Daniel Jones played one of the best games of his career but had few others anywhere near that level. Whether it was his long touchdown run negated by a holding penalty against C.J. Board, dropped passes by Kenny Golladay (for what would have been a key first down) and Darius Slayton (for what should have been an easy touchdown), or the pressure he faced from the ferocious Washington pass rush, Jones was let down at just about every turn. Sterling Shepard’s nine catches for 94 yards represented about the only effort that matched Jones’. Saquon Barkley had one explosive play, a 41-yard run, but the rest of his game consisted of running into the line of scrimmage and going nowhere.
Think about the quarterbacks the Giants defense has made into star players the last three times it was on the field: Rookie Mac Jones for the Patriots in the preseason, Teddy Bridgewater for the Broncos in the opener, and Thursday night Taylor Heinicke. A secondary that was supposed to be the strength of the team has yet to shut anyone down. Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry has struggled in coverage despite a late interception. The Giants allowed a 17-second touchdown drive and an 11-play drive for the game-winning field goal in the final five minutes of the game. They also let J.D. McKissic score on a 2-yard run with 21 seconds left in the first half.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F
Dexter Lawrence cost the Giants the game by jumping offside on the 48-yard field goal attempt with no time remaining that went wide right, setting up a second kick that went through the uprights and gave Washington the victory. That’s all you need to know. And the Giants were on track for a stellar grade in this area, especially with Graham Gano connecting for five Giants field goals — three of them 47 yards or longer with a 55-yarder as the longest — to give the team the majority of its scoring. Gano holds the team record with 35 straight field goals made, by the way. It’s the longest active streak in the NFL and is nine shy of the all-time record of 44 straight set by Adam Vinateri.
Penalties fall on coaches and the Giants had costly ones in all three areas of the team: offense, defense and special teams. The offense showed some signs of creativity and there were open plays down the field, but they should have been more aggressive after the Bradberry interception. It was the second time in two games the Giants defense came up with a takeaway and the offense froze in the headlights with three meager plays and a kick (they punted after Logan Ryan’s forced fumble against Denver). Patrick Graham needs to figure out what’s going on with his defense because they look lost, overmatched and unprepared … the exact opposite of the way they looked last season. Joe Judge will have his hands full for the next 10 days moving the Giants past the doomsday-ness of another 0-2 start and figuring out how to navigate a troubling dynamic between Golladay and Jones on the sideline.