The Giants have suffered three of the most agonizing losses possible this season – three games lost on field goals in the final 70 seconds. That’s the difference between them being a 5-3 team and a legitimate playoff contender and a lost team trying to figure out why they’re only 2-6.
Except that’s not really the difference. The difference is they can’t stop hurting themselves in big moments with every kind of mistake imaginable. Sometimes it’s bad drops. Sometimes it’s dumb plays. Sometimes it’s awful clock management. Most often, it’s stupid penalties.
That’s how they’ve earned those three close losses. That’s why they’re 2-6.
And that’s why, in their second season under a head coach who is supposed to be all about discipline, the Giants are fooling themselves if they think they are close to turning any mythical corner. They are a bad team and an undisciplined team, with no sign that things are getting better. The opportunity they wasted in their 20-17 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City on Monday night was just another example of that.
And all of them really hurt.
“We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes we made down the stretch,” Joe Judge said after the Giants lost on a Harrison Butker field goal with 1:07 remaining. “We can’t allow a team like this to have extra opportunities. We can’t rob opportunities from ourselves with breakdowns of focus.”
Yeah, but that’s what the Giants do. They have spent the entire season robbing themselves of opportunities, losing focus, and finding creative and mind-numbing ways to lose. That’s what they did on Monday night in a game where their defense gave an outstanding effort against the still-potent Chiefs offense. They gave themselves every possible opportunity to win.
And then they pulled the rug out from under their own feet. They actually almost literally had the game in their hands in the fourth quarter. With 4:22 remaining, Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes picked off Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the Chiefs’ 34 yard line. The game was tied at 17-17. The Giants had the ball and were already in Graham Gano’s field goal range. They were celebrating like they had just sealed an upset nobody thought they could pull off.
Then they saw the flag — because of course there was a flag. In all, the Giants had 10 penalties for 88 yards. This one was just the most ill-timed — an offsides penalty by disappointing linebacker Oshane Ximines.
Said Judge: “We can’t have penalties like that.”
No, but again, that’s kind of what they do. One drive earlier, the Giants had the ball in their hands with a chance to drive for a go-ahead score – a drive that eventually stalled at their own 42-yard line. But they had actually gotten to the 43 on the third play of the drive, on a 16-yard pass to fullback Eli Penny. It would’ve been a heck of a play on third down … if he hadn’t gotten up, pointed his arm in the air to signal a first down, yelled something at a Chiefs player and drew a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
It was just one stupid, undisciplined, sloppy thing after another – like the Darius Slayton drop later in that drive, or Sterling Shepard running a 2-yard route on 3rd and 4 from the Chiefs 7 in the second quarter forcing the Giants to settle for a field goal.
If all of this feels a little too familiar … well, it should. Remember their 17-14 loss to the Falcons that came on a 40-yard field goal as time expired? The big play actually came a drive earlier when they stopped the Falcons on a 3rd and goal from the 6. Except they didn’t, because safety Logan Ryan was called for defensive pass interference. Two plays later, the Falcons scored the game-tying touchdown instead of settling for a field goal. If they hadn’t, the Giants probably win that game.
Or there was their killer loss in Washington – 30-29 on Dustin Hopkins’ 43-yard field goal as time expired. That was notable for his 48-yard miss on his first try before defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was flagged for being offsides. Yes, there are angles of films that show Lawrence might not have actually jumped off sides. But it was really close – too close, considering the Giants win if he doesn’t move at all.
Against Washington the Giants had 11 penalties for 81 yards, including eight penalties in the second half. They had eight penalties for 53 yards in that loss to the Falcons. They have 54 penalties for 430 yards on the season, making them one of the most penalized team in the league.
And that doesn’t even factor in the drops, the wrong routes, the clock management problems – something Judge oddly blamed after this last game on headset issues that apparently have followed the Giants from stadium to stadium. This is a team that seems to have the talent to make winning plays, but it just doesn’t have the brains.
Until they play smarter, nothing is going to help. They’ll look better when they get healthier on offense and Daniel Jones gets his weapons back, but what good is a 15-yard run by Saquon Barkley if it’s just going to come back on a holding penalty? If every big play is followed by a drop or nullified by a personal foul, nothing can save this team from its self-created oblivion.
And that’s where the Giants are, and what they’ll have to reflect on in the offseason if this downward spiral continues and they miss the playoffs once again. Yes, they should be 5-3 right now, gearing up for a playoff race in the second half of the season. But no one should be fooled by that at all. They’ve earned every bit of their 2-6 record.
Maybe they should be a lot better than they are. But it’s they’re own fault that they’re not.
Read more: https://sports.yahoo.com/giants-penalties-mondays-loss-proves-045920790.html?src=rss