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Geno starts at QB; Giants fall to Raiders, 24-17


The Giants fell to the Raiders in Oakland, 24-17:

OAKLAND – The Giants' biggest news of the season off the field didn't produce a better result on the field.

Geno Smith officially ended Eli Manning's 13-year, 4,767-day reign as the team's starting quarterback when he took the first snap Sunday against the Raiders in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Smith threw the ball well, but lost two fumbles, and didn't help solve the team's scoring issues. The result was a 24-17 loss that dropped the Giants to 2-10.

"I just hate to lose," Smith said. "I don't want to lose at all at anything. I was upset that we lost, I felt like we had some opportunities and we couldn't take advantage of them. We can't really cry over spilled milk. You just got to pick yourself up and get ready for next week."

That's when the Giants will play their first division home game when they host the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Ben McAdoo was not prepared to say if Smith will start that game. When he announced the change from Manning to Smith, McAdoo said rookie Davis Webb would also play at some point.

"We said we're going to take it one week at a time," McAdoo said. "These games are emotional, so to stand up here and make a decision right here after the football game, it's not a good way to go about business. We need to go take a look at the tape first and put our heads together and see what direction we want to go. But Geno didn't do anything today to cost him an opportunity, no."

Moments later, McAdoo said he would make a decision, "early in the week. We need to go back, we need to watch the film, take a look at it, put our heads together. At some point in time tomorrow, we'll make that call."

Smith completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 89.3 against the Raiders. He lost two fumbles in the second quarter, the first of which led to three Oakland points.

But Smith also led the Giants on an 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, and a nine-play, 88-yard march (the team's second-longest of the season) in the fourth that ended with a pinpoint 10-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Evan Engram.

"I thought Geno competed at a high level," McAdoo said. "There were a couple of fumbles, we'll have to take a look at the tape. I know one he was throwing, he tried to pull it back and they got it away from him. One, the ball got ripped out of his hands there. He led a nice two-minute drive at the end of the ballgame (resulting in Aldrick Rosas' 52-yard field goal), did some creating. He threw a nice ball to Evan for the touchdown. I thought he competed."

"Early on, when we were getting behind the chains they got a great pass rush, so we knew all along we had to get the ball out pretty fast," Smith said. "We tried to hit them with a couple screens just to kind of slow down the pass rush, but I think as the game went along we started to get into a groove, I think our line did a tremendous job. They got two of the best pass rushers in the game (in Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin), but they kept them at bay for a little bit, and we were able to put some drives together late. Just ran out of time."

Mack and Irvin each had a sack, and Irvin forced a fumble that was recovered by NaVorro Bowman. Denico Autry also sacked Smith.

The Giants played catchup most of the game. They failed to pick up a first down on any of their first three series, and on five of seven possessions in the first half.

Oakland had only one first down on its first three drives – but that was a 51-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch, which gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead just 2:34 into the game.

Orleans Darkwa tied the game with a one-yard run with six seconds remaining in the quarter. Bowman's fumble recovery led to a 39-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio that gave the lead back to the Raiders at 10-7 with 4:47 remaining in the second, which held up to halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, the teams erupted for 24 points in the fourth. Derek Carr's 21-yard pass to Lynch on third-and-seven set up DeAndre Washington's nine-yard touchdown run.

The Giants countered on their next possession with Smith's touchdown pass to Engram, who set the franchise record for a rookie tight end with his sixth scoring reception of the season. More importantly, he pulled the Giants to within 17-14 with 5:16 remaining.

One stop, and the Giants would have had a chance to take the lead. But they crippled their chances on the first play, when Carr threw a short pass to the left side for Cordarrelle Patterson, who turned it into a 59-yard gain to the Giants' nine. Three plays later Carr's nine-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Holton increased the lead back to 10.

Rosas' season-long 52-yard field goal lifted the Giants to within 24-17, but Washington recovered the ensuing onside kick, clinching the Giants' 10th defeat.

Afterward, the players praise Smith, but were more focused on another aggravating loss.

"I feel like we played well," safety Landon Collins said. "Little things we could have fixed and did better to stop them, but overall, I mean it was a great team effort. Everybody was flying around, everybody was doing their job. Just not when we needed it most."

"It's tough, man," said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. "It's been the whole season, losing season. We just keep losing. We try our best to pull out a win. So far we are not capable of doing that right now. We're just trying our best every Sunday we go out there and all the guys play their hearts out and I even mean myself, but something's not right. So we'll figure it out sooner or later."

They have four games left before time runs out.

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