Giant Takeaways: Giants Fall to Eagles in Likely Final Game of Pat Shurmur Era
The New York Giants’ painful 2019 season has mercifully ended, with more heartbreak.
New York lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 34-17 in their regular season finale on Sunday. The Giants fell to 4-12 on the 2019 season, while the Eagles won the NFC East Championship at MetLife Stadium, much to the chagrin of New York ownership.
The Giants went toe-to-toe with the Eagles on numerous occasions, resulting in a 17-17 tie in the third quarter. After Jake Elliott’s 50-yard field goal, New York looked to respond once again. But that was when the wheels fell off, thanks to a convenient turnover from quarterback Daniel Jones. The rookie fumbled a botched snap from center Jon Halapio, and once recovering, Jones lost the ball again, thanks to a strip sack by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. Philadelphia recovered the ball at the Giants’ one-yard line and followed it up with a Boston Scott touchdown, giving them a 27-17 lead.
It was the same old, same old from the Giants again in Week 17, and now wait to see how ownership responds. Here are the takeaways from New York’s regular season finale.
Shurmur Doesn’t Help Case
On Sunday morning, reports circulated that the Giants were “unlikely” to bring back head coach Pat Shurmur next season. That news, honestly, wasn’t a surprise to anyone in the football and media worlds. Shurmur didn’t instill confidence in the fan base or ownership throughout the season, despite his constant praise for New York’s behind the scenes progress. Yet that progress never translated on the field.
The same can be said on Sunday. New York’s offense was stagnant, as at one point, their first 13 offensive plays netted just 20 yards. Saquon Barkley was being sent up the middle in stacked boxes to (shockingly) little success. The offensive line couldn’t contain Philadelphia’s defensive pressure. And, of course, Shurmur’s play calls left fans and viewers dumbfounded.
One instance that stands out is Shurmur calling for a Barkley pitch to the outside on fourth and two in the fourth quarter. That’s fine and all…if your team has an offensive line that can block consistently, which the Giants can’t do. The end result saw Barkley stuffed at the line of scrimmage and forcing a turnover on downs.
After Week 17, Shurmur’s record with the Giants dropped to 9-23. Ironically, that’s the same record he had with the Cleveland Browns, resulting in his firing after the 2012 season. Pat Shurmur may have the support of players, but with the Giants’ reputation on the line, changes must come, and that includes at head coach.
Boston Scott = Giants Kryptonite
Remember back in Week 14, when the Giants were run over by former practice squad running back Boston Scott? Well, he did it again on Sunday afternoon. Scott looked like the second coming of Barry Sanders at MetLife Stadium, as he rushed for 54 yards and three touchdowns.
The Giants had no chance of stopping him. In fact, Scott has now accumulated 266 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage against New York this season. Unless changes are made, Boston Scott will continue to haunt the Giants twice a year.
Daniel Jones Shows Positives, But Big Negative
Once again, the Daniel Jones Experience has its highs, but also its lows.
On the positive side of things, Jones shows his ability to make big throws, especially in the end zone. The prime example is Jones’ touchdown pass to receiver Golden Tate, who hauled it in with one hand while defensive back Rasul Douglas was all over him.
Then, there’s Jones ability to make throws with pressure in his face. In the third quarter, Jones sensed Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was heading his way like a heat-seeking missile. Instead of faltering, he threw and completed a 33-yard reception by fellow rookie Darius Slayton.
Then, there’s the main negative that’s plagued Jones all season: turnovers.
As mentioned earlier, Jones had two costly fumbles on one play, resulting in a late Eagles touchdown that ended any chance of a Giants upset. Three drives later, Jones would force a deep pass for Slatyon, but was easily picked off by Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones.
There’s no question that Daniel Jones is the Giants’ quarterback of the future. But with the offseason now here, he must work on protecting the football and prevent it from occurring at such a high rate in his second season.
Gettleman Should be on Hot Seat
General manager Dave Gettleman’s status with the Giants continues to fluctuate. On Sunday, reports indicated that Gettleman was “likely” to return next year. Granted, this was before the Giants even played the Eagles.
As everyone knows, Gettleman values his hog mollies at the line of scrimmage. That’s further evidenced by having a defensive line consisting of tackles Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and trade-deadline acquisition Leonard Williams. And they, as well as the rest of the defense, failed their boss.
Boston Scott ran all over them. Carson Wentz felt zero pressure and hit Joshua Perkins for a touchdown in the second quarter, where DeAndre Baker was late in coverage. Not to mention, Perkins, Greg Ward Jr., and Deontay Burnett all recorded at least 43 yards receiving on the day…and they were practice squad players at point this season.
Then, there’s the offensive line, which once again reared its ugly head. Nate Solder, whom Gettleman threw $62 million to protect the quarterback, failed to do so by whiffing on blocking assignments. Solder isn’t the only one being singled out. The entire o-line performed inadequately, and not just in pass protection. Saquon Barkley had nine rushes that resulted in no gain or negative yardage on his 17 total carries, thanks to poor blocking. That’s unfathomable, considering the talent that Barkley is.
Gettleman pleaded for trust throughout last offseason, while stressing that he knows what he’s doing. Yet, he refused to commit to a full rebuild, which the Giants desperately needed, in order to compete. That competitive team he built on the fly has led to 9-23 overall record.
Additionally, Gettleman’s presence is having a negative effect in the team’s impending head coaching search. According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, head coaching candidates are not expected to be interested in the Giants job if Gettleman is retained by co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.
The Giants’ issues the past two years shouldn’t only fall on Pat Shurmur’s shoulders. Dave Gettleman deserves just as much of the blame.
Four Wins for No. 4
The Chase for Chase is officially dead. After the regular season’s conclusion, the Giants own the No. 4 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is expected to go second overall to the Washington Redskins, knocking the Giants out of contention for a premium pass rusher. Now, they still have a fair share of choices. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons both stand out as fits in New York.
However, there’s always the chance to trade down. NFL Draft expert Daniel Jeremiah hints that teams in need of a quarterback like the Miami Dolphins (No. 5), Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6), and Carolina Panthers (No. 7) could offer the Giants a bevy of draft picks to move down a spot or two (or three).
With the NFL Draft just a few months away, there’s plenty of planning for the Giants to do to try and improve a roster that still has a glaring amount of needs.
“Black Monday” awaits. John Mara and Steve Tisch will have discussions on Monday to decide on the future and direction of the organization. Pat Shurmur is all but gone, but Dave Gettleman’s status may not be as set in stone as he believes, based off his “see you on Tuesday” comments to the media after the game.
Who’s going to be the new head coach? Will Dave Gettleman remain as general manager? How will the Giants spend nearly $80 million in cap space in the new league year?
Nobody knows, but we’ll get those answers shortly.
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