Rock Bottom: Giants Hand First Victory to 49ers
The Giants Broke in this Must-Win Game, Losing 31-21 to the 49ers and Falling to a 1-8 Record.
If the New York Giants didn’t know what rock bottom was before, they do now. Heading into a must-win game, the Giants lost to the then-winless San Francisco 49ers, 31-21.
The game was relatively close in the first half, thanks to two field goals from Aldrick Rosas. With the score at 6-3, the Giants would give up a long 83-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard to Marquise Goodwin, now trailing San Francisco 10-6. New York would answer, as Eli Manning would complete a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram to give the Giants a 13-10 lead. The feeling of glory would not last long, as Beathard would throw a 47-yard bomb to tight end Garrett Celek, retaking the lead 17-13 at halftime.
With the game within reach, the Giants would fall, hard in the fourth quarter. The banged up and exhausted defense would surrender a 11-yard scrambling touchdown to Beathard, giving the 49ers a 24-13 lead. San Francisco would follow that up on the following drive with a 33-yard touchdown run by running back Matt Breida. The Giants would score a garbage time touchdown, a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Roger Lewis with a minute remaining. It was too little, too late for the Giants, who will feel the sting of this big loss.
Swan Song for McAdoo
In a must win game, the Ben McAdoo led Giants fell flat. The head coach has fielded questions about the locker room, as well as the play on the field with stoic resolve. However, it will be hard for the embattled coach to deflect the hard questions from this one.
Many tuned into the post game press conference to see what McAdoo had to say. Those who watched were disappointed, as the coach gave the same answers that he did all of this season. “We have to look at the tape,” a sentenced uttered all too much through nine games. When asked about his job security, McAdoo seemed adamant that his job was safe.
“No, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything,” said McAdoo. “We have to find a way to win a game. We have to go address what happened on the field today. Take a look at the tape. Be honest with each other.”
McAdoo is confident in his job status now, but Monday morning will be one to keep an eye on, in regards of if the coach will remain on board.
The Giants defense, quite frankly, has been a former shell of themselves this season. With essentially the same squad as they did in their 11-5 year last season, it has been Jekyll and Hyde as compared to this season.
The defense struggled mightily, as they surrendered 474 total yards to a 49ers offense that was rather hapless this season. Not only that, but they surrendered 31 points to a team that has scored an average of 16 points per game. The Giants made Beathard look phenomenal, as the rookie completed 19 of 25 pass attempts for 288 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Let’s not forget that San Francisco punted the ball once in the entire game, and that happened in the fourth quarter.
When watching the game, cornerback Janoris Jenkins particularly stood out for all the wrong reasons. The returning corner was burned on the Goodwin long touchdown, as well as his non-tackle attempt on the Celek touchdown. It was not only that non-tackle attempt, as Jenkins had a another one just like it later in the game.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas also faced difficulties in his return from injury, as he was burned in coverage on the aforementioned Celek play.
The story of New York’s defense spending so much time on the field this season has caught up with them. The Giants lost Damon Harrison late in the game with an ankle injury. The coverage is non-existent and the physical exhaustion is evident when watching Giants defense, especially in the past two weeks.
Well, at least the Giants led in time of possession, 31:00 to 29:00.
New York could not get anything going in those 31-minutes, despite the strong game from wide receiver Sterling Shepard (11 receptions, 142 yards). Manning had issues connecting on deep passes to his targets, and even had one costly fumble in the redzone. Looking back at that particular play, it looks that much worse, as Manning tries to evade the sack, but rolls the football like a bowling ball. That leads to a San Francisco recovery.
Orleans Darkwa was rather impressive, as he turned 14 carries into 70 rushing yards. However, the run game was abandoned, as those 23 plays were eclipsed by 37 passing plays. The Giants main problem on offense is that the running game gets abandoned way before it starts getting going. That turns them to fall behind in games to the opposition, so it, in turn, forces New York to throw the ball.
Yes, the injuries to Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris hurt, but the Giants still have moments to capitalize. Yet, they cannot, which explains their lone victory and eight losses on the season.
The Giants will be under the proverbial media microscope on Monday. Now, they have to prepare for next Sunday, as they face a very tough Kansas City Chiefs team at MetLife Stadium.
With the season essentially lost, the remainder of the season now turns into job interview. Players will now use these last seven games to play for their jobs next season.
The real question is: will McAdoo be the head coach heading into that game? That will be the story to follow on Monday and throughout the week. The Giants are not notorious for firing a coach in the middle of the season. However, giving a team like the 49ers their first win of the year, may buck that traditional trend.