Struggling Giants face Bucs next

Loss to Bills drops New York to 0-2, with mental and physical mistakes playing a role.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is pressured during a home loss to the Bills, leaving New York 0-2 and looking for answers.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is pressured during a home loss to the Bills, leaving New York 0-2 and looking for answers. [ BILL KOSTROUN | AP ]
Published Sept. 16, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Giants are making a mess of the season, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

After going undefeated in the preseason, the Giants have done little right in the regular season. New York visits the Bucs next Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

Their shining point has been their opening drives. They scored touchdowns against Dallas and Buffalo, and gave hope that Eli Manning and the offense would put up points.

That hasn’t happened, not even close.

Sunday’s 28-14 loss to Josh Allen and the Bills was just another example of too many bad plays on both sides of the ball.

The statistics that stick out are the third-down conversions.

New York has made 5 of 23 on third down, or 21.7 percent. The Cowboys and Bills have combined to convert 11 of 23, or almost 48 percent.

Not surprisingly, that has translated to the score line. New York has 31 points in two games. The defense has given up 63. Opponents have averaged almost 32:28 in time of possession.

Saquon Barkley, who has two 100-yard rushing games and a team-high 274 total yards, said the Giants are their own worst enemy. He doesn’t like using that expression because it takes away credit from opponents. But it’s also true.

“It comes to the point where we keep saying ‘it’s on us’, and it is, ‘it’s on us,’ but we can’t just keep talking about it,” Barkley said. “We’ve got to go out there and do it. We’ve got to go out there and stop making mistakes, get back to playing Giants football, what Giants football is known for. I think that’s the message we’ll have for the team this week, to play Giants football, and hopefully we can do that next week.”

Some mistakes have been dumb penalties. However, there have been a ton of mental ones, especially on defense, particularly in the secondary with blown coverages. Too many opposing receivers are running around uncovered.

Cole Beasley of the Bills caught a 51-yard pass with no Giant within 15 yards of him.

“You got to tighten up baby, this is the NFL, baby,” said cornerback Janoris Jenkins, a former Gator. “You have people on the line, jobs on the line, families to feed. We can’t keep coming out here going 0-2; we can’t keep losing like that.”

Jenkins also is miffed the secondary was taking the brunt of the criticism.

“When you have time and you ain’t getting no pressure, I can’t cover nobody for 10 seconds,” he said. “Who can cover somebody for 10 seconds? Go look at the first five seconds of the route. He’s not open. If you scramble and there is no pressure getting there, what do you want me to do? I can’t cover from side to side. Like, come on, bro. We’ve got to play football around here.”

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The Giants, who didn’t have a sack against the Cowboys, had three against Josh Allen and six quarterback hits.

It was an improvement over the Dallas game, but this group needs more.

New York also needs a turnover. It has none in two games.

Defensive captain Alec Ogletree also was angry and understood what Jenkins was saying.

“I’m angry as well, never discouraged because I know we can make plays like we did in the second half,” Ogletree said. “It’s a matter of coming out and doing that for the whole 60 minutes.”

The Giants, who are 0-2 for the sixth time in seven years, need to start doing that next Sunday against the Bucs.

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