The season hitting the halfway point and the win against the 49ers may have revitalized the New York Giants quite a bit. The offense didn’t perform as well as it could against San Francisco, but when the Giants took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, they showed a week to week improvement that hasn’t really been seen earlier in the season. After the first win of the season, against the Houston Texans, the team was set back again the next week and they lost their following game.
The same thing didn’t happen during the Tampa game, which came the Sunday after the Giants defeated San Francisco on Monday. They didn’t just win again, but they looked better on the offensive side of the ball and Saquon Barkley performed like everyone expected. Maybe even better. Barkley had two touchdowns on the ground and also rushed for 142 yards. It’s his first performance with more than 100 yards on the ground since the loss to Philadelphia, which was weeks ago.
Many fans have said that the Giants should use Barkley more and that’s exactly what they did. Barkley ended up with 27 carries, while second string back Wayne Gallman had only two for the entire game. On those carries, he looked explosive and had some plays where he shifted directions for a larger gain or kept going after initial contact to pick up a few more yards.
One of the more impressive plays of the game came when Barkley reversed to avoid being tackled, not scoring but nearly making it to the ten yard line before finally being brought down. But Barkley wasn’t the only player that showed up.
Odell Beckham Jr. may not have broken the four catch mark, but one of those catches was an impressive touchdown that wasn’t easy to come down with. Additionally, his 74 yards still contributed plenty of offense, and his average catch was for 18.5 yards. It’s Beckham’s second straight game with a touchdown, after he scored two last Monday against the 49ers.
Evan Engram has been criticized a lot this season but he also registered a lot of yards for a player that only had a couple of catches. He only had a pair of catches but contributed 66 yards of offense on those catches. It gives him the second highest total for receiving yards on the entire team, even above the team’s number two receiver, Sterling Shepard.
The fact that more than one player stood out offensively is encouraging. It’s a flash of what could have been, even if it came too late to change the story of the season. Before the season started, many thought that the Giants would have one of the better offenses in the league, or at least the division, because of the numerous weapons in the starting lineup. That never was realized, and it seemed like the team’s best players weren’t having good games at the same time.
They managed to turn that around against Tampa. We don’t know how long it will last, or what it means for the quality of the team overall, but stringing together two good games in a row and getting big numbers from some of the team’s stars during a single game is encouraging. It also shows that the team could be next year, when the slate is fresh and it’s possible to compete for the playoffs once again, perhaps with a new quarterback and a better offensive line.
It also gives the team a momentum boost going into the game against rivals Philadelphia. Maybe, the team isn’t tanking after all.