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‘Things I think’ after the Giants lose another game they could have won

Once again, the Giants manage to get in their own way

NFL: New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I think the New York Giants have only themselves to blame for Monday night’s 20-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that coulda/woulda/shoulda been an upset victory if the 2-6 Giants could have only gotten out of their own way just a couple more times.

The Chiefs were there to be had Monday night, with turnovers, potential turnovers, and silly Kansas City penalties gifting the Giants opportunities.

Like their early-season losses to the Washington Football Team and Atlanta Falcons, though, the Giants walked away with a loss that was their own fault.

You will want to blame the imaginary face mask call on Tae Crowder that helped the Chiefs secure their game-winning score. I would like to blame that, too. I cannot stand officiating by guess work, which is often throwing a flag because if a player moves in a certain way then a penalty (face mask, hold, whatever) had to be the cause. Even if you didn’t clearly see a penalty. To me, that is clearly what happened when Crowder was called for a face mask penalty that wasn’t on a catch by Kansas City’s Travis Kelce.

Still, if you want to blame that play you would be wrong. There was a laundry list of Giants’ mistakes long before that.

  • Daniel Jones’ awful interception on the Giants’ second offensive play of the game. That killed the momentum from an interception of Patrick Mahomes by Julian Love, and set up the Chiefs’ first touchdown.
  • Five — yes, five — completely wasted timeouts by the Giants. We will talk more about those later.
  • Failing to get a first down on third-and-4 from the Kansas City 7-yard line, then settling for a field goal on fourth-and-2. As many years as he has been in the league, Sterling Shepard has got to get past the sticks on that route. Since he didn’t, as the underdog against a team with a better offense than yours, you can’t kick the field goal there. You have to try for the touchdown.
  • With 1:36 left in the half and a chance to take a lead into the locker room, the Giants’ lack of timeouts after using all three previously and a trio of penalties (false start on Will Hernandez, holding on Nate Solder, delay on Daniel Jones) caused the Giants to end up simply taking a knee.
  • An unnecessary roughness penalty on Crowder (the proper call) gave Kansas City 15 yards en route to a game-tying field goal early in the fourth quarter.
  • Elijhaa Penny erased a beautiful 16-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter with a silly 15-yard taunting penalty. I hate the taunting rule, too, but this late in the season players have to know getting in the face of opposing players and running your mouth is going to draw a flag.
  • The crushing mistake came with Kansas City facing second-and-20 at their own 19-yard line with 4:29 to play and the game tied. Darnay Holmes made a terrific interception of a Mahomes pass that would have set the Giants up at the Kansas City 34-yard line. Oshane Ximines, though, was correctly called for being offside. Given new life, the Chiefs drove for the game-winning Harrison Butker 34-yard field goal.

Here are a few more ‘things I think’ about the Giants’ latest defeat.

Receiver injuries keep piling up

I think it is amazing how year after year injuries seem to pile up at certain positions. This year for the Giants, those positions have been offensive line (Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Andrew Thomas) and wide receiver.

The Giants lost two receivers Monday night. Dante Pettis injured a shoulder diving to retrieve a punt he had muffed. Sterling Shepard injured a quad while running because, well, he’s Sterling Shepard and he always seems to have some sort of injury. This is his third leg injury in the span of six weeks.

It really is amazing. For you David Sills fans, though, the Giants might end up having to being him back to the active roster. So, there is that. And, hey, we got to see Kadarius Toney almost get killed returning a punt.

Timeouts

What it it with Joe Judge and timeouts? I can’t go through each game right now and study his usage of timeouts, but it seems like game after game the Giants use unnecessary timeouts. OK, that’s a nice way of saying it. They waste timeouts. Then, at critical moments at the end of halves and games they don’t have timeouts that could be really useful.

You could argue that the Giants wasted five of their six timeouts on Monday.

They had none left at the end of the first half when they got the ball back with 1:36 left. That seriously handicapped their ability to try and get points.

Judge used a third-quarter timeout on defense, and a fourth-quarter timeout with 3:27 to go — again on defense — that allowed the Chiefs to manipulate the clock to their advantage the rest of the way.

Timeouts are like gold at the end of games. I don’t get why Judge so often treats them like dime-store candy.

Patrick Graham deserves credit

In the run-up to Monday’s game, we had talked about how the Giants’ defense needed to make Kansas City matriculate the ball methodically down the field, taking away the Chiefs’ big-play ability.

Graham did just that, keeping two high — and very deep — safeties most of the game. The Giants played exceptionally well in the secondary, probably the best they have played this season. It was nearly enough to pull off an upset.

Final thoughts

It would be easy to feel good about the Giants’ performance Monday. They nearly defeated a team that was in the Super Bowl the past two seasons, winning it two years ago. They denied Kansas City the dominant sort of “reset” victory many Chiefs fans might have hoped for.

I’m certain that Judge’s post-game press conference was filled with comments about week-to-week improvement and how the game provided a lot to build on. I don’t have the transcripts yet, but I don’t really need them to know what he’ll say.

Reality is, though, the Giants are 2-6. Monday night was yet another Giants’ loss that should have been a Giants’ victory.

There really isn’t anything to feel good about.