‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ Vs. Vikings: Plenty of Good and Bad Vs. Vikings
Happy holidays to all New York Giants fans! Before you leave, here are your “Kudos and Wet Willies” from Saturday’s heartbreaking 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Kudos to …
Isaiah Hodgins –
GM Joe Schoen and the front office of the Giants have found a number of useful players on the NFL trade market this season. However, the former Buffalo Bills wide receiver is turning out to be the best find of all.
Hodgins, who was picked up off the waiver wire during the bye week, had a career day on Saturday. Both 89 yards and eight catches were career highs for him. He had a touchdown catch of 7 yards and a great catch of 29 yards late in the first half that gave the Giants a chance to score, but they missed it.
Hodgins did a lot of this work against Patrick Peterson, who has been to the Pro Bowl eight times and been named an All-Pro three times. In seven games with the Giants, Hodgins has caught 33 passes and scored three touchdowns.
Daniel Jones –
Jones received a lot of attention in my post-game ‘Valentine’s Views’ column. Jones did everything he could on Saturday, going 30 of 42 for 344 yards and a touchdown, leading a game-tying drive and completing a two-point conversion pass.
He threw one costly, slightly off-target interception, which was actually a good play by Minnesota’s Patrick Peterson rather than a bad play by Jones.
Jones will never be able to play as well as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Justin Herbert. I don’t know how you could have thought he would do more than he did on Saturday.
Saquon Barkley –
The Minnesota secondary was weak, so it was clear that the Giants would pass first. Barkley made a big difference with 133 yards from scrimmage. He carried the ball 14 times for 84 yards, which is an average of 6.0 yards per carry.
His 27-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2 set up the two-point conversion that tied the game. Barkley also caught eight passes for 49 yards, which was a season high.
Dexter Lawrence –
The big defensive tackle made his first Pro Bowl by making it hard for the Minnesota offensive line, which was missing starting centre Garrett Bradbury, to do its job. Lawrence ended the game with six tackles, including one for a loss, one hit on the quarterback, and one pass defensed.
Landon Collins –
Collins didn’t play many snaps, but when he did, both near the line of scrimmage and in pass coverage, he made a difference. Collins made four tackles, one of which was for a loss, got a sack, hit the quarterback, and broke up a pass.
Graham Gano –
The 35-year-old placekicker has been almost perfect for the last three seasons, at least when he is asked to try a realistic kick. On Saturday, he made a field goal from 55 yards and two from 44 yards.
Gano has kicked eight field goals of 50 yards or more, which is a team record. His previous record was seven, which he set last season. He makes it look simple. It’s not.
Darius Slayton –
He didn’t get targeted as much as James or Hodgins, but he caught four of the six passes thrown to him for a total of 79 yards, including one for 32 yards. Slayton doesn’t always get the ball, but when he does, he can make big plays. On Saturday, he also caught passes for 22 and 17 yards.
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Wet Willies to …
Evan Neal’s pass protection –
Again, this was an area where the rookie right tackle had trouble. Danielle Hunter sacked him and caused him to drop the ball, but the Giants picked it up.
Before Saturday, Neal had given up 13 pressures on the quarterback in the two weeks before. Jones was taken out of the game three times and hit 11 times on Saturday.
Most of the pressure seemed to come from Neal. Neal missed some time earlier in the season because of a sprained MCL. I’m interested to know how healthy he is now.
Punt blocking –
Jamie Gillan did a good job. He blocked three punts inside the 20-yard line, including one that was 61 yards long, until the Giants’ defence broke down at the worst possible time.
With 4:10 left in the game and down 17-16, Minnesota blocked Gillan’s punt. Vikings took over at Giants’ 29. After Kirk Cousins threw a touchdown pass of 17 yards to Justin Jefferson, the Vikings were up 24-16.
Continuing Issues With Tight Ends –
This has been done for years by many coaching staffs. T.J. Hockenson had a crazy 13 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns, but I can’t blame linebackers Jaylon Smith (10 tackles, one TFL, one sack, and one QB hit) or Micah McFadden (10 tackles, one TFL, one sack, and one QB hit) (eight tackles). Wink Martindale’s team still had trouble with the tight end.
Nick McCloud’s hands –
After he picked off that deep pass, the Vikings punted. McCloud has missed three interceptions in a row. So that’s why he isn’t a wide receiver.
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Kwillies to …
Richie James –
James caught eight of the 12 passes thrown to him for a total of 90 yards. One of those passes, for 33 yards, set up Graham Gano’s 44-yard field goal in the third quarter, which gave the Giants a 13-10 lead. James has 50 receptions right now, which is a career high.
But his two missed shots in the fourth quarter stood out. James missed a third-and-5 pass inside the 30-yard line for Minnesota. Instead, a Gano field goal from 55 yards out made it 17-16 with 6:29 to go.
In the last three minutes of the game, when the Giants needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game, James dropped the ball. Even though Jones and Barkley helped the Giants fix that mistake, it still happened.
Daniel Bellinger –
The two-point conversion pass he caught tied the game, but he lost it at the Minnesota 23-yard line in the first half, ending a drive that could have led to a touchdown.