This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
As a Giants fan, you'd think that game would be painful for me, but, sad to say, I've gotten used to Saquon Barkley having no room to run and the defense falling apart in the second half. Hell, I even took the Steelers minus 5.5 against the spread, and I had Darius Slayton going for three of my fantasy teams, so it really wasn't that bad.
- The Giants invested heavily in their offensive line the last few years, a second-round pick (guard Will Hernandez) in 2018, a trade for guard Kevin Zeitler last year, and first (Andrew Thomas), third (Matt Peart) and fifth (Shane Lemieux) round picks in 2020. And that's not counting 2018 free-agent signee Nate Solder who opted out this year. Granted the Steelers have a great defense, but the early ROI on the Giants blockers has been disappointing.
- It's disconcerting new Giants head coach Joe Judge punted on 4th-and-1 (4th-and-6 after a DOG penalty) from the Steelers 40 on the team's first drive. He also settled for a 21-yard field goal rather than going for the TD on 4th-and-goal from the two-yard line. For whatever reason, the fruit from the Bill Belichick coaching tree is mostly rotten.
- Barkley, who had 15 carries for six yards, was met three yards in the backfield on most plays and had nowhere to go. He did catch six passes for 60 yards on nine targets, a 96-catch pace on the year which might be realistic if he stays healthy.
- Daniel Jones, aside from one pick where T.J. Watt fooled him and one bad decision to stretch a play that resulted in his arm getting hit and a consequent interception, looked good to me. He was accurate, attacked downfield and scrambled well, despite not having a ton of time.
- Slayton is the Giants best receiver. He's faster than possession man Sterling Shepard and more reliable than injury prone and concentration-lapsing Evan Engram, who had a terrible game.
- James Conner (ankle) is already hurt again, and Benny Snell looks spry enough to run with the job. Conner's price kept going up toward draft day, but sometimes the market's first impression is correct.
- Diontae Johnson led the Steelers with 10 targets, but Juju Smith-Schuster caught two of the three touchdows, the other going to James Washington. Rookie Chase Claypool also made plays, making this one of the deeper receiving corps in the league.
- Ben Roethlisberger wasn't especially sharp, but he looked healthy enough and threw three TDs without a pick.
- Stephen Gostkowski delivered a clutch game-winning field goal against the Broncos. Well, it was only a 25-yarder, and the only reason the game was close is that he missed three others and an extra point, but he's still got the job apparently.
- Phillip Lindsay hurt his foot, leaving Melvin Gordon (15-78-1, 3-3-8) the bulk of the work. Gordon did lose a fumble on a reception, though.
- Drew Lock played passably and was hurt by two Jerry Jeudy drops and the absence of Courtland Sutton. Lock is hardly a sure thing, but when the team's at full strength, he has a lot of weapons.
- Noah Fant led the team with a 6-5-81-1 line and looked fast in open space. Jeudy went 8-4-56, and despite the drops, looked smooth and mostly comfortable.
- Ryan Tannehill mostly threw short, but got two TDs, both to tight ends.
- Derrick Henry slogged his way to 116 yards on 31 carries and saw a little work in the passing game (3-for-15.) But practice squad call-up Jeremy McNichols was in on third downs at times, so it's unclear whether Henry's targets will really increase much this year.
- Corey Davis (8-7-101) and Adam Humphries (7-6-47) both outproduced A.J. Brown (8-5-39), and Jonnu Smith (7-4-36-1) caught a touchdown. The only knock on Brown was lack of consistent volume, though he's on a 128 target pace. The concern is Davis, the fifth overall pick in 2017, still seems to be in the team's plans along with Humphries who signed a big free-agent deal last year.
- Vic Fangio neglected to use his timeouts after the Titans were already in range for a game-winning field goal, giving his team insufficient time to mount a final drive. You'd think these billion dollar organizations would clean up this leak by now, but you'd be wrong.