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Giants Q&A: Slayton, Jones continue to work together well

Who leads the Giants in touchdowns?

Darius Slayton, who caught 41- and 7-yard passes for both of the team’s touchdowns. It was the fourth time in his short career that he has caught multiple touchdown passes from Daniel Jones. “I certainly have a lot of faith in him,” Jones said. Slayton gained 102 yards for the third 100-yard game of his 15-game career.

Will Jones ever have a full assemblage of targets?

There hasn’t been one snap in his career in which he was on the field with Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram at the same time. On Monday night, the absent party was Tate, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. “I know Golden is working to get back and I think he’ll be back when he’s healthy, so I’m looking forward to it,” Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays, so my job is to get them the ball.”

Were the Giants going to go for it on fourth-and-1 on their opening drive or were they trying to draw the Steelers offsides before taking a delay-of-game penalty?

Jones said the Giants were slow coming out of the huddle and were trying to use a hard count, which doesn’t really answer the question. But judging by Jones’ on-field reaction after the enforcement of the penalty when he remained on the field waiting for what would have been a fourth-and-6 play before being chased off by the punt team, there is a good chance that the Giants were going to risk it at that early point in the game.

How did Jabrill Peppers do as a punt returner?

Not bad. The safety had three chances for returns and totaled 39 yards with a long of 20. He also had one fair catch.

Was that Leonard Williams who recorded a sack?

Your eyes did not deceive you. The defensive lineman brought down Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter for a loss of 12 yards. It was Williams’ first full sack since joining the Giants last October (he had a half-sack in his eighth game for the team in 2019) and his first full sack since the last game of 2018, when he was with the Jets.

What was it like inside MetLife Stadium?

As one of the last games of opening weekend, by the time the Giants played in an empty stadium, the situation had almost become… normal. “It’s definitely different maybe on play one,” Saquon Barkley said. “Then you get so locked into the game that it really kind of doesn’t have an impact. On Slay’s score, that big touchdown for us, it felt just like a normal game.”

While the volume of the crowd noise fluctuated on the television broadcast, the sounds being piped into the stadium were a more steady hum.

“Obviously, we would love to have the fans there. We have amazing fans,” Barkley said. “We know what’s going on in the world and unfortunately that’s the case. We have to continue to go out there and play the sport that we love. You have to look at it as a blessing in disguise. We’re still able to go out there and be able to play the sport that we love.”

How did Roethlisberger play in his first game in a full year?

He had to make adjustments — including wrapping his surgically repaired elbow in a jacket to keep it warm while on the sideline — but came through without any further damage to his throwing arm and a three-touchdown night without any interceptions.

“There obviously were a little bit of jitters, I was excited and nervous to be out there,” Roethlisberger said. “I just wanted to not let my guys down. That was the biggest thing.”

His third touchdown pass of the night, and second to JuJu Smith-Schuster — was the 366th of his career. It not only set a franchise record but tied him for eighth-most in NFL history.

Tied with whom?

A guy who was sitting at home watching the Giants on TV for the first time since 2003: Eli Manning.

Tom Rock

By Tom Rock [email protected] @TomRock_Newsday

Tom Rock began covering sports for Newsday in 1996 and has been the Giants beat writer since 2008.

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