OAKLAND, Calif. — For a few days the talk dealing with the Giants was about the man who was missing, benched quarterback Eli Manning. On Sunday, for a while — if only a brief while — it was about the man who was missed, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.
Moments after the opening kickoff — 2 minutes, 4 seconds to be specific — Lynch, the hometown kid, the guy who rarely speaks even if spoken to, dashed untouched 51 yards for a touchdown that would give the Raiders a 7-0 lead.
“He found a hole,” said Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, “and it was full speed ahead. I don’t know what happened, but he found a hole somewhere.”
Other than the run by Lynch, for three quarters the Giants’ defense was relatively effective, holding Oakland to a 10-7 lead.
“For the most part we played good defense,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “Then in the fourth quarter they made a few more plays than we did.”
Asked about the week, and whether he was affected by the story Manning would be replaced, Rodgers-Cromartie said, “It’s tough when you got a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback who’s not there, and you try to not think about it too much. I think we focused and kept our heads in the game.”
Safety Landon Collins thought Lynch’s quick score had a huge effect.
“I think if we stop that it would have been a different game,” said Collins. “On defense, we mostly did our jobs. They did make some plays that turned the game around.
“With everything that took place [last week] on defense we had to just go out and do our jobs. We got some turnovers. Brandon got his interception,” he said about Brandon Dixon, who had just been put on the roster from the practice squad.
Collins, however, failed to intercept a ball that seemed in his hands.
When someone mentioned the frequent reports of the last few days of the benching of Manning and rumors head coach Ben McAdoo might be fired, Collins as expected was non-commital.
“I don’t know,” he said about McAdoo. “It might be true, so you take it into consideration.”
And about media reports the Giants are dysfunctional, Collins said, “Things are said about us every day. Our mission is have everything under control. Now we’ve got a long trip home.”
For the second time. Three weeks ago they were across the Bay and lost to the San Francisco 49ers. Don’t even mention that song, “California Dreamin’.”