Keidel: For Giants, It’s How Low Can You Go?

7th Straight Loss Comes Against Unimpressive Bears

Jason Keidel
November 25, 2019 - 1:42 pm

For those who don't gamble, the Giants snuck into a backdoor cover Sunday, which means they were in no danger of winning yet covered the point spread with a late score. 

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But for Giants fans, it's not the backdoor but rather the trapdoor that makes them sick. That's the weekly door through which the Giants plunge just when you feel the season can't decay anymore, when the Giants find new ways to extend a dreadful losing streak, which now reeks at seven. Only the 0-11 Bengals have gone longer without a victory.

It's hard to fathom now that the G-Men were once 2-2, had just clawed their way out of an 0-2 hole and were a potential contender in their division. They were also the team of record at the Meadowlands. Instead, the Jets have galloped to three straight wins, including a thrashing of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. While the Raiders were true playoff pursuers with a 6-4 record, the Bears were a 4-6 eyesore, teetering on the brink of benching their quarterback and on the cusp of a dead season. 

Yet the Giants (2-9) have clinched their third-straight losing season after 11 games. And at the risk of redundancy, you have to wonder how long their head coach can keep losing games before he squirms on the hot seat, as he belches the same bromides after every game and peppers the press with surly responses. Pat Shurmur now has a 7-20 record as coach of the Giants. 

The Bears' Nick Kwiatkoski tackles Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard on Nov. 24, 2019, in Chicago.
Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Images

These were not the monstrous Mike Ditka Bears, a team that terrorized the NFL in the '80s; or the George Halas Bears; or even the Lovie Smith Bears that slipped into a Super Bowl over a decade ago. These Bears have scored 188 points in 11 games, a startling symbol of futility with only four last-place teams (Dolphins, Bengals, Broncos, Redskins) scoring fewer points. 

The Giants lost, 19-14, despite holding the Bears to 65 yards rushing. They lost despite Chicago’s broken quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, tossing his customary picks — including an inexplicable pass into the end zone — and one touchdown. And the Giants lost despite coming off a bye, with two weeks to prep for the munchkins of the midway. 

We understand that the Giants were not supposed to go 13-3 this year. We understand the Giants are rebooting from the Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese regime. We understand it takes more than a few fiery sermons to win games in the NFL. We also know the Cowboys, Bills, Vikings and Patriots are better than Big Blue. But the Giants have also lost to the Cardinals, Lions, Jets and Bears — none of whom will come close to a playoff spot this season. 

Daniel Jones has been the diamond in this mountain of dirt. On Sunday he posted a tidy game with two scores and no picks. Overall, the rookie QB has tossed a respectable 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's often the lone beacon on a team that drowned weeks ago. But one of the most basic tenets of pro football is holding onto the football. While there's no shame in being strip-sacked by Khalil Mack, there's ample embarrassment in fumbling 14 times through 10 games, most in the NFL.

Winning has long doubled as a balm on all kinds of scars. Players can punch each other, ignore curfew or flout a few rules as long as they slap a new number in the wins column. We can even tolerate the aches of learning on the job. As long as we see improvement, we understand it takes time to bust through that symbolic membrane between a winner and loser. But Saquon Barkley still looks hurt. Big Blue's defense couldn't thwart the headless Bears offense. And they only scored seven points until that cosmetic TD with four minutes left in the game. 

Over their final five games, the Giants have a fair shot to win two, when they play the Dolphins and Redskins in December. So, at best, the Giants are looking at a 4-12 season, a game worse than they were last season. The Giants were 5-11 in 2018. They scored 369 points and allowed 412. They are slated to score fewer points (315) this season while allowing more (448). 

So as Thanksgiving approaches, there are few blessings around Big Blue. At least you don't need a supermarket to see the biggest turkeys. You can find them on your televisions each Sunday. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel.