The Giants’ offense was notoriously bad during the preseason — not to mention Monday’s opener in Detroit — but what Big Blue wasn’t counting on in its 35-14 thrashing at the hands of the Lions was a defense just as inept.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and wideout Calvin Johnson made mincemeat of the revamped Giants secondary. Stafford amassed 346 passing yards and two touchdowns, including one running, and Johnson registered a staggering 164 yards on seven receptions, including two scores in the opening quarter.
“I was disappointed in a lot of things … [especially] that long play,” Coughlin said, referring to Johnson’s 67-yard touchdown reception on the game’s fourth play. “We obviously had no idea where the receiver was and knocked our own cover guy down. Made it look pretty easy and we had a chance with a possibility of tackling and sacking the quarterback and he avoided that to make that play.”
Staying on the field was difficult for the Giants, while getting off the field was equally impossible. And as the game waned on — and victory was getting farther out of reach — it was evident that the fight in the Giants’ defense was waning as well.
“I think we need to have more fun, but it is only fun when you are making plays [because] once you make a play, you get on a roll,” linebacker Jon Beason said. “But when you make mistakes and you don’t get off the field on third down, it is demoralizing. Maybe that is what [safety Antrel Rolle] meant by a lack of fight.”
Beason was echoing what Rolle said immediately after the defeat. And while there were some positives in their defensive performance, such as limiting the Lions to just 76 rushing yards on 30 carries and a 2.5 yards per carry average, there were still far too many downers.
“Sure, it was so very disappointing and we expected better last night, and we’re disappointed in our ability to do some of the things we talked about,” said Coughlin. “But in a short week, we are going to have to do an awful lot to improve and I am hoping that the players will jump right back in here and get on with it against an Arizona team that is a very good team and a team that has won a key game for them in their debut.”
Beason was also trying to find the right bounce-back words when asked about the early setback and whether the team can quickly move past the loss.
“You never want to deal with adversity. The plan is to stop adversity from happening [but] it is inevitable. You are going to have a play, a series, a quarter or a game where things don’t go well and that is really how you define yourself, in those moments,” said Beason. “Who are you when it hits the fan? That is how teams make runs in the playoffs and make runs late in the season and figure out a way to overcome that adversity in the Super Bowl and win. There are guys on this team that know how to do that. And unfortunately, it is happening a little sooner than we would like, but nevertheless, it is part of the game. ... There is no greater occupation, in my mind, where you can come to work every day and see where you are as a man.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.