Truly, it couldn’t have gotten much worse.
If Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and the rest of the New York Giants sat down prior to Monday’s season opener versus the Detroit Lions and listed everything they didn’t want to have happen, odds are everything on that list would have been checked off on Monday Night Football.
The Giants didn’t block, cover, tackle, pass or catch. Their worst nightmares came to fruition under the lights of Ford Field. When the dust finally settled, the Lions were walking off the field with a 35-14 victory.
“It was a nightmare performance,” Coughlin said.
New York offensive woes, the same that were displayed for five games in the preseason, were once again brought to the forefront. The dysfunctional group didn’t cross the 100-yard of total offense mark until the fourth quarter. It took a penalty-filled drive for the Giants to establish anything, and even then it wasn’t pretty.
Manning was running for his life, again. There were miscommunications, again. There were interceptions, again.
It was dismal and pathetic performance. Hardly the national debut Ben McAdoo had hoped for in displaying his new West Coast offense to a nationally televised audience.
Manning finished 18-of-33 and threw for just 163 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Rashad Jennings rushed 16 times for 46 yards. Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle caught two passes each.
“No excuses,” Coughlin said. “We played very poorly. We don’t have a lot to be proud of.”
Trailing by 14 in the first quarter, Manning marched the Giants on a 13-play, 79-yard drive. New York picked up three first downs via Lion penalties. With a first-and-goal at the one yard line, New York ran two consecutive fade routes to no avail, one to Corey Washington, and one to Larry Donnell.
After a run from Jennings netted nothing, Manning found Donnell on 4th-and-goal for his first career touchdown.
Following the score, the offense’s ineptitude returned. After a Lions three-and-out gave the Giants a chance to tie, the offense punted twice, threw an interception, punted again and then threw another interception.
“There’s no reason for the turnovers, it’s not part of the offense,” Manning said. “No reason to have those. Besides that, there’s a few other opportunities to make the plays, we just didn’t make them.”
Defensively, New York flashed its potential, but fell short on far to many occasions. On the Lions first possession, quarterback Matt Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for a 67-yard score on 3rd-and-9. Johnson was left wide open due to a miscommunication between Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown.
Rodgers-Cromartie passed Johnson off to Brown. Brown ran to the sideline to join Rodgers-Cromartie. Johnson took off to the middle of the field. There wasn’t a white jersey within thirty yards.
One possession later, Johnson struck again, catching a 16-yard score on an adjustment route in the back of the endzone on 3rd-and-13. Johnson finished with seven receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford was 22-of-32 for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He ran for an additional score.
Detroit gained 417 yards of offense, held the ball for over 36 minutes and went 10-of-15 on third downs.
“There’s a lot of work to do, obviously, in a short week,” Coughlin said. “We’ll see what we can accomplish.”
New York will face the Arizona Cardinals next week in the team’s home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 P.M.
Video lowlights of the game are available at Giants.com.
Post-Game Notes: Punter Steve Weatherford suffered a high-ankle sprain. He will have an MRI on Tuesday. DE Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a stinger but he does not think he will miss any time.
Inactive for the Giants were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), OT James Brewer (back), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OG Adam Snyder, DT Jay Bromley, DT Markus Kuhn (ankle), and DE Kerry Wynn.