East Rutherford, N.J.: The New York Giants dropped their 2021 regular-season opener to the Denver Broncos 27-13 at MetLife Stadium, but don’t let the score fool you as it wasn’t as close as the score suggests.
After a scoreless first quarter in which the Giants promising opening drive stalled and then was followed up with a three-and-out, the Broncos struck first at the top of the second quarter with the first of kicker Brandon McManus’s two field goals, this one from 23 yards to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
The Giants, who looked like they shook off the shaky first quarter, responded with a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive of their own that was capped with a gorgeous 37-yard strike from quarterback Daniel Jones to receiver Sterling Shepard.
The Giants’ 7-3 lead was short-lived, however, as the Broncos took the lead on their final drive of the first half, a drive-in which they converted a fourth-and-2 from the Giants 49-yard line when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater connected with receiver Cortland Sutton on a 140yard pass over the middle.
The Broncos, who won the coin toss and deferred, took advantage of their second half's opening drive by putting the other their longest drive of the game. The 16-play, 75-yard drive saw Denver convert five third-down opportunities, three of which were more than five yards.
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To add insult to injury, Denver, who finished the day three of three on fourth down attempts, converted a 4th-and-1 when Bridgewater connected with tight end Albert Okwuegbunan for a 4-yard touchdown and the 17-7 lead.
The Giants had their chances, but the offense couldn’t get out of its own way. The first such opportunity came in the second quarter when Bridgewater’s pass intended for Okwuegbunan was stripped and recovered by Giants safety Logan Ryan to set the Giants offense up with 1st-and-10 on their own 4-yard line. But the Giants offense responded with another three-and-out drive.
The other missed opportunity came in the third quarter when Daniel Jones committed his 30th career fumble on a scramble up the middle from the Broncos’ 22-yard line. Jones, who later scored a garbage-time touchdown on a 4-yard run to end the game, lost the handle on that promising-looking drive.
The game marked the return of running back Saquon Barkley, who played roughly 30 snaps, ran the ball ten times for 26 yards, and caught one of three pass targets for one yard.
The Giants have now lost their last five regular-season openers.
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