The rebuild may be underway in the front office, where Dave Gettleman’s phone likely is buzzing away as contending teams try to acquire any viable pieces the Giants are willing to part with before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Those fruits, though, won’t be ready until 2019 at the earliest. The current on-field product, meanwhile, continues to sink to new depths.
A 20-13 loss to the first-place Redskins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday was the latest display of putrid offensive football by the Giants. They managed 303 yards and were 1-for-4 in the red zone, their lone touchdown coming on a 2-yard pass to Evan Engram with 17 seconds left. In a week in which the Giants traded two defensive starters and had a third on the sideline with an injury, it was the offense that looked stripped down and depleted.
“We’ve got to score more points,” Pat Shurmur said. “Until we unlock that, until we get down there and score touchdowns, then it’s going to be tough sledding . . . You can’t score 13 points in any game at any level and expect to win.”
Their fifth straight loss dropped the Giants to 1-7 as they head into the bye week. Washington remains in control of the NFC East at 5-2.
The Giants had what seemed like a spark late in the third quarter when Landon Collins stripped the ball away from Adrian Peterson and Olivier Vernon recovered it and returned it 43 yards. That gave the offense the ball at the Washington 39, trailing 10-3. But this is a Giants offense that extinguishes sparks like a brigade of fire marshals.
Manning’s first pass was incomplete for Bennie Fowler. His second was complete to Odell Beckham Jr. . . . for a loss of 2 yards. After Manning hit Fowler for 9 yards on third-and-12 to set up fourth-and-3 from the 32, he threw a quick pass to Engram that went right through the tight end’s hands. “We got what we wanted, got the zone,” Engram said of the defense. “Just got to make that play. I mean it was right there, I just got to come down with it. No excuse.”
The Giants turned it over on downs and Washington kicked a 39-yard field goal that made the score a virtually insurmountable 13-3 with 9:53 remaining.
It wasn’t the only time the Giants’ offense turned excitement into an early exit. Late in the first quarter, Manning hit Beckham deep down the left sideline for a gain of 44. Beckham made a remarkable one-handed grab on a play in which cornerback Greg Stroman was pulling him to the ground, and it gave the Giants the ball at the Washington 38. Their next three plays were a run by Saquon Barkley for no gain, a sack of Manning for a loss of 6 and a 5-yard swing pass to Barkley before a punt.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants reached the Washington 40 on a 46-yard pass-interference penalty and then hit Beckham for 32 yards to the 8. Another penalty gave them first-and-goal at the 4, but they had to settle for a field goal that made it 13-6 with 4:08 left. Less than a minute later, Peterson’s 64-yard TD run sealed the game for Washington.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Beckham said. “I feel like we should be doing better, and we’re not. When we get down in the red zone, we have to score.”
Manning had the Giants marching down the field later in the second quarter, feeding Beckham and Barkley all the way down to the 11. On second-and-11 from the 12, though, Manning did not see safety D.J. Swearinger and threw an interception. He threw his second pick in the third quarter, also to Swearinger, when he aired it out on a third-and-18 pass from the Giants’ 17 that was effectively a punt.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, this has been the craziest season in Giants history. This game followed a familiar script, with the defense and special teams playing well — Shurmur called their contributions “pretty much a winning effort” — only to be sabotaged by the ineffective offense.
Manning completed 30 of 47 passes for 316 yards but was sacked seven times, the final stat one that center Spencer Pulley called “embarrassing.” The Giants gained only 37 yards rushing . . . with Barkley gaining 38.
“Everyone wants to win,” Manning said. “No one likes this feeling after a game.”
After losing 21 of their last 25 games, you’d think they’d be used to it.