When it rains, it pours. Giants fans felt the relief coming with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter of Sundays game at Metlife Stadium against the Chargers. New York’s first win of the season and the hope of eventually righting the ship. Then at the four minute mark… boom! It was over just like that.
I am not talking about their playoff hopes that lingered in the back of their minds or hype that this might be the best set of weapons Eli Manning has ever had around him or even the talk of this being a Super Bowl caliber defense. At the four minute mark, the cracking sound of Odell Beckham Jr’s ankle not only ended any hope New York had to right the ship, but might have ended the current regime of the New York Giants.
The word “unprecedented” is rarely used in sports these days but used in shock around this organization on Sunday as the Giants lost four wide receivers against the Chargers. Both Dwayne Harris and Odell Beckham Jr each broke their foot, Sterling Shepard sprained his ankle, and Brandon Marshall suffered an ankle injury which led to season ending surgery.This left Roger Lewis Jr. as the only active wide receiver available to finish out the game for Big Blue.
Afterwards the shock and silence was defining in the Giants locker room especially from Lewis Jr. who was still stunned that four of his brothers went down. “I’ve never been in a situation like this. But all the teams I’ve played on, from high school to college, even here, it’s next man up mentality. And seize the opportunity.”
Eli Manning has a different perspective as he had to continue on to try and lead New York with three minutes left with limited weapons. ” It’s a tough situation when you lose four receivers in a game. I thought we did the best we could do. We had a scoring drive with a couple of them out. Without them, we had two receivers left. Evan Engram has played in the slot. So, we had to simplify the game plan a little bit when you can do. But then there at the end having three tight ends, one receiver on a two-minute drive, we were able to get a first down and do a couple things, but you know, it’s not the ideal situation.”
Jason Pierre-Paul stated Coach McAdoo’s message after the game didn’t make the loss an easier on the team. “Keep our heads up. You already know it’s going to be positive. That’s what the head coach is going to do. But at the end of the day, those guys got to look deep in the mirror and if you feel like you didn’t play your heart out, then you’re only cheating yourself. Like I said, I feel like every guy played their heart out, it just wasn’t enough to win. We had a mindset coming in here and actually winning the game, but that didn’t happen. You could see it in everybody’s eyes before the game started. Everybody was synched as one, but like I said, we just didn’t win the game.”
I wouldn’t expect Coach McAdoo to have all the answers and when asked about being 0-5, what can he say? ” You just keep working. You look in the mirror. You learn a lot about yourself in times like these. So, you’ve got to work for yourself, work for your teammates. We’re all pros – this is what we get paid to do. We get paid to win, not just compete. So, we’ve got to find a way to win.”
The “Show Must Go On” is the old expression and the Giants must follow the same line.New York signed Tavarres King who was cut hours before the Big Blue took the field against the Lions during the second week of the season, and signed Travis Rudolph who was cut at the end of this seasons training camp.
There was a lot of relief by Eli Manning to see some familiar faces returning to the locker room. “Glad to have them back. TK (Tavarres King). TK is a guy who has made plays for us. Thrown him touchdowns before and so, glad to have him. He’s always been a great teammate and a guy who knows what he’s doing, can play fast. So, good to have him back. Couple other guys, so, just excited to have them and excited for their opportunity to go out there, start a game and get a lot of reps and make plays for us.”
King felt the excitement of returning to the team, even under these conditions. “Under the circumstances, it kind of sucks. I feel bad for my brothers, but it feels good to be back home. I feel like I can play the game at a high level. I feel like I’m just coming off of a really good start to camp and when I was practicing, I was practicing really well so I feel good about what I was doing. I’m very confident in myself.”
Not many of the current roster were here when the Giants started 0-6 in 2013. Justin Pugh is a surviving member of that team and was asked about the differences of the two seasons. “I just know how hard it is to win in the NFL. A lot of guys probably will come in as a young guy, just I thought we would win. We were the New York Giants. They won a Super Bowl two years previously. I thought we were just going to go out there and that was just going to happen and you realize how quickly – we’re having a lot of the same games we had last year. It’s just we’re not pulling them out in the fourth quarter. I mean, if you look at it, we’ve had leads in the fourth quarter in the past three games and legitimately probably thought in each game that we were going to win it and then we lost. So, I mean, that’s the NFL. It humbles you real quick and it’s doing it to a lot of people in here and we have to learn how to win the close games now. Soon. This week.”
On a final note. News broke earlier today that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended after leaving a recovery day session on Friday. From there DRC left the field during the game which prompted a meeting yesterday with McAdoo that lead to DRC being informed he will be inactive this week because of his behavior.
This prompted DRC to clean out his locker and exit the facility today which led to his suspension. Coach McAdoo did not give the media real details of the situation.
Rodgers Cromartie spoke with ESPN earlier today and stated “I didn’t handle the situation the right way. I will be back on Thursday.”
We will have more updates on Friday’s Big Blue Report.