The Giants probably couldn’t have stopped many offenses, given what they had out on the field. New York’s starting linebacking corps consisted of Markus Golden, David Mayo, Nate Stupar and Oshane Ximines. Mayo and Stupar were exploited relentlessly throughout as the inside linebackers.
The Vikings drove the ball up and down the field, especially in the first half when they compiled 351 total yards. Embattled Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 19-of-23 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone. He finished with 306 passing yards after failing to top 233 yards in each of the first four weeks of the season. Minnesota finished with 490 total yards.
The Giants couldn’t hang with the Vikings and it was apparent from the start as they could barely get their offense the ball. Minnesota dominated the time of possession in the first half, 20 minutes, 40 seconds to 9 minutes, 20 seconds.
It shouldn’t be a surprise. One team — Minnesota — had $94.8 million against the salary cap invested in its defense. The Giants have $61.2 million in their defense — fourth lowest in the NFL — and the result is a short-handed unit, to the point where it’s almost unrealistic to ask for coordinator James Bettcher to provide consistent results with the talent at his disposal.
The Giants were without their top two inside linebackers. Rookie Ryan Connelly tore his ACL last week against the Redskins and defensive captain Alec Ogletree missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Tae Davis, who started the opener opposite Ogletree, also didn’t play because of a concussion.
An already undermanned Giants defense was even more undermanned against the Vikings, despite coach Pat Shurmur saying Friday the Giants were confident in the linebackers they had available. As the results proved, this group realistically gave them no chance against a superior Vikings team.
Pivotal play: The Vikings ran this play over and over in the first half. Cousins on a bootleg running against his body finding (mostly) Adam Thielen on an under-route working across the field. It went for significant gains on at least three occasions in the opening half, including a 44-yard pass to Thielen in the second quarter.
The Giants couldn’t stop it. Especially not with their linebackers getting sucked in by the fake run. It created a massive gap between the defensive line and secondary. It was easy money for Cousins and the Vikings.
QB breakdown: What’s a Giants breakdown these days without a Daniel Jones update? The ultimate success of their season depends on his progress. This was a learning experience with ups and downs. He hit Darius Slayton with a beautiful deep ball for a 35-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. He also overthrew a wide-open Sterling Shepard deep downfield with pressure in his face earlier.
Jones was hit early and often and flashed some good with some bad. He could have had several passes intercepted and left his receivers in some compromising positions to take big hits. But he was also sacked four times.
Jones’ final stat line: 21-for-38, 182 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception and a 65.9 passer rating.