Welcome to the first article in the new section of film study, “Eyes On”. Week by week I will (attempt to) break down the performance of a player from the Giants game who I believe played a key role in the game, regardless of winning or losing. I’ll be looking at the members of the Giants roster than are making big impacts in quiet ways. So don’t expect Odell Beckham Jr in this section every week.
Week 6 Vs Ravens
The Giants started sluggishly but roared back to win 27-23 against the Ravens and their new OC Marty Morninweg. Odell Beckham Jr bounced back from a first play fumble to light up the Ravens secondary for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eli Manning threw for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns, the first of which was his 300th career touchdown pass. Although both offensive superstars had excellent games, I had my “Eyes On” a different play maker on the other side of the ball for the Giants…
Landon Collins, Safety
The Giants defense had another solid game vs the Ravens in week 6, with a 4th down goal line stand being the highlight of the day for them. One reason for the improvement on defense has been the play of Landon Collins at the safety position.
The aggressive, hard-hitting safety totaled 12 tackles and 1 sack on Sunday as he wreaked havoc at the line of scrimmage and was a menace against the run all game long.
This first play comes in the first quarter, where the Ravens are 2nd and 2. A Terrence West run to the left is stuffed by Landon Collins.
Collins is up at the line of scrimmage on this play and is looking to “set the edge” and force West back inside to where the Giants defensive line should be to make the play.
Collins is too physical for his blocker and his able to get around the outside of him and make the tackle on West. The tight end blocking Collins knows he’s beaten on the play and the only way to stop Collins at this point would be to foul him and draw the offensive holding penalty. He doesn’t, allowing Collins to make the play in the backfield.
Ending the play is vital in the NFL. Too many times defenders do the hard work by getting to the play, but are unable to finish due to poor tackling. Landon Collins finishes this play superbly, wrapping his arms around the ball carrier, which allows for the second defender to come and bring West to the ground.
Joe Flacco Sacked
In the second quarter, Landon Collins recorded his second sack on the season, as he’s able to bring down Flacco on an all-out blitz dialed up by DC Steve Spagnuolo.
Spagnuolo blitzed 8 defenders on this play, leaving man coverage on the outside and also on the tight end. Collins’s position and timing of his blitz is key here as he hovers close to the line of scrimmage and his able to get a running start on the snap.
The all-out blitz is a high risk, high reward play. If any receivers are running slants or posts on this play then Flacco could’ve simply floated the ball into the blue box area, which is wide open as there are no safeties back defending. As you can see, Collins had a running start on the snap, closing in on Flacco before he has time to survey the field.
Once again, Collins finishes the play. Wrapping up Flacco and not allowing him to slide to his left and avoid the hit from Collins. This play worked to perfection and Spagnuolo isn’t afraid to dial up the all-out blitz from time to time, so expect to see Collins flying into the backfield more often this season.
What impresses me most about Collins is his aggressive style of play. His speed and power is a frightening combination, especially when he’s playing up to the line of scrimmage, like we saw in them two plays, where he is able to tackle running backs for a loss and get after the quarterback. With the addition of Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins in the off-season, Collins has been given a free role in the secondary to fly around and make plays. One weakness of Collins’s play is his pass coverage ability, but with the upgrades in the secondary the Giants will be allowing Collins to play to his strengths, stuffing the run and sacking the quarterback.