3 Giants takeaways: Receivers struggle in New York’s first loss of season

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New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger (82) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (2) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The Giants suffered their first loss of the season on Monday night football with the rival Dallas Cowboys in town. It was the Giants’ offensive line and receiving group that let the team down in the loss as New York faced its first divisional opponent this season. 

The Cowboys had been the first big test for a Giants team that is rebuilding under new head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. We’re starting to get to know who the 2022 New York Giants are after the first three weeks of the year.

Here are three takeaways from the Giants’ 23-16 loss to the Cowboys.

Offensive line very shakey 

After two weeks, it looked as though perhaps the focus on the Giants’ offensive line could be shifted elsewhere, but after their performance in Week 3 the spotlight is back on the unit. Quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked five times on Monday night, took 12 QB hits and was pressured on 40.5% of his dropbacks as the Cowboys’ defense overwhelmed the Giants. 

In particular, Evan Neal appeared to be mismatched all night, especially against Demarcus Lawrence, who got to Jones three times in the first half. Head coach Brian Daboll did try to alleviate some of the criticism on Neal.

“I would say it’s not just Ev (Evan Neal), which he got beat a couple times on the edge by a pretty good player,” Daboll said on Tuesday. “There was a lot of things we could have done better. And protection-wise after going through it, whether it’s the chips, the (running) backs, one-one-ones against the blitzers, the inside movement, the games inside. There was quite a bit of things. But Evan’s a diligent guy. We’ll work on improving him and try to be better next week.”

Kenny Golladay’s rough night

Golladay pushed for a chance to make an impact on the field and came up well short of that on Monday night. His biggest mistake came in the fourth quarter when he couldn’t make the play on a third-and-12 pass by Daniel Jones with 8:30 left in the game. 

All eyes have been on Golladay as he has had been limited in how the Giants used him this season. He was fourth in the receiver rotation on Monday and had been limited to just two snaps the week prior, but injuries had given him another opportunity this week. 

Asked on Tuesday how New York can get some production out of Golladay, Daboll had a simple message. 

“The same thing we try to do with all out guys is go out there, install the gameplan with them, work as hard as he can work, build trust with the quarterback and when he has opportunities to make plays, he goes out and makes them,” Daboll said. 

Daniel Jones has a good night despite loss

The Giants quarterback gave the Giants a pretty good effort despite the eventual loss to the Cowboys. He did throw a pick, but was able to make some plays under pressure and finished the game completing 20 of 37 passes for 197 yards.

Jones also finished the game with 97 yards on the ground, second behind running back Saquon Barkley. Many of his gains on the ground came as he was forced to scramble with the Cowboys pressuring. 

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While it wasn’t great that the offensive line allowed Dallas so many opportunities to get at Jones, it was at least good to see him handle himself so well under pressure. 

“You never want that to happen,” Daboll said. “But that’s a good evaluation to get, too, particularly on a quarterback when they’re under pressure or things aren’t always perfect and how you can ad lib and make plays when it’s not just exactly like it is on the play diagram. I thought he did that well.”

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