EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Not even Odell Beckham Jr. could save the New York Giants on Monday night. Not with Eli Manning working behind a porous offensive line.
Beckham returned from an ankle injury, but Manning was sacked five times and the Giants lost 24-10 to the Detroit Lions.
New York also committed a couple of costly penalties while dropping into last place in the NFC East all by itself at 0-2. It doesn’t get any easier for the Giants, either, not with road games against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay in the next two weeks.
Beckham had four catches for 36 yards in limited action. The dynamic wide receiver sprained his left ankle in a preseason game on Aug. 21 and then missed New York’s season-opening loss at Dallas last weekend.
“I just wanted to come out and see what I could do,” Beckham said. “It felt good to be able to play again. It’s been a long time. Just trying to get my feet wet.”
The Giants finished with 270 yards against the Lions after they managed just 233 yards in their 19-3 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1.
Manning faced heavy pressure for most of the night. Ezekiel Ansah had three sacks, with offensive tackle Ereck Flowers struggling to slow him down.
“We tried to give him some help as the game went on,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
“Initially, we were focusing on the other side. We had our left guard playing right tackle. He ended up holding up and doing a nice job. Then we decided to get the ball out quick.”
Manning finished 22 for 32 for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“They’re a good front four,” Manning said. “Their best players on their defense are on their front four so we knew we had to get the ball out quickly at times.”
Hurt by the blocking problems and other issues on offense, the Giants were 4 of 12 on third down.
“We’re not going in the right direction enough,” Manning said. “We’re going backward. We’re not converting on third downs enough.”
The defense forced a fumble in the second quarter, but Manning threw an interception on the next play.
Trailing 17-7 in the third quarter, the Giants drove to the 1, but penalties drove them back and they were forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Aldrick Rosas.
“We got down there close, on the 1-yard line and we got a penalty and we got a delay of game at the end,” Manning said. “Not executing well enough on third downs.”
The Giants later forced a punt and had a chance to cut into the Lions’ 17-10 lead, but Brandon Marshall dropped a catchable pass that would have been a big gain. Jamal Agnew returned the ensuing punt 88 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-10.
Now New York, which went 11-5 last season and made the playoffs, needs to get its offense going in a hurry. Manning and company have scored a total of 13 points so far this season.
“I mean we can’t pull points out of a hat,” McAdoo said. “We’ve got to get to work. We’ve got to block better. We have to handle the ball better. We can’t turn the ball over.”
“Short week, short memory,” Beckham said. “New game on Sunday.”