We all know the Giants defense struggled against Washington Thursday night. But what can we take away from the offense’s performance?
It wasn’t an ideal Thursday night for the Giants or their fans.
The defense played a crucial role in the heartbreaking 30-29 defeat at the hands of the Washington Football Team. The failure to pressure the quarterback and the various issues in the secondary (with James Bradberry at the forefront of those problems) led to Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin constructing impressive performances.
The Dexter Lawrence offsides penalty on what was originally a missed game-winning kick from Dustin Hopkins was also a notable aspect of the loss. Washington, of course, moved up five yards and converted the subsequent attempt to seal the deal.
But enough about the below-average defensive performance or the huge late-game mistake.
Let’s talk about the offense, which experienced its fair share of positives and negatives Thursday evening (mostly the former).
DJ’s versatility leads to bounce-back game
Earlier in the week, all fans were discussing was Daniel Jones‘ crucial third-quarter fumble against Denver.
The third-year quarterback was so-so against the Broncos, but the turnover, given it’s been such a huge issue for so long, trumped all.
It was clear Jones needed a clean game against Washington to boost the general confidence in him. And for the most part, the dual-threat quarterback impressed against a tough Washington defense.
PFF gave Daniel Jones the best grade of his career (91.3) in Week 2 and it’s not particualrly close. #Giants
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) September 17, 2021
He utilized his arm strength, speed, and impressive ability in the zone-read running game to do his part on the offensive side of the ball.
Jones ultimately finished with 249 yards passing and one touchdown while completing 22 of his 32 throws (68.8%). He additionally rushed for 95 yards and one score on nine carries.
A quarterback draw play up the middle for a touchdown run in the first quarter was followed by a crisp 33-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton in the third.
And the big stat of the night for Daniel: no turnovers.
The young quarterback needed a clean, productive game in order for the confidence in him to increase. That’s exactly what he earned, despite the numerous injuries on the offensive line.
And speaking of the hog mollies…
OL comes together amid health-related issues
The Giants made a few changes on the offensive line heading into this game.
Shane Lemieux’s placement on injured reserve due to a knee injury led to the coaching staff kicking Nick Gates out to the left guard spot and plugging Billy Price in at center.
However, Gates went down early with what was a lower leg fracture. He was carted off the field and it was clear he would miss the remainder of the contest, which prompted the Giants to sub in Ben Bredeson at left guard.
A pair of primary reserve interior linemen thus performed at the left guard and center positions…but this did not hold the Giants back.
Despite allowing four sacks on the night, this offensive line held its own against a scary Washington front that employs Chase Young and Montez Sweat (the two combined for just one sack and two quarterback hits, all from the latter).
Everyone knocks left tackle Andrew Thomas, and I understand why. But the fact Young couldn’t notch a single sack or quarterback hit is impressive on the second-year tackle’s part, there’s no doubt about it.
It wasn’t entirely perfect; mistakes were made, such as various false start penalties and the aforementioned allowed sacks.
But it wasn’t expected to be a perfect performance given the strength of this Washington front. All the Giants offensive line needed to do was provide Jones with just enough time to operate and produce, and it achieved that significant task.
Kadarius Toney: Still a non-factor
First-round wide receiver Kadarius Toney was a mystery heading into Thursday night’s Week 2 loss.
The same ideology rings true Friday morning following the defeat.
A bizarre start to his career, which included a weird ramp-up period after a Reserve/COVID-19 list stint and a hamstring injury, was followed by just five offensive snaps and zero special teams reps against Denver.
While he played a tad bit more on Thursday (19 offensive snaps), the production was non-existent.
Toney finished the Washington matchup without a catch, bringing his grand reception total to just two through as many games (for negative-two yards).
Again, Toney wasn’t on the field for a single special teams rep, a strange occurrence given he could be an option in the return game.
Kadarius also reportedly looked frustrated on the Giants sideline before expressing his feelings via Instagram following the game.
Kadarius Toney posted this to Instagram. He was visibly upset at one point on the sideline in the second half after speaking with Joe Judge.
Nothing at a Golladay-Jones level, but clearly wasn’t happy. pic.twitter.com/L29NEjdSI6
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) September 17, 2021
It was expected Toney would be a significant asset of the offensive game plans given his speed, elusiveness, versatility, and the investment the organization made in him as a first-round draft pick.
And two regular-season games later, we have frustrations, a lack of a true presence, and numerous head-scratching moments fans are still attempting to decipher.
Will the first-year player assume a larger role against Atlanta in Week 3?
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY