Giants @ Chargers
Final Score: Chargers 37, Giants 21
Writer: Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)
The Giants were thoroughly dominated by Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles dominated the time of possession battle, keeping New York’s defense on the field for nearly 40 minutes of the game. The Giants’ offense looked helpless behind Mike Glennon, though it was nice to see Saquon Barkley running the ball downhill. New York’s offense had nothing going for much of the game, mustering just seven points before putting two touchdowns on the board after Brandon Staley called off the dogs in the fourth quarter. On the other side, Herbert electrified the crowd with a couple of jaw-dropping bombs down the field. The Chargers’ offensive line won the line of scrimmage all game and created massive holes for Austin Ekeler to run through. Wide Receivers Jalen Guyton and Joshua Palmer stepped up in the absence of Keenan Allen, with both of them on the receiving end of highlight throws from Herbert.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert: 23/31, 275 yards, 3 TD, 2 sacks | 10 carries, 33 yards
Herbert is well on his way to being one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he is already one of the most fun players to watch on Sundays. He zips the ball around the field with authority, his arm strength helping him fit passes into tight windows over the middle and over the top of defenders on the sideline. Herbert put his name in contention for the best throw of the season with a 59-yard touchdown pass to Guyton just before the half. On third and 11, Herbert rolled to his right with pressure coming, set his feet, and launched a rainbow pass that got over the heads of Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney and fell into the hands of Guyton for the score. All three of Herbert’s touchdown passes came on third down, as the Giants’ defensive front struggled after losing Leonard Williams early in the game.
This angle of Justin Herbert's cannon throw 😲
— ESPN (@espn) December 12, 2021
Austin Ekeler: 12 carries, 67 yards, TD | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards
Justin Jackson: 9 carries, 35 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards
Joshua Kelley: 10 carries, 33 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards
Los Angeles used the run game to wear the Giants down and keep their defense on the field. The Chargers ran for 152 yards as a team and dominated time of possession for the first three quarters. It was only when the backups were on the field that the Giants were able to get going. Austin Ekeler was effective as the primary running back, hiding behind offensive linemen until gaps emerge and drawing attention in the passing game. Justin Jackson came in when Ekeler needed a breather and was not explosive, but maintained the offensive momentum. Joshua Kelley got most of his work in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. Ekeler should be all systems go for the fantasy playoffs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jalen Guyton: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 87 yards, TD
Joshua Palmer: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 66 yards, TD
Mike Williams: 6 targets, 6 receptions, 61 yards
Donald Parham Jr.: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards
Stephen Anderson: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards
Jared Cook: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards, TD
With Keenan Allen missing the game due to a positive COVID test, there were questions about who would step up to replace him. Both Guyton and Palmer rose to the challenge. Guyton emerged as a big-play threat down the field and Palmer was a blanket for Herbert over the middle throughout the game. Mike Williams was also involved in this contest, catching all six of his targets and being the third Chargers receiver to go over 60 yards in the game. Palmer’s touchdown came on a well-timed-out route in the second quarter, and Jared Cook‘s came on a corner route to the back of the end zone in the fourth. Herbert seems to be developing a knack for elevating the rest of the players on the field with him, a key trait of star quarterbacks.
New York Giants
Mike Glennon: 17/36, 191 yards, 2 sacks, 2 TD, INT | 1 carry, 7 yards, TD
Backup quarterback Mike Glennon managed 18.34 fantasy points despite looking atrocious until Los Angeles’ backups entered the game in the fourth quarter. Glennon connected with tight end Kyle Rudolph on a big pass that set up New York’s only score of the first half and was quiet other than that. There were several times throughout the game Glennon chose not to throw to open receivers, and when he did his passes were mostly inaccurate. Even when Glennon was putting the ball on target, the drops that have plagued the Giants all season continued to be a problem. Glennon pulled it together in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach. He found Barkley in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass and ran in a touchdown to make the final score look somewhat respectable.
Saquon Barkley: 16 carries, 64 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards, TD
Devontae Booker: 8 carries, 56 yards | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 28 yards
Elijah Penny: 1 carry, 8 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards, TD
This was one of Barkley’s better games this season. Giants fans have been clamoring for Barkley to stop dancing in the backfield and run the ball downhill, and he finally did so on Sunday. Instead of trying to break every run for a touchdown, he churned his feet forward and settled for the 3-4 yard runs that keep drives moving. Barkley’s hard work was rewarded with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He was split out wide and ran a smooth slant and go, the corner jumped on the slant and he was wide open in the end zone. Booker was once again effective in substitute duties, as he was very serviceable in the time Barkley missed with an injury. Fullback Elijah Penny scored the first receiving touchdown of his career, slipping out of the backfield and into the flat for the score.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 66 yards
Sterling Shepard: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards
Kenny Golladay: 8 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
Evan Engram: 4 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards
John Ross: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards
Pharoh Cooper: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards
Darius Slayton: 3 targets, 0 receptions
What was supposed to be a strength for the Giants on opening day has turned into an unmitigated disaster. Injuries have devasted the entire Giants offense, and the receiving corps has been especially prone to missing games. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney have rarely been on the field together at the same time, and the offense has never built chemistry because of it. Golladay is yet to have a touchdown this season and caught just two of eight targets in Los Angeles. The lone highlight for New York’s pass catchers came from Kyle Rudolph on a 60-yard catch and run where he got loose over the middle and carried Chargers defenders inside the five-yard line.
Glennon ➡️ Rudolph
WHAT A PLAY TO SET UP THE TD! 💪
🎥 @Giants pic.twitter.com/IBdoteAGRh
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) December 12, 2021
— Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)