Make it three clichés Pat Shurmur is not fond of in football vernacular.
After his team's 35-14 loss to the Patriots on Thursday night, which was closer than the final score indicates, the Giants head coach did not speak of a "moral victory." He would rather get rid of that phrase, along with "halftime adjustments" and calling the third preseason game the "dress rehearsal."
"Yeah, I mean we battled, we didn't win though," Shurmur said. "So, we've got to make more plays so we can win. But I was proud of the way we battled. I've never been disappointed with how hard our guys fight, but we got to find a way to make more plays than the other team and win the game."
Last week, the Giants faced yet another stout defense in the Vikings and lost. He didn't take solace in either of them.
"No, no I don't. I don't," he said. "This is the second week you've asked me these questions. I don't. We didn't win. We didn't make enough plays. That's what this is about."
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Kyle Van Noy scooped up a fumble by undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman, who started in place of injured running backs Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman, and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. The Giants had kept the game within one possession, but the defensive score put New England up by 14 points with 8:33 to play.
DEFENSIVE EFFORT: After the Patriots marched 51 yards on their first four plays, the fans at Gillette Stadium thought, "Here we go." Then Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and David Mayo made three consecutive stops, which included a fourth-and-short, to force New England to turn the ball over on downs. Then the fans thought, "Oh no, here we go again."
The Giants, who have a history of ruining perfect seasons for the Patriots, made it a fight from there as they looked for their second consecutive winning trip to Foxborough (they won in 2011). The Giants had an interception and three sacks, including Lorenzo Carter's strip, which Markus Golden returned for a touchdown to tie the game, 14-14, with 4:38 left in the first half.
Big plays, however, eventually caught up to the Giants. Six different Patriots made plays of 20+ yards – four receiving, two rushing – as the New England pulled away with 21 unanswered points.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD: It was recited all week in the media. Rookie quarterbacks were 0-11 against the Bill Belichick-led Patriots at home. Daniel Jones had a tall enough task ahead of him even if his huddle included wide receiver Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and running backs Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman. But it didn't. The team's top two receivers and top two rushers were ruled out due to injuries. The rookie quarterback declined to use those absences as a crutch, though, as he threw three interceptions to the No. 1 defense in that category entering Week 6.
"Obviously those guys are good players and big parts of what we do, but I thought the guys that played, played well, and stepped up and played well for us," Jones said." So, I'm not sure we've thought about that a whole lot. I think the guys played well."
Jones completed 15 of 31 passes for 161 yards with the three picks and a 64-yard touchdown to Golden Tate. It was the first passing touchdown New England allowed this season.
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE GIANTS: The Giants have alternated consecutive wins and consecutive losses through the first six weeks for a net record of 2-4. The optimist would say they are in line for wins in their next two games, which are home against the Cardinals and on the road in Detroit.
"I think we're pushing to play better, and by no means are we panicked or are we at all looking or questioning ourselves," Jones said. "But, I think we know we've got to play better and I certainly know I've got to play better. So, we're trying to do that."
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE PATRIOTS: New England, which also scored on a blocked punt against the Giants, has found a way to win all six games it played so far this season. The Patriots have an even longer than usual layoff until their next game, a Monday Night Football matchup with the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
"Once again, I'm really proud of our football team," Belichick said. "These guys came in after the Washington game, put a lot into it this week in terms of preparation and film study and went out and played hard tonight. We dealt with a few things offensively. We were just kind of down to one grouping there the whole second half. I thought Josh [McDaniels] and the offensive staff did a great job of managing the game. It was kind of an odd game. Anytime you get three scores in a game that are non-offensive touchdowns, that's kind of a season's worth and it all happened in one game. A couple of big plays for us on the blocked punt, on the fumble, scoop-and-score by Kyle [Van Noy]. Those are great plays and we took advantage of those opportunities, had some turnovers. I thought we played the ball well and got our hands on some balls. That was good, too. Offensively, those guys showed a lot of toughness out there today and just battled through the situation that we ended up being in. It was a really good job by those guys and by the offensive coaches."