Grading the Giants’ 25-3 win over the Panthers on Sunday.
Daniel Jones has had games with more passing and rushing yards and more touchdowns, but this was one of his toughest performances, as far as a physical toll. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 203 yards and one TD, working with a depleted group of receivers. Who knew Dante Pettis (5-39, TD) has a nice arm? There was a great deal of ugliness here. Three cracks from the 1-yard line late in the first quarter, the Giants got nothing. Embarrassing. Devontae Booker (14-51) had nowhere to run but he showed no burst and had a bad dropped pass in the third quarter. He did finish off with a 19-yard TD run to salvage his day. LT Matt Peart stood idly by and did not block safety Jeremy Chinn as a screen pass to Evan Engram lost 2 yards. Peart was not bad, though — much better than the right side (Nate Solder, Will Hernandez) of the line. No turnovers was a big plus.
Season-high six sacks, with rookie Azeez Ojulari getting 2.5 and Leonard Williams all over the field, with 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and six tackles. Williams and Lorenzo Carter combined to pressure Sam Darnold, forcing an intentional-grounding penalty in the end zone for a safety. Logan Ryan cracked Robby Anderson in the back for a pass breakup. James Bradberry, playing against his former team for the first time, stopped a Panthers drive with an interception on the 5-yard line of a Darnold overthrow. Panthers vowed to establish the run and finished with 56 rushing yards, so no dice there. LB Benardrick McKinney made some big hits in his Giants debut. Panthers had just 173 total yards and 11 first downs. And no touchdowns.
Azeez Ojulari (#51) and Leonard Williams (#99) sack Panthers QB Sam Darnold during the Giants’ win on Oct. 24, 2021.
Graham Gano had a field day against his former team, going 3-for-3 on field goals with a long of 53 yards. He is a beast. Riley Dixon’s 36-yard punt pinned the Panthers back on their 12-yard line midway through the first quarter. Dixon had a bad 48-yarder that bounced into the end zone just before halftime but hit a nice 50-yarder out of bounds in the third quarter. He was a busy guy. Darnay Holmes had a 23-yard punt return. Holmes also had an illegal-block penalty and later a holding penalty on punt return. Very sloppy work. Keion Crossen was called for holding on punt return. Good job by coordinator Thomas McGaughey not dropping a return man and then sending pressure to force a 28-yard punt.
Joe Judge looks smarter when he has a solid defense to lean on, which he did in this game. Too many (eight) penalties, though. Day of redemption for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Uninspiring play calls from inside the Carolina 1-yard line. How about a quarterback sneak or a power run by fullback Eli Penny, rather than sending Booker into no-man’s land? Garrett got better as the game went on and putting Jones on the move with rollouts helped relieve the pressure on the offensive line. The reverse-pass from Pettis to Jones was well-timed. Patrick Graham’s defense finally put in a 60-minute effort and going against Darnold was an antidote for the pass rush.
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