Eli Manning was sacked three times during the Giants' 19-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night. (Photo: Getty Images)
Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the New York Giants in their 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It certainly isn’t doom and gloom. It also isn’t panic time. The season is far from over.
But it happens to be a good dose of reality and excuses won’t help.
The Giants spent the offseason getting toys when they needed some machines. They added a star wide receiver in Brandon Marshall and added Evan Engram, a tight end, with their first-round pick. None of these things necessarily are bad but they failed to address needs and deficiencies around this year.
Needs that were exposed in Sunday night’s loss at last year’s division winner. The Giants got taken to task on both sides of the ball and while the defense wasn’t at fault, they got worn down by a more physical opponent and had just one sack, no turnovers and gave up five scoring drives.
For a defense that was being touted as being elite, those aren’t ideal numbers.
A 68-yard drive at the start of the third quarter resulted in the Giants getting on the board via an Aldrick Rosas field goal to make it a 16-3 game. They did little after that one drive accounting for just under 30 percent of their total yardage in the game.
3 things learned from the Giants Week 1 loss
1. The offensive line is bad
The Giants ignored their offensive line again for a second-straight offseason, choosing to believe that a scheme built on timing and getting the ball out of their quarterback’s hands quickly would mask major problems. Instead, that quarterback, Eli Manning, was sacked three times and hit multiple other times as the Giants had just 233 yards of total offense.
More evidence of the lack of dominance from the offensive line: 35 yards of rushing offense from the Giants on the night.
Keep in mind that the last two drafts, the Giants failed to take an offensive lineman until the later rounds of this past NFL Draft. They also haven’t added any pieces of note to the line via free agency during that time. Major failings that were exposed last night against a good pass rush.
2. On that note…Ereck Flowers
There was a lot of talk this offseason that left tackle Ereck Flowers was steadily improving. He was in great shape and focused, his teammates said, ready to take that jump in his third year in the league.
Some mixed reviews here, as Flowers was solid but had one major letdown as the Giants seemed to be clawing back into the game.
At the 6:37 mark of the third quarter, a promising Giants drive that had entered the red zone came to a halt when on second down, left Flowers gave up a sack, the third time in the game that Manning had been sacked. Cowboys defensive end Charles Tapper blew by the former first-round pick with ease. Two plays later, the Giants had to settle for a field goal.
3. No air Marshall
Signed this offseason via free agency, wide receiver Brandon Marshall was targeted just once in the first half and finished the game with one reception for 10 yards. It wasn’t necessarily Marshall’s fault as he ran some good routes and was open a few times.
It’s just hard for a quarterback to find Marshall when he is constantly under pressure, something neither Manning or the Pro Bowl wide receiver could control.
Truthfully, given the play of the offensive line and the lack of a running game, even the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. (a scratch during pregame due to injury) likely would have had little impact in helping to kick start the Giants offense.
The Giants have a great target in Marshall, someone who can help them get first downs and be more effective in the red zone. But the play calling and routes for Marshall didn’t help the Giants move the sticks. They had 10 first downs all of Sunday night, eight of which came via the passing game.