Postgame notes and stats from the Giants' Preseason loss to the Browns:
CLEVELAND – The Giants played their second preseason game Monday night. And just like the first, they failed to score a touchdown. After kicking four field goals in a defeat to Pittsburgh, they managed only two in a 10-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns in FirstEnergy Stadium.
This isn't what Ben McAdoo had in mind when he spent the offseason plotting how to deploy his numerous offensive weapons.
"We held the team to 10 points," McAdoo said. "We have to win the ballgame."
The Giants didn't because they scored only on Mike Nugent's 38-yard field goal in the second quarter and Aldrick Rosas' 47-yarder in the third.
Those were more than offset by three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception), a rushing attack that continues to struggle, and missed connections on some passes, notably on Eli Manning's throw deep down the right sideline to Brandon Marshall on third down in the first quarter.
"We got to hit that first one to Brandon," McAdoo said. "We got to complete that ball."
The Giants lost three receivers to injury during the game: Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), Marshall (shoulder), and Tavarres King (ankle). And they played Pittsburgh last week without Sterling Shepard (ankle).
But McAdoo wasn't about to use those absences as an excuse. Not after Shepard had the ball stripped out of his hands by Jason McCourty in the second quarter. McAdoo's reaction: "hold the ball." That sentiment was strengthened by the fact that the giveaway led to the game's only touchdown, on a one-yard run by rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
McAdoo's ire deepened in the fourth quarter, when the Giants twice coughed up the ball deep in the red zone with a chance to take the lead. First, Geno Smith threw a pass that was intercepted at the three-yard line by Briean Boddy-Calhoun, whose tackle in the second quarter sent Beckham to the sideline. The Giants quickly got another opportunity when safety Duke Ihenacho recovered Cody Kessler's fumble at the 10. But on the very next snap, rookie running back Wayne Gallman fumbled it right back to Cleveland.
Does McAdoo take such giveaways personally?
"Yes, yes, I do," he said. "We need to take care of the ball. If we don't take care of the ball, we give up 10 points and lose the ballgame. That is not good enough. It doesn't matter what season it is. Regular season, preseason, postseason."
Manning completed 10 of 14 passes for 80 yards in his 2017 debut. Smith hit 11 of 17 throws for 79 yards. Each quarterback was sacked once.
"We got to do better," Manning said. "We got to throw and catch the ball better. Convert on third down (the Giants were 3-for-12). Made some plays, we did some good things, just couldn't connect on plays that would have been helpful moving the chains and getting us in better situations."
Some of those plays were runs. The Giants rushed for 65 yards on 20 carries, a 3.3-yard average. That came on the heels of their 73-yard, 3.2-yard average performance against the Steelers.
"We just have to be able to move the ball a little bit better," guard Justin Pugh said. "Three three-and-outs in that first quarter is not what we are looking for. We have been a home run offense in the past, but I think with the personnel we have now, we can be more multiple and really dink and dunk our way down the field. We don't have to rely on that big slant for a touchdown or a deep ball, so I would like to pick up some more first downs, but we have to get better there."
And several other places on offense.
*In addition to Kizer's touchdown, the Browns scored on rookie Zane Gonzalez's 39-yard field goal in the third.
*The Giants' defense had one interception – by Jason Pierre-Paul, who grabbed a Brock Osweiler pass that was tipped by Olivier Vernon on the Browns' first series.
"I already knew I was going to catch it," JPP said. "O.V. did a great job of tipping it - we practice that in practice in the ball drills. But what was going through my mind is, 'Hey man, take it to the house like I did last year (in Cleveland),' but I think my own teammate ran into me, so I got knocked down. I caught the ball though."
*Pierre-Paul and Vernon also split one of the Giants' two sacks. Linebacker B.J. Goodson had the other one, and led the team with seven tackles (five solo).
*Odell Beckham, Jr. – who left the game in the second quarter with a sprained ankle – Evan Engram, Will Tye, and Sterling Shepard all had a team-high three receptions.
*The Giants' game captains were Eli Manning, Jonathan Casillas, Zak DeOssie, Landon Collins John Jerry and Brad Wing. Manning, Casillas and DeOssie were the Giants' season-long captains in 2016.
*The following Giants were not in uniform for the game: cornerback Eli Apple; wide receivers Dwayne Harris and Darius Powe; linebackers Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich and J.T. Thomas III; running back Shaun Draughn; and offensive linemen Adam Gettis and Michael Bowie
These players stood out in the Giants' preseason game vs. the Browns