Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dan Istitene
The Giants got off to an inauspicious start as Larry Donnell fumbled after making a catch across the middle on the second play of the game. The Rams made the Giants pay for the turnover when Tavon Austin caught a 10 yard touchdown pass just over three minutes later to give the Rams the early lead. The Rams tacked three more points on the board on their second possession on a 36 yard field goal. The series was highlighted by a 48 yard pass down the right sideline to Brian Quick who beat Janoris Jenkins on the play. The Giants continued their offensive struggles in the first quarter with a pair of 3 and outs following the turnover on their first possession. The defense also struggled to stop the Rams from moving the ball on each of their early possessions. The Rams tallied 122 total yards of offense and had the ball for 11 minutes and 22 seconds of the opening quarter.
The Giants fourth possession of the game, in the early second quarter was the first time that the offense looked like they were not sleep walking through the game. Rookie running back Paul Perkins was the featured back on the series getting four touches and making one reception. Eli Manning moved the ball down field on passes to Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. but was unable to connect with Sterling Shepard in the end zone and on a 3rd down play from within the red zone. Robbie Gould made his first appearance as a Giant when he kicked a 29 yard field goal cutting the Rams lead to 10-3. On the ensuing Rams series Case Keenum’s intended pass to Tavon Austin went through his hands and as it floated through the air Landon Collins made the interception. Collins proceeded to dazzle the crowd with a 44 yard touchdown return that found him escaping Rams tacklers as he found his way to the end zone. The touchdown evened the score at 10-10 and gave the Giants some much need momentum. Though the offense would do nothing with it and reverted back to their first quarter form which was marked by inconsistency and total lack of cohesion. Eli Manning was frequently under pressure and with the lack of a running game (18 yards on 10 attempts ) the offensive struggles continued. Odell Beckham Jr. had 3 receptions for 9 yards which is almost on par with what he did in the first half against the Ravens. A couple of questions for the Giants and their offensive efficiency would be the their inability to give Manning more time in the pocket in the second half as well as convert on more third downs to keep drives alive. They were just 2-for-7 on third downs and only had one successful drive the entire half which culminated in a field goal. The Giants defense was effective and contained Todd Gurley (29 rushing yards) and the Rams running game and that trend would be one that the defense would seek to replicate in the second half.
The Giants defense came out at the start of the second half and held the Rams to just 21 yards and forced them to punt. The first possession of the half did not alter the trend of ineffectiveness that was the hallmark of the Giants offense throughout the game. They were pinned deep in their own territory and were not able to move the ball a single yard which forced Brad Wing to punt from the Giants end zone. Aside from being beaten by Brian Quick on the 48 yard reception Janoris Jenkins’ coverage of Rams wide receivers was very good as he held Kenny Britt to just 2 reception through 3 quarters of play. The sole reason why the Giants remained in the game heading into the fourth quarter was their defense.
As the fourth quarter got underway, the Giants looked to sustain a drive that would put them in position to put some points on the board and break the tie. Their struggles continued as they turned the ball over on downs after just 6 plays and 30 yards of offense. The Giants defense came up big again on the Rams next possession when Landon Collins grabbed his second interception of the game. Keenum’s errant pass intended for Tavon Austin sailed high and linebacker Keenan Robinson was able to tip it and keep in the air and then Collins swooped in and did the rest. The offense trotted onto the field and finally put together a cohesive series. Manning converted a big 3rd down and three when he found Beckham for a 22 yard reception that put the Giants on the Rams 6 yard line. Rashad Jennings capped the drive with a 1 yard touchdown run to give the Giants a 17-10 lead with just under 9 and a half minutes remaining in the game. The Giants defense was their saving grace against the Rams as time and time again they came up with big plays. With the Rams on the Giants 37 yard line and driving down field Case Keenum threw his third interception of the game. The pass intended for Tavon Austin in the end zone was snatched by Dominique Rodgers Cromartie who cut in front of Austin’s route and made the big play. The Giants defense would have to make one last stand as the Rams offense took over with just over 3 minutes left in the game hoping for game tying score. On 4th down and 5, Rams offensive lineman Rob Havenstein was flagged for a penalty, moving the Rams back and creating a 4th down and 10. Keenum then found Brian Quick in the middle of the field for a 15 yard reception that kept their drive going and the game alive. The Rams proceeded to drive the ball down the field and on 3rd down and 10 from the Giants 15 yard line, the Giants blitzed forcing Keenum to make a game ending mistake. The pass intended for Brian Quick was launched way over his head and intercepted in the end zone by Dominque Rodgers Cromartie for his second pick of the game.
The 17-10 win was a direct result of the Giants defense consistently coming up with big plays from start to finish. The four interceptions (Collins-2, Rodgers Cromartie- 2 ) were pivotal plays that altered the course of the game. From Landon Collins’ pick six in the first half to both of Rodgers-Cromartie’s picks which ended sustained drives by the Rams. The Giants offense had very little to do with the win today as Eli Manning was 24-for-37 for 197 yards and didn’t throw for a touchdown. The sole offensive touchdown of the day came after Landon Collins second interception set the offense up with terrific field position on the Rams 35 yard line. The Giants capitalized on the mistake and scored their one and only offensive touchdown of the game 6 plays later. The rushing attack was woefully ineffective again with just 36 yards on 20 carries. The Giants lack of a running game has repeatedly reared its ugly head and a change in that trend seems to be nowhere in sight. Thankfully the Giants were able to pull off the win despite their offensive inconsistency.
The Giants upcoming bye week will allow the players to heal up and get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, November 6th. A divisional contest awaits and an opportunity to improve a lackluster offense that through 7 weeks has yet to click over the course of an entire game.
Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY