The Giants will go into their 16th and final regular-season game saying the same thing about their offense that they have been saying since their first game back in September:
This could be the week!
After nearly four months of wolf-crying about a breakout performance, it’s hard to take it seriously. The Giants are one of only five teams that have yet to score 30 points in a game this season, and even though they produced an admirable 470 yards against the Eagles on Thursday night, they scored only one touchdown and lost, 24-19.
Yet . . .
“If it hasn’t been there, hasn’t been there, hasn’t been there, and then next week it’s there, I think everything goes out the window,” Odell Beckham Jr. said of the talk about the underperforming offense. “We’ll be in [the locker room] talking about the offense next week, the most explosive game they had, and not what we’re not doing.”
Perhaps. Or maybe this is who the Giants are. Maybe it’s who Eli Manning is.
Consider the last two losses and their similarities. The defense was not exactly impenetrable, did not hold the opponent to single digits (as it did in wins over the Cowboys and Lions), but did enough to win the game, including some big stops and takeaways.
In Pittsburgh in Week 13, the offense twice got inside the Steelers’ 10 and came away with zero points on those drives.
Back in Pennsylvania on Thursday night, the defense allowed one long drive and a quick-strike touchdown to the Eagles. But it also made a beautiful goal-line stand in the third quarter (including a fourth-and-goal stop inside the 1 with their best run-stuffer, Damon Harrison, on the sideline with a knee injury) and gave the ball to the offense twice in the final 4:15 with chances to win the game.
“We grinded it out,” safety Landon Collins said. “We got the offense the ball as many times as we could in great position, but we didn’t score . . . Our job is to get them back the ball in the four-minute drive. You hope for the best after that.”
In those two losses to the Steelers and Eagles, Manning threw a combined five interceptions. Three of them were targeted to tight ends, including back-breakers in both contests.
Beckham hypothesized that maybe the Giants are just getting these clunkers out of their system. “I’d much rather have this happen today than down the road,” he said. “Get into the playoffs and have this happening, it would be horrible.”
Beckham said he thought there were some positives to take from the offense. The Giants ran the ball well, gaining 114 yards on 25 carries. All three wide receivers were involved in the game for the first time this season, getting targeted 44 times and catching 26 passes.
“There are a lot of positives to take from this,” Beckham said. “Unfortunately, one of them is not a win. That’s really what counts.”
As for the anticipated breakout game that the Giants have been promising since September, Beckham insists it still can happen. “It’s just timing,” he said. “I actually believe it will all come together at the right time. But the time is pretty much now.”