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Cover 3: Takeaways from Giants vs. Cardinals

Three Giants.com writers react to Sunday’s 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

John Schmeelk: A favorite saying in football is “more games are lost than won” and I think that’s appropriate when reviewing the Giants’ loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. It isn’t meant to take anything away from Arizona, who took advantage of their opportunities.

The Giants committed six penalties for 75 yards. Lorenzo Carter’s unnecessary roughness penalty helped lead to a Cardinals touchdown. A Will Hernandez holding penalty took a 32-yard Barkley run off the board on the final drive of the first half. Evan Engram dropped a perfectly thrown deep pass from Jones later on the same drive. A Mike Remmers holding penalty pushed the Giants out of field goal range. A drive that could have given the Giants the lead or tied the game at halftime resulted in zero points.

Aldrick Rosas missed a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter. The Giants also lost the turnover battle, 3-0, with two of those plays resulting in touchdowns just three plays later. In a six-point loss, any points can be the difference in a win or a loss.

Then there are individual mistakes. Saquon Barkley appeared to be pressing to make plays, which resulted in lost yardage on a couple of occasions. Daniel Jones held the ball too long in the third quarter waiting for a screen pass to develop, which led to a fumble. There was a missed assignment on pass protection with 3:54 remaining, which led to a sack of Daniel Jones and made it really hard to put together a potential game-tying or winning drive.

Cleaning up those kinds of mistakes needs to be their number one priority heading to Detroit next week.

Dan Salomone: Sunday sucked. That was the only word guard Kevin Zeitler could come up with after the Giants allowed eight sacks, three of which led to Daniel Jones fumbles, including two that were lost. Four of those sacks came on the final two drives when the Giants were well within striking distance after climbing out of a 17-0 hole.

“It obviously just sucks, straight up,” Zeitler said. “That’s as bland and blunt as you can be. It sucked today. Obviously, we moved the ball, I feel like all day, but we didn’t get into the end zone or the red zone or whatever. So, we’ve got to get it done. We’ve got to finish.”

They also have to start. The Giants’ next game, a road trip to Detroit, marks the midway point of their season. It gets late early in the NFL, and the Giants need to start figuring things out. The excitement of a 2-0 start to Daniel Jones’ career has turned into a disappointing three-game losing streak. Jones admitted after the game that everyone is frustrated, but they are not discouraged. The Giants went back to work today and reviewed the mistakes from Sunday. Then they are on to Detroit.

“We’ve got to figure out what happened [and] we’ve to get moving because, you know, we’re hitting that halfway point in the season,” Zeitler said. “So we’ve got to start performing.”

Lance Medow: If there is any statistic that’s synonymous with wins and losses, it’s turnover differential. Through the first seven games of the season, the Giants have a league-high 18 turnovers (nine interceptions, nine fumbles) and the second worst turnover differential in the league (-10). It’s virtually impossible to win football games with those numbers. To take it a step further, the Giants have lost the turnover battle in five of their seven games and finished tied in the other two.

With turnovers come consequences and that was apparent in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. Arizona scored 17 points off three Giants turnovers a week after New England turned four giveaways into 14 points and also blocked a punt for score. Turnovers, alone, are killers, but the opposition capitalizing off those mishaps is becoming a trend thanks to the Giants providing them with short fields.

Case in point in Sunday’s game, Daniel Jones’ interception in the first quarter put the Cardinals at the 32-yard line and three plays later they ran in for a touchdown. When Jones was sacked and lost a fumble in the third quarter, the same thing happened as the Cardinals began a drive essentially at midfield (Arizona 49-yard line) and three plays later, punched it in for a touchdown. The final turnover, Jones’ second lost fumble in the fourth quarter, also handed the Cardinals great field position at the 17-yard line. This time, Arizona settled for a field goal, but offensive turnovers continue to put pressure on the Giants defense. When you don’t play complementary football, more often than not, you end up on the wrong end of the final score.

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