The Giants kept things close in Oakland without Eli Manning, but coughed up the ball at key times. (Photo: Getty Images)

It goes from bad to worse for the New York Giants, their 24-17 loss on Sunday to the Oakland Raiders proof that even a nonsensical change at quarterback isn’t enough (surprise!) to shake this team up.

 

With the loss, the Giants drop to 2-10 on the year. Quarterback Geno Smith, who replaced Eli Manning as the team’s starter, did a decent job with the offense but didn’t provide any threats down the field and had two bad fumbles that stalled the team.

 

Three Things Learned About the Giants in Week 13:

 

The defense showed up again

 

In a game where the offense was always going to have difficulty moving the ball, the Giants defense had to stand tall. They did for the most part, making the Raiders have to methodically work the ball down the field. Then they used big plays and Giants mistakes to put points up on the board.

 

With the Raiders having the ball near midfield in the second quarter, they decided to go for it on 4th-and-1. The Giants defense held firm, creating a turnover on downs and giving them the ball on their own 46-yard line.

The offense of course would squander the opportunity, fumbling the ball. Nonetheless, the defense had a pretty solid day all things considered.

 

Smith is Smith

In his first start since last year, Geno Smith showed some flashes of rust while also showing glimmers of hope. The longtime New York Jets quarterback was as infuriating as ever: Solid one moment and reckless the next.

He did some good things, moving around in the pocket as the league’s worst offensive line collapsed time after time against an elite pass rush. He made some big throws at times and also played it safe by getting chunks of yards with dump throws.

But to say in his first start of the year that he was a noticeable upgrade over Eli Manning, well… that wasn’t the case. Smith finished 21-of-34 for 212 yards with a passing touchdown. He also lost two fumbles in the pocket.

 

This line is killing the team

As was the case the first month of the season, the offensive line killed this team.

Late in the first half down 10-7, the Giants were gifted the ball on the Raiders nine-yard-line following a botched Oakland punt. Then they got five more yards when Khalil Mack jumped offsides.

Even if they botched things they still should have gotten a field goal to tie things up.

A bad throw (under pressure) on first down set up the Giants on second down where Mack atoned for jumping offsides, this time stripping Smith as the Giants quarterback held on to the ball too long. The Raiders recovered and dodged a bullet.

But the play of the offensive line in that botched series typified the unit’s displays throughout the game. They struggled against the edge rush and had difficulty establishing any holes through the middle of their line. Just not good enough on a consistent basis.