For the second straight game, the Giants lost on a field goal as time expired, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In Week 2 on the road, it was the Washington Football Team that sent them away with a 30-29 defeat when kicker Dustin Hopkins split the uprights on a 43-yarder. This past Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons’ dropped the Giants to 0-3 after Younghoe Koo booted a 40-yard field goal to end the game.
The distressing 17-14 loss was an instance of history repeating itself for the Giants. Not just this season, but for most of the past decade. Missed opportunities, critical mistakes, insufficient execution and injuries doomed them again.
“We’ve got to do a better job of finishing drives, finishing the game,” said Joe Judge after his team dropped his overall record to 6-13 as the Giants head coach. “You come out of any game without success and there are things you’re obviously not happy about,” Judge expanded.
“The key for us is to make sure that we go back to work, we correct the mistakes, we keep being productive in things we’re doing well and we stay together as a team and keep pushing forward. That’s the biggest-picture thing right now.”
It would be redundant to detail the miscues that plagued the Giants, such as a fumble by tight end Evan Engram––who was making his return after missing Weeks 1 and 2 with a calf injury––with 1:10 left in the first half. They surface seemingly every game and aren’t mitigated by some of the positives, such as quarterback Daniel Jones’ second straight game without a turnover. Viscerally and tangibly, injuries to middle linebacker Blake Martinez, and wide receivers Sterling Sheppard and Darius Slayton impacted the Giants on both sides of the ball.
Martinez, who played collegiately for Stanford, tore the ACL in his right knee two minutes into the game on non-contact play and is out for the season. The 27-year-old Martinez, who signed as a free-agent with the Giants in March of 2020 after four years with the Green Bay Packers, led the team in tackles last season with 151, which was the third highest in the league. His importance as the defense’s signal caller was substantial.
Sheppard and Slayton went out with hamstring injuries in the first half and did not return. Sheppard, 28, who has been with the Giants longer than any other current player after being selected in the second round (40th) out of the University of Oklahoma in 2016, leads the team with 227 receptions and 227 yards. The 24-year-old Slayton, drafted by the Giants in the fourth round from Auburn, has played in 33 straight games. His 751 receiving yards last season was a team best.
As of early yesterday (Wednesday), the Giants had not provided definitive information on Sheppard’s or Slayton’s status for their game this Sunday (1 p.m.) versus the 2-1 New Orleans Saints on the road.