his runs, and he also caught six passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to improve every week with increased playing time.

The Big Plays: Offense

*The big play on the first drive was Barkley's 32-yard run. Guard Will Hernandez made a good block on pulling into the hole on John Bostic, and Sterling Shepard got in safety Landon Collins' way to get Barkley into the secondary where he made a couple players miss for extra yards.

The scoring play on that drive came on a great play-call. The Giants faked a wide receiver screen to Darius Slayton. Shepard faked a block from the middle position in the trips formation, drawing the corner in. He ran by him and towards the sideline. Golden Tate running down the seam kept Collins in the middle of the field long enough for Jones to complete the pass for the touchdown.

*Smith pulled into the hole and knocked down linebacker Cole Holcomb in front of Barkley to pave the way for an eight-yard gain to start the Giants' second drive. On the very next play, Remmers and Zietler double-teamed Matt Ioannidis to seal him inside, and Smith held off linebacker Ryan Anderson and Collins outside to open the hole. Barkley ran into the secondary and made safety Montae Nicholson miss in the open field before going 67 yards for the touchdown.

*The Giants managed three third down conversions (of 5, 3 and 2 yards) on their third drive before Barkley put it in the end zone. Barkley started in the shotgun next to Jones, with Shepard and Cody Latimer wide to the left, and Tate and Smith to the right of the formation. Barkley came out of the backfield and ran straight up the seam. Collins vacated the deep left half of the field to follow Shepard going across the middle, and Barkley was wide open for an easy 33-yard touchdown catch.

*The Giants started their final possession of the first half on their own 27-yard line and no timeouts. On first and 10 from their own 47, Tate found an open spot in the Redskins' cover two zone, and Jones hit him on the move for a run after the catch of 31 yards. After another Tate run after catch on a whip route converted a 3rd and 3, Jones hit Latimer on the move, which allowed him to run into the end zone for a 28-14 halftime lead. It was a perfectly engineered two-minute drill by Jones and the offense.

* The big play that helped the Giants score on their second drive of the third quarter came on a screen pass to Barkley. A block by Zeitler and a great individual effort from Barkley to break defensive tackle Daron Payne's tackle led to a 51-yard gain. Three plays later, no one covered Smith, who ran open down the seam and into the end zone for the touchdown.

* The Giants failed to score on their final four drives of regulation. The running game wasn't as effective on early downs, and the Redskins played tighter coverage and mustered a better pass rush on third down.

* The Giants won the coin toss before overtime, and only had to convert one third down before their game-winning touchdown. On third and seven, Shepard settled into the middle of a hole in the cover two zone and caught a 23-yard pass from Jones. The Giants then used a balanced combination of run and pass to methodically move the ball to the three-yard line. The Redskins played man to man across the board on 3rd and goal from the three, and Smith managed to cross Collins' face and get separation across the middle. Jones put the ball perfectly in front of Smith for the game-winner.

Overview: The Defense

* The Giants rush defense was solid throughout the game. The Redskins finished with 80 yards on 26 carries. Adrian Peterson had only 36 rushing yards on 15 attempts, which included a 17-yard run. That means he had just 19 yards on his other 14 carries. The Giants swarmed to the ball and allowed Redskins runners very little daylight. The entire defensive line was stout and didn't let the Redskins offensive line move them off the line of scrimmage.

*With Alec Ogletree out because of back/foot issues, David Mayo played an excellent game against the run. His run fits were outstanding, and he finished the game with one tackle for loss and tied for the team lead with 10 tackles. Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence were their usual dominant selves.

*The Giants pass rush improved as the game went along and was a big factor in the second and third quarters. Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter and the interior defensive line won consistently up front and bothered the Redskins quarterbacks throughout the game. The defense finished with three sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Golden was only credited with a half sack, but he might be awarded more production when the NFL reviews the tape this week. He played another strong game.

*Carter had one of his most productive pass rushing games of the season. In addition to his 1.5 sacks, he was credited with four quarterback hits. He consistently impacted the opposing quarterback. PFF credited Leonard Williams with three quarterback hits and four hurries. Oshane Ximines had one quarterback hit and three hurries, according to PFF.

*The Giants played cover one 38% of the time and blitzed on 13 of the Redskins' 45 dropbacks, according to PFF. The Giants managed pressure on Case Keenum on 17 of his 46 dropbacks (38%), which is a good number. Keenum replaced starter Dwayne Haskins, who left the game after injuring his ankle on the first play of the second half. Sam Beal had the best game amongst the Giants cornerbacks, but the group as a whole only managed two passes defended in the game. The Redskins threw for 302 yards on 29 of 38 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Big Plays: Defense

*The big play on the Redskins' first scoring drive was a 34-yard completion from Haskins to Terry McLaurin. He was on DeAndre Baker's side of the field, who was in a cover three zone, and ran a stop-route about 20 yards down the field. The Redskins scored three plays later when Haskins stepped up in the pocket and scrambled left to avoid an outside rush from Ximines and Carter. Rookie slot receiver Steven Sims Jr. got away from nickel cornerback Corey Ballentine in the scramble drill, and a moving Haskins hit him with a perfect throw for the touchdown.

*The Redskins moved the ball methodically down the field on their next drive, with no play going longer than 15 yards. Washington only had to convert one third down on the first 11 plays of the drive to move 69 yards to the six-yard line. On the twelfth play of the drive, the Redskins ran a play action pass. Safety Antoine Bethea played inside technique on rookie tight end Hale Hentges, who broke to the outside and created separation before he caught Haskins' throw for the touchdown.

*The Giants didn't let the Redskins score on their next three drives because after failing to get to Haskins in the first quarter, they were able to generate pressure on key third down plays to force punts. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher used stunts and blitzes to take Haskins out of his comfort zone.

*Haskins was knocked out of the game on the first play of the second half. On a play action pass, the Giant secondary covered well and forced Haskins to hold the ball. Golden wrapped Haskins up around the legs, and Carter tackled him high to twist him to the ground. He was carted off the field and did not return with the ankle injury.

*The Redskins scored on their next drive to cut the lead to 28-21. Keenum, in for Haskins, hit Sims on a slant that was inches way from being knocked down by Mayo. Sims caught the ball and went for 22 yards. On the very next play, the Redskins ran a reverse to wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, who then tried to throw the ball to Chris Thompson down the right sideline. Pressure from Golden, who was charging as Harmon was attempting to pass, forced an underthrow and saved the touchdown, but the play still gained 11 yards. Two plays later, Sims ran an excellent route against Ballentine for the touchdown. He faked an out and came back towards the middle with the slant. Keenum hit him for the score.

*Later, the Redskins started with great field position after blocking Riley Dixon's punt. On the first play of the drive from the 17-yard line, Baker was called for pass interference on McLaurin on a post route. There was some contact on the instant replay and McLaurin did a good job selling the pass interference penalty by contorting his body as the pass flew over his head. The penalty put the ball on the one-yard line, and Peterson dove over the top for the touchdown.

*The Giants forced a three and out on the next possession, and then Dixon pinned them at the one-yard line when they got the ball with 6:28 to play in regulation. One of the key plays on the drive happened early. On 3rd and 9 from the one and a half yard line, the Giants stood up six rushers at the line of scrimmage. All of them came at the snap, leaving five Giants defensive backs to over three Redskins wide receivers. Leonard Williams looped around to rush up the middle. He would have sacked Keenum (Ximines would have, too, after getting around left tackle Donald Penn) if Keenum would have had to hold the ball a second longer. Instead, Keenum got the ball away and threw a beautiful touch pass to Sims on a crossing route. Keenum could have thrown it to Harmon or McLaurin, who were also open.

The Redskins converted a 3rd and 5 three plays later. Keenum was flushed out of the pocket by Golden and Williams, and scrambled to his left. He had to make a tough throw back to the middle of the field to a wide open Hentges for the first down. After converting another 3rd and 1 on a high pass to the sideline that McLaurin made a tough catch on, the Redskins were forced into a 4th and 3 four plays later. Sims ran a speed out and then tried to turn it up the field. Keenum threw it towards the back pylon, and Ballentine was called for pass interference when he ran into Simms while playing the speed out, which prevented him from going for the ball. Keenum ran it in on a play action bootleg on the next play to tie the game. The Redskins would not get the ball back with the Giants winning the coin toss in overtime and scoring the game winning touchdown.

Special Teams

* The Giants special teams betrayed them late in the game. Aldrick Rosas missed a 53-yard field goal and Riley Dixon had a punt blocked. On the punt, Josiah Tauaefa missed a block on Redskins linebacker Nate Orchard, who came up the middle and got his hands on the ball. On the play prior, Cody Core had downed a punt inside the five, but Michael Thomas was called for holding Michael Odom on the punt rush, which forced the re-kick. Core downed another punt later in the fourth quarter at the one-yard line, as he continues to have a stellar season as a gunner on punt coverage.

View the best images from Giants vs. Redskins


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