Mauling at the Meadowlands: Giants Fall to 0-2
Giants Offensive Woes Continue Against Lions; Fall to 0-2 on the Season
Mauling at the Meadowlands: Giants Fall to 0-2
The home opener for the New York Giants went far from what they had hoped for, losing to the Detroit Lions 24-10 on Monday night.
The Giants found themselves down 17-7 at halftime. Their only touchdown coming from rookie tight end Evan Engram finding himself in the end-zone with an 18-yard touchdown reception early on in the second quarter. The Giants could not get anything going, with the offensive line continuing to be the revolving door that it is. Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas kicked a 25-yard field goal to bring the score to 17-10 with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
With the game within reach, the Giants took possession of the ball early in the fourth quarter, with the hopes of tying the game. New York had just that opportunity, with quarterback Eli Manning throwing the ball deep down field to Brandon Marshall. He had broken away from cornerback D.J. Hayden. In what looked to be a huge gain, Marshall made a crucial drop, with the ball hitting him right between the numbers.
That play essentially ended the drive, and the Giants would punt the ball back to the Lions. In what looked to be a good punt by Brad Wing, the Giants’ special teams unit let the worst possible thing happen, let return man Jamal Agnew take the punt to the house on a 88-yard touchdown return. That proved to be the dagger, as the Lions would emerge victorious at the final score of 24-10.
“I’ll tell you the same thing I told the players – put this game on me,” said Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. We talk about playing complete, complementary football. By no stretch of the imagination did we get that done tonight. We’ve got to do better. We dug ourselves into a hole. No one feels sorry for us. We’ve got to find a way to get better and get better in a hurry.”
Giants’ Offensive Play Calling Once Again an Issue
The offensive play calling is once again coming into question for the second consecutive week, and for good reason. The Giants play calls have been predictable for the most part, and have been the same plays that have been called for the better part of the past 15 years.
Running the ball up the middle did not work on the first few tries, so why keep calling the play? The Giants ran the ball 18 times, and only netted 62 yards. On each run, the crowd of 80,000 Giants fans groaned in disgust whenever New York would run the ball up the middle through the collapsing offensive line. The Lions defense knew every play that was coming from New York, and the Giants paid for it. Just one touchdown so far this season.
“We have to analyze everything we’re doing,” said McAdoo. “I mean, we can’t pull points out of a hat. We’ve got to get to work. We have to block better, we have to handle the ball better, we can’t turn the ball over, we have to play complete, complementary football and we’re not doing it.”
Flowers is a Liability at Left Tackle/Offensive Line Woes Continue
The much talked-about “new and improved,” Ereck Flowers Giants fans have been hearing about throughout the offseason has not showed up. In fact, it doesn’t seem like that version of Flowers will make an appearance. Instead, the Giants got a taste of the “same old,” Flowers.
Flowers was left to handle one-on-one battles with dangerous defensive end Ziggy Ansah, and Flowers was left exposed. He allowed three sacks at the hands of Ansah, leaving Manning exposed. The experiment with Flowers looks as though it will never end, but if the Giants want to continue to play him, they might have to consider giving him some help in terms of blocking on the left side.
“Yeah, we tried to give him some help as the game went on,” said McAdoo. “Initially, we were focusing on the other side. We had our left guard playing right tackle. He ended up holding up and doing a nice job…When they’re playing cover two and you give help to both sides, you have three guys running routes and you have seven in coverage, that makes it a challenge.”
It has not only been Flowers at fault. The entire offensive line has been a main factor as to why the offense has been ineffective thus far in the season. Manning and the offense can only do so much in two seconds before the line implodes in front of them. It is not an easy fix, however. The Giants know that this will be a recurring problem that they will have to work on throughout this season.
“Obviously, if I knew that answer, we would be able to make some changes,” said Justin Pugh, who attributed the Giants o-line troubles on the whole squad, not just Flowers. “We’ve got to look in the mirror. We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to go out and play better than this.”
Marshall’s Crucial Drop
Brandon Marshall was brought in to be the guy to help alleviate some of the defensive coverage off of Odell Beckham Jr. This has not gone to plan, as Marshall has been a non-factor in Week 2, just as in Week 1.
Marshall had the drop in the fourth quarter that proved to be critical, especially since the Lions would score on the resulting punt. He just doesn’t seem to have the chemistry with Manning. Marshall is not denying that his drop was crucial and knows that it cost the team.
“That was the moment,” said Marshall. “That was the biggest play of the game. I let my team down, I got an opportunity to make a big play and change the momentum and I lost it.”
Beckham is Back
Odell Beckham Jr. made his return to the Giants lineup for his season debut. During pregame warm-ups, Beckham showed that he was able to run routes effectively and jump for the ball, which led to McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese to make the decision to let their star receiver play.
However, it would not be one of note. Beckham would haul in four receptions for just 36 yards. The fourth-year receiver was on a pitch count, as Giants coaching staff did not want to run the risk of Beckham re-injuring his ankle.
Even with Beckham back on the field, the Giants still could not fix their offensive woes.
“I mean I don’t think starting really matters, you know what I mean? You are going to go in if it’s not the first play, it’s the second play,” said Beckham. “So, is that really a big deal? I don’t think so. It was just a matter of getting in where I am able to get in, try to make the plays when we can and do the best that you can do.”
“…I just think we have to get it together. Stay positive. Stay with each other and just get better each and every day. We are only going to go where we take it. So, it’s up to us, it’s in our hands.”
Evan Engram Scores First Career Touchdown
Arguably the lone bright spot on the offensive side of the ball was that first round pick Evan Engram. He scored his first career touchdown in the NFL. Engram was able to trick two Lions defenders on a play action pass, allowing him to stand in the end-zone, by himself, and haul in the Giants lone touchdown of the season.
Not only that, but Engram was the most effective receiver in the game. Engram had a total of four receptions for 49 yards, including that touchdown.
“Safeties came down, it was a good play, it’s a great design,” said Engram, regarding his first career touchdown.
“Had a good play call, had some play action,” said Manning, in regards to the play that resulted in Engram’s touchdown reception. “I think they may have screwed up the coverage anyway. But they sucked up on the play action, was able to get him up the middle.”
Giants’ Defense is Doing its Job
The one thing that the Giants have been doing right has been on the defensive side of the ball. The defense has been stifling once again this week, and once again kept the team in the game.
However, we get the same recurring theme, and that is the offense can not build off of the success of the defense. The defense racked up 66 total tackles on the night. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had the most of any defender, with 11.
With defensive performances like the Giants have had through the first two weeks of the season, it would give most teams the victory. However, the offense can not build off the defensive momentum, which has prevented the team from getting wins. Giants fans notice this. Analysts notice this. The Giants coaching staff needs to reiterate to the coaching staff that the offense needs to help the defense win these games, as the defense’s effort has been all-for-naught.
” At the end of the day, it’s two losses,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “Whether they’re good or not, we have to find a way to win. We’re going out there playing good but obviously not good enough. As long as there’s points on the board we have to find a way to have more points than them.”
The Giants go on the road next week to face their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1). New York is looking to break out of their slump to earn their first victory, and to avoid going 0-3.