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Giants Q&A: What happened to defense in Week 1 loss to Broncos?

Logan Ryan #23 of the Giants reacts after

Logan Ryan #23 of the Giants reacts after his fumble recover against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

What happened to the Giants’ vaunted defense?

It couldn’t get off the field. The Broncos converted 7 of 15 third downs and 3 of 3 fourth downs to finish the game with a resounding 35:08 time of possession. "That was the story of the game," safety Logan Ryan said. The other story for the defense was their inability to clamp down on receivers. Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater shredded the secondary, completing 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns to nine different receivers.

"We expect to be better and we will be," Ryan said. "It wasn’t to our standard… Their defense probably would have been bad too if they had played longer but they didn’t. We have to get our offense more touches."

Does Joe Judge not know the rules about challenging scoring plays?

He does. But he said the only thing he could throw at the officials to get their attention for an explanation of the Broncos’ touchdown in the third quarter when one replay angle made it seem as if TE Okwuegbunam stepped out of bounds was the red flag. "That’s completely on me," he said. "I was looking for feedback from the officials… I was screaming for the officials. I had to do something to draw their attention so I threw the flag." The play, like all scoring plays, was confirmed by officials in New York and the Giants were charged a timeout for the illegal challenge. "I told the team that was something I can’t do, waste a timeout, but I had to get somebody’s attention in some way to make sure they were looking at the same things we were looking at."

How did the new additions to the offense perform?

With mixed results. WR Kenny Golladay, who predicted something of a slow start due to the time missed by so many players with injuries this summer, caught four passes for 64 yards and TE Kyle Rudolph caught two for 8. The best offensive player for the Giants was the longest-tenured player on the roster, Sterling Shepard, who had seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

How did the Giants use first-round pick Kadarius Toney?

Just as offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said they would, in a "specific and purposeful" way. Add to that, though, the word predictable. Toney was on the field for two offensive snaps in the first half and got the ball both times. The first was on a jet sweep which the Broncos sniffed out for a loss of 6 yards, the second was a short screen that saw Toney motion from wideout to the backfield then to his route for a gain of 4. He picked up just a handful of snaps late in the second half with the game out of reach.

Were any of the 74,119 fans at MetLife Stadium there to see their first Giants game?

Probably quite a few, but one was especially noteworthy: Eli Manning. The retired quarterback sat in a suite with his family watching his former team in action in person for the first time in his life. "I had all these emotions coming back into the stadium for the first time," he said after cutting the ribbon to open the Hackensack Meridian Health Giants Legacy Club at the stadium. "When there is a kickoff and you are not on the sideline or not running out there, it’s a little bit different." Different but not necessarily worse. "It’s much more relaxed coming to the stadium today than the last 16 years when I was coming to play and had to perform and gameplan," he said.

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