EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' locker room after their season-opening loss was quiet but composed. The players were crushed by the Dallas Cowboys but there was no yelling or chair tossing. They were able to preach patience and brush it off as just one game in a 16-game journey.
In Week 2, the tone changed a bit after the Giants fell to 0-2 for the sixth time in seven seasons. The frustration in East Rutherford is building, and it was visible and audible following a 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills in a game that again wasn't very close.
"I am very frustrated," Janoris Jenkins conceded just moments after ranting about how no cornerback can cover for 10 seconds, a clear knock on his defense's inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
The Giants have now made Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Bills quarterback Josh Allen look like All-Pros. Allen completed 19 of 30 passes for 253 yards with a touchdown passing and rushing on Sunday. It could have been worse if he connected on some other opportunities with wide-open receivers.
Just two games into the season and the aggravation is clearly mounting on this Giants team. It's a welcome sign after several years of relative malaise.
"I'm pissed for sure," defensive captain and starting middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "I hate losing. The way we played the first half, that wasn't us. It was terrible. I understand [Jenkins] being pissed, I'm angry as well. Never discouraged, because I know we can make plays like we did in the second half. It's a matter of coming out and doing that for the whole 60 minutes."
The Giants (0-2) haven't done that consistently in a while. They also haven't been able to rush the passer consistently this season.
That seems to have left the back end of the defense with a tinge of animosity.
"I mean, when you got time and get no pressure, I can't cover nobody for 10 seconds. Who can cover anybody for 10 seconds?" Jenkins said. "Go look at within the first five seconds of the route. He's not open. If he scrambles and there is no pressure, what do you want me to do? I can't cover this side and that side. Come on, bro. We have to play football around here."
That's the problem. The Giants aren't playing good football, and haven't been for quite some time. Their defense has allowed nine touchdowns in two games. Their offense hasn't topped 20 points. It's a collective failure that will eventually lead to emotions boiling over. It almost always does.
It seems only a matter of time in this case. They're on the brink already.
Sometimes it can be healthy, especially after the past few seasons when the Giants weren't good yet were strangely emotionless during disastrous years. It's almost as if it wasn't happening when reporters entered the locker room.
But losing wears on you. It's starting to show. It's why running back Saquon Barkley admitted he doesn't like hearing "it's still early," which some players were saying after the game.
"I'm not a big believer in 'it's still early.' I'm not going to lie, I'm not a big fan of that saying," Barkley said. "But you have to understand that is the case in the NFL because it's a marathon. It's 16 games. I don't like believing in that because I don't want to get caught into that. ... We've got to address the situation now and continue to get better and try to get another win."
In a way, it was almost refreshing to see the Giants visibly shaken by the events that have unfolded early this season. Strangely enough, the usually terse postgame Pat Shurmur was uncharacteristically composed following this latest loss. It was bizarro Giants world, but it almost shows that at least this group of players as a whole seems to care. The past few seasons, it seemed only a few individuals were bothered by the string of losses.
Better late than never I guess. Add outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter to the list of players who have had enough.
"S---, it's true. We've got to get pressure on the quarterback. They've got to cover," said a clearly perturbed Carter, who shared a sack and had a pair of quarterback hits on Sunday. "It takes all 11 [players]."
The Giants finished with three sacks and six quarterback hits. That was a vast improvement from the opener.
But there were still 13 pass plays when Allen had more than 3.0 seconds to throw, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. The Bills scored touchdowns on three straight possessions spanning the first and second quarters before the Giants adjusted their game plan and became more aggressive in the second half, according to Jenkins.
"It's really discouraging. Nine touchdowns?" Jenkins said of the slow start to the season. "I don't even know what to say. We have to do better. Do better."
When it was mentioned that Jenkins' comments might be looked at as calling out the Giants' pass-rushers, he started to lose patience. Maybe he realized it might not be such a bad thing. This team needs something to get it going.
Two weeks in and it has already been a long season.
"I ain't call nobody out," Jenkins said. "I said we have to get pressure. You just called them out. Thank you. Next question."