Cruz likely would’ve fallen into coach Ben McAdoo’s category of “de-acclimation” had he not been injured. Tight end Larry Donnell also was not part of the Giants’ game plan coming out of the bye. Donnell did not play an offensive snap against the Eagles, after serving as the starter at tight end most of the season.
“We just talked about using all the 46,” McAdoo said. “Rotate as many players as we can in the ballgame and get them some quality reps.”
Instead of Donnell, Will Tye took a majority of the snaps and rookie Jerell Adams saw an increase in his playing time. Tye and Adams combined for seven catches on 11 targets for 57 yards.
With some rest, tweaks to their offense and help from a defense that created a pair of early turnovers, the Giants exploded, at least in comparison to what has been expected from them this season. They scored first for the first time since Week 3 and grabbed a quick 14-point advantage. Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes after throwing four in the previous four games combined.
The Giants (5-3) can take away some positives from this key victory over a division rival. They grabbed sole possession of second place in the NFC East, and their offense, which entered Sunday’s game averaging only 19 points per game, showed signs of life. It’s something to build on, even if it wasn’t perfect.
The Giants’ offense stumbled late and still couldn’t run the ball for much of the afternoon. But at times, the Giants looked like a different team from the one we saw before the bye.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz, before leaving with an ankle injury, didn’t start. Some of his snaps were taken by Dwayne Harris — who started because of his blocking — and rookie Roger Lewis.
Lewis caught a 30-yard touchdown early in the first quarter to give the Giants a 14-0 lead. He followed up an Odell Beckham Jr. 26-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Lewis brings an added dimension to the offense. He now has two touchdown receptions of 20-plus yards in limited playing time this season.
“I think I just add a playmaker. That is it,” Lewis said. “My playmaking ability from college is still adjusting in the NFL because it is kind of different. I want to be able to be a playmaker. I kind of feed off of guys like Odell. When he scored I was like, ‘Hey, I have got to go get me one.’ So with me being an undrafted guy, I am going to have to play with a chip on my shoulder and be able to make plays. That is it.”