It was a tough game for the New York Giants in their home opener.
A 24-10 loss on Monday night to the Detroit Lions dropped the Giants to 0-2 on the year and has the team searching for answers.
Big Blue’s struggles on both sides of the ball overshadowed a strong start to the year from rookie Evan Engram.
Engram’s touchdown catch in the early moments of the second quarter was the Giants lone bright spot on Monday night, his 19-yard reception a well-run route and a perfect connection with quarterback Eli Manning. Through an admittedly small sample size of two games, Engram has looked the part and worthy of the No. 23 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Giants rookie tight end Evan Engram speaks to the media after scoring his first touchdown in the NFL in Big Blue's 24-10 loss to the Lions and talks about the critical plays that cost New York in Week 2.
With eight catches for 93 yards and that second-quarter touchdown, Engram has certainly stood out among a Giants offense that has struggled to start the year. The 23-year-old leads the Giants in both receptions and receiving yardage through the first two weeks of the season.
Despite his solid beginning to his NFL career, Engram was frustrated with the team’s lackluster start to the season.
“It’s unacceptable,” Engram said Monday after the game. “Everybody talks about playing complementary football, and we’ve got to do that better. Got to get more physical up front, including myself, to get the run game going. Just got to make more big plays, got to make drives, got to drive down the field, get the defense off the field, score points. It’s just unacceptable.”
Later in the second quarter immediately after Jason Pierre-Paul forced a fumble and the Giants recovered the ball, the offense gave the ball back to Detroit after Manning threw behind Engram, a pass that the rookie tight end tipped into the air.
Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead caught the ball for an interception and a dramatic momentum shift. Detroit would score a touchdown and take a 14-7 lead on the ensuing drive.
It was a play that Engram took the blame for – “that was on me” – even if the pass was slightly behind him. Regardless, he was a bright spot in a game where the offense failed to find consistency.
He also showed a level of disappointment on the penalty call for the celebration following his first ever touchdown in the NFL. He admits that he wasn’t trying to show anyone up.
Engram was caught up in the moment of his first touchdown as the Giants, after a slow start, had tied the score and seemed to be getting their offense on track.
“I don’t know what they were talking about, I did nothing intentional, but that was bull crap,” Engram said. “That was not the intention, that was obvious. I haven’t seen it, so I guess I’ll look at it.”
An encouraging development from Monday night’s game was that Engram’s blocking. Often questioned in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, his blocking has been much better than advertised. He shows a willingness to block on running plays as well as downfield.