The Giants.com crew discusses the biggest takeaways from the 36-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
John Schmeelk: If you count the Giants' turnover on downs in addition to one interception and two lost fumbles, they had four "turnovers." Regardless of how the rest of the game plays out, it is nearly impossible to win when a team loses the turnover battle by three or four.
Even without the turnovers, the 49ers dominated. Their offense had only two drives that went fewer than eight plays and both of those drives ended in scores for the 49ers since they started in Giants' territory after turnovers. The 49ers didn't punt the ball once. Aside from the final drive when they knelt three times, Robbie Gould's missed a 55-yard field goal was the only 49ers' drive that did not result in points.
The Giants only had one drive that went for more than seven plays, and none that went for more than 60 yards. Daniel Jones ran for 49 yards, and the running backs went for only 17. They did not have a play go for more than 30 yards, which is essential if a team wants to score points without sustaining long drives.
This isn't the case of one or two plays making the difference. The Giants, as a team, just need to play better football on both sides of the ball if they want to get their first win. It is broad and it is vague, but after a game like the one against the 49ers, there's nothing else that can be said.
Dan Salomone: The major takeaway is the giveaways. Only the Eagles (eight) have turned over the ball more times than the Giants (seven) through Sunday's games. There is nothing mysterious about what has gone wrong in the 0-3 start; anyone can see that. There is also no "magic wand" to fix it. That was Joe Judge's point in Sunday's post-game press conference, just like it was during his introductory press conference in January, when he took over a team that had won 12 games since it last made the postseason in 2016. He didn't set out to reinvent the wheel then, and he won't do it now. The same things that won football games in 1925 will win football games now – fundamentals, preparation, and execution. From coaches to players, the Giants have failed to put them all together in three attempts.
The real question is where they go from here. The Giants, who are fortunate to be just one game back of the NFC East lead, travel in back-to-back weeks to Los Angeles and Dallas. The NFL is a league of extremes. You're either the best team in the world or the worst team in the world on Mondays. The Giants can't get caught up in that; Judge will just try to steady their course on daily improvement.
"Obviously we have some adversity right now that we have to respond to," Judge said late Sunday afternoon, "but when I think about this area, you talk about blue-collar people that work blue-collar livings, like my family did growing up. You just wake up every day no matter the circumstances and you go back to the grindstone, and that's what our team is going to do.
"We're not looking for excuses. We're not pointing fingers. We're not looking for shortcuts. We're working on building this thing, and building this thing the right way for this area, for the families that this team represents, and we're going to come back Wednesday, and we're going to work our butts off and get this thing right moving forward."
Lance Medow: You can easily point to all three facets of the team as to why the Giants lost to the Niners – and penalties contributed to each unit. The Giants had only five penalties in the game and that number doesn't seem too much to overcome, but timing is everything. New York simply gave San Francisco too many gifts and the Niners wisely took advantage.
The game completely changed late in the second quarter when the Niners faced a 3rd-and-22 from the their own 44 with the game tied, 6-6. Nick Mullens completed a 7-yard pass to tight end Jordan Reed but the Giants were penalized for illegal contact for an automatic first down. San Francisco ended the drive with Jerick McKinnon's 10-yard TD run. From there, the momentum completely changed. On the very next Giants' possession, Fred Warner snared an interception and the Niners tacked on a field goal right before the end of the half. A tied game turned into a 16-6-point lead for San Francisco in the blink of an eye and they finished up outscoring the Giants, 30-3.
This was also the third straight game in which the Giants' opponent scored a touchdown very late in the second quarter to take control. The common theme for the Steelers, Bears and 49ers? Each drive was for at least eight plays and for 75 yards.
The Giants also handed the Niners two first downs, thanks to an offside penalty on 2nd-and-5 from San Francisco's 43 early in the second quarter and an encroachment penalty on 2nd-and-5 from the Niners' 44 late in the third quarter. The former drive ended with a missed field goal and the latter a touchdown. Penalties and the defense's inability to get off the field on third down (8-for-12) are two main culprits as to why the Niners scored on seven (four touchdowns, three field goals) of their eight possessions and never punted.
The mishaps also showed up on special teams as a face mask penalty allowed San Francisco to redo an extra point attempt that initially resulted in a botched snap. And a holding penalty offset a face mask penalty against Niners safety Jaquiski Tartt, completely wiping out Daniel Jones's 16-yard run on a 2nd-and-10 from the San Francisco 30 midway through the third quarter. Instead of having a fresh set of downs at the 14, the Giants had to redo second down, gained 1 yard on their next two plays combined and settled for a Graham Gano's 47-yard field goal. Throw in the four turnovers (one turnover on downs) and it's no surprise New York only managed to score nine points.