The Giants Guys

Missed opportunities hurt Giants in season opening loss to Jaguars

The New York Giants lost their regular season opener to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday by a score of 20-15. The difference was a defensive touchdown by the Jags on an interception off a tipped pass by linebacker Myles Jack.

“Ball just got tipped,” said QB Eli Manning. “It got tipped at the line. It is unfortunate. You hate to let them get an easy one like that where it gets tipped at the line and it pops up. They had a pretty good fake blitz that put Ereck in a bind trying to block two guys. Tried to step up and get a shot to Saquon. It is just unfortunate when the ball gets tipped that high in the middle of the field. Bad things happen and sometimes you can’t control those things.”

The Giants played a league-class team and almost stole a win

With 30 new faces, a new coaching staff and new systems, the Giants went toe-to-toe with a team that is a serious Super Bowl contender. There were some disconnects, errors, dropped passes and miscommunications, but they still had their opportunities to win the ballgame.

“We just didn’t make enough plays,” said head coach Pat Shurmur.

He’s right. The Giants made some crucial errors that cost them. They opened the second half by calling a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty. The radio in Eli Manning’s helmet apparently malfunctioned.

Tight end Evan Engram and others had difficulty hanging onto passes. It was a wet day, after all, but drops have haunted Manning for the past few years now. I counted six drops in all.

Offensive line is still not where the team needs it to be

Manning was under siege most of the game, but hung in the pocket and made the throws he needed to make. The linemen took turns getting beat by what is arguably the best defensive front in football.

Ereck Flowers, the right tackle, was the main culprit once again. He got turned around a few times and blown away on some other plays. It was his whiff that led to Manning’s arm getting hit on the interception that would prove to the be the game-winning touchdown. He committed two penalties that cost the Giants two completions in the first half.

Flowers was not alone. Left tackle Nate Solder was beaten for a sack and was called for a hold. Rookie Will Hernandez was schooled by veteran Pro Bowler Calais Campbell. The rest of the line did little to provide much comfort to the team that they are improved over last year’s unit.

Saquon Barkley proved his worth with one huge play

With a little over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Giants down 20-9, Barkley on a second-and-3 ripped off a 68-yard touchdown run down the right sideline.

He had been stifled most of the game. Take away that run and Barkley only had 38 yards on 17 carries. Not impressive in the least. But that’s not the lure of Barkley. He is a big play back and the Giants will take that every week if they can get it.

Barkley had very little room to run on some plays. The Giants’ offensive line was getting pushed back most of the day, so next week in Dallas, we’ll see if he can be more consistent.

The defense, after a slow start, finished strong

The Giants were getting toasted on some passes and certainly on the ground. Once stud running back Leonard Fournette left the game with a hamstring injury, they were able to settle down and stop the run a little better. The Jags were running the ball at nearly 5 yards a clip in the first half.

The second half would be a different story. The Giants forced the Jags to punt on all seven of their second-half possessions. They only allowed two passes over 10 yards and if it weren’t for a 41-yard scramble by quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jaguars would have had just 27 yards on the ground in the second half.

Cornerbacks Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins had two passes defensed apiece and Jenkins made a big interception in the first half. The Giants had only one sack but began to put pressure on Bortles last with four quarterback hits.

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