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Giants report card: Pat Shurmur’s play-call tweak is working

Grades from the Giants’ 38-35 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday:


Eli Manning was 17-of-18 for 231 yards and two TDs for a passer rating of 155.8. Nearly perfect. See what happens when he has a running game (Saquon Barkley with a season-high 142 rushing yards and 3 TDs) and some blocking up-front? Odell Beckham Jr. was remarkably efficient: 4 targets, 4 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. TE Evan Engram showed great patience and then delivered key 54-yard catch-and-run late in game.

Grade: A+


Four interceptions? It’s so nice to have Ryan Fitzpatrick in the house. He tossed up three of ’em before getting benched for Jameis Winston, who threw one to B.W. Webb in the closing seconds. Quite a feat of athleticism by Alec Ogletree to pluck the ball off Janoris Jenkins’ chest, out of the air and just off the turf on what he turned into a 15-yard interception return for a TD. The Bucs amassed 510 total yards (366 in the air, 151 on the ground) and scored 28 points in the second half. Terrible second-quarter sequence by Olivier Vernon with three consecutive penalties for 25 yards of losses. Vernon was bailed out by Michael Thomas’ interception. Kareem Martin got the first Giants sack in three games. If Winston (129.9 passer rating) started, the Giants would have been in trouble.

Grade: C+

Special teams

Corey Coleman started the game with a 40-yard kickoff return. Coleman averaged 26.8 yards on five returns and has been a huge upgrade. Big hit on kick return by Kerry Wynn to open up the second half. Aldrick Rosas absolutely drilled a 52-yard field goal. Kickoff coverage was excellent. Michael Thomas recovered onside kick with 2:20 remaining. Kudos to Riley Dixon for punting the ball into the end zone so that DeSean Jackson could not get his hands on the ball.

Grade: A


Ever since the bye week, Pat Shurmur is calling more running plays and the Giants are winning. Seems like a good plan. The Giants winning (and scoring more than 30 points) when Manning attempts only 18 passes? Wild. Did not like Shurmur punting the ball away on fourth-and-2 from the Tampa 37-yard line. He did not want to give the Bucs a short field or try a 54-yard field goal. James Bettcher’s defense cannot generate much pressure and had to hang on for dear life at the end, but four interceptions and one touchdown on defense is good stuff.

Grade: B+

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