Now those are the New York Football Giants. In the biggest regular-season game for the franchise in the last eight years, the Giants were embarrassed, routed at home by a Cardinals team on a three-game slide. The Giants lost 26-7 and it wasn’t even that close, if a 19-point game can be close.
The Giants fought for four straight games to find what had been a lost season through the first eight games. They beat Washington because that’s the one team Daniel Jones can truly beat (he has seven career wins as a starter with four of them against Washington), ended their eight-game losing streak to Philadelphia (which they should have ended three weeks earlier if not for Evan Engram’s should-have-been-game-ending drop), held on in Cincinnati (with Colt McCoy appearing in his sixth game in five years) and pulled off the biggest upset of the NFL season in Seattle with McCoy starting. All of that was erased in three hours on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
I spent the majority of Sunday’s game watching with the volume on very, very low with my wife and son sleeping in the same room. I had to keep my frustrations and my Giants Sunday F-bombs on low as well. The Giants had reeled me back in on the 2020 season after their improbable win over the Seahawks a week ago, but I was quickly reminded that the Giants are still a long way away from going anywhere, and they will likely never go anywhere with Jones as their quarterback.
There are no excuses for Jones’ play, including his recent hamstring injury. He was deemed healthy enough to play, and he said he was healthy enough to play. It wasn’t the right decision to play him, but it was the decision, and it needs to be criticized and he needs to be criticized given how awful he played.
Jones ruined the game for the Giants and it started on the game’s opening drive when he fumbled away possession for the eighth time this season. Jones is very good at ruining games. It’s actually what he does better than anything else on a football field. This season, he has thrown or fumbled away games against Pittsburgh, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and now, Arizona. In a league designed for passing plays and high-scoring affairs, Jones has thrown only eight touchdown passes and the Giants have scored more than 23 points twice. He’s lost as many fumbles this season as he has thrown touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown for a touchdown in any of his last three games after having not thrown for any in the four games from Weeks 2 through 5. How a supposed franchise quarterback could have zero touchdown passes in seven of 12 games played and still be considered the franchise quarterback is difficult to comprehend.
Then again, this is a team that while trailing by two scores in the third quarter of a crucial game, and facing a third-and-1 at their own 16, decided to call for a deep ball. Rather than try to pick up the one yard on the ground, Jason Garrett decided to let Jones, who was having trouble completing even the shortest and simplest of passes through two-plus quarters, heave the ball down the field. Finding a second-half groove like he had last Sunday, Wayne Gallman had picked up 31 yards on his first four carries, and yet, Garrett let Jones overthrow Sterling Shepard, who wasn’t even able to get a finger on the ball despite laying completely out. This decision was made even worse when on the next two Giants drive, still trailing by two scores and needing to preserve the clock, Garrett called for first-down running plays. As a result of Jones’ putrid play, Garrett’s puzzling play calling and the latest special teams letdown (this one by Dion Lewis), the Giants no longer control their own destiny.
While the Giants’ offense was failing to get the ball across the 50 for an entire half, the Cowboys were on their way to beating the Bengals. And while, the Giants’ players were answering questions about their lackluster effort and the coaching staff was answering for their irresponsible decision to start Jones, the Eagles were on their way to upsetting the NFC’s first-place Saints in Jalen Hurts’ first career start, and Washington was on its way to a second straight road upset, this time over the 49ers.
The Giants’ postseason odds dropped to 24 percent after their loss and Washington’s win, but they might as well be zero if Jones continues to play. I wrote last week that I didn’t think the Giants would have won in Seattle if Jones had played because of his game-ruining nature, and after his performance against the Cardinals, my belief was proved right. Jones isn’t leading this team to a win over the Browns or Ravens the next two weeks, let alone the Cowboys in the season finale. And because of Washington’s four-game winning streak, and the Week 14 wins for Dallas and Philadelphia, the Giants will likely have to win all three of their remaining games to win the NFC East and reach the playoffs. Even winning out might no longer be enough.
Last week, I wrote the following:
I’m fully prepared to have my dream of Giants postseason football crushed. That’s what the Giants do. And if they are to go 1-3 or 0-4 between now and Week 17, it won’t surprise me. I won’t be upset with them. That’s who they are. I’ll be upset with myself for caring about them again this season when I should have known better.
So I’m not upset with the Giants (well, except for the decision to start Jones). I’m not mad or angry, and I’m certainly not surprised. I would have been surprised if what happened against the Cardinals didn’t happen, and the Giants had done something un-Giants-like and won a big game.
I knew Sunday’s game was coming and I still allowed the 2020 Giants back into my life. That won’t happen again.