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Instant Analysis: Steelers 20, Giants 12

Posted Aug 11, 2017

Get an instant postgame recap of the Giants' preseason opener vs. the Steelers:


AT A GLANCE

The Giants got a good look at their kickers on Friday night, but settling for field goals didn’t cut it as they fell 20-12 to the Steelers in the preseason opener.

>> WATCH GIANTS VS. STEELERS HIGHLIGHTS

UP NEXT

The Giants, who resume training camp practice on Sunday, will play three more preseason games in the span of 10 days, beginning with a contest next Monday night in Cleveland. Then they “host” the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 26, before wrapping up with New England on the road the following Thursday.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

Coach Ben McAdoo, like he did in last year’s preseason opener, decided not to play quarterback Eli Manning. Josh Johnson, who is competing with Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb for the backup job, started in his place. Johnson finished 5 of 10 for 31 yards and was sacked three times.

Paul Perkins, now the starter at running back, carried the ball five times for three yards. He started the game with a seven-yard run and converted a fourth down before the first-team offensive line was replaced by the second unit in the second quarter.  

Smith came in under center with 5:45 to play in the first half. He went 10 of 16 for 114 yards but threw an interception deep in Giants territory in the third quarter.

Rookie tight end Evan Engram’s first catch went down as an 11-yard gain late in the first half. It was the first-round pick’s only reception on two targets.

Webb entered the game with 6:39 to play in the fourth quarter, completing 8 of 16 passes for 67 yards.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE


Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul got the night off. The rest of the first-team defense started and forced a three-and-out on the Steelers’ opening drive (Joshua Dobbs started for Pittsburgh in place of Ben Roethlisberger). Donte Deayon opened up in the slot for Rodgers-Cromartie.

On the first unofficial depth chart released this week, defensive tackle Jay Bromley appeared on the top line next to All-Pro Damon Harrison and relished the opportunity heading into what McAdoo called a “big year” for the fourth-year pro. Bromley made a great play and tackled running back Fitzgerald Toussaint behind the line of scrimmage to force a Steelers punt on their second possession.

Cornerback Valentino Blake grabbed an interception against his former team, diving to catch an errant pass from Dobbs midway through the first quarter. Blake, who signed with the Giants this offseason, played for the Steelers from 2013-2015.

Devin Taylor, another newcomer, as well as a 6-foot-8 defensive end, dropped back and popped up to grab the second interception of Dobbs early in the second quarter.

While most of the starters were pulled after the first quarter, middle linebacker B.J. Goodson and safety Darian Thompson, a pair of second-year pros stepping into bigger roles this season, saw extended snaps beyond that. Goodson had a sack for a loss of eight yards.

All-Pro safety Landon Collins, despite limited reps, led the team in tackles, just like he did for all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.



WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS

A kick-off broke out Friday night at MetLife Stadium. Mike Nugent, a 14-year veteran added to roster 10 days ago, handled the opening kickoff. He was brought in to compete with the untested Aldrick Rosas, who has never kicked in a regular-season game. Rosas, however, took the first field goal attempt, converting from 27 yards for the first points of the game. That was just the beginning as the two alternated throughout the game. Nugent made both his attempts from 30 and 45 yards. Rosas hit his from 27 and 53 yards.  

Deayon muffed a punt return late in the first half. Pittsburgh recovered at the Giants 28 and scored a touchdown on the next play.

DID NOT PLAY

QB Eli Manning (coach’s decision), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (coach’s decision), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (coach’s decision), WR Tavarres King (ankle), S Ryan Murphy (lower body), LB Mark Herzlich (stinger), LB Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), WR Kevin Snead (lower body), WR Sterling Shepard (ankle), DT Robert Thomas (soreness)

LINEUP CHANGES

Josh Johnson started at QB, Romeo Okwara at LDE

GAME CAPTAINS

C Weston Richburg, DT Jay Bromley, S Andrew Adams, LB B.J. Goodson

INJURY REPORT

S Duke Ihenacho (hamstring, did not return)

QUOTES

McAdoo: “We had some good opportunities in the first half. The first unit had a couple of three-and-outs, which was encouraging to see. We had some young guys show up and sign. Landon Collins was around the ball a bunch, B.J. Goodson made a nice play, but we played good team defense in the first half. We’ve got to take care of the ball a little bit better.”

Collins: “Just glad to be out here with my guys showcasing our skill. A few of the first team guys out on the field, so we just have to showcase that we are still a force to reckon with.”

Johnson: “It felt good to be able to get out there and get our feet wet. I’m anxious to get on the film, see what we can learn from, get better from. We have to score touchdowns in the green zone. Not scoring touchdowns wasn’t good enough. We have to get some first downs. Defense made some great plays getting some turnovers and were able to put some points up on the board. We need touchdowns, though.”

Goodson: “We’re just excited to see what we were capable of. We just have to keep going out and keep doing it over and over and over again. That’s the process. And that’s my job to make sure those guys are in position to be there.”