The New York Giants entered their week one matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers as a significant underdog, and it turned out that way on Monday night. The Giants lost 26-16 to the superior team, and that was known going into the contest.
With a strong defensive front and secondary, Pittsburgh managed to limit them to 279 yards through the air and just 29 total yards on the ground. Running back Saquon Barkley was completely shut down, despite totaling 60 yards as a receiver. Nonetheless, the Giants did show some positives in the game.
Good news and bad news for the New York Giants:
While some saw this result as a disappointment, the Giants remained competitive until the fourth quarter. At half-time, they were only down by 16-10. Big Blue immediately got the ball back from the Steelers in the 3rd quarter and had an opportunity to secure the lead, but an unfortunate Daniel Jones interception in the red-zone cost them a great opportunity to secure momentum.
In Joe Judge’s first game as the Giants’ head coach, the team performed well, aside from some costly mistakes. The Jones INT was the tipping point, and the Steelers ultimately scored an additional 10 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
The good performances were scattered across the roster. Darius Slayton ended the night with 102 yards and two touchdowns, building off his stellar rookie campaign where he led all first-year wide receivers in touchdowns and yards.
Defensively, Blake Martinez racked up 12 total tackles and was flying around the field to make stops in run defense. Leonard Williams was a notable contributor with two quarterback hits and one sack.
Unfortunately, high usage of their defensive front early on in the game gassed them by the second quarter. They simply weren’t able to maintain their mobility as the game wore on.
The Giants have a lot of work to do this week as they prepare for the Chicago Bears. Their defense looked solid at times and made some impressive plays, but the offense made too many mistakes, and they lost the turnover battle, which was a key to win. Daniel Jones threw two interceptions, one of which came in the red zone on a potential game shifting 18-play drive.
The offensive line was disastrous, as the run blocking was virtually nonexistent. Left tackle Andrew Thomas had a decent game against Bud Dupree, but right tackle cam Fleming was a liability all game long. While the pass protection hovered around the average range, the run blocking was embarrassing. Barkley was unable to get anything going on the ground, averaging 0.4 yards per carry on 15 carries.
In coverage, both Cory Ballentine and Isaac Yiadom was unable to hold their own. The former Bronco allowed a touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ballentine was picked on all evening. If the Giants can find a supplement at CB2, they might be in better shape moving forward, but it was a decent place to start for the Giants, who were always going to struggle against a superior Pittsburgh team in week one.
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