The Giants’ first game without Saquon Barkley was an embarrassment led by one of Daniel Jones’ worst games as a young pro.
Jones turned the ball over twice for a third straight game, threw erratically and inaccurately, and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second straight week as the 49ers smoked the Giants, 36-9, at empty MetLife Stadium.
San Francisco (2-1) was the clearly more talented team even down 10 of their 22 starters due to injuries, and Kyle Shanahan’s offense opened up on the Giants’ failing defense in the second half to bury them.
The Giants, in Joe Judge’s first season as head coach, fell to a 0-3 start for just the third time since 1996. The other two were Tom Coughlin’s 2013 team that started 0-6 and finished 7-9, and Ben McAdoo’s 2017 team that opened 0-5 and went to 3-13.
The Niners, led by backup QB Nick Mullens, controlled the ball for almost 40 minutes.
The Giant D held the Niners to two field goals after both of Jones’ first half turnovers, a bad pitch backwards for a fumble and a poorly thrown interception to linebacker Fred Warner. But the D got no help from Jason Garrett’s pathetic offense, and then the defense broke, too.
The game was tied at six apiece in a field goal duel with 7:25 to play in the second quarter, but for the third straight week, Patrick Graham’s defense allowed a touchdown drive of 75 or more yards just before the half.
Not only that but Jones’ interception with less than a minute left gave San Fran an extra field goal and a 16-6 lead at the break, canceling out anything positive about the first half.
Bad penalties by rookie corner Darnay Holmes, wideout Darius Slayton and edge rusher Lorenzo Carter killed the Giants at key times. And Slayton fumbled in the final minutes of the game for the Giants’ third turnover to appropriately end the day on a low note.
The Giants also sustained more injuries: strong safety Jabrill Peppers hurt his right ankle on a first half field goal block attempt and did not return. And rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas got shaken up on a late sack and was replaced for a couple plays by fellow rookie Matt Peart.
The Giants now face back to back road games at the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys. And it could get a lot worse.
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