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Giant Takeaways: Giants Drop Fourth Straight Game in Loss to Lions

Four games. The New York Giants have lost four straight games after falling to the Detroit Lions 31-26 at Ford Field on Sunday.

Despite entering halftime with a 14-13 deficit, the Lions broke away from the game. That can be attributed to the strong chemistry between quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Kenny Golladay, who accounted for two touchdown receptions in the third quarter.

Even though the Giants fought back, the same issues continue to arise for the Giants.

Playoffs? Not happening? Now at 2-6, the Giants should be sellers at the trade deadline this week.

Here are some takeaways from the Giants’ latest loss.

Danny Dimes Returns

Quarterback Daniel Jones had a rough couple of weeks against the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and Arizona Cardinals. The common theme from the last three games? Turnovers.

Jones had one turnover in the Motor City, in which he threw a lateral pass behind running back Saquon Barkley as he was hit by Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis. The end result saw former Giant Devon Kennard scoop up the ball, rush past a unaware Barkley, and dive into the end zone, giving Detroit the first score of the game.

After that, Jones picked it up and viewers saw the return of “Danny Dimes.”

Jones completed 28-of-41 pass attempts for 322 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His completions, attempts, and touchdowns were all career-highs.

He showed good ball placement and poise in the pocket. His main beneficiaries on the day were Golden Tate and Saquon Barkley, who each caught eight passes for a total of 164 yards.

More importantly, he showed tremendous chemistry with one receiver in particular. Hint: it’s a fellow rookie.

Jones is headed back in the right direction, as compared to his one touchdown/seven interception span in the past four games. Unfortunately, the brilliance of Jones isn’t enough for the Giants to earn victories in a generally easy schedule.

Defense Continues to Fail

This Giants team can go as far as their defense allows them. If 2019 showed us anything, it’s that this defense can’t take them out of the NFC East basement.

While New York only allowed 375 yards of total offense to Detroit, there were burned on big plays and third down situations.

In terms of big plays, two plays stick out.

In the first quarter, Matthew Stafford looked deep downfield, to find receiver Marvin Hall for a 49-yard touchdown. When looking at the replay, you see that Hall sneaked past linebacker Alec Ogletree, safety Grant Haley, and rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker before burning past a delayed Michael Thomas for the score.

During the fourth quarter, Matthew Stafford handed the ball off to running back JD McKissic, who then tossed it back to Stafford. The Lions signal caller found Golladay wide open downfield for the 41-yard touchdown. The Giants were fooled on that flea flicker, where Antoine Bethea allowed Golladay to break away.

As for third down, the Giants were pushed around by Detroit, who converted eight of their 14 attempts on Sunday afternoon. That’s not ideal.

This team isn’t built like the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs. This team doesn’t utilize explosive plays like Patrick Mahomes in order to make up for a poor defense. The defense needs to hunker down in order to win games. For Pat Shurmur, this team needs an all-around great performance. Not having the offense/defense pulling off disappearing acts.

Slayton the Steal of 2019 Draft

The Giants have themselves a diamond in the rough on offense, and that’s fifth round pick Darius Slayton. The rookie was hampered by a hamstring injury early on this season, but like they say. Better late than never.

Out of Auburn, Slayton was viewed in this year’s NFL Draft as only a vertical route runner. In the Giants offense, he’s shown to be a huge red zone target for Daniel Jones. Slayton uses his body to his advantage and at the expense of defensive backs.

Slayton hauled in two of his five targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the first half.

In the first quarter, Jones threw up a dime pass for Slayton, who leaped over Lions corner Rashaan Melvin and fell backwards into the end zone to put New York on the board for the first time of the game.

His second touchdown came on a similar throw, this time to the right side of the field. Slayton used his big body to again bully Melvin to bring the Giants within one point.

If Sunday showed viewers and analysts anything, it’s that the connection between Slayton and Jones will be a strong one for years to come.

Kennard Comes Back to Haunt Giants

While general manager Dave Gettleman has struck gold in the NFL Draft, his performance in free agency is the polar opposite.

Once joining the team late in 2017, Gettleman wanted to bring in his own personnel, like any new executive would. One of his decisions was to let former 2014 fifth round linebacker Devon Kennard walk in free agency. The preference? Bring in former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kareem Martin.

So far, Martin has failed to make an impact on the defense, while also spending time on the injured reserve this season.

As for Kennard, he’s a team captain on the Lions, who leads the team in sacks (3.0), and has shown to be a consistent starter at the linebacker position. Fun fact, he hasn’t missed a single game for the Lions since signing a three-year contract in 2018.

Kennard showed the Giants to their face why it was a mistake to let him walk away.

H  had he fumble recovery on Jones’ backwards pass. He recorded seven tackles on the day, including a shoestring tackle on a potential Barkley breakaway run. More importantly, Kennard has ten sacks in his Detroit tenure. As for Martin? Just 1.5.

Letting Devon Kennard walk away is one of many free agency head-scratchers from Dave Gettleman.

What’s Next?

The Giants have eight days of preparation to face the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on “Monday Night Football” in Week 9. In the season opener, quarterback Dak Prescott blew the doors off the Giants defense for a historical performance and dominant win. The main difference from Week 1 until now is that Eli Manning is on the bench, and Daniel Jones is on the field.

Jones will look to give the Cowboys a bigger fight than in year’s past for the upset win. However, that only happens if the defense can stop Dallas’ strong offense, which is no easy task.

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