New Look Offensive Line Fuels Giants to First Win


Courtesy of: Eric Christian Smith / AP

Jake Bailey, Staff Writer

After falling to 0-2 following a tough loss to their division rival, Dallas Cowboys in week two, it had appeared that nothing had changed about the dismal New York Giants team from a year ago.

Coming into the season, the offensive line was undoubtedly the teams biggest question mark. After allowing plenty of heavy pressure in the face of quarterback Eli Manning, resulting in eight sacks through the teams first two games, New York was on the brink of another painful season–quite literally for Manning under center.

It took until week three, in a battle of two of the “defeated” teams remaining in the NFL, but the Giants bounced back to claim their first win of the season in a 27-22 defeat of the Houston Texans on Sept. 23 at  NRG Stadium.

New York went into the game with one major change on the offensive side of the ball–in a decision that had been looming since late last season, rookie head coach Pat Shurmur elected to bench former first-round pick, right tackle Ereck Flowers in favor of Philip Wheeler.

Although Manning was brought down four times–three of which came via Houston’s all-pro defensive end J.J. Watt, Manning looked awfully comfortable in the pocket completing 25 passes on 29 attempts for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns. New York held the lead for the entire game while posting a season-high 27.

Rookie running back Saquon Barkley has been as good as advertised since being taken with the second overall pick in this year’s draft. The rookie set the tone week one after breaking off a 68 yard run for his first career touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished that game with 106 yards on the ground along with two receptions for 22 yards. Barkley has displayed his dual-threat ability as he has already broken the franchise record for most receptions in a game with 14 in week two against Dallas. In each of his first three games, Barkley has piled up over 100 yards from scrimmage with two rushing touchdowns including a 15-yard score in the first quarter on Sunday.

Another question coming into the season with Giants fans was the health of star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. After coming off a knee injury last season, Beckham Jr. has looked like he is back to form as he ranks top ten in the league in receiving yards with 271 and top five in receptions with 24. Although Beckham has yet to reach the end zone this season it has not slowed down his offensive production or presence.

The defense came up big this week in Houston, limiting DeShaun Watson and co. to just six points at halftime.  New York recorded three sacks and forced a few key turnovers which included a second half interception of Watson in the end zone.

Although the question remains, are the Giants finally starting to turn things around? Or are the Texans just that bad? With New York’s offensive line looking the best it has all season, this team could be poised to go on a run starting with a matchup at home vs. the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 4:25 p.m.