The Giants struggled in all three phases against the Rams in a 51-17 loss, Sunday at MetLife Stadium:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After all three phases faltered in the Giants' worst home loss in 19 years, the players delivered some of the hardest shots of the day in analyzing their own performance.
The MetLife Stadium scoreboard at the end of the game read: Rams 51, Giants 17. Entering the fourth quarter in their own stadium, the Giants trailed, 48-10. It was the most points they allowed at home in 53 years (Dec. 12, 1964 vs. Cleveland, to be exact) and their most lopsided loss as a home team since Nov. 15, 1998, when they lost to Green Bay in Giants Stadium, 37-3.
"It's terrible," said defensive end Jason Pierre Paul. "I don't think I've ever had 51 points put on me ever in my career."
"It's hurtful, definitely hurtful," safety Landon Collins said. "Last time that we gave up 50 was two years ago (in New Orleans) and we didn't like it then, so we still don't like it now. … It's heartbreaking and we have to really get in the film room, get in the locker room and kind of just figure this stuff out. Something is up and we've got to figure it out."
"It was pretty embarrassing, just as the team we know we are and know who we can be," rookie tight end Evan Engram said. "That wasn't us today."
But it's who they are now. The Giants are 1-7 and 0-4 at home, each for the first time since 1980.
"We have to accept it," quarterback Eli Manning said. "Those are the facts, and we've just got to keep trying to fix that in the sense of next week and following weeks, getting better and trying to get a win."
Manning provided one of the Giants' few bright spots on a rainy and dreary day. With a 37-yard completion to Sterling Shepard in the fourth quarter, he became the seventh quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 50,000 yards. He also threw touchdown passes to Tavarres King and Engram.
So much for the highlights. Manning missed Shepard and King, the latter in the end zone, when they were wide open. The Giants committed three turnovers – leading to 17 Rams points - and had zero takeaways. Nor did they record a sack. They missed a field goal attempt and had a punt blocked. Los Angeles averaged 18.3 yards on three punt returns. Todd Gurley rushed for two touchdowns. Quarterback Jared Goff threw four touchdowns passes – two to Robert Woods and one apiece to Sammy Watkins and Tyler Higbee. A 52-yarder to Woods and 67-yarder to Watkins were separated by just 1:52. Woods' score was inexplicable, considering the Giants' had the Rams in a third-and-33 hole – at least it appeared to be a hole until Woods caught a short pass and zig zagged through the Giants' entire secondary on his way to the end zone.
"That's on us, man," cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Somebody's got to make a tackle. The guy takes the ball and cuts it all the way across the field to the back side, everybody's got to get to the ball with the mindset of, 'I want to make a tackle.' I just think when he cut it back, it took us by surprise and he hit it good. Credit to him."
"Everybody just over-pursued," Collins said. "We thought he was going to push to keep it strong. He cut it back. We had nobody playing backdoor on that screen."
Coach Ben McAdoo said a lack of effort was not the reason the Giants played poorly. But that's about the only positive thing he had to say.
"When you play a talented football team and you handle the ball the way we handled the ball, you tackle the way you tackled today … we had a blocked punt and we struggled to cover a punt," McAdoo said. "Unfortunately, that's what the scoreboard is going to look like."
The Giants played without several injured players who were inactive, including offensive lineman Justin Pugh, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and linebackers Jonathan Casillas and B.J. Goodson. They were short in the secondary, because Janoris Jenkins is serving an indefinite suspension and Donte Deayon was inactive with an ankle injury. But McAdoo isn't searching for, or accepting, excuses.
"I'm disappointed," he said. "Expected us to come out and play a better football game than we played. We have it in us. It's my job to get it out of us."
The game was tied after one quarter, 7-7, before it got out of hand in the second. Greg Zuerlein's 27-yard field goal gave the Rams the lead for good at 10-7. On the Giants' ensuing possession, rookie Wayne Gallman, carrying the ball on his fourth consecutive play, lost a fumble that was recovered by Aaron Donald. After 10 and 15-yard penalties created the third-and-33, Woods' unlikely touchdown made it 17-7.
"It was a quick screen to the receiver – slot receiver – we got to route it to the ball and get them down," McAdoo said. "Certainly can't let them run for a touchdown in that situation. It's been a problem. We have to address it. We have to get it fixed."
The Giants followed with a three-and-out, and Los Angeles then needed only two plays to cover 71 yards. The second was Goff's perfectly-thrown bomb to Watkins, who got behind Collins in the center of the field. The teams traded field goals and went to the halftime locker room with the Rams leading, 27-10.
Los Angeles scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to blow the game open and leave the Giants searching for answers.
"It's always a horrible feeling to lose, then to lose like this, it's kind of one of those you kind of just want to go to the next game," defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. "You know what I'm saying? Burn the film. Go to the next game. That's kind of how we feel. I know that's how I feel. You just want to get on to the next week and get to preparing and, honestly, get us preparing for a W."
The Giants still have half their season to play, beginning next week in San Francisco.
"We've got to keep fighting," McAdoo said. "I think it's a great opportunity for some players who didn't think they'd be playing a lot of football at this point to see what they're made of, to see what they're capable of, and see if they can be a part of our future. Learn a lot about people in times like this."
But with each painful reminder, the Giants are learning it's brutal to go through them.