NFL Wire News

Giants-Rams: What we learned

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ST. LOUIS — About 30 minutes after Sunday’s game, Christmas music wafted through the Edward Jones Dome.

The New York Giants and St. Louis Rams spent part of the day wishing each other everything but glad tidings and happy holidays.

In a game marked by a pair of wild brawls that led to three ejections just before halftime, New York strafed St. Louis’ defense for 514 yards and led wire-to-wire for a 37-27 win.

“We wanted to play a complete game, run the ball and take some pressure off (quarterback) Eli (Manning),” said Giants right tackle Justin Pugh. “They have a good pass rush, but Eli got the ball out quickly and they couldn’t get to him.”

The Rams (6-9) came into the game not having allowed a touchdown in 12 straight quarters, but New York (6-9) ended that at the 8:24 mark of the first quarter when Manning threw a 9-yard scoring strike to rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

St. Louis took exception to the touchdown celebration of Beckham, Jr., and the officials flagged him for taunting. But that wasn’t enough for the Rams, who targeted Beckham, Jr. for the half’s remainder.

Things finally boiled over with 2:10 left in the first half when linebacker Alec Ogletree hit Beckham, Jr. late out of bounds after a 6-yard reception. Beckham, Jr. responded by throwing the ball at Ogletree and things escalated rapidly.

Giants wide receiver Preston Parker punched a St. Louis player from behind and was ejected, while New York defensive end Damontre Moore and Rams defensive end William Hayes traded punches, knocking over the kicking net. Both were dismissed.

Asked repeatedly if Beckham, Jr.’s touchdown celebrations were becoming a concern, Giants coach Tom Coughlin finally grew weary.

“You guys going to ask about the game?” he snapped before walking away from the podium and cutting his postgame press conference short.

Booed loudly during the third quarter by Rams fans in the crowd of 55,851, Beckham, Jr. offered the perfect silencer. Getting behind the secondary by five yards, he hauled in Manning’s 80-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left in the period for a 34-20 advantage.

It was the highlight play in an eight-catch, 148-yard day for Beckham, who’s gained more than 100 yards in six of the last eight games and has 1,120 yards in just 11 games.

Manning completed 25 of 32 passes for 391 yards and three scores, racking up a quarterback rating of 148.8. Wide receiver Rueben Randle added six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, while rookie running back Andre Williams finished with 110 yards on 26 rushes.

What the Giants said:

“That dirty (stuff) don’t make you tough. That’s a dirty team. They (stink) as an organization.” — LB Jameel McClain on the Rams.

What the Rams said:

“We kind of had a lot of self-inflicted wounds.” – RB Tre Mason.

What we learned about the Giants:

1. It’s time for WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to rein in his TD celebrations a bit. His ball-spinning, torso-gyrating antics led to a 15-yard penalty after his first-quarter score and lit the fuse for a chippy first half, leading to multiple fights just before halftime when he was hit late out of bounds by LB Alec Ogletree. While few want to take the enthusiasm out of his game, Beckham, Jr. isn’t making a lot of friends with his post-score maneuvers. Coach Tom Coughlin has noticed.

2. When their offensive line gives QB Eli Manning time, the Giants can ring up the points. Manning ate just one sack against the Rams’ rush line and delivered a great game, going 25 of 32 for 391 yards and three scores. If New York can protect Manning more consistently next year, this will be one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Manning should only improve in the second year of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system.

–CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (burner) left the game in the third quarter and did not return. It isn’t known if Rodgers-Cromartie, who had two interceptions nullified by penalties, will be able to play in next week’s regular-season finale against Philadelphia.

–LT Will Beatty had a rough game, picking up four holding penalties, one in each period. When he wasn’t holding, Beatty did help the offense gain 514 yards and score 37 points on a defense that had allowed just 46 points in its previous five games.

–WR Rueben Randle’s six-catch, 132-yard game was overshadowed by another great performance by rookie Odell Beckham Jr. But Randle made plenty of plays, scoring a TD and routinely beating overmatched Ram CBs in coverage.

What we learned about the Rams:

1. The Rams’ defense isn’t very good if they’re not getting a pass rush. They managed just one sack of QB Eli Manning, thanks to a safety blitz by T.J. McDonald, and their cornerbacks couldn’t hang with Odell Beckham, Jr. or Rueben Randle, who combined for 280 yards and three TDs on 14 catches. St. Louis may have to consider finding another cover guy in the offseason to compete with CBs Janoris Jenkins, E.J. Gaines and Trumaine Johnson.

2. The Rams again showed a lack of poise that has marked their efforts over the last three seasons. Too often, they confuse late hits and trash-talking with real toughness. They gave up three first downs via penalty, all of which led to scores. For this team to take the step from promising team to winning team next year, the Rams will have to lay off the borderline stuff and play a more disciplined game.

–CB E.J. Gaines (head) left in the third quarter after taking an accidental shot from a teammate while trying to break up a pass. He did not return. Gaines, who also injured his shoulder in the first half, had a concussion evaluation. His status for next week’s regular-season finale in Seattle isn’t certain.

–QB Shaun Hill bounced back from a subpar showing against Arizona by hitting 24 of 32 passes for 290 yards and two TDs. Hill also had an interception, although WR Tavon Austin clanked the short pass into the arms of DT Kerry Wynn.

–WR Kenny Britt enjoyed a big game with nine catches for 103 yards, making several tough grabs in traffic over the middle. The former Tennessee Titan is second on the team in receptions with 44 and has been praised as a leader by the coaching staff.


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