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Giants’ Offense Falters Against Steelers, Ending Winning Streak

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

 

The New York Giants’ (8-4) six game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5), losing 24-14 at Heinz Field on Sunday.

The Giants’ day did not start off great, as on their second drive they found themselves on their own nine-yard line. On third down, Giants quarterback Eli Manning completed a 15 yard pass to receiver Odell Beckham Jr, seemingly giving them the first down. However, a holding penalty was called on left tackle on Ereck Flowers, giving the Steelers the safety and a 2-0 lead. Flowers penalty troubles continue again for another week.

With the very next drive, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed a deep pass to tight end Ladarius Green for 37 yards. This would set up a successful 44-yard field goal attempt from kicker Randy Bullock, giving the Steelers a 5-0 lead late in the first quarter.

On the Giants ensuing drive, Eli Manning would work his way down the field, notably from a 16 yard pass to tight end Will Tye and a 10 yard pass to Beckham. On second and four on the Pittsburgh nine-yard line, Manning would throw a pass intended to tight end Larry Donnell, but was intercepted by Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons. This ended the momentum the Giants had gained on this drive.

After recovering the interception, Roethlisberger would throw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown, now giving the Giants a 11-0 lead after a failed two point conversion attempt. Later on towards the end of the quarter, Steelers killed about five minutes off the clock and would end in a successful 34 yard field goal attempt, giving the Steelers a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.

Six minutes into the third quarter, the Giants had finally taken momentum away from Pittsburgh. On a three yard run by Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas would strip the ball out of Bell’s hands and recover the fumble.

Giants would have the ball at Pittsburgh’s own 17-yard line. After two downs, the Giants’ would finally get on the board with a 13 yard completed pass to Giants running back Rashad Jennings for the touchdown. This would cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 14-7 halfway through the third.

Being seven points away did not last long for the Giants, as Roethlisberger would work his way to the Giants 20-yard line. Roethlisberger would complete a 20-yard touchdown pass to Green, giving the Steelers a 21-7 lead.

Later on in the third quarter, Eli Apple broke out of his proverbial shell, hauling in his first career interception off Roethlisberger. What a way to break into the Giants’ defense, which is already impressive.

Manning would make the attempt to pull within one touchdown of the Steelers. On the ninth play of the drive, Manning would throw a deep pass up the middle to Shepard, but it was intercepted by Steelers safety Sean Davis at the Pittsburgh six-yard line. Once again where the Giants had momentum heading into scoring territory, costly interceptions killed them.

After a successful 38-yard field goal by Bullock, the Steelers now extended their lead to

24-7. On the Giants final drive of the game, Manning completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Shepard. However, it was too late, as the Giants now pulled within 24-14 with 0:26 left in the game. The Steelers would recover on an attempted onside kick, who would then kneel down the ball to run out the clock to secure the victory.

“Tough night at the office, we know that’s not good enough,” said Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting the guys ready to play. We have to rebound fast. We have to give credit to the Steelers. They played a great game.”

The proclaimed offensive guru in McAdoo was billed as being able to right the sinking ship that was the Giants’ offense. However, the Giants offense have not shown the explosive potential that they have. Manning continues to have struggles inside the red zone, and it was exemplified today as he threw two picks inside the ten-yard line.

“We’re good enough to compete,” said Manning. “It’s a matter of those couple of plays difference and a couple of inches’ difference, not getting the set of possible touchdowns instead of no points.”

“I think everything will jell, it’ll all click at some point, it has to be really soon,” said Beckham. “…Either way it goes, it needs to be very soon, especially with the [Dallas Cowboys] we have coming in. They’re red hot, so we need to step it up a notch.”

The Giants’ defense has been the main factor in keeping the team in games, but even the defense had miscues. Safety Landon Collins blew coverage against Ladarius Green, which lead to a 20 yard touchdown. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was completely outjumped in the end zone by Antonio Brown. Even with the defense, there is room for improvement.

“Can’t even worry about that,” said Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “We just got to worry about the next game. It’s a division game, we’re at home, we got to get back on the winning side.”

“We can always bounce back,” said Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “It’s one game at a time. There’s nothing else we can do it. It’s just one game at a time.”

The Giants are in tough territory late in the season, beginning next week, as they face the division rival Dallas Cowboys (11-1), who clinched a playoff berth on Sunday. This primetime game is a must watch in regards to the hopes of playoff contention for the Giants.

 

Team Stats

Total Plays: 55

Total Yards: 234

Penalties: 4-24 yards

Turnovers: 2

First Downs: 16

Player Stats

Eli Manning: 24/39, 195 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 69.9 QBR.

Rashad Jennings: 6 rushes, 19 yards. 6 receptions, 34 yards, 1 TD.

Paul Perkins: 7 rushes, 38 yards.

Odell Beckham Jr: 10 receptions, 100 yards.

Sterling Shepard: 4 receptions, 21 yards, 1 TD.

Eli Apple: 6 tackles, 1 assist, 1 INT.

Olivier Vernon: 4 tackles, 2 sacks.

Damon Harrison: 9 tackles, 6 assists.

Jonathan Casillas: 8 tackles, 1 forced fumble.

Landon Collins: 7 tackles, 3 assists.

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