The Giants haven’t necessarily been a juggernaut this season, which is puzzling considering the amount of cash spent in the offseason, but they still managed to do just enough in a thrilling 27-23 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens.
New York (3-3) got back to the .500 mark on the strength of a solid second half by Eli Manning, who went 32-of-46 for 403 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winning 66-yard hookup with Odell Beckham Jr. with 1:24 remaining in the game.
It was Manning’s 36th career game-winning drive.
Baltimore (3-3) has now cooled off since its quick 3-0 start to the season, as their injury woes have been a great detriment. Big Blue took advantage of key missing Ravens like wideout Steve Smith Sr. and linebackers C.J. Mosley and Elvis Dumervil to finally snap its three-game losing streak.
Manning wasn’t always sharp, as he did toss two interceptions, but when the Giants needed him the most, he was there to shine — including nearly 300 yards passing in the second half alone. The defense also did its best to bend but not break, as they stifled Joe Flacco and company on the final drive to preserve the win.
But the afternoon wasn’t without its share of drama for Big Blue, as miscues, blown assignments and controversial calls against them almost cost them the game. Plus, Manning received very little support from the running game, which made his heroics all the more impressive.
Despite the win, there is still a growing concern about the team’s inefficiency in the red zone, as they entered the game ranked 26th in the league in red-zone touchdown efficiency and didn’t help those numbers by settling for field goals.
But when a team like the Giants is struggling to string together victories, they’ll take them any way they can.
Metro takes a look back at what happened in an exhilarating contest.
What we saw:
1. Beckham is back
Beckham fumbled on the Giants’ first possession, but that was about all he dropped in this contest. He had just 56 yards receiving last week in a lackluster effort in Green Bay, but the erstwhile slumping wideout had a breakout game against the Ravens. Beckham burned Baltimore on numerous deep routes on his way to game highs in catches (eight) and yards (222). He also added a touchdown when he masterfully deked a Raven cornerback with a spin move 5 yards past the line of scrimmage, en route to a 75-yard touchdown along the right sideline. He followed that up with a masterful go-route for 43 yards to set up a short Josh Brown field goal.
2. No pass rush
For all the money that general manager Jerry Reese doled out last offseason, the defensive pressure has provided very little return this season. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco attempted over 30 passes for the 21st-straight game, but didn’t find himself under much duress. New York has struggled to take down opposing quarterbacks, as they’ve only amassed five sacks on the season, getting Flacco just once. It’s a problem that’ll eventually be the defense’s doom if they can’t fix what’s wrong. Big Blue is on pace to produce one of the most anemic sack seasons in NFL history, and Sunday was just another display of their lack of pass-rush prowess.
3. Too one-dimensional
The Giants’ running game issues again reared its head, as they failed to truly establish any offensive balance. As great as Manning can be at times, he’s shown that he needs balance and some relief via the run to truly be effective. And once again, Big Blue had trouble moving the football on the ground, even against the banged-up Ravens front. They had just 26 rushing yards in the first half, and 38 overall. Rashad Jennings returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a thumb injury and provided little boost. The veteran back finished with just 15 yards after tallying just 10 in the first half. That’s not going to cut it, no matter how many 400-yard passing games their quarterback puts up.