It took until Week 6, but the New York Giants finally got their first win of the season and it might just be because of a subtle game day change.
Mike Sullivan called the Giants plays on Sunday, with the offensive coordinator taking on this responsibility that is usually held by head coach Ben McAdoo. Something clicked as the Giants rattled off the most rushing yards all season and moved the ball effectively as well as consistently, a rarity through the five losses that marked the 0-5 start to their season.
McAdoo won’t commit to this being the plan moving forward, but for at least one week it worked for the now 1-5 Giants.
“I felt with the things that were taking place last week, that I needed to delegate play-calling duty to Sully. I think he did a tremendous job sticking to the plan during the ballgame and sticking with the run and putting us in position to win the ballgame,” McAdoo said Tuesday.
“I felt like during the course of the week, I needed to make sure that I was here for the entire football team and this organization anyway that I could be. We talk about doing what’s best for the team, and what was best for the team last week was for me to give up play-calling duties. And yes, the head coach needs to be available for his team each and every week.”
McAdoo came to the Giants three years ago after being the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, becoming the Giants offensive coordinator in 2014. As head coach, he’s continued to call the plays on offense, only deferring the duty for the first time this past Sunday night.
Sullivan did a good job getting production out of the offense. Given that the team’s top three wide receivers were missing due to injury, the Giants still managed to move the ball well. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall sidelined for the season, this formula used on Sunday might be the one for the offense moving forward.
They ran they ball a lot with a season-high 31 carries by the running backs and passed when needed. In fact, the Giants completed only two passes to their wide receivers in the win. The rest of Eli Manning’s 11 completions went to tight ends or the backfield.
It may have been ugly, but the Giants had four scoring drives in the game and limited their mistakes, while Manning finished the tilt without having an interception. It just might be the recipe for this team moving forward.
Sullivan having success calling plays allowed McAdoo time with his staff and his team during the game, making him an important and energetic presence on the sideline as the Giants turned the corner on a winless start.
“I think what can happen sometimes is, when you call plays your mentality may be a little bit different. Your personality may be a little bit different. So, I felt my personality came out a little bit more last night than maybe it normally has,” McAdoo said.
“I was still involved with the offense. I had a chance to buzz around and be around all the players, let my energy come out a little bit more maybe than I have in the past, but that’s part of it.”