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Giants Struggle in Season Opening Loss to Steelers

The New York Giants opened up their 2020 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Despite jumping out to an early 10-3 lead in the beginning of the second quarter, the G-Men would lose 26-16. As with every game, there were plenty of takeaways, both good and bad.

The Good

While the Giants did lose, there were some signs of improvement, especially on the defensive side of the ball. While the defense did still give up 26 points, for the first three quarters, they held their own.

The Giants defense in the first three quarters managed to keep the team in the game. Big Ben saw a lot of pressure through those first three quarters. They turned those pressures into two sacks. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score had remained at 16-10 Steelers.

Big Blue’s defense also forced a fumble in the third quarter. However, Pittsburgh would get it back. Regardless, before simply being exhausted in the fourth quarter, the Giants defense showed promise. This could be a sign of hope for what was previously a horrid Giants defense.

The offense didn’t have as much to celebrate but there were were some positive takeaways. Daniel Jones did not play as bad as one may think. While ball security and decision making still seem to be an issue, he had a solid stat line. Jones finished the night with 279 passing yards, a 63.4 completion percentage and 22 yards on the ground.

Jones certainly improved his play which Giants fans will be happy to see. However, he still has plenty to improve which I will mention more later.

The other glimmer of hope was Darius Slayton. Slayton had one of his best games of his young career. He broke 100 yards for just the third time in his career, had 2 touchdowns for just the fourth time, and only his third time with six or more receptions.

Slayton seems to be looking to build on his success from last season. It looks like the Giants have an emerging star and a more clear cut number one wide receiver in Slayton. Slayton and Jones clearly have a strong connection and this is something to keep an eye on as the season continues.

The Bad

Now for the not so fun part. It is time to look at what went wrong for the Giants. The offense as a whole was the main issue for the G-Men.

For seemingly forever, the New York Giants have had an absolutely horrendous offensive line. This season seems to be no different.

The Giants line looked like swiss cheese, and that is putting it nicely. They seemingly couldn’t stop anything or anyone. The Steelers defense was credited with three sacks in the game. More importantly, they were all over Jones. Jones was under constant pressure and seemingly had no time in the pocket.

Giants

To say that Jones even really had a pocket in the first place is being nice. This would also lead to Saquon Barkley having a terrible night. Barkley finished the night with 15 carries for just six yards. Nearly every run play was for a loss and it is not Barkley who is to blame.

Barkley couldn’t even get back to the line of scrimmage. The line was pushed back 2-4 yards nearly every play which forced Barkley to be tackled for a loss. The line was pitiful and this is a must fix.

The other main culprit in this loss was none other than Daniel Jones. I know that I mentioned previously that Jones played well, and he did. However, Jones still did not play at his best. He made rookie mistakes that just are not acceptable.

Jones threw two interceptions, one was much worse than the other. The first was a smart play by T.J. Watt. I will let that one slide for now. However, the second one was just horrible decision making.

Jones was in the redzone on a second-and-three during a 19 play drive. He scrambled out of the pocket and was being chased by Bud Dupree. Jones attempted to throw on the run and was hit as he throws. The pass becomes an easy interception as the ball is headed to the end zone with four or five Steelers running for the ball.

This is a play where Jones needs to either just take the sack or get it out of bounds to the sideline. He absolutely should not be attempting to throw it towards the end zone. This was as good as just physically handing them the ball. Jones can not continue to make these mistakes.

Verdict

The Giants certainly should be happy with the way their defense looked for the majority of the game. While they were in no way perfect, they showed an improvement compared to seasons past. Darius Slayton also showed some signs of stardom which is reason to feel good about the season.

As for the offensive line, it was horrible. This has been and continues to be the achilles heel for the Giants. If this is not fixed soon, it will be yet another long season for Big Blue.


Follow me on Twitter @Jake_Malik for more New York Giants news and notes and follow @OT_Heroics for any and all things sports! Also be sure to check me out on my podcast Journey With The Js!

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