The Giants lost 27-21 to the Cardinals on a rain soaked day in the Meadowlands. The Giants trailed the whole game but did come back from a 17-0 deficit in the first half to make it a 3 point game. According to playoffstatus.com the Giant’s probability of winning the division fell from 23% to 16% with the loss. Their probability of winning a wildcard spot is at 1%.
The Giant’s run defense was abysmal. Cardinal back Chase Edmond ran for a career-high 126 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. His three touchdown runs were for roughly 20 yards each. Kyler Murray threw for only 104 yards with nothing deep. But he didn’t need to do more as the Giants were unable to stop the Cardinal’s run game and sweeps from out of the backfield.
In a tough loss for the Giants there were still some positives. Golden Tate had a good game showing why he was brought in. He made some clutch catches and showed his ability to get yards after the catch. Giant rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker had a textbook pass breakup on what may have been Kyler Murray’s one deep pass. Daniel Jones connected with tight end Rhett Ellison on what was both a perfect pass and catch into double coverage for a touchdown. Saquon Barkley returned after missing only three games for a high ankle sprain. While Barkley did have a good but not great game, he looked good for his return to the field. Just his ability to get back on the field so early is a tribute to his work ethic, drive and team attitude. Safety Michael Thomas had a blocked punt on special teams resulting in a Giants touchdown.
There were again some questionable calls by head coach Pat Schurmur. He called a draw on a 3rd and 18 in the fourth quarter on their own 30 yard line. It netted three yards. He then went for it on fourth and 15 and Daniel Jones was sacked. A pass play on 3rd down or a punt on fourth appeared to be better decisions. Then late in the game with only a little over 2 minutes to play Darius Slayton took a punt out of the end zone only to run seven seconds off the clock before the two minute warning and to get only to the twelve yard line. Schurmur said in the post-game interview that he was okay with that decision. There have been questionable coaching decisions made at key points in each of the last three losses.
Is Shurmur on the coaching hot-seat? Pat Shurmur is 7-16 as a Giant head coach giving him a 0.304 win percentage. That ranks 18th out of the 20 Giant head coaches since 1925. Bill Arnsparger holds the worst Giant head coach record at 7-28 for a 0.20 win percentage. In the 1970s Arnsparger was well into his third season before he was fired.
Not that one wants to repeat the 1970s but Schurmur is in his second season and is starting a rookie quarterback. Traditionally rookie quarterbacks do not do well. Since 1970 there were 31 rookie quarterbacks that started 14 games their rookie season. Of those only 12 had a 0.500 record or better. Since 1970 the Giants have chosen three first round quarterbacks – Phil Simms, Eli Manning (trade) and Daniel Jones. The head coaches for Simms and Manning in their rookie years both went 6-10. They were Ray Perkins and Tom Coughlin and both were new head coaches. Both coaches remained as head coach following their 6-10 season. Coughlin would go on to help lead two Giant teams to Super Bowl victories in subsequent seasons. The Giants should see how the season unfolds. Shurmur may match the rookie records of Coughlin and Perkins which should be good enough for another year. Anything less and they should be looking for a new coach for 2020.
Go Giants on to Detroit!