The New York Giants entered a Week 7 game against the Washington Commanders fully aware that a loss would not only end their season (unofficially) but potentially result in some players being traded.
For at least one week, they avoided that.
In a game that was a tale of two halves, the Giants’ defense held on late and was able to stop a Washington drive inside the 10-yard line with the threat of overtime looming.
It wasn’t pretty given how dominant the Giants looked early, but there are no style points in the NFL. And for a team that only had one win entering the game, they’ll take the dub.
Here’s a look at some of the studs and duds (and studly duds) from the team’s latest win.
Dexter Lawrence was, quite obviously, the best player on the field at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. He completely dominated Commanders center Nick Gates and their duo of guards, winning just about every snap he took. It was beyond an All-Pro performance for Sexy Dexy, who finished the game with six tackles (two solo, one for a loss), four QB hits and 2.0 sacks (and he was in on four others).
A week after playing impressively well off the couch, Justin Pugh drew the unenviable task of trying to slow down Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Once again playing out of position, it was a rough afternoon for Pugh, who surrendered multiple sacks and countless pressures. An unfortunate product of circumstance.
A dropped pick-6 aside, Kayvon Thibodeaux rose to the occasion against Washington once again. Like many other Giants, he saves his best for the Commanders and did not disappoint on Sunday. He recorded four tackles (one solo, one for a loss), two QB hits, 1.5 sacks and one pass defensed.
Sterling Shepard was forced to step in as the punt returner when rookie Eric Gray (who we’ll touch on shortly) left the game with an injury. It did not go well, to say the least. Shep seemed visibly uncomfortable in the role and sure enough, muffed a punt that Washington recovered. That immediately turned into points.
Shepard also had no impact on the offensive side of the ball.
Leonard Williams has been called a “selfless player” for accepting a role that doesn’t necessarily play to his strengths. None of that mattered in Week 7 as he played his best game of the season, highlighted by what was a key field goal block at the time. He finished the game with two tackles (two solo, one for a loss), two QB hits, one sack and the aforementioned blocked field goal.
The Eric Gray experiment at punt returner needs to come to an end. He’s dealt with various different fielding mistakes this season and muffed another punt on Sunday. Every time the ball heads his way there’s a reason to be nervous.
Tyrod Taylor had an excellent first half where he just couldn’t miss. He led the Giants on two scoring drives — their first two first-half touchdowns of the season — but got quiet in the second half outside of one deep pass to Jalin Hyatt. He overthrew a pass to Wan’Dale Robinson on a key third down that ended an important drive. Still, all things considered, he played a solid game but it should have been (and could have been) better.
Saquon Barkley looked electric at times on Sunday but then looked quite average at other times. He seemed to become a bit tepid after suffering an elbow injury and his late fourth quarter fumble very nearly cost the Giants a win. But they wouldn’t have had that lead in the first place without his effort on an earlier first-half score, so it balances out.
P Jamie Gillan
WR Jalin Hyatt
DB Deonte Banks
RB Matt Breida
OL Marcus McKethan
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