WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
After he took over for Tommy DeVito at halftime of Monday’s game against the Eagles, Tyrod Taylor got the starting nod at quarterback for Week 17. In his fourth start of the season, Taylor completed 27 of 41 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown with an interception late in the second quarter on a deep attempt to wide receiver Darius Slayton down the right sideline. Taylor was sacked six times.
Speaking of deep shots, Taylor and Slayton later connected on an 80-yard touchdown to bring the Giants within four points of the Rams with 4:39 left in the third quarter. It came less than a week after the duo brought the team back to life with a 69-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Eagles.
Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, showing no signs of the quad injury that limited him in practice this week, took off for a 24-yard rushing touchdown on an end-around to tie the game 7-7 early in the second quarter. On the previous play, Taylor completed a third-and-six with an 18-yard completion to rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who was not targeted last week and hadn’t caught a pass since Week 14.
The Giants couldn’t capitalize on a second-quarter takeaway and gave the ball right back to the Rams on downs following an aborted snap on fourth-and-one.
The Giants started the same five offensive linemen for six consecutive games, but right tackle Tyre Phillips momentarily left on the first drive with a knee injury. He was replaced by Matt Peart, who was activated off injured reserve the prior week. Evan Neal, the original starter at the position, was recently placed on injured reserve and will require surgery on his ankle “fairly soon,” coach Brian Daboll said this week. Phillips returned on the following drive and played until he had to be carted off with a right knee injury with 13:37 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Saquon Barkley, who moved into fourth place on the Giants’ all-time rushing list last week, ran 12 times for 39 yards on Sunday.
After Gunner Olszewski’s punt return touchdown brought the Giants to within one point of the Rams with 3:27 remaining, Daboll put the offense back on the field for a two-point conversion attempt after Los Angeles was called for offsides on the extra point. Taylor, however, couldn’t connect with Barkley as he tried to flip the ball to the running back heading toward the front-right pylon.
With another chance after the Giants forced a punt, Taylor scrambled 31 yards down to the Rams’ 34 with under a minute to play to set up a 54-yard field goal attempt, which Mason Crosby missed. The Rams took over with 30 seconds on the clock.
Tight end Lawrence Cager (groin) was placed on injured reserve on Saturday.