Ben McAdoo took responsibility for Monday night’s loss to the Lions. When it came time to assign blame for one of the game’s most critical moments, though, the head coach went in another direction.
“Sloppy quarterback play,” McAdoo said brusquely of the delay of game call when the Giants were attempting to score on fourth-and-goal from the 2. Instead, after the 5-yard penalty, they kicked a field goal that made the score 17-10 with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
Asked why he did not call a timeout from the sideline to avoid the penalty, McAdoo again pointed to Eli Manning.
“Because we have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football,” he said. “I expect us to get the ball snapped.”
Manning said it was his fault, too.
“Anytime there’s a delay of game, it’s on the quarterback,” he said. “Can’t afford it right there.”
Still, it was startling how McAdoo publicly called out Manning for that very costly mistake. Almost as startling as Manning making it.
“Ten normally has us in the right play at the right time,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said. “Obviously he saw something and was trying to get a change in. Weston (Richburg, the center) said when he snapped it he thought there was still one second on the clock. He’s looking right at it. I don’t know.”
Replays showed that the clock was at zero when the ball was snapped, even though that isn’t always a penalty.
“Usually the clock goes from three, two, one, zero,” McAdoo said. “Once it hits zero, they look at the ball, then look at the clock. Usually we have a tick once it hits zero to get the ball snapped without being a delay of game. I thought we had a chance to get it off.”
There was no courtesy tick this time.
The mistake was one of two penalties the Giants incurred inside the Lions’ 5-yard line on the drive. Long passes to Odell Beckham Jr., Jerell Adams and Brandon Marshall set the Giants up with first-and-goal at the 1. Guard Brett Jones was flagged for a hold on the first-down run, pushing them back to the 11. They clawed back to the 2 but seemed hesitant and unsure of their intentions on fourth down. By the time the Giants decided to go for the touchdown, got the play in, and made the adjustments at the line of scrimmage, it was too late.
“Anytime there’s fourth down right there, you know they’ve got to make a decision on what’s going on,” Manning said. “But we had plenty of time. I saw the clock, knew we were rushing. I’ve got to take a timeout there or get the ball snapped and let’s go.”
“That was tough,” Pugh said. “I think if we score there it changes the dynamic of the game… We have to get a touchdown there. We get seven points there it changes the whole game.”