The Giants start to the season was a 26-16 loss, due to not finishing in the key moments against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The turning point of the game was a nineteen play, nine minute drive that resulted in zero points for Big Blue. From 12:07 to 4:00 in the third quarter, QB Daniel Jones completed nine of 11 passes, for 62 yards in 18 plays. On the 19th play, a second down inside the five-yard line, Jones rolled left and forced an off-balance throw over a charging Bud Dupree which resulted in a Cameron Hayward interception.
A throw that rookie-debut Head Coach Joe Judge deemed “not acceptable” was a rookie mistake for the second-year QB who went 26-41, 279 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INT. Jones was sacked three times and pressured off the edge all night. His best throw came early in the second quarter where the game’s lone bright spot, WR Darius Slayton, caught a 41-yard strike resulting in six points. The Giants made three trips to the red zone and scored only 10 points, seven coming on their final drive.
The biggest negative offensively was the run game. Saquon Barkley had 15 carries totaling only six yards with Jones leading the team in rushing with 22 yards in four attempts. Barkley had no room to maneuver and struggled to get back to the line of scrimmage most times. A Steelers linebacking corps I wrote “may be tops in football” looked Hall of Fame worthy against an outmatched Giants O-line. Devin Bush led the group with seven total tackles.
The secondary’s lack of depth was exploited as Isaac Yiadom was beaten by JuJu Smith-Schuster for a score and Julian Love was driven into the end zone by James Washington after he was elevated by Adrian Colbert but kept driving his legs. The latter happening just before halftime and gave Pittsburgh the six-point lead.
The pass rush did muster five hits and two sacks on Ben Roethlisberger, but trailed off in the fourth. Big Blue was well disciplined, committing just four penalties, none of them costly, and OC Jason Garrett‘s play-calling was solid.
The Joe Judge era begins the same way it did for Pat Shurmur… 0-1 heading into Week 2.