Ben McAdoo refused to use the word, but for the Giants players — especially the defensive ones — who walked off the field after giving up 51 points to the Rams, it was the only applicable description.
“Embarrassed,” safety Landon Collins said.
“It’s embarrassing,” running back Orleans Darkwa said. “Especially on our home field.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Definitely. We get 51 put on us at home . . . I can’t understand that.”
There really is no other way to put it as the Giants continue to find new depths to an already unfathomable season. In one of their worst losses in recent memory, the Giants were steamrolled by the Rams, 51-17, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The banged-up, shorthanded, already deflated Giants were not expected to beat one of the NFL’s top offensive teams, but there was hope that they could at least put forth a good showing coming off their bye week. Instead, the game slipped away from them as quickly as the ball slipped away from Eli Manning, who coughed up a fumble on the first possession that led to the Rams’ first touchdown.
The 51 points were the most they have allowed in a home game since 1964 and the most they have ever allowed at MetLife Stadium. The beatdown dropped their record to 1-7, their worst mark through the first eight games of a season since 1980. The Giants still are winless at home, also the first time they have started 0-4 at home since 1980.
That the Rams were able to skewer the Giants’ defense the way they did with so many big gains was the story of their success. The most disheartening one for the Giants came in the middle of the second quarter. They still were in the game, trailing 10-7, and the Rams faced a third-and-33 from their own 48. Jared Goff threw a quick wide receiver screen to Robert Woods, who dashed through the middle of the defense for a touchdown on a 52-yard catch-and-run.
The Giants’ offense followed that with a three-and-out, and two plays later, Goff hit Sammy Watkins behind the secondary for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 24-7.
“It was like somebody was playing Madden,” defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. “It was big play after big play after big play . . . That’s demoralizing.”
The quick-strike Rams scored touchdowns on six drives that averaged 2:04 through the first three quarters, none of them taking more than 3:35, and produced points on eight of nine drives in that span. Goff left the game in the fourth quarter having thrown for 311 yards and four TDs.
“For some reason, it just ain’t been going our way, and we still after eight weeks don’t know why,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “It’s like quicksand, man. You go out there and you keep trying to fight, but you keep sinking. It’s hard. One thing I know is that something’s gotta give.”
Still, there were a few brief moments when it felt as if the Giants could at least be competitive. After allowing the opening touchdown, they rallied on their next drive to tie the score at 7 on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Tavarres King, converting four third downs along the way. And at the end of the half, they had the ball with a chance to score a touchdown and go into the locker room trailing 27-17. A 10-point deficit would have seemed at least manageable. Instead, Manning missed an open King in the end zone and Aldrick Rosas missed a 45-yard field goal as time expired. The boos cascaded down from the already depleted stands as the Giants remained 17 points behind.
Asked what his message to the team was at halftime, McAdoo could muster just one syllable. “Ummm,” he said without answering the question.
The Giants insisted that the team did not lay down or give up.
“I felt like the effort was there,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “Just big mistakes. Big mistakes cost us.”
Rodgers-Cromartie agreed, but he also said the problems for the Giants are “deeper” than just poor execution. He was one of the few Giants defenders to show frustration on the field, particularly when Eli Apple was in the wrong coverage and gave up a 4-yard touchdown pass to Woods that made it 41-10 in the third quarter.
“Man, at the end of the day, whatever the call, you have to go out there and you have to be man enough to go play,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “At the end of the day, we have to play. I know we have playmakers, I know we have guys who can take over a whole ballgame. For some reason, nobody is doing it.”
He then challenged his teammates for the remainder of the year. “Hell, if you’re on this team, you gotta be down,” he said. “You’re really feeling bad. I’m talking sick-to-your-stomach bad. It’s just crazy. But we got eight games. If you can’t get up for that, you don’t need to play.”
It’s hard to imagine the Giants sinking further into despair this season, but eight games remain. Surely, after this debacle, enough is enough for them, right?
“I thought we already hit that point,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I thought we hit it where enough is enough. When enough is enough, you go out there and you see a different player, man, like a different fight.
“For some reason, it just ain’t it yet.”
The Rams’ 51 points were the most ever allowed by the Giants at MetLife Stadium and the most in a home game since 1964. Their 50-plus defensive performances in a home game:
Oct 17, 1948: Chicago Cardinals 63, Giants 35
Nov. 14, 1943: Chicago Bears 56, Giants 7
Nov. 14, 1948: L.A. Rams 52, Giants 37
Dec. 12, 1964: Cleveland Browns 52, Giants 21
Nov. 5, 2017: L.A. Rams 51, Giants 17
Sept. 19, 1999: Wash. Redskins 50, Giants 21