EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants spent most of Sunday afternoon looking for points, yards and big plays. When they came up short partly because so many of their important offensive players were missing, the Giants refused to look for excuses.
There's no covering up the team's 38-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in MetLife Stadium. After taking an early lead, the Giants were overwhelmed by four Rams touchdowns in the second quarter, leaving them trailing by 25 points at halftime. Los Angeles played the second half on cruise control and the Giants scored their only touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
That they would have so much trouble reaching the end zone probably shouldn't be a surprise. The Giants did have quarterback Daniel Jones, who was cleared to play Friday after suffering a concussion last week in Dallas. And they benefitted from the return of wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who caught a game-high 10 passes after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury.
But running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay, the Giants' premier players at their positions, missed the game with ankle and knee injuries, respectively. Wideout Darius Slayton sat out for the third straight week with a hamstring strain.
In the first quarter, the team lost receiver Kadarius Toney – who last week set a Giants rookie record with 189 receiving yards on 10 catches – after he aggravated an ankle injury. Left tackle Andrew Thomas departed with an ankle injury. Return specialist C.J. Board was carted off with a fractured forearm.
The Giants totaled just 261 yards and did not have a play longer than 17 yards as Jones was without three of his top four receivers.
"It's going to have some effect," Jones said. "You need to go into a week planning and setting things up, but guys came in and did well. We've got good players, we've got a lot of guys who can make plays. We've got to do a good job, I've got to do a good job, finding them."
The replacements included running back Devontae Booker, who totaled 69 scrimmage yards in his first Giants start; wideout Dante Pettis, who caught five passes in his season debut; Matt Peart, who spent most of the game protecting Jones' blind side at left tackle; and Darnay Holmes, who averaged 16.5 yards on two kickoff returns.
"I have faith in the guys on our roster," coach Joe Judge said. "Whoever's at the game, you've got to produce. That's it. It's what we practice for all week. When you come to the game, you're a professional, you're expected to go out there and produce."
"I think it's the next-man-up mentality," Shepard said. "That's what I wholeheartedly believe. We have guys that can go and they can make plays for us. We have to figure out a way to execute better."
They couldn't against the Rams. Jones threw three interceptions, including two by Taylor Rapp, and lost a fumble. The Giants rushed for only 60 yards and averaged 3.3 yards on their 18 carries. After driving 73 yards on 14 plays and kicking a field goal on the game's first series, the Giants totaled 74 yards and did not score a point on their next nine possessions.
"I think we got behind the sticks in a lot of situations and didn't execute," Jones said. "We had a good plan and we just didn't execute it. Obviously, the turnovers were a big deal and that set us back."
As did a second-quarter blitzkrieg by the Rams. Los Angeles scored the first 28 of its 38 unanswered points in the period, the most allowed by the Giants in one quarter in 11 years. Matthew Stafford threw touchdown passes of 15 yards to Robert Woods, three yards to Cooper Kupp, and 25 yards to running back Darrell Henderson, Jr., who added a two-yard touchdown run. Henderson's second score with 33 seconds left in the half marked the sixth consecutive game in which the Giants' opponent has scored in the final 93 seconds of the first half, including five in the final 36 seconds.
When the quarter mercifully ended, the Giants trailed, 28-3.
"I challenged guys at halftime, I wanted to see who's going to finish the game," Judge said. "I wanted to see what type of fight some of these guys have. We'll go through the tape, but there are some guys I could see with the eye test right away that fought and finished, and that's how we're going to do things around here. We're going to compete for 60. We have to do some things technically better, fundamentally better, better calls at times, but I wanted to see who's going to finish this game and who was going to fight."
The Giants played hard in the second half but had little to show for it. Stafford threw his fourth touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to Kupp, and Matt Gay added a 32-yard field goal to make it 38-3. The Rams made five trips inside the Giants' 20-yard line and scored four touchdowns and added a field goal. Stafford completed 22 of 28 passes for 251 yards, though he was intercepted once by safety Xavier McKinney.
"I'm extremely disappointed," safety Logan Ryan said. "It's not acceptable. I mean, honestly, it's not acceptable and that's just it. I think we had to go out there the second half and fight the best we could and try to earn some respect back, but it just hasn't been acceptable - the results, so it's not good. It's not good for the fans, it's not good for anybody outside the building, it is not good inside the building. It just hasn't been acceptable and I'm going to do everything I can to try to change that and make that better one step at a time."
Eli Penny's four-yard run with 6:21 remaining gave the Giants their only touchdown. But by then, MetLife was mostly empty. The Giants got the ball back once more but gave it up on downs.
Now 1-5 and with an 0-3 record at home, the Giants will try to put their season on a more positive track next week at home against the Carolina Panthers.
"We're coming back and we're going to work," Judge said. "We've got things we've got to improve on. When we come back on Wednesday, it's time to get going to work. Get your bodies right, get your minds right. We're not going to be licking our wounds around here. There's a lot of ball left to be played. Our goal every week is to go 1-0. Our goal is to get better as a team as the season progresses. That goal doesn't change.
"You talk about the big picture – the big picture is the little picture, that's next week. The big picture is how we handle next week, how we practice, how we improve, how we prepare and how we come out and we execute. That's where our focus has to be seven days from now. We've got seven days to get ready for another good opponent coming in here and that's where our focus has to be."
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' Week 6 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.