NY Giants studs and duds from loss to Broncos: Sterling Shepard alone can’t carry offense

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Many of the same issues that have plagued the NY Giants; Daniel Jones turnovers, a nonexistent pass rush, and a porous offensive line all resurfaced in a 27-13 loss to the Broncos

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That is the first impression of the 2021 NY Giants, who despite the offseason additions of wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, featured an offense that struggled to sustain drive and on defense couldn’t get off the field in a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos.

While star running back Saquon Barkley and Golladay, who are expected to power what the Giants hope is a high-flying offense, both seemed limited by the lingering effects of their injuries, few players apart from wide receiver Sterling Shepard seemed capable of stepping up and shouldering the load.

In his 29th career start, quarterback Daniel Jones put the ball on the turf for the 30th time in his career.

Meanwhile, the NY Giants’ third and fourth down defense were a sieve, allowing Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos offense to convert 7-of-15 third downs and all three of their fourth down conversions.

Entering this season, the NY Giants hoped that star power at the offensive skill positions and a buttressed secondary would be the ticket to competing for just the franchise’s second playoff berth in the 10th anniversary season of their most recent postseason victory.

However, turnovers, nonexistent pass-rush, and porous offensive line play continued to rear their heads in Week 1.

Here’s a look at the NY Giants’ studs and duds from Sunday’s loss to the Broncos:

STUD: NY Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard

Shepard has been Jones’ favorite target thus far in his NFL career, and Sunday afternoon made a huge play against one of the Broncos’ top defensive backs.

With 8:56 remaining in the second quarter, and the NY Giants trailing 3-0, Jones hit Shepard on a slant pattern along the sideline before Shepard turned upfield, tiptoeing the sideline and beating Broncos rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain for a 37-yard touchdown.

Shepard’s touchdown gave the NY Giants an early 7-3 lead, and reinforced his place in Jones’ target hierarchy.

Shepard caught a game-high seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, as the most dominant offensive player on the field for the NY Giants.

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