Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
I told you in the Prophet’s Pulpit the Giants had 2 chances to win vs the Steelers, slim and none. I said I was betting on the latter. Slim took the bus out of New York headed to Chicago at 3:25 of the third quarter when Danny Dimes threw his second pick. It was a horrible throw just as he was getting hit that should have never been made or he should have threw it out of bounds. It was second and 3 yards to go from the Steelers 4-yard line. He had another down to get a touchdown! Jones had an Eli moment!
Let’s recap what else the Prophet said about the game in my Pulpit post:
1. I said that the Steelers led the league in sacks last year with 54. I said Jones would have 2 or 3 turnovers and he had two.
2. The second interception was brutal. It came after a 9-minute, 87-yard, 19 play drive. No points on this drive for the Giants , and the game was over. I said that the Giants kept 4 tight ends and that we would see more 12 personnel. Not only did we see 12 personnel. There had to be at least 3 plays of 13 personnel as the Giants tried to slow down the rush and bolster a non-existent run game. It didn’t matter. I remember a play in 13 personnel that went for 0 yards rushing. • I also told you that the Giants would have 10 points and would score a touchdown in garbage time. I said they would go for the 2-point conversion and that it would fail. This all happened at 1:56 of the 4th quarter.
Who else in America is foretelling this prediction and it came true? I correctly predicted this game was a “stone cold, lead pipe lock” at -Steelers -6. I said as long as it is under 7 take it to the bank. Your welcome America!
The Giants got a huge break when they punted on their first possession. Dionte Johnson fumbled the ball, and the Giants recovered at the 3-yard line. They had first and goal from there and couldn’t punch it in. I tweeted at that point that the game was over!. I got some responses back saying, “Aren’t you being a little dramatic. I said no. You had a chance to go up 7-0 and gain momentum against a superior opponent. Big Ben came out very rusty. It was understandable given his long layoff with no preseason games. They could have had them on the ropes early, but it didn’t happen. The good teams in this league step on the opponent’s throat early and never let them off the mat. This young team will have to learn.
I had all I needed to see on Evan “Bust” Engram on the first possession. I would not bring him back for next year and chalk it up to a Reese bust pick. On the second play of the game, he dropped the ball. On the next series at the goal line on second down, he missed the block on Watt. It was an incomplete pass but it was almost a fumble by Jones. On third down, he did not roll to the right with Jones. If he had moved, it was an easy touchdown. After less than 5 minutes into the game, I am out on Engram, check please! It’s time to move on.
They would be better off making him a receiver. The smart move is playing Kaden Smith as the starting tight end. More importantly, Engram cannot block. Engram was rated the dead last 60th tight end for week 1 with their grading system.
In the Pulpit, I stated the Steelers wanted to make this game one dimensional. That is what happened. They took away the run game. Barkley had to have his worst game only getting 6 yards rushing on 15 attempts, 0.4 yards/carry. Jones was the leading rusher with 22 yards on scrambles. The Giants had 29 yards total rushing. Jones had to throw 39 times. Nick Gates struggled at center. Barkley’s only weakness, pass protection, showed up again as he missed a big block that got Jones sacked. The Steelers had 11 tackles for a loss.
The game was tied 3-3 after the first quarter. The Giants actually took the lead, 10-3, early in the second with a beautiful pass to Slayton from Jones. It is these flashes of brilliance that give you hope for a long franchise quarterback career for Jones. However, the turnovers are killing him. He has 24 turnovers in his first 13 starts and those have to be curbed. As far as I am concerned the jury is still out on him. We will know better by the end of the year.
It took Big Ben a quarter to work the rust off with no preseason, and he answered within 5 minutes with a touchdown pass to JuJu. He wasn’t done. He got another touchdown pass to Washington with 7 seconds left in the first half.
The third quarter was scoreless. The Giants were poised to take the lead 17-16 (Pittsburgh missed the extra point) when Jones threw the ill-fated pick near the goal line. On the next possession-after, the interception, the Steelers kicked a field goal. The Giants go 3 and out, and then the Steelers score on the next drive. Ben throws his second touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster. The game was over and the Giants get a late touchdown to make the score look better with 2 minutes to go.
Two other points I want to make:
The Giants defense did not get stops in the run game. The Steelers got yards when they needed them especially running out the clock. Snell in relief of Conner, who got hurt early, had 113 yards, 5.9 yards/carry!
The other point is the Giants defense was getting burnt on rub routes all night and they need to fix this ASAP. Second year CB Corey Ballentine was getting targeted as a weaker link in the defense.
There were some bright points in the game:
Blake Martinez continued to do what he does a “tackling machine”. He had 8 solo tackles and 4 assists.
Stop the presses! Leonard Williams, had a sack!!! He had 1 sack (0.5 with the Giants and 0.5 with the Jets) all last year! I’m keeping track of his salary per sack. Right now, it is $16.1/sack.
Jabril Peppers was great on 3 punt returns for 39 yards giving them some good field position.
Dexter Lawrence played well getting pressure and a sack.
Slayton is a great 5th round draft pick and he is taking over where he left off last year with 6 receptions on 9 targets for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.
I thought Bradberry acquitted himself well with 2 passes defensed and a forced fumble to go along with 4 tackles.
I thought Judge did a good job managing the game. No big-time management issues and other snafus as a rookie head coach.
The Giants played hard but the execution was not crisp.
The Gmen have one day less to get ready for Chicago on the road. They are an easier opponent. This is a young team who had no preseason to get ready for the season. They can obviously do better. Right now, before my deep dive, I can say the Giants can cover the 5.5-point spread. I don’t know if they can win. But come back before the game to read my Prophet’s Pulpit for week 2. I will be ready with the answers. You can also check out my Tony the Prophet channel on YouTube. Thanks for the support and I welcome your feedback.