TAMPA, Fla. – Something needs to change.
That, above all else, is the overwhelming takeaway from the Giants’ recent grim loss.
On the surface, getting beaten 30-10 by the Buccaneers on Monday night was not so much different than so many other defeats for this franchise when it plays under the lights and withers under the glare of a national TV audience. Poor offensive and performing defense has a way of producing results like this, a sad fact that the Giants have known all too well for the past five years.
This one was different though. When the head coach says “we have too many good players” to score so few points and demands “we have to put them in better positions, that’s it” it’s pretty clear that the offensive brain confidence is not going to come out of this undamaged.
“I expect us to produce at a higher level,” Joe Judge said.
What we have seen so far from referee after fights, wins or losses is a stoic behavior, but he was more outwardly annoyed after this than any of the previous losses. He repeatedly blamed himself and his coaching staff, and when asked specifically about job security for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Judge offered nothing. In the past, Judge quickly rejected any notion that Garrett could be on the hot seat.
The Giants welcomed back Saquon Barkley and had top receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney healthier than at any other time this season. Still, they scored just three legitimate points in attack – their lone touchdown came after being set up on the Buccaneers ‘5-yard line after a Tom Brady pass was deflected off the shoulder of Mike Evans and into the hands of cornerback Adoree’ Jackson for an interception. The Giants had just 215 total yards, and quarterback Daniel Jones threw two interceptions in the second half.
The only Giants touchdown was scored by Andrew Thomas – the left tackle – at a 2-yard reception in the second quarter. Kenny Golladay, the $ 72 million free-agent addition, had one catch and just two goals.
“We have to make sure to fix it,” the judge said.
Then Judge said, “I’m getting frustrated on behalf of the players.” He left nothing to the interpretation in terms of pointing the finger at the coaching staff preparing the players.
“You can write that tonight,” the judge said. “We have to make sure we enable them to succeed. You can write that down. I will not discuss that.”
When asked if this means changes in his offensive staff are imminent, the referee said, “Let’s not read too far into this right now.”
What a mess.
Farewell week came and went, and now the Giants may be saying goodbye to any kind of relevant football during 2021.
Any encouraging mood created after the Giants won two out of three games was wiped out by a reality check slapped in the face administered by the defending Super Bowl champions at Raymond James Stadium.
Tom Brady had not lost three games in a row since 2002.
It should not happen again, at least not tonight, not against this opponent. Brady completed 30 of 46 passes in 307 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and he was not fired.
The Giants dropped to 3-7 and are now alone in last place in NFC East, a basement home that they did not expect to inhabit 10 games inside the season.
The glare of the spotlight does not show the giants in a positive light. This was their 10th loss in a row in the best broadcast time. Jones fell to 0-8 when the entire nation got the chance to see his team.
“We certainly did not perform, did not do what he planned to do,” Jones said. “Was not it too much that was good.”
Jones said he still trusts Garrett’s ability to direct the attack.
“Yes, it certainly does,” Jones said. “I think we were prepared, we had a plan, and we did not execute.”
Barkley did not do much (25 rushing yards, 31 receive yards) in his return from a sprained ankle.
The Giants were within 17-10 at the break, but their unraveling started immediately after the break. They reached the Bucs’ 25-yard line, but a sad fourth-and-1 play was a dud when Jones was pressured by linebacker Devin White and the pass hit nothing but grass. Brady then drove lightly down the field on a 71-yard drive and cashed in as he hit Evans for a 5-yard touchdown pass, with Evans with the greatest ease posting cornerback James Bradberry in the end zone.
The Bucs added their 24-10 lead after Jones, who went back and panicked, threw a horrible interception, with no receiver in the area, and dumped the ball to defensive tackle Steve McLendon. That put the Bucs up on the Giants’ 37-yard line, and they added a field goal to go ahead 27-10.
The judge promised he would change the franchise’s fortunes, but did not promise when that could happen, and understands that frustration is widespread.
“It’s not the fans’ job to be patient,” he said. “It is our job to give them something to be proud of. It’s not their job to have blind trust in us. ”
There is little chance that this will happen.