AT A GLANCE: A week after scoring 40 points, the New York Giants failed to get on the scoreboard in a 17-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Giants (5-9) had won four of their previous five games, giving them a glimmer of postseason hope. But it was the Titans (8-6) staying alive for another week.
UP NEXT: In their second-to-last game of the season, the Giants wrap up the AFC South with a road trip to Indianapolis. It will be their first game in Lucas Oil Stadium since defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants are 6-9 all-time against the Colts in the regular season, losing their last three meetings. The Giants host the Cowboys in the season finale.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*Rookie running back Saquon Barkley had been making the game look easy, but the Titans made everything hard for him – and the entire offense -- on Sunday. Barkley’s first three carries went for a loss of eight yards, beginning a day that ended with just 31 yards on 14 carries. It ended a streak of four consecutive games with 100 yards rushing for the standout rookie. The Giants had just 47 yards on the ground as a team, 14 of which came from their punter.
*The Giants turned it over on back-to-back possessions to start the second half of a one-possession game. Eli Manning, who had thrown 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions in the five-game stretch after the bye week, was intercepted by Kevin Byard on a third-and-20 play from the Titans 29. Tennessee was unable to capitalize with points, but Manning fumbled on the next drive when he was sacked by Kamalei Correa and Jurrell Casey recovered at the Giants 14. The Titans converted that time, scoring a touchdown to make it a 14-0 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
*Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. missed his second consecutive game with a quad injury. “He just can’t go,” coach Pat Shurmur said Friday. “No setbacks, just can’t go.” The three-time Pro Bowler was leg-whipped on the final play of the Giants’ Week 12 game in Philadelphia. He played the following week in the team’s overtime win against Chicago.
*Center Spencer Pulley left in the third quarter with a calf injury and was replaced by John Greco, who started four games at the position for the Giants earlier in the season.
*Rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta was inactive after making his NFL debut in the fourth quarter of last week’s lopsided victory in Washington. Lauletta, who did not complete a pass on five attempts and threw an interception in his relief appearance, had been inactive for the first 12 games. Alex Tanney resumed his backup duties and dressed for Sunday’s game.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*The Giants knew their top priority this week would be stopping the run, but things are easier said than done. Derrick Henry, who ran for 238 yards and four touchdowns last week against Jacksonville, looked a Heisman Trophy winner again, racking up 127 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the first half alone. He finished the day with 170 yards on a career-high 33 carries and broke the game open with another one-yard touchdown run after a Giants turnover late in the third quarter. The Titans entered Sunday with the second-highest rush percentage in the NFL (47.5 run to 52.5 pass).
*The Giants had 14 sacks and 11 interceptions since the bye week, but they had only one of the former and none of the latter on Sunday as the Titans dominated the time of possession.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*There was some gamesmanship between Shurmur and Titans coach Mike Vrabel late in the first half. The Titans showed a fake punt but were really looking for a delay of game penalty, which the Giants declined. Tennessee then repeated the sequence, but were called for unsportsmanlike conduct as the clock ran out for consecutive penalties. On the ensuing possession, Giants punter Riley Dixon ran 14 yards for a first down on a fake play. However, the Giants were unable to capitalize and went into halftime with a 7-0 deficit.
INJURY REPORT: NYG – C Spencer Pulley (calf), DB Antonio Hamilton (quad). TEN – S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion), OLB Sharif Finch (shoulder)
INACTIVES: NYG – WR Odell Beckham Jr. (quad), QB Kyle Lauletta, DB Tony Lippett, S Kamrin Moore, C Evan Brown, TE Garrett Dickerson, DT John Jenkins. TEN – RB David Fluellen (knee), OLB Brian Orakpo (elbow), TE Cole Wick (shoulder), RB Jeremy McNichols, G Aaron Stinnie, OL Austin Pasztor, Matt Dickerson.
LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Russell Shepard for Beckham at WR.