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Takeaways from New York Giants' 23-21 Win Over New England Patriots

There was some good and some bad in the New York Giants preseason opener against the New England Patriots.

Graham Gano's 24-yard field goal as time expired gave the New York Giants a 23-21 win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

As time expired, Graham Gano's 24-yard field goal gave the New York Giants a 23-21 win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll's first win saw the first team offense, going against the Patriots backups, post a mixed bag in its two series, the only points coming on a 25-yard field goal by Gano after a red zone drive stalled inside the 10-yard line. 

Quarterback Daniel Jones looked solid in his two drives. The first was a 13-play, 68-yard drive to begin the game. Jones made solid decisions, moved around well, and put enough zip on the ball. He also benefitted from solid pass blocking by the newly configured offensive line.  

The Giants probably should have had six on that first drive, except receiver Kenny Golladay, who earlier on the drive couldn't come up with a ball thrown slightly ahead of him , ran a poor route on a third-down play, and was not in a position to come up with the pass. Had Golladay run a better route, he might have been in a better position to get into the end zone for a red-zone score. 

The second drive engineered by Jones was less impressive, though not necessarily the quarterback's fault. The seven-play drive saw Jones sacked after tight end Chris Myarick took a bad angle on a block. 

Gary Brightwell, who with Matt Breida sidelined by an undisclosed injury, relieved Saquon Barkley after the first series, was stopped at the line of scrimmage and the Giants, who moved the ball just 19 yards, punted the ball away. 

Jones finished his night having completed six of 10 attempts for 69 yards. Barkley had 13 yards on four carries and an eight-yard reception on a third down. The Giants’ first-team offense had no turnovers or penalties, their lone blemish being the failure to score in the end zone.

Defensively, Wink Martindale, like Mike Kafka, kept things very bland. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, on the first defensive series, was instrumental in drawing a holding penalty and breaking up a third-down pass to force a punt. 

On the second Patriots drive, quarterback Brian Hoyer, who went after Giants second-year cornerback Aaron Robinson, drove his team down the field to take a 7-3 lead. Hoyer hit receiver Tyquan Thornton for a 2-yard touchdown, a play on which Robinson, flagged for defensive holding, was beaten. 

The Giants and Patriots would exchange leads, the Giants going back on top in the second quarter when quarterback Tyrod Taylor hit receiver Richie James on a 7-yard touchdown.  

Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) throws against the New England Patriots during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) throws against the New England Patriots during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots capped an 84-yard, eight-play scoring drive in the third quarter on running back Kevin Harris's three-yard touchdown run. New England's 14-10 lead was short-lived as the Giants answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Antonio Williams to cap a 9-play, 51-yard scoring drive to make it 17-14.

The Giants widened their lead on Gano’s second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder to make it 20-14. The score was set up thanks to an interception by backup linebacker Austin Calitro on a pass by Patriots backup quarterback Bailey Zappe intended for receiver Josh Hammond.

The Patriots took a 21-20 lead with 4:51 left when Zappe connected with Lil'Jordan Humphrey on a 20-yard touchdown pass, the receiver beating Giants defensive back Zyon Gilbert, who never looked back for the ball. But in the end, Gano and the Giants pulled out the victory.

Besides the injuries, the main concern for the Giants coming out of this game is their special teams coverage, which was sloppy on both kickoff and punt coverage opportunities. The Patriots notched a pair of 25-yard kickoff returns while the punt returners managed a 30-yarder against the Giants.

More Injuries to Offensive Line Depth...

As fast as the Giants replenish offensive line depth, they lose it just as quickly.

To recap, New ]York currently has Nick Gates and Matt Peart on PUP. Last week, they lost Matt Gono (waived) and Marcus McKethan (ACL). And now add Shane Lemieux and Jamil Douglas to the list of injured offensive linemen.

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Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Jalen Elliott (36) tackles New York Giants running back Antonio Williams (21) during the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

Giants Waive Running Back Antonio Williams

The Giants make room for some potential reinforcements at other positions.

Sep 26, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) leaves on a cart after injuring himself during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

Giants Receiver Sterling Shepard Suffers Torn ACL

Shepard's 2022 season -- and possibily Giants career--is over.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) on the sideline in the second half. The Giants fall to the Cowboys, 23-16, at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.

Takeaways from the Cowboys' 23-16 Win Over the Giants

We're starting to learn more about what this New York Giants team is, and it has a long way to go.

Lemieux, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, suffered a left toe injury on the Giants' first offensive series of the game and was immediately ruled out.

Lemieux, who started at left guard and was supposed to get late-game reps at center, was replaced by Ezeudu. Lemieux was later spotted with his foot in a walking boot.

Douglas, the second-team center, left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and was ruled out.

...So Does the Cornerback Spot

Giants rookie cornerback Cor'Dale Flott suffered a groin injury in the second half of the game and was ruled out. Flott finished with two tackles (one solo) for the evening.

Darrian Beavers Stands Out

Rookie inside linebacker Darrian Beavers, who got the start for Blake Martinez, who didn't make the trip--Martinez is still recovering from a torn ACL--continues to have a solid showing.

Beavers has taken over Martinez's snaps when the veteran gets a breather and has been a consistent presence around the ball.

In the second quarter, he stopped a screen pass for a two-yard loss and did a nice job of taking angles and making tackles, not allowing offensive players much wiggle room to pick up yards after the catch. Beavers finished with three tackles, all solo, and had one tackle for a loss. 

Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Giants running back Gary Brightwell (23) runs against the New England Patriots during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Giants running back Gary Brightwell (23) runs against the New England Patriots during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

Backup Running Back Competition Heats Up

Running back Gary Brightwell didn't get many opportunities to carry the ball on offense as a rookie. But with Matt Breida sidelined this week, the coaching staff gave Brightwell a long look with the second-team offense, and he did not disappoint.

Brightwell, one of the five veteran players on notice entering the preseason, took advantage of his rushing opportunities, finishing with 24 yards on six carries. He also had another run of 21 yards wiped out by a holding penalty called against tight end Daniel Bellinger.

Brightwell, who caught two of three pass targets for 19 yards, is competing with Antonio Williams for that third roster spot. Williams finished with 42 yards on eight carries and a touchdown and caught his lone pass target for minus-1 yards.

Injuries/Lineup Changes

The following Giants did not participate in the game: running back Matt Breida, receiver Sterling Shepard (PUP), receiver David Sills, receiver Austin Proehl, receiver Kadarius Toney, tight end Andre Miller, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, offensive lineman Nick Gates (PUP), offensive lineman Matt Peart (PUP), defensive lineman Justin Ellis, inside linebacker Blake Martinez, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, linebacker Azeez Ojulari (NFI), inside linebacker Carter Coughlin, cornerback Rodarius Williams, defensive lineman Justin Ellis, and safety Dane Belton.

Other Notes/Observations

Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka worked from the press box, and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale worked from the field. Originally it was thought that both coordinators would be on the sideline.

Kayvon Thibodeaux had an impressive first drive. He drew a false start by the right tackle and nearly picked off a pass by Brian Hoyer on third down to snuff out the Patriots drive.

Collin Johnson had a mixed bag. Johnson caught a team-leading seven of eight passes for 87 yards, including a 17-yard catch on a whip route where he picked up yards after the catch by running himself out of a tackle.

However, on the first drive of the second quarter, he coughed up the ball when he was hit by Eric Mitchell, the play snuffing out a Giants' scoring drive. And late in the second quarter, he appeared to lose track of a deep ball down the sideline.

Richie James helped his case for a roster spot when on the team's second-quarter scoring drive, James got himself in a perfect position to catch a 26-yard pass that had gone off the hands of C.J. Board on 3rd-and-12 to keep the drive alive. 

Six plays later, James came down with a 7-yard touchdown catch in the red zone to give the Giants a 10-7 lead before the half. James finished second on the team in receiving, with three receptions out of five targets for 44 yards.

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