The Giants, in their first game since offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired, did plenty of good and some not-so-good up front in Sunday’s 19-17 victory over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Leaning on a ball-control attack after quarterback Daniel Jones left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, the Giants ended up with 42 rushing attempts and gained 142 yards, their sixth consecutive game with more than 100 rushing yards. Their time of possession was 37:26, their highest in more than seven years. There were no sacks of Jones or his replacement, Colt McCoy.
Head coach Joe Judge dismissed Colombo after the two had words as the Giants embarked on their bye week. Colombo’s replacement, veteran assistant Dave DeGuglielmo, kept rookie Shane Lemieux in the starting lineup at left guard and mixed Will Hernandez in for a few series. This does not bode well for Hernandez, who did not return to the starting lineup against the Eagles after he missed two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list and is now a reserve.
There was no rotation at offensive tackle, as rookie Matt Peart is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. With Peart unavailable to take some of the snaps from Cam Fleming, the veteran right tackle labored down the stretch. His holding penalty on the first play after the two-minute warning nullified a 10-yard pass from McCoy to Wayne Gallman that would have given the Giants a first down and might have allowed them to run out the clock.
“We don’t want any penalties at any time,’’ Judge said. “I’m proud of the way those guys worked. They’re a tough group. We knew that for us to have success we were going to have to run the ball, get the ball downhill.
Judge was not happy with the worst special teams performance of the season by the Giants: “Obviously, it wasn’t good enough,’’ Judge said. “We’re not going to be able to compete these next five weeks if we don’t raise our level of play.’’
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney was used sparingly in his NFL debut. He got his first snap on defense in the second quarter, put on the field on third-and-18 from the Giants’ 36-yard line. McKinney assisted on one special team tackle.
The last time the Giants gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown was Rashad Ross of Washington, who took one 101 yards on Sept. 24, 2015. … Special teams ace Nate Ebner left in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. OLB Kyler Fackrell was forced out in the third quarter with a calf issue, giving increased playing time to rookie Carter Coughlin.
The Giants won in Cincinnati for the first time in franchise history. They had been 0-6 on the road against the Bengals. … TE Kaden Smith also missed the game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. … The victory was the 700th in the regular season for the Giants, in their 96th season. The only other franchises in the 700-win club are the Bears (774) and Packers (763).