The good news for Big Blue is they didn’t resemble a team that set a franchise record for losses a season ago for most of Sunday’s game. Unfortunately, old problems did resurface and the Giants lost 20-15 at MetLife Stadium.
The offensive line issues are well documented. The team spent more than $80 million to bring in Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh to bolster the line and drafted rookie Will Hernandez in the second round. Solder and Omameh were outplayed frequently while Hernandez look like a rookie at times. Ereck Flowers, whose own issues are also well documented, had an ugly game from beginning to end.
Eli Manning got the ball out his hands quicker than last season but it didn’t mean he had a great afternoon, going 23-of-37 for 224 yards. He threw no touchdowns but his pick that was returned by Myles Jack 32 yards for a touchdown proved to be the go-ahead score.
Manning did find No. 1 playmaker, Odell Beckham Jr., early and often. In his first action since breaking his ankle 11 months ago, Beckham caught 11 passes for 111 yards. Beckham needed seven receptions for his 320th with the Giants, setting a franchise record after reaching the milestone in just 50 games.
Rookie running back Saquon Barkley appeared to be held in check by the Jaguars defense. This was before he broke out for a 68-yard touchdown run assisted by some great blocking by Sterling Shepard. Barkley finished with 106 yards on 18 carries in his regular season debut.
The Giants defense sacked Blake Bortles twice and hit him four additional times. Janoris Jenkins showed his Pro Bowl form with an interception reminiscent of a video game. Jenkins nearly had another pick that bounced off his gloves. In spite of Jacksonville’s lead throughout the game, the Giants defense forced a punt on all seven of the Jaguars’ second half possessions.
It was special teams that inevitably ended the Giants’ hopes for a win. The Giants muffed a punt return in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter that was recovered by Jacksonville.
The Giants (0-1, 0-0) lost their second consecutive regular season opener and eighth in the last nine seasons. Next Sunday (Sept. 16), they travel to AT&T Stadium for their 112th game against the Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 PM EDT.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.