The play of the linebackers was also encouraging on Sunday, as they were similar to the defensive line in many ways. Rushing the passer and stopping the run game were their biggest strengths, but they struggled immensely in pass coverage.
Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins led the way with 19 combined tackles, coming mostly against the run game. Attacking Manning was another way this unit left their imprint on the game, as Emmanuel Ogbah relentlessly pursued the quarterback.
While they never made a spectacular play, the linebackers, much like the defense as a whole, held their own. They did struggle in pass coverage, as the Giants’ speedy receivers gave them fits as expected. But the problem with the linebackers was more the way they were used rather than the way they actually played.
In the end, this performance is one to build on for this group. They proved that they can indeed stop the run, and that rushing the passer is only a matter of getting the coaching staff’s consent to do so.