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Penalties costly for Giants in loss to Kansas City

Watch Giants Week 8 highlights at Kansas City

The Giants lost another close game late, this time 20-17 at Kansa City in Week 8. 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — These Giants games in prime time are starting to feel like reruns.

Monday night’s excruciating 20-17 loss to Kansas City certainly had familiar themes from previous collapses and gut punches that the Giants have endured in the past season and a half, from the late lead to the foolish mistakes to the plays that look as if they will secure victory, only to be overturned by inexcusable penalties.

And of course, the same result. Always the same result.

This time, at least, the culprits were different. Fullback Eli Penny, who tarnished his own 16-yard gain with a taunting call after flipping the ball toward linebacker Ben Niemann in the fourth quarter. Tae Crowder, who racked up a pair of costly personal fouls, including a facemask penalty, also in that fourth quarter.

But the biggest bungle came from Oshane Ximines, whose offsides penalty negated an interception by Darnay Holmes with 4:22 left in a tie game that almost certainly would have led to the go-ahead points by the Giants. Instead, it was the crowning mistake in a game in which the Giants made very few of them . . . until they all came spewing out.

What was shaping up to be a signature win for the Giants instead turned into an all-too-familiar collapse.

"We have to eliminate the mistakes that we make down the stretch," Joe Judge said. "We can’t allow a team like this to have extra opportunities and we can’t rob opportunities from ourselves with breakdowns in focus."

No kidding.

"I’ve been playing ball a long time," Ximines said. "Jumping offsides is never acceptable . . . It goes against everything we’re building as a team. We’re a team that we don’t like to make mistakes."

And yet they keep happening. This one, like the loss to Washington in Week 2, was taken away from them by the most basic element of defense — not moving until the ball is snapped.

Back then, the Giants watched a last-second field-goal attempt sail wide, only to have Dexter Lawrence flagged and give Washington a second chance that it converted.

This time it was Ximines who gave Patrick Mahomes the extra opportunity, and the former MVP and Super Bowl champion did not let it slip away. He drove his team to the 6 to set up Harrison Butker’s 34-yard field goal with 1:07 left that broke the 17-17 tie. The Giants had no timeouts left and didn’t come close to threatening on their final possession.

"We need to have some better poise out there in the end," safety Logan Ryan said. "The stakes are high. It’s not the same guy, but we don’t all get a ‘my bad.’ Unfortunately, you don’t get that in this league. We just have to learn from it and do better."

The loss dropped the Giants to 2-6 and made Daniel Jones — who threw TD passes of 1 yard to Kyle Rudolph and 5 yards to Evan Engram — the first quarterback since 1950 to lose his first seven prime-time games.

The Giants did just about everything they thought they needed to do to beat Kansas City. They forced turnovers, such as Ryan’s strip of Travis Kelce that led to the possession on which the Giants took a 17-14 lead on Engram’s TD catch early in the fourth. They limited the big plays from their vaunted game-wreckers, not allowing any plays longer than 15 yards to Tyreek Hill or Kelce. They played a controlled pace on offense, keeping the ball away from Mahomes and his crew of potential point-scorers.

The Giants played well enough to beat Kansas City . . . and sloppily enough to beat themselves.

Had they been able to topple the two-time defending AFC champs in their home on such a big stage would have been encouraging for the Giants at full strength. With what they had by the time the game ended, it would have been remarkable.

Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay already had been ruled out and wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney were cleared to play after a pregame workout, but neither was able to participate fully. Shepard left just before halftime with a quadriceps injury after he was yanked down on a route by cornerback L’Jarius Snead. Toney, who seemed to be used in a limited capacity as he returned from an ankle injury, had to spend time in the locker room in the second half after he had a hand stepped on.

"It’s tough to see guys go down," Jones said, noting that injuries that have battered the Giants all season are starting to get "frustrating."

What’s tougher is having games be winnable even without such talent on the field, only to have victory yanked away.

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