Preseason finally got underway for the Giants on Friday night, albeit with many key starters rested on both teams. They came up short in Detroit, though, as they gave up five sacks and blew a 10-point halftime lead.
Rookie Adrian Martinez led a late drive for the go-ahead score, as he punched in a quarterback sneak from a yard out with 1.51 remaining.
The Giants had taken a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after an interception and a turnover on downs set them up in field goal range twice, then extended this to 13-3 late in the first half on a well-thrown 14-yard touchdown pass from Tommy DeVito to Tommy Sweeney down the seam.
Detroit cut the lead to 13-11 in the third quarter on a spectacular 95-yard punt return for a touchdown by Maurice Alexander, then took the lead on a field goal. However, the Giants recaptured the lead on a 47-yard Graham Gano field goal with just under eight minutes remaining.
Here are the key takeaways…
– One major success story for the Giants was safety Jason Pinnock, who is trying to secure a starting role. Pinnock was only in the game for a handful of snaps, but he intercepted an errant pass, blew up a run in the backfield and broke up a fourth down pass. The game couldn’t have gone much better for Pinnock, who is listed as a first stringer on the Giants’ unofficial depth chart.
Another positive was the pass rushing from some of the players the Giants will be counting on to provide depth this season. Tomon Fox and Oshane Ximines each created some good pressure off the edge, with Fox creating the pressure that led to Pinnock’s interception and Ximines getting to the quarterback on the fourth-down incompletion.
– One negative was the Giants’ offensive line, who struggled against the Lions’ reserves. Even more concerning was that projected starters John Michael Schmitz and Ben Bredeson had multiple negative plays. Bredeson gave up a sack while the rookie Schmitz struggled to sustain blocks in the running game.
The Lions are a team on the rise and their future continues to look bright with rookies Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell and Brian Branch all making impressive plays.
– Turnovers were obviously the key to the first half with the Giants’ lone touchdown set up by an interception and long return by Dane Belton. The Lions turned the ball over on downs twice, including once inside the Giants’ five-yard line, and trailed 13-3 at the half despite outgaining the Giants by 203 yards to 108.
– Wide receiver Collin Johnson was ruled out early with a knee injury. This is concerning for Johnson, who is making his way back from an Achilles tear and had been making waves in a crowded position group during camp.
– Special teams are a crucial way for young players to prove themselves worthy of a roster spot and Cordale Flott made a great play in punt coverage to stake his claim. However, Gemon Green hurt his roster chances with the key missed tackle on the Alexander touchdown return.
– The Giants are extremely deep at the slot receiver positions with the likes of Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson and Parris Campbell, none of whom played, competing for a role. However, veterans Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder will also consider themselves worthy of this role. The pair combined for 65 yards on six catches in the first half. Perhaps the Giants can obtain draft pick compensation for one or more of these players in a trade.
The Giants return home to take on the Carolina Panthers on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.