Putting their rocky start behind them, the 0-5 New York Giants traveled to the Mile High City to face off against the 3-1 Denver Broncos. There were many questions surrounding the Giants heading into this game, and they showed up with rather decisive answers. With an excellent performance on all sides of the ball, this is a different team than we saw earlier this season. Here’s the Giants week six takeaways from the Sunday Night Football matchup.
Week Six New York Giants Takeaways
Play Call Responsibility
Since taking over as head coach last year, Ben McAdoo has held the reins in terms of offensive play calling. He quickly proved he wasn’t capable of this his rookie season which gave critics and fans alike a lot to talk about. Some say it was just the lack of talent, but even with an upgraded offense his results didn’t get any better. One can only wonder how his past success as an offensive coordinator hasn’t continued into head coaching career.
A few weeks into the season and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has been given the responsibility to call the plays. The Giants recognized and acted on the flaws stemming from McAdoo’s coaching method. In what seemed like a guaranteed loss going into the game, this fresh look on offense was able to pick apart one of the best defenses in the league. Not only was the passing game surprisingly effective, but the rushing attack was only two yards short of reaching 150 yards for consecutive weeks.
Replacements Came to Play
A total of eight players sat out during this week’s matchup. Included in the bunch were the starting trio of receivers, Jonathan Casillas, Olivier Vernon, Weston Richburg, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Paul Perkins. Most of these injuries came on an already struggling offense. What nobody expected was for it to gel better than it has all season. The offensive line found life without its center and even generated a 100-yard rushing game for third-string halfback Orleans Darkwa. For a team that hasn’t ran the ball effectively or consistently in recent years, this could be their diamond in the rough this season.
On defense, headlines were more focused on the surprise suspension McAdoo gave second-string cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Depth at the corner position has been a concern all off-season and just like the offensive line, they continued to ignore it and hoped internal alternatives would arise. Luckily, Eli Apple stepped up and had an incredible game filling in for the veteran. The second-year corner out of Ohio State has been off to an up and down start, but is slowly convincing critics that he is the reliable and deserving of the hype.
Historically the Giants have relied on their strong defensive line to control things on that side of the ball. This week starting defensive end Vernon sat out along with his backup Romeo Okwara. This left an inexperienced Kerry Wynn to fill the position. In what many thought would be a tragedy for the Giants front seven, Wynn stepped up and kept the Broncos line on their toes. His presence was also felt on special teams after blocking a 53-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter.
Offensive Line Showed Up
In an interesting turn of events, the Giants found themselves with a fully working and functioning offensive line. Although there’s still a slight mystery to the success of this unit, moving Justin Pugh from left guard to right tackle certainly seemed to have helped. With help from Ereck Flowers on the other side, the line came together for the first time in many games. This allowed Darkwa and company to establish the run game against the league’s best rush defense. Many believed rookie running back Wayne Gallman Jr. would split the carries, but Darkwa saw an increased role after finding success early on.
In the past few seasons, the Broncos strong defense has been built around its secondary. Due to some roster changes this season it’s shifted focus towards the front seven and superior run defense. As the Giants have one of the worst lines in the NFL, many projections had them getting overpowered all game. This wasn’t the case at all on Sunday, when superstar players such as Von Miller were contained all throughout the night. Holding the league’s best pass rusher to a single sack is something this unit should be extremely proud of and should build off going forward.