Pat Shurmur’s decision to punt on fourth-and-2 with his New York Giants trailing the New England Patriots by two touchdowns on Thursday has been hotly debated. I’m on record expressing the belief it was the wrong move.
Asked on Friday to expand on his thinking about that decision, Shurmur said only that he had confidence in the team’s defense.
“Two scores, we had found a way to get them stopped on a few occasions, so I thought we were just going to punt the ball, get them stopped and continue to play,” Shurmur said. “That was the thought at the time.”
That, of course, did not work out. The Patriots went 63 yards in seven plays to make the score 35-14.
Here are some other takeaways from Shurmur’s Friday conference call with New York media.
On the idea of “moral victories”
“Relative to winning and losing, certainly there are no moral victories. I think playing hard and coaching hard, that’s part of our job description. I think we didn’t make enough plays, we made too many mistakes to win a football game. That’s what I take from it. I’ve never doubted, since we started the year, that these guys would play hard. They did, and we made enough plays early in the game to make it 14-14, and into the third quarter, I guess it was 21-14 for quite a while, but when you get to that point, I think what’s important for us to realize is that we’ve got to start making the plays necessary to win it.”
On whether interceptions are more tolerable from a rookie quarterback
“I think, regardless of whether you’re in your first year in the league or you’ve been doing it for a very long time, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I think it’s fair to say that some of the things that Daniel’s going through, he’s going through for the first time. Part of his charm is he’s willing to try and fit it in there. I think he’s very accurate and he’s got good velocity on his throws, so he’s got confidence to get the ball in there, and he did that last night. Those were not the most ideal conditions to be throwing the ball at times, and I thought he made some really good throws. On the flip side of that, there were some things that happened on the interceptions that need to get corrected. That’s part of it, for all quarterbacks, and it’s a fine line between being aggressive and putting the ball in harm’s way. I think each play and each time he goes through it, he’ll learn something from it.”
On whether he was unhappy with Golden Tate for backing into the end zone
“That was a heck of a play on his part, and I think sometimes those things play out that way. I’m happy that he got himself in the end zone. That’s what’s most important to me.”
On the pass rush
“Well, we’ve made improvements. I think that was a big topic of conversation through training camp, how we were going to create pass rush. I think, if anything, we’ve shown flashes of being a good football team, and then I still think we’re inconsistent in a lot of areas, but we’re starting to create some rush. I knew going into it that Markus Golden had that ability. It was a matter of record that he had been very disruptive the year before his injury, and he’s back and playing really hard. I knew Lorenzo Carter would be better from a year ago. Not to mention the other guys we’ve added, X-Man (Oshane Ximines) and so on. Then, I think at times we’re getting pretty decent push on the inside. We’ve got to do it consistently, but it’s improved.”