PHILADELPHIA – Another unpleasant journey down the New Jersey Turnpike has left the Giants right where they were a week ago, uncertain who their quarterback will be when they next take the field.
The issue remains unresolved because neither Jake Fromm nor Mike Glennon distinguished himself in a 34-10 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field.
The Giants lost their fourth consecutive game to fall to 4-11 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. Philadelphia improved to 8-7.
"It's not good enough," coach Joe Judge said of his team's performance. "Point blank. I'm not going to make excuses and try to church it up. The reality is this – you play to win the game. You coach to win the game and to give the players an opportunity and a chance. While there are things in every game that you say are positive which you can build on and there are individual or unit performances where you say, 'Okay this is what we're looking for.' Collectively it's not good enough. So, we have to do better next week."
The Giants will face the Bears in Chicago before ending their season at home against the Washington Football team.
We might not know the identity of the quarterback until the Giants step onto the grass in Soldier Field.
"We'll decide based on how they practice," Judge said. "We'll see how these guys do."
Making his first career start, Jake Fromm could not duplicate against the Eagles the one-series production he had in his debut last week vs. Dallas. His first pass was a completion to Saquon Barkley that lost four yards. He then threw four consecutive incompletions around his fumble, which Kadarius Toney recovered.
"I was juiced up," Fromm said. "I was ready to go. I was excited. Obviously, I wish the ball would have been exactly where I wanted it to be, but I was amped up and ready to go. I guess maybe the first couple got away from me."
On the first series of the second half, Fromm threw an interception (by Rodney McLeod) that led to Philly's first touchdown. The second series broke down after Fromm was sacked for a 10-yard loss. When the Giants' offense took the field for the third time, Glennon was the quarterback. Glennon had started the previous three games after Daniel Jones suffered a season-ending neck injury.
"I decided to make the move of going from Jake to Mike because we weren't getting anything going offensively," Judge said. "I thought there were some opportunities that we did have in the first half and early in the second half, so I had to get something in there going to give ourselves a chance to make some plays that I thought were out there to make."
Fromm completed just six of 17 passes for 25 yards.
"I would say it's not ideal," Fromm said of his outing. "I wish I would have played better. It's frustrating for myself. It's not the way I wanted to have represented myself, my family, or, of course, this organization. It's tough, but I'm going to learn from it. I don't think it gets much worse than that. I'm going to learn from it. I'm going to grind. I'm going to work my tail off to get better and play better like I know I can. I'm going to give everything I can to the guys on offense, to this team, and be the best me I can be from here on out."
Glennon also struggled. He completed 17 of 27 passes, but they gained only 93 yards. A fourth-quarter throw to Toney was tipped by McLeod and intercepted by Alex Singleton, who returned it 29 yards for the touchdown that pushed the Eagles' lead to 34-3. Glennon did cap a 17-play, 75-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram (his team-high third scoring reception).
"Obviously not how we envisioned it going, but I have to be ready at all times," Glennon said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to come back, but we'll keep fighting. Two games left in the season. Come back to work on Wednesday and get ready to go."
The quarterbacks personified the difficulty the entire offense has had. The Giants have scored six touchdowns in their last six games, but three of them came after they trailed by 30 and 31 points against the Chargers and Eagles. On Sunday, the Giants gained only 192 yards and got 108 of them in the fourth quarter, when the only question about the outcome was Philadelphia's margin of victory. They ran just one play that gained more than 10 yards – an 11-yard Glennon pass to Kenny Golladay. The Giants got their longest gain on a four-yard pass to Toney, thanks to Marcus Epps' 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Saquon Barkley averaged just 2.1 yards a carry while rushing for a team-high 32 yards. Toney led the team with only 28 receiving yards.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively today," Judges said. "We obviously have to have some kind of production in that phase to compliment the defense and the special teams when they're making plays for us. Ultimately it wasn't good enough."
Graham Gano's 54-yard field goal – his team-record seventh of the season of 50+ yards – matched Jake Elliott's 22-yarder for the only first-half points.
McLeod's interception early in the second half opened the floodgates for Philly. He returned the ball 24 yards to the Giants' 21. Five plays later, Boston Scott scored the game's first touchdown on a three-yard run. Scott has 12 career touchdowns, eight against the Giants. Elliott kicked a 37-yard field goal on Philly's next possession.
"Obviously, you can't start the second half off with a turnover," Judge said. "That led to a touchdown which made it 10-3, and then we didn't have a good punt and then on coverage, we missed a few tackles which gave them good field position there. Then all of the sudden it's 13-3. Now look, it's still a two-possession game with a lot of ball to play. That can't be a situation where all the sudden it feels insurmountable. We just have to go ahead and play one play at a time, one drive at a time and keep playing the game."
They kept playing but couldn't stem the Eagles' onslaught. After the Giants went three-and-out, Jalen Hurts threw a third-down, four-yard pass into the end zone for DeVonta Smith, who somehow got his feet down before falling out of bounds. Or did he? The officials ruled it was a touchdown on the field. Upon the first review by referee Land Clark, the call was overturned. A second review by the replay gurus in New York upheld the score.
"They reversed it on the field and then they said New York was looking at it right there, and then they just told me that it was going to count as a touchdown," Judge said. "There's not much more you can do right there. We can't challenge scoring plays so you're just sitting there waiting."
The Eagles put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Hurts threw a five-yard pass to right tackle Lane Johnson, who the Giants understandably did not cover in the end zone, and Singleton scored to give Philadelphia's defense as many touchdowns as the Giants' offense. He joined Dallas' Anthony Brown as defensive players to score a touchdown against the Giants this season.
"We have to execute everything better," Judge said. "Offensively, nothing was really good enough today. We have to make sure that we come back to work and give ourselves a chance. We have to capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of us."
He must first decide which quarterback will get the chance to do that in Chicago.
View all the action from the Week 16 NFC East matchup between the Giants and Eagles in Philadelphia.