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Field goals not enough in Giants' 17-9 loss to Rams

GIANTS-RAMS

AT A GLANCE

If the Giants are going to turn around the season, they must find a way to get into the end zone. For the second week in a row, their scoring was limited to three field goals. And for the second time in three games, they lost despite giving up just 17 points. This time, those factored together in a 17-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that dropped the Giants to 0-4 for the first time since 2017. The Giants had a chance to score a touchdown late in the third quarter, but Daniel Jones overthrew Darius Slayton in the end zone. Los Angeles then made the two biggest plays in the fourth quarter. The first was Jared Goff's 55-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp, who somehow got all alone in the middle of the defense and scored to give the Rams an eight-point lead with 6:56 remaining. Daniel Jones then led the Giants from their own 20-yard line to the Rams' 18, where they faced a second-and-five with 52 seconds left. But Jones' pass to Damion Ratley was intercepted by a diving Darius Williams at the five-yard line to seal the Giants' fate. It was the Giants' only turnover of the game. The Rams improved to 3-1.

UP NEXT

The Giants will play their first 2020 game against an NFC East opponent when they face the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. Five of the Giants' next six games will be against division foes. Dallas won the last six games in the series dating to 2017. Last year, the Giants lost their season opener in Dallas, 35-17, despite Saquon Barkley's 120 rushing yards and Eli Manning's 306 passing yards. In the Monday night rematch on Nov. 4, the Giants trailed by a single point after three quarters, but were outscored in the fourth, 21-3 and lost in MetLife Stadium, 37-18. The Cowboys lead the regular-season series, 68-45-2. The Giants have swept the season series 13 times, while Dallas has 23 series sweeps. The Giants are 20-37-1 in Dallas, including 5-6 in AT&T Stadium.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

This is a resilient group, even without Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard. In the first half, the Giants gained 67 yards and had six first downs. But in the final two quarters, they gained 228 yards and had 13 first downs.

Running back Devonta Freeman started for the first time as a Giant. The team's rushing attack struggled in the first half (45 yards, including 32 by the running backs) but improved markedly in the second half (91 yards). Wayne Gallman and Jones each had a team-high 45 yards.

Gallman had a career-long 26-yard run in the fourth quarter.

The Giants had only 22 net passing yards in first half. Jones threw for 48 yards while completing eight passes but was sacked four times for losses totaling 26 yards. Jones finished with 190 yards but was sacked five times.

Freeman began to find holes in the defense as both a runner and receiver in the second half, when the Giants controlled the ball for longer periods of time. He rushed for 35 yards and caught four passes for 33 yards.

The Giants converted a fourth-and one from the Rams' 48-yard line midway through the third quarter when Jones threw to tight end Kaden Smith for a 10-yard gain.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

It has the potential to be an outstanding unit. After giving up 36 points to the 49ers last week, the Giants held the Rams – who averaged 30 points and 449.7 yards in their first three games – to 17 points and 240 yards – 200 under their average. The Rams gained just 116 yards in the first half.

For the third consecutive week, the defense gave up points the first time the opposition touched the ball, as the Rams took a 7-0 lead when tight end Gerald Everett scored on a two-yard run with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter. On Sept. 20, Chicago's Mitch Trubisky threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to David Montgomery on the Bears' first series. Last week, San Francisco's Robbie Gould kicked a 52-yard field goal in the game's opening drive.

The defense can still force a turnover. After failing to come up with a takeaway last week against the 49ers, the Giants' defense wrestled away the ball on the first play of the second Los Angeles possession. Tight end Gerald Everett – who earlier had scored on a two-yard run - gained 10 yards on a pass from Jared Goff before losing the ball on a fumble that was forced by defensive tackle Austin Johnson and recovered by cornerback James Bradberry. It was the first career forced fumble for Johnson and first career recovery for Bradberry. The takeaway led to Graham Gano's 35-yard field goal.

Johnson sacked Goff for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter. It was his first sack since Nov. 5, 2018, when he played for Tennessee at Dallas and tackled Dak Prescott for a six-yard loss. Johnson has 3.5 career sacks.

Linebacker Tae Crowder almost came up with his first career interception on the opening play of the third quarter. But a mandatory review of all turnovers revealed the ball hit the ground and resulted in the play being overturned.

Blake Martinez again led the Giants in tackles with 13 (eight solo).

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS

Graham Gano remains the Giants top scorer. Gano kicked field goals of 35 and 37 yards in the second quarter and a 27-yarder in the fourth to account for all of the Giants' scoring for the second week in a row. Gano has kicked seven consecutive field goals since the Giants last scored a touchdown two weeks ago in Chicago.

With Jabrill Peppers inactive because of an ankle injury, veteran receiver Golden Tate assumed the punt return duties and had three runbacks for 30 yards, including a 15-yarder.

After pulling to within 10-9 on Gano's field goal early in the fourth quarter, the kickoff team surrendered a 41-yard return by Raymond Calais. Newly-acquired Madre Harper, playing his first NFL game, made the tackle that prevented a potential touchdown.

INJURY REPORT

NYG: Linebacker Oshane Ximines returned to the locker room with a reported shoulder injury. Linebacker Kyler Fackrell (neck) and defensive back Adrian Colbert (neck) also dealt with injuries.

LAR: None reported

INACTIVES

NYG: The Giants' six-man inactive list included starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle), defensive lineman RJ McIntosh, wide receiver Austin Mack (who yesterday was added to the roster from the practice squad), rookie linebackers Carter Coughlin and TJ Brunson and tackle Jackson Barton.

LAR: The Rams' inactive players were running back Cam Akers, center Brian Allen, defensive tackle Eric Banks, tight end Brycen Hopkins, wide receiver Trishton Jackson and safety Jordan Fuller.

LINEUP CHANGES

NYG: The Giants started two different safeties in Logan Ryan and Adrian Colbert. Ryan took over at strong safety in place of Jabrill Peppers one week after starting for Julian Love at free safety. When Peppers injured his ankle early in the game vs. San Francisco, Ryan moved to strong safety and Love played free safety, where he started the first two games. Love was limited in practice by knee and ankle injuries and was replaced in the starting lineup by Colbert, who missed the previous two games with a quad injury. Colbert made his first start with the Giants and first since Dec. 29, 2019 for Miami at New England.

LAR: None

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