The Giants beat the Rams 17-10 in London, England, pushing their record to 4-3 as they enter the bye week. There was plenty of heroics, insanity and ineptitude surrounding this game, but these were the standouts for Hero, Nero, Zero.
Hero: Landon Collins
Even before he intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 44 yards to tie the game 10-10 in the second quarter, Landon Collins seemed like an outlier among his teammates. I tweeted early in game, when the offense looked lethargic, “Well, at least Landon Collins made the trip.”
He seemed to be around the ball on every play, thumping ball carriers with authority. He’s becoming one of the best safeties in the league, justifying the second round pick the Giants spent on him in the 2015 draft. He led all defenders with eight solo tackles. In addition to the pick-six -- when he turned into a running back and ran about 75 yards in cutting back and forth -- he added a second pick in the second half.
Two picks, doubling his career total.
The Giants had been trailing 10-3 and their offense was struggling when Collins flipped the game’s momentum. He didn’t cause the tip, but he took advantage of the opportunity and then some. On a day where the Giants’ rushing game (36) once again failed to gain 40 yards total, and with Odell Beckham (5 catches for 49 yards) and the passing game held largely in check, New York needed someone to step up and make a big play. Collins delivered.
Nero: The NFL
I love the occasional NFL game in London, England, the rare opportunity to wake up early on a Sunday, brew some coffee and cook some breakfast while a game is on. But I live on the East Coast, so the game started at 9:30 a.m. – not the West Coast, where Rams fans had to wake up at 6:30 a.m., for a so-called home game.
I understand the NFL schedule is created far in advance, and that the Rams were slated to play the Giants back when the team was still playing in St. Louis. But that doesn’t meant the start time can’t be adjusted. Heck, the NFL flexes games in and out of its Sunday night schedule and national televised games on the regular. You’re telling me changing the start time from 2:30 p.m. in London to, say, 5:30 p.m. or later is a big lift? If so, I’d like to hear why.
As usual, the NFL is tone deaf. The Rams just moved to Los Angeles, the second-biggest television market in the country. And in a game in which they are facing a team from the biggest TV market, they schedule it for 9:30 a.m. on the East Coast and 6:30 a.m. on the West Coast. Brilliant. Nothing like fumbling a prime opportunity to grab good TV ratings.
Zero: Giants playing this week
The team is now on bye, and at 4-3 has to feel pretty good about its direction. Two straight victories in close games – against good defenses in Baltimore and St. Louis – should give the Giants plenty of confidence that the team can win games late – a complete reversal of last year’s squad, which seemed to find new and creative ways to blow late leads.
The team’s next three games are at home – Eagles, Bengals, Bears. Then they hit the road to face the Browns. All four of these games are winnable.
The Giants are not a great team. They’re a good team that shows flashes of greatness. And they still have no running game. But they’ve proven they’ll be competitive in just about every contest. The second half of the season should be exciting for Big Blue.