Minus 14 Players, Giants Uncompetitive in 24-10 Loss to Ravens: The Giants fell to the Baltimore Ravens 24-10 in their first and only game away from their new stadium this preseason. The game was not as close as the final score as the undermanned Giants were dramatically out-played.
“I’m disappointed in our play,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Some people played well, played hard. We just didn’t have enough. I was looking for more energy, more…the number one objective is execution, which absolutely we didn’t get. There’s no excuse for it. They played well, particularly in the first half and we didn’t. We had some chances. We had a couple opportunities, but overall a couple of individuals played well but not enough. We need to see a lot out of this group in the next 15 days.”
The Giants were without 14 players, including many key players such as RT Kareem McKenzie (migraine), OC Shaun O’Hara (ankle/Achilles), DT Chris Canty (groin), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (groin), CB Terrell Thomas (calf), and CB Aaron Ross (foot).
QB Eli Manning, in his first game back since the serious gash to his forehead in the preseason opener against the Jets, played the entire first half but did not look sharp. He finished the game 9-of-18 for 63 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. A makeshift offensive line that had Guy Whimper playing left guard, Rich Seubert playing center, and Will Beatty playing right tackle did not help matters. Beatty, in particular, struggled at right tackle. Adam Koets played with the first team in the second quarter at center.
In their six first-half possessions, the Giants only managed one drive that picked up more than one first down. On that one possession, the Giants did drive 74 yards in 13 plays, but New York turned the ball over on downs when three straight runs by HB Ahmad Bradshaw could not pick up the first down.
“We’re a ways away,” said Coughlin. “One solid week of practice, with everybody practicing, but that’s not going to happen. You’re not going to get them all. You’re not going to do that. That’s what I just told them. There isn’t a team in the league at this time of year that doesn’t play without one or two guys out or missing for this, for that, for the other thing. The team we just played was missing a couple of offensive linemen, but that shouldn’t hold the rest of them back. We should be able to advance. Obviously, taking the quarterback out for a week – that’s not very good. We got to get them going. He’s got to be in the middle of it. He did some things well. Obviously, he was rusty. He needs to play. So he’ll get better.”
Defensively, the Giants started off strongly, forcing a three-and-out. However, the Ravens then put together three consecutive, long-scoring drives: 13 plays, 62 yards (field goal), 11 plays, 85 yards (touchdown), and 10 plays, 77 yards (touchdown).
“We didn’t stop them,” said Coughlin. “We didn’t consistently pressure the quarterback either. We got in a couple, but we didn’t consistently do that, and they threw and caught. They isolated our corners. There’s not a sophisticated explanation. They approached the game. They came in. They played in no huddle. They obviously had an objective and were going to throw the ball. They threw it 47 times last week. They threw it a ton this week, so that’s obviously an objective. They did get (HB Ray) Rice more involved than he’s been. We just didn’t stop them.”
Despite missing Canty and Pierre-Paul, the Giants’ defensive line played well, but the undermanned secondary could not cover a pass-happy Ravens team that threw the ball 32 times in the first half while only calling seven running plays to the backs. Without Thomas and Ross, the Ravens victimized nickel back Courtney Brown and new starter Bruce Johnson. Linebacker coverage on the tight ends and backs remained a problem as well.
“We were very surprised to see (the Ravens use the no-huddle),” said safety Antrel Rolle. “We definitely did not expect them to run a no-huddle, so we were running a very basic defense. Their no-huddle offense made us very uncomfortable…They’ve always been a team that runs the ball, but they came out tonight looking to work on their passing game. It was surprising to us, but they have a lot of playmakers among their receivers now, and I’m sure they want to get a look at them. I’m sure when the regular season starts they will go back to running the ball at some point. That’s always been successful for them.”
“Honestly, we didn’t click on all cylinders tonight,” said defensive end Justin Tuck. “Obviously, you didn’t want to do that in the third preseason game. They surprised us a little bit with the no-huddle there, and took us a couple series to just get used to what they were trying to do to us. I think we hit the quarterback a lot. He threw some quick passes. We got a lot of pressure on him. That was a good positive, but honestly, we can’t give up big plays regardless of what they’re doing. That’s a killer for us.”
The Giants’ lone score of the first half was set up by an interception and 37 yard return by CB Corey Webster. PK Lawrence Tynes kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired.
At halftime, the Giants trailed 17-3.
In the second half, the Giants began to play many second- and third-teamers right away while the Ravens stayed with their starters for one series. The second- and third-team defenders performed reasonably well, but the Giants’ offense remained stuck in neutral.
New York’s defensive backups gave up one long scoring drive (11 plays, 80 yards) that resulted in a touchdown, but held Baltimore to only three first downs the rest of the half. Unfortunately, QB Rhett Bomar and the Giants’ offensive backups only managed three first downs of their own until a late garbage-drive touchdown. Bomar finished the game 10-of-20 for 140 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions.
Injury Report: LB Adrian Tracy left the game with what is being diagnosed as a dislocated elbow. LB Gerris Wilkinson left the game with some cramping.
Post-Game Notes: Not playing for the Giants were QB Jim Sorgi (shoulder), HB D.J. Ware (concussion), WR Ramses Barden (back), WR Sinorice Moss (groin), H-Back Travis Beckum (neck), OC Shaun O’Hara (ankle/Achilles), RT Kareem McKenzie (migraine), OG Kevin Boothe (PUP – pectoral), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (groin), DT Chris Canty (groin), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), CB Terrell Thomas (calf), CB Aaron Ross (foot), and S Michael Johnson (back).
The Giants had five sacks in the game. Two apiece by DE Justin Tuck and DT Rocky Bernard, and one by DT Linval Joseph.