Saquon Barkley and the running backs– He electrified the crowd when he broke free on a 39-yard run on the game’s opening play. Barkley initially hesitated because of a rush then bounced it outside and broke free. But he was bottled up for a two-yard loss on his next carry. The longest of his remaining three carries was three yards.
Barkley and the first unit were done after two series, but he showed his potential break-away ability. He did have 43 of the team’s 55 first-half yards.
However, as Eli Manning stated, don’t get too excited about Barkley. He will need to be showcased more next week, but it’s pretty certain he won’t disappoint.
In the second half, Robert Martin (5-39 yards) and Jalen Simons (7-38) both took a step forward for a backup roster spots. Jonathan Stewart will need more carries from his fullback spot.
Davis Webb and the backup quarterbacks– Webb came into the game late in the first quarter and didn’t look comfortable all evening. He ended the half completing 8 of 20 attempts and finished 9-for-22 for 70 yards.
Webb had trouble throwing down field as many of his attempts were high and in traffic. He was able to dump the ball in the flat and his favorite target was Wayne Gallman Jr., who had four catches for 33 yards. The second-year signal caller did lead a late first-half rush with a series of short passes and a scramble for a first down, but he couldn’t spike the ball before time ran out for a potential field goal attempt.
After the game, Webb stated that he did miss his share of passes, but he also cited how he did some good things. Webb finished the half with a 50 quarterback rating, one that suited his performance.
Kyle Lauletta was more accurate, connecting on six of nine passes for 48 yards, and Alex Tanney mopped up in the final quarter, hitting three of seven attempts for 26 yards.
Secondary and Linebacker Coverage – Cleveland’s starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked as accurate as Joe Montana during his opening stint, completing all five of his attempts for 99 yards and twisting and turning cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. The Giants’ linebackers also had trouble covering tight end David Njoku, who outraced the secondary for a 36-yard touchdown. B.W. Webb, Darian Thompson, and Chris Lewis-Harris had some difficulties as well.
Baker Mayfield also sliced his way through the Giants’ secondary – mainly the second teamers and beyond fighting for spots – completing 11 of 20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
On a positive note, Landon Collins made the most of his time, and Olivier Vernon applied some pressure lining up off the end. B. J. Goodson had some positive flashes, and Andrew Adams had a good night at corner as he had a team-high seven tackles. Mark Herzlich had plenty of playing time in his return at linebacker and looked solid.
Offensive Line/ Defensive Line – The first unit looked good as they played the first two series. Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omameh were the victims of a sack. Nate Solder also apparently was beat for a sack, but Cleveland’s Myles Garrett got an early jump and was flagged for offsides. Will Hernandez showed some signs of a rookie. It was evident, though, that they will need some time to be a full cohesive unit. John Jerry and Brett Jones both were consistent in their backup roles.
Kerry Wynn forced a fumble and was a one-man wrecking crew, and Damon Harrison looked in season form.
Special Teams – New punter Riley Dixon had an overall good night and plenty of practice with 10 punts for a 39.2 average.
Hunter Sharp returned two kicks for 62 yards, including a dazzling 42-yard return. Sharp alos got plenty of time with the offense, as he had four targeted passes and two receptions. But Kalif Raymond, who is in the battle with Sharp for a return job, struggled in the second half with punt and kickoff returns.
This will be an area that will continue to be addressed in the upcoming weeks.