As of the last few years, the NFL has been playing a few games a year over in London. This week the unfortunate trip across the ocean happened to fall on the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams. I say the unfortunate trip for two reasons. First, one team loses a home field advantage. Second, the gap in time zones from the east coast to London means lazy schmuks like myself had to struggle to wake up at 9 a.m. to watch the game. And let me tell you, the struggle was not worth it. About ten minutes into the game my exact words were, “I should have stayed asleep.”
The Giants looked like… well, they looked like the Giants. Their first drive of the game the tight end Larry Donnell fumbled the ball and set the Rams up in great position to score, which they did.
Side note, the Giants need to find a better option at tight end. I understand that Donnell is their best blocking tight end, but in the pass game, he is consistently hurting the team. He seems to double catch the ball almost every time, and despite the fact that he is bigger than almost everyone on the field at any given time, he tries to play like a finesse player who can jump over people. I much prefer Will Tye, but like I said, Donnell is the best blocking tight end they have, and that is valued more to the Giants who want to get the run game going.
But besides my personal vendetta against Donnell, the Giants ended up letting the Rams move right back down the field on their next drive and kick a field goal. At this point, it didn’t matter that I woke up “early,” because I was now wide awake thanks to the anger I had from watching this game.
But then, things got interesting, and by interesting I mean the Giants caught a lucky break. On the Rams fourth possession, a ball that should have been caught by Tavon Austin was instead tipped up and intercepted by Landon Collins who put on an impressive show dodging defenders and breaking tackles on his way to a touchdown. Suddenly the Giants were back in the game, and that burst of momentum seemed to get the rest of the Giants defense going because as they forced a quick stop they put the offense back on the field for its best drive of the game.
With six minutes’ left in the first half, the Giants offense was operating somewhat smoothly in the hurry up offense. (Go figure that Eli Manning calls plays better than the head coach.) and after marching 71 yards down the field, the Giants tied the game up at ten with a field goal. Yeah, you read that right. The Giants BEST DRIVE resulted in a field goal.
From there on out it was a punting competition between the two teams until the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Giants defense got its second interception of the day and the second of the game for Landon Collins. It was there that the Giants once again got lucky. As Manning dropped back to pass he was put under pressure by the Rams, and in an act of what I assume was sheer terror, he threw the ball up into the middle of the field where it was caught by the always polarizing Odell Beckham. From there it was an easy touchdown for the Giants to put them up 17-10.
Then the Giants defense came away with another two interceptions, both by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to put an end to the game that was a lot closer than it should have been.
To be fair, as bad as this game was, I saw some things that I liked about the Giants. For starters, despite giving up ten quick points, the defense looked good again. They have been getting better each week and are finally forcing some turnovers. I would still like to see more of a pass rush from them but I’ll take what I can get at this point. The other thing was their offensive line. Their line is starting to actually look like it could protect someone. They still aren’t opening any holes in the running game, but at least Manning isn’t under pressure as much as he was to begin the season. Now if they could only string some first downs together with that juggernaut of a receiving core, they might actually be able to win some meaningful games.