Monday night’s game showed that the Giants need to learn how to win.
It also means that for the rest of the season they will learn who wants to stick around and see those lessons through.
The sloppy collapse against Kansas City marred by inexcusable penalties — four game-changing ones in the fourth quarter alone — sunk them to 2-6 at just about the midway part of their schedule (darn you, 17-game season, for your lack of symmetry!). Their hopes of turning things around and making a run at a postseason berth aren’t technically over, but it would take an all-time turnaround by them coupled with a few other teams crumbling for that to happen. So far there have been no signs either is looming.
There is plenty to learn over the next few months, however.
"Obviously we want to be in a much different place than we are now," safety Julian Love said. "It's really now going forward a question of kind of who's going to stay committed to the team and what our mission is."
That mission hasn’t changed. Joe Judge said it remains the same as it was the day he was hired as head coach when he thundered away at the podium, hitting a number of talking points that made Giants fans — and probably management and players — weak-kneed with excitement.
"We’re building toward a program that is going to be successful for a duration of time," Judge said on Tuesday. "I talked in the press conference about doing it the right way, and that takes time. We have to make sure we continue to work hard, taking a step forward every day, and building with the right guys in this program."
The disappointment of the first two months of this season will give the Giants a better idea of who those "right guys" are . . . and perhaps more importantly who doesn’t fit.
"Our record doesn't define us as individuals, it doesn't define us as people, so that's kind of how I take it," Love said. "What's my path going to be? Am I one to kind of just shy away from the challenge and shy away from people talking down on us? Or am I somebody who is going to continue going forward and step up? I think that's how we all have to approach it as men, so that's kind of my mindset."
As for the learning to win part, Judge said it comes down to "execution for the entire 60 minutes."
"There have been certain games, [Monday night] being one, where we can’t do things that eliminate our chance to have success by eliminating opportunities for ourselves or giving opportunities to the opponent," Judge said. "There’s not some magic potion, not some motivational speech. It’s about going out there and doing your job for 60 minutes and making sure you are doing it well."
It’s never too late in the season to absorb that lesson.
Notes & quotes: The Giants did not make any swaps at the NFL’s trade deadline on Tuesday. "The decisions we made were what we felt was best for the team long-term," Judge said. "We were good with just moving on with business as usual." . . . Judge did not have any updates on the health of WRs Sterling Shepard (quad) and Dante Pettis (shoulder), both of whom left the game with injuries before halftime Monday night, but he indicated that WR Kadarius Toney should be good to move forward after missing some time with a hand injury. "He had a slice in his glove and a pretty good gash on his hand," Judge said of Toney. "He was able to return and play . . . It seems he came out OK on that" . . . The Giants were hit with two taunting penalties on Monday night. "You have to do business as business is being done," Judge said of the league’s emphasis on such infractions this season. "You have to be smart and not put yourself in a position where you give them an opportunity to throw a flag. That’s the message to everybody."