The Giants.com crew reacts to the team's 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 1:
John Schmeelk: The Broncos have few weak areas and are very balanced on both sides of the ball. But it was surprising the Giants were unable to find an advantage in certain areas despite matchups that should have been favorable to them.
Last season the Giants were able to run the football even after Saquon Barkley was lost for the season with a knee injury. They had a stretch where they rushed for a 100 yards in seven straight games. The Broncos, on the other hand, finished last season ranked 29th in rush yards allowed per play and their interior defensive line and linebacker corps was largely unchanged in 2021.
Despite those favorable numbers, the Giants only finished the game with 20 carries for 60 yards, 27 of which came from Daniel Jones. Giants running backs had only 14 rushes for 33 yards, a 2.35 average. The Broncos managed to slow down the run game without jamming the box full of defenders and largely keeping both their safeties deep pre-snap.
And then there was the Giants' inability to slow down the Broncos offense. After a strong 2020 season, the Giants forced only two punts and one three-and-out, which came when the Broncos running out the clock at the end of the game. From the second quarter until their next to last drive in the fourth, the Broncos had six straight drives where they gained at least 50 yards and scored on all but one of them (when Jerry Jeudy fumbled inside the Giants 10). The Broncos went 7-of-15 on third down and were 3-of-3 on fourth down. They had five plays of 20+ yards and had a 70-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.
Dan Salomone: Joe Judge spent much of his postgame press conference talking about giving the fans more to cheer about after they spent their hard-earned money on tickets. The way to do that is for his team not to pay the price of admission for something else: the emotional roller coaster.
Overreaction Monday is a rite of autumn, especially coming off Week 1, but the Giants find themselves in a 0-1 hole for the fifth consecutive season and 10th time in 11 years. Turnovers, red zone, and situational football were the culprits again, setting up an important Thursday night matchup on the road against the Washington Football Team, which also lost its season opener. The winner will change the narrative…for at least one week.
"We've got to earn the fans respect, point blank," Judge said. "These people come out here and spend their hard earned money. They sit in the seats, they cheer for us, they give us energy within the seats. We have to give them something to cheer about. It's not their job to show up and cheer just the cheer. That's not their job. Their job is to be entertained. They buy a ticket, that means they buy the right to cheer, boo, stay, leave, whatever they want to do. We got to give them something to stay for. We have to give them something to cheer for. That's on us as a team, we got to do a better job for that. I appreciate the fans, what they did, I look forward to seeing them in a few weeks. Look, our focus is to make sure the next time they come, they see a better product and they stay the full 60 minutes to watch it."
Lance Medow: Denver held the ball for nearly 11 more minutes than New York – and used that time advantage to score points. After the Broncos were forced to punt on their first possession, their next six drives resulted in five scores (three TDs and two FGs) – the long exception being an eight play, 71-yard march that ended with a second-quarter fumble.
The Broncos were 7-of-15 (47%) on third down and converted all three of their fourth downs. Eight of their downs were for seven yards or less and seven were for eight yards or more. It's no surprise, they converted five of the former and four of those came on a touchdown drive that started the third quarter to help build a 10-point lead.
In comparison, the Giants had eight possessions – three punts, two touchdowns (one as the game ended), two failed fourth downs, and a lost fumble. The biggest problem involved red zone issues, which plagued the team last season (it finished 31st). New York was 1-3 in the red zone Sunday, with the lone conversion on the last play of the game. On two of the Giants' three red zone possessions, they failed on fourth down. And Daniel Jones' fumble came while he was running inside the 20. So that's three possessions deep in Denver territory that resulted in no points.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' season opener against the Denver Broncos.