It wasn’t quite a banner Week 1 for the Giants offense. Eli Manning looked out of sync with the rest of his team. The G-men couldn’t get much going on the ground. Victor Cruz dropped two passes. Most noticeably, the offensive line was flat out awful.
There was not one player on the Giants O-line who didn’t struggle in pass protection. Left tackle Will Beatty and right tackle Justin Pugh were beaten often in one-on-one matchups on the outside. The interior line wasn’t much better. There was miscommunication and assignment confusion, and this led to consistent pressure in Eli Manning’s face. The Lions defensive line is a lot to handle based on talent alone. When blockers are not fulfilling their assignments, it makes holding them at bay almost impossible.
Eli Manning took the punishment for his o-line’s ineffectiveness. What’s worse is that Eli was perceiving pressure, even when it wasn’t there, as he did all preseason. He clearly does not trust his offensive line, and it’s hard to blame him. He was playing too fast on Monday night as a result. His mechanics and footwork looked like that of a raw rookie, not an 11-year veteran. He missed throws he normally makes. Even his completions had poor ball placement. His decision-making was also subpar as his 2nd interception showed. Manning needs to play better in the face of pressure, but he also needs help from the big guys up front.
Ultimately, this isn’t a new problem for the Giants. Terrible pass protection played a major role in the Giants demise a year ago. It was a huge contributor to Eli’s poor 2013 performance, and nothing significant was done to address this issue in the offseason. Manning took a lot of hits on Monday night against the Lions. He won’t last the entire season if this continues.