Week 7 Recap: New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Rams (London)

Final: New York 17, Los Angeles 10

Tavon Austin
Ram’s Tavon Austin scored on a touchdown in London on the team’s first offensive possession of the game.

Three fourth quarter interceptions undo Case Keenum and the Rams in Twickenham Stadium in London as Los Angeles falls to 3-4 on the season losing to the Giants.  New York is now 2-0 in the NFL’s international series and they can largely thank their defense for the W as the team now boasts a winning record this season.

Looking at the stat sheet, it would be easy to say that Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum had an awful game and was the reason that the Rams fell.  Sure, he threw three fourth quarter picks, and four overall, but many of those mistakes weren’t entirely his fault.  The first pick which took place in the second quarter came off of a dropped ball by Tavon Austin.  The ball hit him in the hands and popped up in the air.  Landon Collins, the Giants safety, came down with it and ran the ball back 44 yards for the score.  In the fourth quarter, there was a tipped pass that once again landed in the hands of Collins, a fallen receiver leading to an easy pick for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (although he played that ball perfectly), and a complete miscommunication with his receiver late in the fourth quarter from the 15 yard line, throwing it up on third down only to have Rodgers-Cromartie be the only one in the vicinity to make the INT.  The picks were bad, but can’t all be pinned on Keenum, so don’t be thinking he’s getting benched because of the performance.  One of the areas he was weak in was stepping up in the pocket when pressure mounts.  He, like many young and inexperienced quarterbacks, tries to escape out either side and roll out.  This severely limits his vision of the field and cuts down on the potential to make a big play.  Other areas on the offense that were sub-par for the Rams included the offensive line and their blocking.  The Giants had only six sacks coming into the game and picked up three of those.  They stacked the box like many teams do to try to contain Todd Gurley, which worked.  This is an O-line that is not strong enough to pave lanes in the running game, and the Rams don’t have enough talent at wide-out to overcome this shortage.  Brian Quick did make some nice plays late in the game to give his team a chance, and Kenny Britt was a threat down the field, but these two are far too inconsistent to call a true No. 1 receiver.  Towards the end of the game, the serious lack of true talent showed because Kenny Britt went out with an injury.  Bradley Marquez and Mike Thomas were on the field in the red zone with a minute and a half left with the Rams trying to tie the game.  They looked very raw in there and did not help L.A.’s chances at a comeback.

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr. in action from 10/23/16.

Speaking of number ones, any time the Giants play, the world wants to know how Odell Beckham Jr. performed.  He had a quite game and was played physically by the Los Angeles corners.  They sat on slant routes with zones in the middle and completely took that aspect of the Giants’ offense away.  Beckham had almost no yards after the catch, which was a far cry from a week ago and was played well by the L.A. secondary.  While that may lead some to believe that he had an off game, it is not entirely accurate to spout such allegations.  The real struggle came from the Giants quarterback.  Eli Manning was not good in this game.  He was too quick to dump the ball off and had almost no big plays down the field.  New York as a team completed only four passes of over 10 yards down the field and two of those were jump balls.  Manning looked terrified and didn’t settle his feet very often.  A lot of his throws were low and too careful.  The fact that the G-Men did not have any running game to speak of wasn’t very helpful.  They finished with a woeful 36 yards and 1.8 yards per carry.  The Giants as a team managed only 4.1 yards per play on the offensive side of the ball.  The Rams did hop out to a 10-0 lead, but the offense did nothing to bring them back.  All props have to go to Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive unit.

The secondary was lights out in this game.  They recorded six pass-breakups, three of those going to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who was all over the field.  Landon Collins got beat deep twice, but luckily neither of them cost him.  Otherwise he was solid with many open field tackles and two (albeit gift) picks, one going for six which turned out to be the difference in the game.  The defensive line wasn’t terrible, but they were certainly not overwhelming.  It was the linebackers that made a majority of the stops in the running game and they were flying all over the field.  Keenan Robinson was probably the biggest standout helping out with a couple of run stops and doing the job in coverage.  The Giants as a team played in primarily man-to-man looks, daring the Rams to throw it deep and win their one-on-ones.  The game plan was simple and it looked like New York thought they were better across the boards with player versus player.  It turns out they were right and the team won the game because of the effective game plan.

Larry Donnell vs. Mark Barron
Larry Donnell’s fumble in the first quarter lead to Los Angeles’ lone touchdown.

The Los Angeles defense has nothing to be ashamed of here.  They did all they could, holding the Giants to just 10 offensive points.  14 of their 17 points came directly off of turnovers but otherwise the G-Men really struggled to move the ball.  The five leading tacklers from the Rams were all members of the secondary and the team as a whole tackled very well, which is all you can ask for.  Aaron Donald, the star defensive-man for the Rams, was by all accounts neutralized.  He did nearly record a safety in the third quarter, but otherwise did not make a ton of noise outside of a rush or two.  As stated before, L.A. did their best to take away the quick passing game of the Giants.  They did this by playing a lot of Cover-2 and zone schemes.  The middle of the field for wide receivers was not open and they ganged up and tackled every time the ball was dumped short.  Eli Manning likes to get the ball out quick, and still did in this game.  There were Rams defenders there every time to make plays.  They were very hands on down the field as well, throwing New York’s wide-outs out of rhythm and disrupting their routes.  It would seem as though each Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham Jr. struggle when they are getting pushed around down the field, within the rules of course.  If you can be physical with them they falter.

It was a defensive battle in London that the Giants ended up winning.  Parts of the game made it seem like the New York defense is taking over while others looked like it was the offense from Los Angeles that was whimpering.  In the end, it was a bit of both that factored into the seven point win.  Had it not been for the pick-six in the second quarter, we may be singing a different tune now but as it stands it was a dominant defensive effort from the Giants secondary delivering the team its fourth win of the year.  Despite being 4-3 on the year, New York still sits at the bottom of the NFC East.  They have a chance to gain ground in the division after the BYE when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Rams will try to bounce back at home against the Carolina Panthers in a game that could very well mean each team’s season.

Rashad Jennings
Rashad Jennings scored the Giants’ only offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter in a 17-10 New York win.

The Skinny:

  • After coming into the game having forced just two turnovers and registering six sacks, the Giants pick up four interceptions and bring down Case Keenum three times in this game.
  • Eli Manning was really bailed out by his defense here.  The New York offensive line played well yet he looked uncomfortable in the pocket and did not make a lot of confident throws.  He completed just four passes over 10 yards in the game.
  • The New York secondary dominated this game.  They tackled and made plays on the ball and really took it to an undermanned Los Angeles team late in the game.
  • Case Keenum threw a career-high four interceptions, but you could make a case that none of them were on him; one was a dropped pass, another was deflected, one of his receivers fell down, and on the final drive of the game there was a miscommunication.
  • The Los Angeles offensive line continues to look weaker than its opponents as teams are constantly stacking seven in the box and pushing them around, shrinking the pocket and smothering Todd Gurley.
  • The L.A. secondary played pretty well in this contest keeping all balls in front of them, high pointing the few down-field throws for PBUs, and like the Giants they tackled well in the open field.  Don’t pin this loss on the defense.
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