EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants got Odell Beckham back, and somehow their offense managed to look even worse than it did in the opener. Their pass protection is bad, their running game is nonexistent, their receivers aren't reliable and their quarterback is shaky.
There are literally dozens of things that went wrong in the Giants' 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions in their home opener on Monday night. But Ben McAdoo made it clear in his search for answers that he knew exactly where to start.
"I'll tell you the same thing I told my players," McAdoo said. "Put this game on me."
That's a good place to start, but it's not completely fair to the rest of the people in the Giants locker room who deserve blame for this loss and this disastrous 0-2 start to the season. Almost all of them, by the way, reside on offense where, as guard/tackle Justin Pugh said, "right now, not much is going right."
It was so bad, that three offensive plays into their first home game of the season, the Giants were showered with boos from their impatient fans.
"We didn't put good things on film last Sunday and we didn't come out and do anything really for them to cheer about today," Pugh said. "So I can't blame them."
Here's a look back at some of the many, many things that went wrong and have pushed the Giants to the brink as they head towards a must-win game in Philadelphia on Sunday:
- The offensive line was thrown into chaos three plays in when RT Bobby Hart left with an ankle injury, forcing Pugh to move to RT and Brett Jones to take over at LG. McAdoo said he focused on getting extra blockers on Pugh's side since he was switching positions. But that left LT Ereck Flowers alone with Ziggy Ansah and that was a predictable disaster. He gave up three sacks and several other pressures. Pugh had his hands full too. McAdoo said Manning "was under duress all night." The stat sheet said Manning was hit eight of the 37 times he dropped back to pass. It felt like a lot more.
- It was clear from the beginning that Beckham wasn't going to be much of a help. He seemed to play about half the snaps and caught just four plays for 36 yards. In the first half he caught only two passes for 10 yards. He did draw a lot of attention from the Lions defense, but it didn't seem to help.
- At least two of Manning's sacks could be considered coverage sacks - with absolutely no one open down the field. In the first half especially the Giants' receivers were not getting enough separation, which is a big reason why they had just 70 first-half passing yards.
- Manning is obviously not blameless for why the Giants offense just can't get anything going consistently. He was outstanding on their first touchdown drive, going 6 for 6 for 64 yards. Then, after a huge turnover by the defense, he gives it right back by throwing a terrible pass high and behind TE Evan Engram. The pass gets tipped right to the Lions, who turn it into a touchdown a few plays later. This offense obviously isn't good enough to survive their quarterback being up and down.
- I know complaining about Ben McAdoo's play calling is a popular thing to do, but he's been more creative and had more variety than last season through the first two games. There was more variety in personnel. He called two end arounds to WR Sterling Shepard and a couple of fakes. And the Giants' first touchdown was very well designed. He sent Engram in motion, stopped him in position where he looked like a fullback, and that totally fooled the Lions' linebackers who thought it was a run. That left Engram open over the middle for his first NFL touchdown.
- Engram's celebration of that TD, where he grabbed his crotch, was just stupid. Never mind whether you think it's inappropriate or not, the NFL does and it will be a penalty every time. That cost the Giants 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff, which went out of bounds, allowing the Lions to start their next drive in the Giants' end of the field. He's got to be smarter than that.
- The dysfunction with the Giants' offense can be maddening. Manning finally gets them in the red zone and they've got a 1st-and-goal from the 1. What happens? A holding penalty on guard Brett Jones. Then he gets them back to a 4th-and-goal from the 2 and the Giants decide to go for it. What happens? A delay of game - and not an intentional one, either. At least they got the field goal, but that's a terrible blown opportunity. Oh, and McAdoo's explanation of that delay of game? "Sloppy quarterback play." Ouch.
- The Giants did a great job of getting pressure on Matt Stafford, especially from Olivier Vernon who forced three first-half penalties on Lions LT Greg Robinson. The problem, though, was that Stafford kept escaping the pocket and making throws from outside. The pass rush was consistently strong, though.
- Marshall probably could've been a bigger part of the offensive game plan, but it's hard to make that argument after his big drop in the fourth quarter. He was pretty open more than 30 yards downfield and Manning put the ball right in his hands. He just dropped it. To make matters worse, that killed the drive and on the ensuing punt, Detroit's Jamal Agnew returned it 88 yards for a touchdown, breaking four tackles along the way.
- The Giants' final two drives of the game ended when they failed to convert on fourth down - and both times the Giants threw a pass short of the first-down marker, including once on a 4th and 3. That's terrible coaching, quarterback play, and a terrible job by the receivers. That ball has to go beyond the first down marker, no matter what.
- Paul Perkins: Seven carries, 10 yards. Meanwhile, Orleans Darkwa's first carry went for 11 yards with 8:43 remaining in the first half. He didn't touch the ball again until the first play of the third quarter and rushed only three times (for 17 yards).