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Giants at Lions Instant Analysis: Five things we learned Monday night

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Five things we learned during the Giants loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday.

Calvin Johnson makes a diving catch for a touchdown
Calvin Johnson makes a diving catch for a touchdown
Gregory Shamus

The New York Giants 35-14 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday was certainly not how the Giants hoped to begin the season. Let's look at five things we learned on Monday.

Megatron Is Pretty Good

The Giants thought high-priced free agent signee Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could compete with Calvin Johnson . Neither he, nor anyone else, had a chance. Johnson torched the Giants for seven catches, 164 yards and two touchdowns. There was a 67-yarder on which Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown mis-communicated and slammed into each other. Brown appeared to get lost on the play, not realizing where Johnson or DRC were. There was a beautiful diving 16-yard catch by Johnson, as well.

The Giants, distressingly, had a number of mis-communications in the high-priced secondary that is supposed to be the strength of their defense. Matthew Stafford completed 22-of-32 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns.

Yes, Megatron is incredible. This, however, was not a good opening act for the Giants' highly-regarded secondary.

The Giants Can't Pass Block

Eli Manning was sacked only twice. I have no idea, however, how many times Manning was hit, hurried or left to run for his life. The Lions managed to get pressure off the edges a number of times. On Manning's second interception Nick Fairley overwhelmed center J.D. Walton and forced Manning to run left, a recipe for disaster. Manning won't make it through the season if he has has to absorb weekly beatings like that.

The Giants Might Have A Tight End

Larry Donnell ended up as the Giants leading receiver on Monday night, catching five passes for 56 yards and one touchdown. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Like I thought, no hands in the air. Donnell made a couple of impressive catches down the middle. He also had a terrible mis-communication that cost Manning an interception, failing to get his head around when he was the hot receiver on a Detroit blitz. By the time Donnell looked for the ball it had already hit him in the foot and been picked off.

Wide Receiver Is A Problem

Read that blurb above. Tight end Larry Donnell was the Giants' leading receiver Monday night. Victor Cruz had as many drops (two) as he did receptions. Cruz also deserves some blame for Manning's second interception. Sure,Manning floated the ball and probably shouldn't have thrown it, but Cruz has to do more than stand still and watch Glover Quin of the Lions break on the ball and make the pick. Cruz also had a couple of opportunities to make plays and couldn't get the job done. Rueben Randle was invisible with two catches for one (yes, one) yard. Jerrel Jernigan caught four passes, but had a couple of plays where he and Manning did not appear to on the same page in terms of where Jernigan would be.

There is a reason why the Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. That was on full display Monday night.

Punt Team Issues Remain

Eli Manning isn't the only Giant who is going to get killed if the Giants can't block any better than they did Monday night. Punter Steve Weatherford had a punt blocked, nearly had two others blocked and got his ankle rolled awkwardly when hit on a punt. The play resulted in a roughing penalty and helped the Giants to their first touchdown, but Weatherford obviously felt the effects for the rest of the game. The lack of ability to do a simple thing like protect the punter is a huge concern.

Weatherford reportedly left Ford Field with a boot on his left foot thanks to a high ankle sprain. Not good.