EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — I think I probably shouldn’t ask this question, but can it get any worse for the New York Giants than it did on Sunday afternoon.
On the day they honored Eli Manning, perhaps the greatest quarterback in franchise history, the Giants fell to 0-3. Not only that, but playing at home on an emotional day against a team they were expected to beat, the Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
For the second week in a row. That’s two straight losses for the Giants on final play of the game field goals. Both, to be honest, devastating defeats in games the Giants probably should have won comfortably.
Mistakes continue to mount
Complementary football? Well, in a way the Giants did play complementary football? The offense, defense and special teams groups all made their share of mistakes.
- The Giants had eight penalties for 53 yards.
- Daniel Jones was charged with two fumbles, though both were recovered, and one had to be at least partially on center Billy Price.
- The Giants burned three timeouts that appeared to be unnecessary because they appeared confused on defense or were about to incur a delay of game penalty on offense.
- Adoree’ Jackson dropped an end zone interception that ended up allowing Atlanta to score the game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown. Logan Ryan had opportunities for a pair of interceptions he couldn’t haul in.
- C.J. Board muffed a kickoff. Punting from midfield after the Giants’ final possession, Riley Dixon sailed the ball into the end zone, failing to come close to pinning Atlanta near its own goal line.
- Evan Engram had a fumble, a drop and twice got CHEERED for being removed from the game.
- The Giants had advantages in total yards, first downs and time of possession, yet still managed to lose the football game.
- On Atlanta’s game-tying 15-play, 72-yard drive, the Giants gave up four third-down conversions, dropped an interception in the end zone (the Jackson play) and committed defensive pass interference in the end zone (Ryan) on third-and-goal at the 6-yard line.
There were plenty of other losing plays — missed tackles, missed blocks, blown coverages — that typify losing teams.
I think the first three weeks are a really awful look not only for the Giants, but for a head coach who preaches discipline and tries to instill in some old-fashioned ways, and who constantly talks about improvement. Sadly, the product on the field shows Joe Judge’s team is neither disciplined nor getting better.
The Giants are now 18-49 since going to the playoffs in 2016. There aren’t any signs that torrent of losing is about to change.
About that booing of John Mara
I think the timing of Giants’ co-owner John Mara being booed by the crowd at MetLife Stadium, which came when he appeared at the podium to speak during Manning’s Ring of Honor celebration, was unfortunate.
It was, though, all too predictable. And probably well-earned. Yes, Mara shares ownership with Steve Tisch. He is, though, the real face of the organization. The Mara family is the Giants. The product has been awful for most of the last decade. The promises of better days ahead are looking emptier by the week.
Even Mara would have booed.
Bumped into John Mara after getting booed during halftime ceremony.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 26, 2021
“I would boo too. We’re 0-2 and down at half,” he said,
This could get really ugly
The Giants are on the road for the next two weeks. That could be good, because I can guarantee that the MetLife faithful are tired of what they are watching.
An excited, full house went deathly silent when the Giants fell behind in the first half. Mara got booed at halftime. The offense got booed in the second half. Can’t really blame anyone there, since the Giants put up 14 points against a team that had surrendered 80 in its first two games.
The Giants go to New Orleans and Dallas the next two weeks. It will surprise no one if they return to MetLife Stadium to face the Los Angeles Rams with an 0-5 record. After that come games against the Panthers, Chiefs, Raiders and Buccaneers. The Giants won’t be favored to win any of them.
The Giants have gone 0-3 in what looked like a softer part of their schedule. No one can currently feel good about their chances in any of those next seven games.
So, yeah, unless the improvement Judge always says he sees suddenly actually starts resulting in better football this could get really, really ugly.
Giants’ fans have pretty much reached the end of their rope with Evan Engram. That was 100 percent clear on Sunday afternoon.
Engram got CHEERED off the field — Bronx cheered — on at least two occasions. Engram had a first-half fumble that would have cost the Giants points had Azeez Ojulari not bailed him out with a sack. He also had a drop on a simple, short throw from Daniel Jones when he was wide open. The ball appeared to go not only through his hands, but also through his legs.
Engram had two catches for 21 yards, an awful fumble and a cartoonish drop in his season debut. The boo-birds might have had the right idea. The sideline might have been the best place for him.
I think the Giants apparently can’t have nice things. Just when they finally appeared to be at full strength with all of their playmakers on offense, they lost Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard to hamstring injuries. They also lost linebacker Blake Martinez to a non-contact knee injury, and those are never good.
McKinney penalty call
I think I hated the unnecessary roughness call against Giants’ safety Xavier McKinney near the end of the first half. I have not seen the tape, but McKinney’s hit on Olamide Zaccheaus at the Giants’ 15-yard line appeared to be shoulder to shoulder contact. In my view, the flag was thrown simply because the violence of the collision caused an assumption by the officials that it had to be a penalty.
I think scoring only 14 points against a team that had given up 80 in two games is embarrassing. The Giants’ first drive should have told us the day would be like this.
After a 38-yard pass from Daniel Jones to C.J. Board the Giants moved to the Atlanta 8-yard line with a first-and-goal. Unfortunately, a sack pushed them back to the 19 and they ended up with a field goal.
in the second quarter, a messed up shotgun exchange between Jones and Billy Price and a false start by Elijhaa Penny turned first down at the Atlanta 17-yard line into third-and-22, and then another field goal.
In the third quarter, the Giants drove to the Atlanta 39-yard line and and punted on fourth-and-3 while trailing, 7-6. I think I don’t understand why Judge is so conservative in these situations. There were three situations against Washington where I felt he needed to be more aggressive. Same here.
The Giants were trailing. The crowd was dead. The Giants needed a play. They needed life. Hope. Something to get excited about. Downing the ball at the 5-yard line on the punt, which the Giants did, was nice. I don’t, though, think it is what they needed.
At some point, they have to stop playing so cautiously.
The Giants have the built-in, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton got hurt and Kenny Golladay wasn’t 100 percent excuse. No matter. They had chances. Scoring only one touchdown and totaling only 14 points against that defense just wasn’t good enough.
0-3 is not on Daniel Jones
I think one of the really unfortunate parts of the Giants being winless after three games is that Daniel Jones is playing well enough to win. Especially the last two games.
The biggest question coming into the season was whether Jones, entering his third season, could show the Giants enough improvement to make everyone believe he could be their franchise quarterback going forward.
Jones was 24 of 35 for 266 yards on Sunday. He ran for 39 yards. He has yet to throw an interception in 104 pass attempts thus far. I have zero complaints about Jones’ play so far this season. As was the case for so much of the final portion of Manning’s career, the cast around him just isn’t giving him much help.