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Football

Giant Takeaways: Shurmur, Giants Lose Sloppy Game to Cardinals

The New York Giants lost to the Arizona Cardinals 27-21 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

The weather in East Rutherford, N.J. was the physical summation of the Giants’ play: sloppy.

New York entered Week 7 as betting favorites to the Cardinals, led by rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury and first overall pick Kyler Murray. It wasn’t the Cardinals who looked like underdogs, it was the Giants.

Even with Arizona handing New York the game on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, the Giants figuratively and literally, fumbled it away.

Here are the key contributors to the Giants losing their third consecutive game.

Shurmur’s Play-Calling Inexcusable

Pat Shurmur was hired last year as the guy who can take the Giants to the next level as a coach. Through seven games last year, New York was 1-6. This year, they’re 2-5.

Shurmur has shown flashes of being a good coach. Yet, there are times where he makes mind-numbing decisions, with Week 7 being the latest example.

In the fourth quarter, the Giants found themselves down 24-21 with a little over three minutes remaining in regulation. Facing a third-and-18 situation, Shurmur told Daniel Jones to audible the play call into a halfback draw up the middle with Saquon Barkley, only gaining three yards. Deep inside their own territory, Shurmur went for it on fourth-and-15, instead of punting the ball back to Arizona. The end result? Jones being strip sacked, and giving the Cardinals the ball in scoring territory.

The play was universally derided, but Shurmur declared that he had zero regrets.

“It played out exactly how I would have hoped,” Shurmur said.

That was when the floodgates opened up with vitriol and venom, ranging from analysts to the fans sitting in the nosebleeds of MetLife Stadium.

Let’s not forget that on the previous Cardinals drive, Shurmur made the curious decision to burn a timeout with over four minutes remaining. Why? In Shurmur’s words, he didn’t want Arizona to burn 45 seconds off the clock, giving them just two timeouts for the rest of the game.

Shurmur’s first head coaching stint with the Cleveland Browns went disastrously. So far, his tenure in New York isn’t going much better. Considering the Giants have a rookie under center, Shurmur will buy himself another season. But he needs to show that he can bring the Giants back to their winning ways…soon.

O-Line Bullied

General manager Dave Gettleman prides himself in putting hog mollies at the offensive line. Through the first six weeks of the season, this o-line unit looked to be one of the best the Giants’ boasted in recent memory.

In Week 7, it looked as though Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart returned, taking the form of Nate Solder and Mike Remmers, respectively. Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph did a great job of game-planning, as he released the hounds on Jones and Barkley throughout the game.

Barkley was limited to an average of four yards per carry, while Jones was under constant duress, being sacked a whopping eight times on Sunday. That’s the most sacks allowed since Oct. 14, 2014, when Eli Manning and Ryan Nassib (remember him?) by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones was unblockable on Sunday, as he drove the rookie signal caller to the ground four times alone. There were times in which Jones was given an open lane by the Giants offensive line, leaving the sixth overall pick vulnerable for further punishment.

This can be considered a “burn the tape game” for the offensive line, as re-watching could be infuriating on their part.

Danny Turnovers

Look, every rookie quarterback has their growing pains. The common struggle most go through is ball security.

Daniel Jones has had issues holding onto the football, and then some. Entering the game, Jones had six interceptions and three fumbles. At the conclusion of the Cardinals game, those totals rose to seven interceptions and six fumbles. Holding onto the ball is one area that Jones needs to drastically improve, and he knows it.

“I think I’m making progress in some areas, and still need to improve a lot in others,” said Jones. “Obviously, taking care of the ball is a big thing, and has been. To not do that [Sunday] is disappointing. I have to get better there.”

Granted, Jones was dealing with an offensive line doing their best impersonation of Swiss cheese. But a lot of that falls on himself too. On multiple instances, Jones is trying to make plays happen, but fails to sense oncoming pressure. As a result, he got hit…hard. And on three plays, Jones lost his grasp on the ball.

Onto the interception, Jones has the tendency to force plays in order to gain positive yardage. In the first quarter, the rookie hurled a pass intended for top receiver Golden Tate. Yet, the veteran receiver was sandwiched between two defenders, resulting in linebacker Jordan Hicks stepping in front of the pass for the interception.

Look, Peyton Manning had trouble with ball security in his rookie year. It happens when quarterbacks are thrust into the starters role in their first season. Not saying Jones is going to be the next Peyton Manning, but he showcases flashes of brilliance week-in and week-out.

But if the turnovers continue, eyebrows will continue to raise.

Defense Has No Answer for Fordham Alum Edmonds

The Giants (along with numerous fantasy football owners) were bamboozled on Sunday. Cardinals star running back David Johnson was activated after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the week. After just one series, Johnson looked hobbled, and was sent to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.

Enter Fordham University alum Chase Edmonds, who looked like David Johnson, but with a different jersey number.

New York’s defense had no answer for Edmonds, who was Arizona’s one-man wrecking crew. The second-year back rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, while also hauling in two passes for 24 yards.

As a result, the pressure was taken off the shoulders of Cardinals rookie signal caller Kyler Murray, who the week prior lit up the Atlanta Falcons, culminating in an NFC Offensive Player of the Week award. Murray went 14-of-21 for just 104 yards. More importantly, Murray was limited to just four passes in the second half, due to the success of Edmonds.

The Giants and Cardinals are essentially in the same situation. Young teams building for the future. But here’s the thing, Arizona has a pass rush, as evidenced by the eight sacks posted. New York, on the other hand, had just two sacks on Murray.

The Arizona Cardinals showed that they are leaps and bounds ahead of the Giants in terms of the growth process.

What’s Next?

The New York Giants hit the road next Sunday, as they play the Detroit Lions (2-3-1) at Ford Field.

The Lions have similar defensive issues as the Giants, but have an explosive offense, which ranks ninth-best in the league (380.3 yards/game). That was showcased this past Sunday, where receiver Marvin Jones recorded four touchdown receptions against the Minnesota Vikings. New York will have it’s hands full in trying to contain the Lions, with their only resort to winning will be playing in an offensive shootout.

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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