The New York Giants were leading the Washington Redskins 25-14 with just under four minutes to go Thursday night when they faced a 3rd-and-10 from the Washington 41-yard-line. Conventional wisdom would have told the Giants to run the ball, punt it and pin the Redskins inside their 10-yard-line.
But after starting the season 0-2 – and squandering a pair of double-digit, fourth-quarter leads in the process – the Giants had no use for conventional wisdom. Instead, they went for the jugular.
And it paid off.
Rueben Randle made an improbable 41-yard touchdown catch to give New York a 32-14 cushion.
What was the Giants’ though process there?
“Well, of course in that situation in your four-minute offense, you want to be able to run the ball and get first downs that way,” Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But we weren’t really getting the job done upfront. So on 3rd-and-9, we pass-protected pretty well all night, so it’s nice to take shots and score points. And when you get to finish games better after the first two weeks, I got no problem with that – especially when you score, it’s great.”
Randle led the way with seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, but Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t far behind, hauling in seven catches for 79 yards and a score. If the first three games of 2015 are any indication, Beckham’s rookie season – in which he had 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games – was no fluke.
Far from it.
Beckham has been just as good off the field. Why? Because he hasn’t started talking in the third person yet.
Yes, it’s always nice when production outpaces the ego. In the case of Beckham, 22, it’s no contest.
“I think Odell’s done a great job handling this offseason,” Schwartz said. “The catch against Dallas, the Madden cover – all that. And he’s still working hard. He’s still the same guy in the locker room. I think what separates him from a lot of wide receivers is his ability to go up with his hands and catch the football. A lot of wide receivers maybe would have tried to catch that ball last night with their body or not been so aggressive getting to the ball. It’s a touchdown because he was so aggressive getting his hands up and puling the ball away from the DB. Plays like that are what make him and Steve Smith and guys of his size – that’s what make them special.”
The Giants will now rest up before clashing with the Bills in Buffalo on Oct. 4.
New York could very easily be 3-0 but is instead 1-2. So, is the outlook half-full or half-empty?
“I think we’re a good team,” Schwartz said. “We’ve had double-digit leads in the fourth quarter in three of our games now. We just didn’t finish well in two of them. I don’t think it’s productive to say we should be 3-0. We’re not. We’re 1-2. So it gives us the motivation to get this win in Buffalo and get back to .500, but we should believe we’re a good team. We’ve played well in stretches. We just need to play better in the last six minutes of football games, and we’d be 3-0. But we’re 1-2. It should give us the motivation to keep finishing and keep battling and get some more wins.”