By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was right out of a Charles Dickens novel titled “A tale of two cities” as they played inspiring football for about 30 minutes and fell apart the other 30 minutes with the end result being a 26-16 lost.
I touched on four matchups to keep an eye on in my pregame analysis (Ben Roethlisberger- vs -Daniel Jones | Steelers Defensive front 7- vs -New York Giants offensive line | Daniel Jones –vs- the Steelers secondary | Red Zone Efficiency). Overall, both teams statically were very similar with the exception of two categories: rushing yards and red zone efficiency. Here are my top 4 reasons why the Giants lost:
- Steelers Defensive front 7: As projected, the Giants were facing a very physical and talented defense; especially the front 7 and didn’t have an answer for T.J Watt and Bud Dupree on the edges. Quarterback Daniel Jones did an admiral job against arguably a top 3 defense in the NFL and running back Saquan Barkley didn’t get too many open holes to work with.
- Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger had a little rust to start the game, but soon looked like the Roethlisberger of 2018 with precision passes on critical downs to help keep drives alive for the Steelers. Roethlisberger was efficient in the red zone; which really was the difference offensively for both teams; as the Giants struggled in that department.
- Rushing Yards: If the Giants want to improve in 2020, they must give their best offensive weapon a chance to succeed. I’m referring to running back Saquon Barkley who had 15 carries and only 6 yards rushing; no that’s not a misprint folks. Quarterback Daniel Jones (26 rushing yards) should not be your leading rusher.
- Red Zone: Steelers struggled in the red zone in 2019 without Roethlisberger, however; looked more like the Steelers of 2018 (led the league) converting 3 out of the 4 red zone possessions for touchdowns. In contrast, The Giants were 1 for 3 in the red zone. That translated to 23 points (missed extra point) for the Steelers and only 13 points for the Giants; which was the reason why the Giants lost the game.
Final Thoughts: It’s only one game, but the Giants did display some negatives traits that was evident in 2019, such as: costly turnovers and missed assignments mostly in defensive secondary. With 15 games remaining, this team still needs to go through some growing pains and we all should understand that it takes time for young players to develop and often times you need to fall down a few times to be able to get up and move forward.
Next up for the Giants will visit Soldier Field to play another stingy defensive team; the Chicago Bears. Check out my upcoming Coaches Corner pregame article predicting the final outcome?