EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The pressure is off coach Joe Judge and the New York Giants.
No longer are fans and football experts wondering if the 38-year-old is going to win a football game in his first season as a head coach.
Win No. 1 came Sunday with a heart-pounding 20-19 decision over Washington in game decided in the closing minutes.
The questions about when was the most recent time the Giants opened a season with six straight losses (2013) and what was their worst start to a season (nine straight in 1976) have been shelved.
With a 1-5 record, everything is much better. Even the name of embattled general manager Dave Gettleman has not come to mind.
The only problem is the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. The Giants need to take the next step. If it’s not a win against the Eagles (1-4-1) in Philadelphia on Thursday night. it would be getting No. 2 in the books in less than six weeks.
Giants fans, owners and players want to see progress. That’s the goal over the next 10 games. If they do that, they have a chance to make a run in the NFC East, where no one is playing very well.
“To win was a great feeling for us after putting in all the work we put in through the ramp-up period, training camp and the last five weeks leading into this last game,” linebacker Blake Martinez said Monday. “To go out there and do what we knew we were capable of doing. Obviously it was not pretty at all, but we got the job done.”
Now it’s time to do it again.
The search for a starting cornerback to play opposite James Bradberry seemingly is over. Ryan Lewis got plugged in a couple of weeks ago and he has been a surprise. Several times against Washington, he got the coverage against Terry McLaurin and did the job. He finished with three tackles.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offense once again. After scoring a season-high 34 points the week before against Dallas, the Giants did little with the ball. The offense was limited to 240 yards and needed help to score. The defense scored the game winning touchdown on a fumble return and Daniel Jones’ TD pass to Darius Slayton was set up by Bradberry’s interception and return to the Washington 27. Jones provided proved much of the offense with his 74 yards rushing, including a 49-yard keeper. The wide receivers had five catches for 61 yards.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell, a free agent who started slowly with his new team, has made big plays the past two weeks. He returned an interception for a touchdown against Dallas last week, his first pick-6. His strip-sack of Kyle Allen late forced the fumble that rookie Tae Crowder (10 tackles) returned for a go-ahead touchdown.
Being taken out of the starting lineup is never a good sign and it’s something No. 6 overall draft pick Andrew Thomas is going to have to live with for a week. Judge said he started Matt Peart at left tackle because Thomas broke a team rule. Thomas tweeted he was late for a team meeting Saturday night.
The excellent news involved receiver C.J. Board. He was released from a hospital Sunday night after being diagnosed with a concussion. The injury had originally been diagnosed as a neck injury and it appeared serious when he was carted off the field.
Crowder (hamstring), safety Adrian Colbert (shoulder), cornerback Darney Holmes (neck) did not participate in Monday’s workout. Slayton (foot) was limited. There is a chance receiver wide receiver Sterling Shepard comes off injured reserve this week.
1 - The Giants and Joe Judge have gotten rid of the zero in the win column.
The Giants have a very short week with a game at Philadelphia on Thursday night. The natural follow-up would be to win again. It’s not going to be easy. The Eagles have beaten them seven straight times and 11 of 12. New York’s most recent win in Philly was 2013.
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