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New York Giants Notebook | Giant Regression Across the Board

Notable leftovers from the Giants' 36-9 loss to the 49ers on Sunday.

Giants head coach Joe Judge has a lot of ugly film to watch this weekend.

The San Francisco 49ers gave Judge his third loss as Giants head coach, and it was the roughest one yet as the Giants faltered in all three phases.

Unlike Judge's first two losses, Sunday's 36-9 blowout to the 49ers doesn't appear to be shrouded with any praise for effort.

The praise that came with the Giants' efforts in their first two games is on its last legs, yet Judge insists that Sunday's loss is only the latest setback that the team will have to overcome, and they aren't going to stop pushing.

"Obviously we have some adversity right now that we have to respond to," Judge said.

"But when I think about this area, you talk about blue-collar, people that work blue-collar livings, like my family did growing up, you wake up every day no matter the circumstances, and you go back to the grindstone, and that’s what our team is going to do.

"We got to come back to work. That’s it. We got to come back to work, we got to stick together as a team, we have to coach better. We have to raise our level of execution as players, we’ve got to go ahead and keep pushing forward, improve daily.

"There’s no magic formula to this, there’s no magic wand, you don’t go out there and just solve every problem in a day. It’s a day by day process of putting things together."

Judge's coaching will be tested in a way that it hasn't been yet this week, as the Giants have dug themself into an 0-3 hole.

How Judge can lead a response from this loss could go a long way in determining the Giants' identity under his leadership, however long that lasts.

Untimely and Undisciplined

Judge placed such a heavy emphasis on discipline and eliminating penalties during training camp, but those efforts didn't show up when it mattered on Sunday.

The Giants committed five penalties for 28 yards, which doesn't look too bad on the surface, but those penalties came in moments that ultimately doomed the Giants.

One of the Giants' biggest penalties was committed by cornerback Darnay Holmes, who wiped out a third-down stop on 3rd-and-22 with an illegal contact penalty. The penalty gave the 49ers an automatic first down, which they capitalized on with a touchdown to take a 13-6 lead.

"We don't want to have penalties at any time," Judge said. "The one on Darnay (Holmes), we got to play with clean technique to make sure we don’t give an opportunity, in that situation, to extend a drive.

"So, something we work on on a consistent basis, we got to make sure we do a better job coaching those techniques and execute them on the field."

Meanwhile, wide receiver Darius Slayton wiped out a big play on offense on a play in which quarterback Daniel Jones picked up 16 rushing yards to put the Giants at the 49ers doorstep. Slayton was caught holding, which negated the play and brought the Giants back.

The Giants ultimately had to settle for a field goal on a drive that might have yielded more.

"You know what, to be honest with you, I was watching a different part of the field on that," Judge said.

"I did not get a clean look at Darius (Slayton) on that one right there. I’ve got to see where his hand placement was on that and what happened specifically on that play."

Jones Steps Back

For Jones, the key to taking a second-year jump in 2020 was cutting down on turnovers, yet he seems to have picked up where he left off last year.

The one area where Jones made somewhat of a surprising contribution was as a runner, as he led the team in rushing yards with 49.

However, he didn't get the scrappy short-yardage run that could have made the difference.


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Judge opted to run a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 with the Giants trailing big, and despite spinning for a second effort, Jones was stuffed, and the Giants turned the ball over on downs.

"I wasn’t surprised by the call," Jones said. "I think in that situation, I appreciate [Head] Coach’s [Joe Judge] confidence in us and giving us the opportunity to convert that. I’ve got to do a better job of finding the opening there and getting the yards. I appreciate the confidence he had in us and we’ve got to execute that play and make sure we convert there."

Back to the turnovers, so far this season, Jones has committed six turnovers. Sunday's game marked the third game in a row in which Jones committed two turnovers and the fourth dating back to last season's finale.

Like the Giants' penalties, Jones' turnovers came at the most inopportune moments and ultimately gave the 49ers opportunities to capitalize with points.

Jones' didn't fare much better as a passer either on Sunday, completing just 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards and an interception. Jones delivered a handful of impressive passes, but his accuracy, which was praised as one of his strongest traits as a rookie, was not on display in any capacity on Sunday.

"It’s important that we correct the things that went wrong," Jones said. "We understand what went wrong and we’ll improve from this game, and not to let it define us as a team. We know that we’re capable of playing a lot better than we did today.

"I think there were a lot of things that happened that were uncharacteristic of who we are and what we can be."

Turnover Differential

The Giants finished minus-3 in turnover differential, as the defense did not do its part to help offset any of the offense's turnovers by creating takeaways themselves.

The Giants went into Week 3 with one of the lowest turnover differentials in the NFL, and Sunday's game will only drop them further in the rankings.

The Giants defense having to spend that much time on the field, ultimately wore the unit away as the game went on as it gave up 20 points in the second half, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams and his defensive teammates were on the field for a whopping 39:44 to just 20:16 on the sideline. While the Giants' offense put the defense back onto the field on several occasions, the defense couldn't come up with the play to get off the field at any point in the game as it came up with zero turnovers for the second time this season.

"I think if we’re constantly on the field, we have to look at ourselves to be able to get off the field a little bit faster, get more work on getting three-and-outs and getting takeaways to get off the field," Williams said. "I don’t think we can point fingers in any direction and blame anyone for why we’re on the field longer."

Finding Leadership

If the Giants are going to turn things around from their disastrous start, the bulk of the team will need direction and a strong example to follow from the few who are tasked with leading it.

The Giants are already down a captain with running back Saquon Barkley's season-ending ACL injury. They could lose another one after safety Jabrill Peppers limped off the field with an ankle injury during the game.

If Peppers is out as well, it will only make the weight of leadership much heavier on the Giants' remaining captains.

Veteran linebacker Blake Martinez, one of the Giants' defensive captains, only just came to New York this offseason from the Green Bay Packers, an organization that didn't see many losing streaks during his stint there.

Martinez's first year with the Giants has not gotten off to the type of start he is used to in the NFL, but overcoming it is now all part of the job as a high-paid veteran leader.

"I think any competitor would handle it in a very professional way, is the best way I can put it. Just knowing’s not good enough," Martinez said. "And we have to be able to show up every single day and put the work in and keep chopping wood, and knowing that what we’ve been doing isn’t it."

As a captain, Martinez has a daunting task ahead of him. He must set the right example for the team's younger players amid a stretch that the Giants don't want to build any tolerance for as an organization.

Martinez will have to do just enough to help push the team out of the slump as they go into the season's critical middle part.

"I think the biggest thing that you can tell the younger guys is that it’s tough to win in this league," Martinez said. "No matter what week it is – you could be playing a team that’s 15-0 – you go out there and play a better game than them, you’re going to beat them no matter what your record is.

"I know the type of guys that we have in this locker room are the kind of guys that we need to kind of weather this storm.