The Giants offensive line had an opportunity to make a statement Sunday against the Vikings’ vaunted front-seven.
But their effort in a 28-10 loss at MetLife Stadium didn’t declare anything for the offensive line — except there is still a long way to go after consecutive good games from the group.
Daniel Jones was sacked four times and hit four more, converged on from all angles most of the game. With Saquon Barkley out with a high ankle sprain and Wayne Gallman exiting in the first quarter with a concussion, the Giants’ line couldn’t open any holes and the offense managed 64 yards on the ground — on 20 carries.
Things hit rock bottom right before halftime, after Jabrill Peppers chased down Dalvin Cook just before the end zone and stripped the ball from behind. The Giants recovered it at the 1-yard line.
But on the next play, outside linebacker Anthony Barr went right past right guard Kevin Zeitler to drop running back Jon Hilliman for a safety.
“Like I said earlier, that just sucks,” said Zeitler, who was a highly touted offseason addition as part of the trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. and Oliver Vernon to Cleveland. “They did a little changeup and you know, it is what it is. We didn’t get it picked up and that’s as simple as it is. They took advantage and we got to go back to work and make sure that never happens again.”
“I thought they battled hard against a really good front,” head coach Pat Shurmur said bluntly when asked how he’d evaluate the offensive line.
However, Nate Solder — the big free-agent addition two offeseasons ago — had much more to say on how he and his fellow linemen have performed through the first five games of the season.
“None of it’s been good enough,” Solder said. “It all falls on each individual’s shoulders. And I’m the first on that list. I’ve got to run-block better, I’ve got to pass-block better, I’ve got to communicate better, I’ve got to do all the things that I need to do to be the best player I can be.”
Solder said he feels like he hasn’t played well all season, but that he felt more like himself Sunday and plans to build off of it. According to Solder, it’s the teams that get better throughout the season that will go far.