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Instant Analysis: Giants fall to Broncos, 27-13

SAQUON-BARKLEY

AT A GLANCE: The Giants' Week 1 woes continued with a 27-13 loss to the Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Giants have lost five consecutive season openers.

UP NEXT: A quick turnaround to Week 2. The Giants (0-1) will travel to face the defending NFC East champion Washington Football Team (0-1) on Thursday Night Football in Landover, Maryland. Big Blue has won its past five games against Washington and is 12-4 in their past 16 meetings. The Giants have won their past three trips to FedExField. Washington lost its season opener to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Check out the best photos from the Giants' season opener against the Denver Broncos.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

🔹 Saquon Barkley cleared the final hurdle in his comeback. The dynamic running back and three-time team captain played in his first game since he suffered a serious knee injury last Sept. 20 and underwent surgery on Oct. 30. Barkley, who is the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, was limited in practice this week and listed as "questionable" on the final injury report.

Fittingly, Daniel Jones handed the ball off to Barkley on the first play from scrimmage, which he turned into a five-yard gain. Barkley finished with 10 carries for 26 yards and one catch for one yard.

🔹 Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured active Giants player, had one of the best camps of his career over the summer. He carried it over to the regular season and scored the Giants' first touchdown of the season. He broke two tackles along the way to the 37-yard score, giving the Giants a 7-3 lead for the time being in the second quarter. Shepard went on to notch his 10th career 100-yard game.

🔹 Barkley wasn't the only playmaker making his much-anticipate return. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (four catches for 64 yards), tight end Kyle Rudolph (two catches for eight yards), and rookie first-round pick Kadarius Toney (two catches for a loss of two yards) made their debuts in Giants uniform after missing time in training camp due to injuries.

🔹 In the week leading up, coach Joe Judge called Denver's Von Miller a "unicorn" edge rusher who can "ruin your day in a heartbeat." The eight-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl MVP racked up three tackles for loss, including two sacks.

🔹 With his team marching into Denver territory and trailing by 10 points, Jones lost a fumble after a seven-yard scramble late in the third quarter. Josey Jewell jarred the ball loose, and Malik Reed recovered at the Broncos 13.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

🔹 Recently voted one of seven team captains, defensive back Logan Ryan made a nifty play late in the first half when he seemingly just tackled tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on the left sideline inside the Giants' 10. But he did more than that. Ryan stripped the ball and gained possession for the takeaway before they both fell to the ground. Ryan entered the season as one of three active DBs with 15+ career interceptions (18) and 10+ career sacks (12).

🔹 The Giants gave up a touchdown with just eight seconds left in the first half and lost the lead in the process. Teddy Bridgewater, who won an offseason competition with Drew Lock, connected with Tim Patrick for a two-yard score to complete a seven-play, 57-yard drive.

🔹 A major turning point of the game came with 8:50 remaining in the third quarter. Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry landed on Jerry Jeudy after a 20-yard gain, and the wide receiver lost control of the ball. Jabrill Peppers recovered the fumble, but the call was reversed after an official review showed Jeudy, who was injured on the play, was down before the ball came out. It set up a first down at the Giants' 13. Four plays later, the Broncos converted a fourth down on an Okwuegbunam four-yard touchdown from Bridgewater. It gave Denver a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter.

🔹 Running back Melvin Gordon III put the game away with a 70-yard rushing touchdown, which gave the Broncos a 27-7 lead with 4:37 left in the game.

🔹 Rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari, the team's second-round pick, recorded his first career sack early in the third quarter.

INJURY REPORT

NYG: DB Logan Ryan (cramping) returned.

DEN: WR Jerry Jeudy (lower leg)

INACTIVES

NYG: WR Collin Johnson, CB Josh Jackson, CB Sam Beal, LB Justin Hilliard, TE Evan Engram, LB Quincy Roche

DEN: OLB Bradley Chubb, OT Cameron Fleming, DE McTelvin Agim, FS Jamar Johnson, CB Kary Vincent, RB Nate McCrary, TE Andrew Beck

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