Daniel Jones’ Giants get reality check in loss to Vikings

It was fun while it lasted.

That two-game winning streak was a nice respite, but Sunday afternoon’s 28-10 loss to the Vikings was a reality check for the Giants and their fans.

They saw what an actual playoff contender looks like and how far Big Blue is from being considered one. Daniel Jones gave them a jolt, the rookie quarterback with fresh legs and a big arm keying wins over the Buccaneers and Redskins. But against the Vikings, he needed a lot more help than he received.

A first-quarter injury to running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) didn’t help, and neither did the defense returning to its porous ways. Jones was frequently running for his life, given little time against the Vikings’ stout front seven, sacked four times.

The Giants weren’t ready for this step-up in class, overwhelmed by the superior Vikings at MetLife Stadium to fall back under .500 at 2-3. They’re bound to drop even further with a Thursday night trip to New England up next.

The shaky secondary was ripped apart by Kirk Cousins, making him look more like Fran Tarkenton than the heavily criticized signal-caller he’s been for four weeks. Cousins threw for season-highs of 306 yards and two touchdowns, as Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen torched the Giants for seven receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Daniel Jones gets taken down on Sunday.
Daniel Jones gets taken down on Sunday.Corey Sipkin

Jones (21 of 36, 182 yards, one touchdown, one interception) made some plays, but also showed a propensity for holding onto the ball too long, taking a few killer sacks deep in Vikings territory. The big one was on a fourth-and-2 from the Minnesota 3-yard-line at the end of the third quarter with the Giants down 25-10 as Jones unable to get rid of the ball. In his return from a four-game suspension, Golden Tate was a nonfactor, catching three passes for 13 yards, and the offense managed just a field goal in three second-half drives into the red zone.

The bigger issue was the defense, which didn’t force a punt until the fourth quarter. It allowed 490 yards of total offense, including 211 on the ground.

The Giants were fortunate to trail by just 11 at halftime, after getting out-gained 351-92. They allowed Cousins to throw for 278 yards — 121 to Thielen — and complete 19 of 22 passes before halftime.

The defense struggled, but it did hold the Vikings to three field goals and Jabrill Peppers forced a key turnover in the first half, stripping Dalvin Cook at the Giants 5-yard-line. But on the following play, the Vikings flipped the momentum, registering a safety on John Hilliman to pad their lead to 15-7.

The Giants offense struggled against the Vikings’ physical front seven. Their only scoring drive of the half was set up by Corey Ballentine’s 52-yard kickoff return. Jones then threw a 35-yard score to rookie Darius Slayton, lofting a perfect pass to beat the safety help.

It was one of few Giants highlights. By the end of one-sided game, there was Viking purple all over the stadium, their fans breaking out the “SKOL” chant, and the Giants needing to refocus quickly before facing the defending Super Bowl champions in four short days.

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