Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur (middle) looks on during warmups before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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Keidel: Giants Were Never Close To Winning On Monday Night

Jason Keidel
October 23, 2018 - 1:57 pm
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Don't be fooled.

Don't be fooled by the 23-20 final score on Monday night, as the Giants were never close to winning.

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Don't be fooled by the over 300 total yards from Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr, as only one scored a TD - with five seconds left.

Don't be fooled by Eli Manning's high completion percentage. In the first half he checked down so many times he made Alex Smith blush.

Don't be fooled by Pat Shurmur's aggressive play-calling, as it did nothing to win the game, and cost the Giants priceless seconds at the end of the game with a mummified Manning trying consecutive (failed) quarterback sneaks at the goal line with no timeouts left.

The first three quarters were a sermon in sagging offense. It took until the fourth quarter for the New York "Field Goal" Giants to finally morph into the "Football" Giants, scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes, with the last one more ornamental than meaningful. Too many times the Giants marched into the red zone then settled for a painful three points.

A shame to waste such a fine effort from Big Blue's defense. The Giants held the pyrotechnic Falcons offense - which averaged 34 points per game at home - to ten points through three quarters. But the Giants only rushed for 63 yards so they only held the ball for 27:43, giving Atlanta way too many chances to score.

Then we have Shurmur's curious choice to go for two points when trailing by eight in the fourth quarter. The Giants scored a TD to slash Atlanta's lead to 20-12, then Beckham dropped a catchable ball by the left pylon. The public seems split on the merits of the decision. Yet those of us who would have kicked the ball are evidently stuck in retrograde, and haven't evolved since the single-wing.

We can argue the logic of the call, but the worst argument in favor of the failed two-point attempt is pointing to the successful two-point attempt at the end of the game. With all due respect to Boomer Esiason, who knows more football than the rest of us combined, you can't assume future results based on prior results. Atlanta had stretched their lead to 23-12, when yet another kicker - this time a backup, no less - booted a 50-yard FG and broke Big Blue's back. Had the Giants converted their first two-point attempt, we don't know how Atlanta attacks the rest of the game. Likewise, when you're up 11 points with a minute left your defense doesn't play with the precision and ferocity it would had the lead been eight points.

Regardless of our take on Shurmur's two points, some points are inarguably wrong with the Giants.

It's unacceptable for a team with this talent to average 19.5 points per game, which went up by a fraction last night.

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It's unacceptable for their left tackle to be so laughable. The team paid Nate Solder way too much money for what they're getting in return. Solder doubled as a turnstile to the QB, routinely whipped, battered, and beaten by Atlanta's pass rushers. Even Booger McFarland, who loves every NFL player he's ever seen, said that if this is what the Giants are getting for their $15 million annually, they should ask for a refund.

It's unacceptable for this cub to be 1-6, to be in last place in the anemic NFC East, which only has one club over .500. It's unacceptable to have the worst record in the NFL.

On the diplomatic - and perhaps superficial - front, John Mara chatted and embraced Beckham last night. As did Shurmur, who was seen with his hands on Beckham's shoulder pads, with soothing words for his emotional star. No doubt Beckham is quietly thrilled with the night, as he not only got his stats (8 receptions, 143 yards, TD), he also reached 5,000 yards faster than any WR in NFL history (54 games).

The Giants are making history, too. There have been many lost years for this franchise, but never have the G-Men staggered out to a 1-6 start in consecutive seasons, until now. Most NFL teams are happy to hear they're setting records, unless you play in the Meadowlands, a swampy graveyard for the New York "Football" Giants.

Twitter: @JasonKeidel