Giant Takeaways: Giants Bullied by Bills in Home Opener
Hoping for a change of luck at home, the New York Giants lose to the Buffalo Bills 28-14 on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.
The same issues that plagued the Giants in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys struck the team again. Despite an opening drive touchdown, the Giants fell victim to a Bills team that imposed their will for the better part of three-and-a-half quarters.
Now, after defeating the Jets and Giants, the Bills are essentially the owners of MetLife Stadium. Well, not really, but hey, they took advantage of less than desirable scheduling and won.
Here are some takeaways from New York’s Week 2 loss.
Once again, this Giants defensive squad showcased their many weaknesses, and are on pace to end up on the wrong side of history.
New York surrendered 388 yards of total offense against the Bills, which looks better than the 497 they allowed to the Cowboys in the season opener. Yet, it was the same issues that tormented them in “Jerry World” that showed up in the Meadowlands.
While the Giants did record their first three sacks of the season, the pass rush was simply nonexistent. As a result, quarterback Josh Allen stood in the pocket for extended periods of time and capitalized by finding his receiver wide open.
One play that sticks out in particular is in the second quarter. With Buffalo called for a penalty, they faced a first-and-20, certainly an advantage for the Giants. It took one play, in which Allen found receiver Cole Beasley wide open for a 51-yard gain and the first down. On the very next play, Allen hits receiver Ian McKenzie for a 14-yard touchdown.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins heard the noise about the secondary giving up big plays, and gave a rather blunt assessment of the defense as a whole.
“When you’ve got time and you get no pressure, I can’t cover nobody for ten seconds,” said Jenkins, via Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. “Who can cover somebody for ten seconds? Go look at it within the first five seconds of the route. he’s not open. If he’s scrambled and ain’t no pressure getting to him, what you want me to do? I can’t cover this side and that side?”
A successful defense is one that can get to the quarterback consistently. This Giants pass rush can’t do that, and it shows statistically.
63 points surrendered. 882 yards allowed. Nine touchdowns scored on them. All through two games.
Eli’s Time Could be Shorter in 2019
Unlike in Week 1, Eli Manning had a less than impressive performance.
Manning started off the game by failing to make a completion on four pass attempts in the first quarter. Manning’s passes were either overthrown or tipped at the line of scrimmage by an impressive Bills pass rush. On the day, the 16-year veteran finished with 25-of-46 for 250 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Despite the poor performance, head coach Pat Shurmur said a quarterback change isn’t in discussions following Week 2. Daniel Jones was selected with the sixth overall pick for a reason: to take over at quarterback in the near future. Owner John Mara said he wanted to see Manning on the field all season, meaning that the Giants are winning. But here’s the thing, this team isn’t winning, and are in line for a long 2019.
Kansas City and Green Bay models should officially be thrown in the trash can. Daniel Jones will have to start at some point this season, especially if the team loses winnable games with Eli Manning at the helm.
Shurmur Stifles Saquon Again
Saquon Barkley was limited to just 15 touches (11 carries) against the Cowboys, despite an impressive opening drive. It was a case of deja vu on Sunday, as the second-year running back had four carries for 55 yards and a touchdown on the first drive of the game. So, you’d think Barkley would have more touches, right?
He did, but with 21 touches (18 carries).
With the Giants receiving corps heavily depleted, the expectation was that Shurmur would utilize a rush-heavy approach against Buffalo. Instead, New York used the dink-and-dunk method, even when down 21-7. A lot of that is due to Buffalo stacking the box against Barkley. Yet, he’s the best player on the team, so force feeding him isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Offense Misses Odell
Dave Gettleman and the Giants organization believed that they could win without Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, pinpointing their receiving production without the star in the finals games of the 2018 season. So, they traded Beckham to the Cleveland Browns, and essentially replaced him with free agent Golden Tate.
The Giants entered their home opener without Sterling Shepard due to a concussion and Darius Slayton with a hamstring injury, while Tate entered the second week of his four-game PED suspension.
During post-game pressers, the Bills said their key to win was for the Giants to throw the ball. That strategy worked out well for Buffalo, to say the least.
The defense blanketed tight end Evan Engram, who finished with six receptions for 48 yards on eight targets. That was a far cry from his 116 yards in Week 1. New York’s leading receiver of the game was Bennie Fowler, who hauled in five passes for 51 yards on ten targets. The lone touchdown came from TJ Jones, on a toe tap reception in the back of the end zone. Other than that, the receivers had difficulty getting open, dropped passes, and were overthrown/underthrown.
As if the Giants receiving depth couldn’t be hit harder, Cody Latimer left in the fourth quarter with a concussion, so his status will be something to keep an eye on throughout the week.
Whatever your thoughts may be on Beckham as a player and personality, he was a difference maker in the Giants offense. New York banked on their success without him. So far, they were burned with the injuries at the start of training camp and the performances of the corps through the first two weeks of the season.
The Giants hit the road to face the 1-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Despite their Week 2 win over the Carolina Panthers, Tampa presents itself as a winnable matchup. Can the Giants take advantage of a turnover prone Buccaneers offense? Or will it be the same old story for the Giants for the third consecutive week?
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