You are judged by the company you keep.
The jury is back on the Giants: They are the worst.
The 25-22 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia continued the failed cycle against their closest geographic rival and furthered a terrible recent legacy within the NFC East. The Giants are 0-4 in their division this season and are 1-9 in their last 10 games against the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins. Every coach, every year says the first order of business is winning inside the division. The Giants are out of business when it comes to taking care of their business.
This is particularly disturbing this season, with the division-leading Cowboys and Redskins sitting at 6-5 and the Eagles not far back at 5-6. Everyone beats everyone within the NFC, except the Giants, who get beaten by everyone within the NFC East. When Eagles coach Doug Pederson said his team was “jazzed’’ after beating the Giants, calling it “a great win against obviously a hot, really good opponent that is real dangerous on offense,’’ it almost sounded a bit like pandering. The Giants came in having beaten two last-place teams (49ers and Buccaneers) by a combined seven points, so it is debatable how “hot’’ they were. And describing the Giants as a “really good opponent’’ is classic coach-speak. So be it. Facts are facts. The NFC East is a so-so division, with no clear frontrunner, but with a very clear bottom-feeder.
Here’s some more coming out of loss No. 8 (in 11 games) for the Giants:
– There is plenty to discuss and critique, but why all the fuss about Wayne Gallman taking a series and giving Saquon Barkley a rest on the second offensive series of the third quarter? Sure, the Eagles had closed to within 19-14 and Barkley was nearly unstoppable in the first half. But he cannot play every down. “Had nothing to do with the outcome of the game,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said, and on this we agree. Gallman gained five and seven yards on the first two downs and then things went haywire, through no fault of the second-year running back. There was a false start on Nate Solder. There was a bad dropped pass by Corey Coleman that should have picked up a first down on first-and-15. There was a holding penalty on Jamon Brown that was declined after Gallman was stopped for a three-yard loss. There was a bonehead time out called before a third-and-18 give-up screen pass to Gallman. The big mistake was not getting Barkley more touches in the second half after his series on the sideline.
– At least the Giants do not often blow big leads — mainly because the past few seasons, they have not been good enough to establish big leads. When the Giants opened up a 19-3 lead in the second quarter, it was the largest lead in a game they went on to lose in nearly four years. They led the Jaguars 21-0 in Jacksonville on Nov. 20, 2014, and eventually lost 25-24.
– How wasteful was the first half for the Giants? Extremely. They scored 19 points to take a 19-11 halftime lead but should have had a bigger margin and more points. They failed on a two-point conversion. They reached the Eagles’ 7-yard line and settled for a field goal. They screwed up a drive with penalties (block in the back by Odell Beckham Jr., holding on guard Will Hernandez, Bennie Fowler block in the back to wipe out a big run by Barkley) and settled for an Aldrick Rosas 51-yard field goal. Finally, they were on the Eagles’ 27-yard line, easily in field goal range, when Eli Manning got greedy and his pass to Beckham was intercepted near the goal line in the closing seconds of the second quarter. The Giants did not punt at all in the first half. Their 346 yards of offense was their highest total in any half in nearly 33 years — since they amassed 353 yards in the first half at Houston on Dec. 8, 1985. Dominance on the field did not translate to dominance on the scoreboard and in many ways, this is where the game was lost.
– This was Manning’s 225th regular season start. He is only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start as many games for one franchise. The others are John Elway (Broncos), Brett Favre (Packers), Dan Marino (Dolphins) and Tom Brady (Patriots). All are, or in Brady’s case, will be Hall of Famers. Manning will get more starts this season, but this coaching regime and front office wants to take a look at rookie Kyle Lauletta, one way or another.
– The debate will rage on, perhaps for years, as to whether the Giants with the No. 2 pick should have taken a quarterback, but it sure looks as if Barkley is the best player to come out of the 2018 NFL Draft. The guy is 21 years old and he is phenomenal. He is the first Giants player to score on both a run and pass reception in back-to-back games since Elvin (Kirk) Richards did it in 1933, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Barkley has four 100-yard rushing games as a rookie, breaking a Giants record that stood for 68 years. Barkley’s 829 rushing yards moved him past Ron Dayne (770 in 2000) and into second place on the Giants’ single-season rookie list, one yard behind Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans, who ran for 830 yards as a rookie in 1936. So Barkley this Sunday against the Bears will own that record as well. Barkley’s 12 touchdowns as a rookie ties a record set by Bill Paschal in 1943 and matched by Beckham Jr. in 2014. Barkley’s 1,410 yards from scrimmage breaks Beckham’s 2014 rookie record of 1,340. Is there anything the young guy has not done or cannot do?
Explaining the disappearance of Evan Engram
Last season, Evan Engram was the calm in the storm,…
– Chalk up Evan Engram straining a hamstring in pregame warmups as a sad addition to what has been a rough second season for the talented tight end. Engram might have had a huge game against the Eagles. Consider this: In his absence, Rhett Ellison caught four passes for a career-high 77 yards. Ellison had catches for 10, 18, 20 and 29 yards, showing he could get open and behind the porous Eagles secondary. Engram could have done the same, and he is far superior to Ellison in run-after-catch ability. What might have been.