This was the Giants’ team we expected.
Confident. Consistency. Command.
For the better part of three-plus quarters, the Giants showed those elements and more in their 27-22 victory in Houston.
Win number one in the book of the Pat Shurmur era looked like it could turn into a blowout, but then a fast start began to matriculate into a slow fade.
You began to get that feeling when J.J. Watt finally break through the Giants’ offensive line and recorded two sacks on Eli Manning late in the game, and Houston looked like they regained momentum after cutting the deficit to 20-15.
However, the Giants played a controlled, methodical offensive scheme behind an efficient and effective Manning, who was able to find Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard for 15 of his 25 passes of 29 attempts for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
From the start, Manning was in rhythm. He was 6-for-6 on their last scoring and looked brilliant, finding Shepard on a 7-yarder with the clincher with just over two minutes remaining.
“I thought we did a good job just having a good plan to get the ball out,” said Manning. “I thought we kinda condensed the offense a little bit, make sure guys knew what they were doing, plays that they knew, they were playing fast, offensive line was playing fast.”
Saquon Barkley showed his prowess, gaining a respectable 82 yards on 17 carries, highlighted by a 15-yard run in which he stopped to see the action and make his next move. Barkley also was a favorite target catching five balls, one a nifty screen call that kept a drive alive late in the game.
The defense was solid through the first half, and they managed to keep the Texans out of the end zone enough times in a bend-but-don’t break style. They came away with three sacks, 11 quarterback hits, a timely, fourth-quarter interception by Alec Ogletree in the end zone, and they held the Texans’ ground game to only 59 yards mainly due to Damo Harrison and Kerry Wynn.
Wynn stripped Lamar Miller in the third quarter and Donte Dayton recovered to end a drive.
The Giants mustered the confidence to bench Ereck Flowers and start Chad Wheeler, who played well long enough.
Confidence, Consistency, and Command.
It was there long enough to satisfy Giants’ fans and relieve their fears.
Granted, this wasn’t perfect, but it certainly sufficed. The Texans still managed to get to Manning four times.
They survived their Waterloo.
Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula made the adjustments in practice this week, and they dialed up the seemingly perfect game plan.
Confidence, Consistency, Command.
The Giants showed they have it. Now, they have to maintain it.