Cam Fleming: Just see the below tweet.
Cam Fleming was initially brought in this off-season to serve as a swing tackle if the situation called for it, as Andrew Thomas and Nate Solder were the penciled starters. After Solder opted out, we were left with Fleming and at the least, a serviceable right tackle.
Last night showed that we were very much not left with that. He was abused in the run game, looked lost in pass protection, and was just flat out bad. It’s hard to see him staying in the starting lineup much longer if last night’s play becomes normal. With Khalil Mack patiently waiting for him this weekend, the coaching staff needs to figure something out sooner rather than later.
Nick Gates: ‘The Gates Train’ was in full effect this off-season. After showing a lot of promise in his limited playing time in 2019, Nick Gates made the transition to center and made his first career start at the position last night and it definitely showed.
It’s not fair to be too critical of Gates in this position, especially facing that Steelers defense, but on multiple occasions, he looked awful. He got dominated in the run game, getting zero push all night long. Going forward the answer might be moving Gates back to RT in place of Fleming and playing Spencer Pulley or rookie Shane Lemieux at center.
Evan Engram: *Heavy sigh.* Coming into 2020 with high expectations (again), Evan Engram picked a very bad time to deliver probably his worst game as a NY Giant. It started off the bat with a drop on the second play of the game that would have been a first down, followed by two more plays where he whiffed on blocks that resulted in a tackle for loss and an almost sack/fumble on the goal line.
He was a non-factor the entire game, recording the same amount of catches (2) as penalties he committed. With an already thin receiving corps, this offense cannot afford Engram to disappear like he did last night.
Red Zone Offense: It’s hard to beat any team, especially the good ones when you can’t score points in the red zone. Following an absolute gift from the Steelers muffing the first punt of the season, the Giants were unable to capitalize from a 1st & goal at the 4-yard line.
Then there was the soul-crushing turnover by Daniel Jones following an 18-play drive that had eaten almost 9 minutes of game clock. It was 16-10 at that point and felt like the turning point of the game. The late touchdown by Slayton was the lone score of the night in the red zone, but coming away with 3 points total in the first two trips inside the 20 left the offense fighting from behind all night.
Corey Ballentine: It was a rough first game for Ballentine, who was picked on all night as the No. 2 cornerback. As the Steelers adjusted, they looked Ballentine’s way often, hitting comebacks and back-shoulder throws for easy chunks of yards. Much like Fleming, Ballentine is not the solution at his position moving forward.
Second Half Defense: The result of having a young roster with very little depth is last night’s second half. Although it started on the final drive of the first half when Pittsburgh marched down and scored with 7 seconds left, the defense was simply not able to keep up with the Steelers’ offense.
After making adjustments, Pittsburgh absolutely killed the NY Giants with back-shoulder throws, crossing and rub routes, and wore on them with the run game almost 100 second-half rushing yards. The Steelers slowly and methodically moved the ball down the field and completely controlled the pace of the game. And while the defense only allowed 10 second-half points, they all came in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.