Photo: Al Drago/AP
In a development that should not surprise any Giants fan, the Giants are 0-2 for the fifth straight season and eighth time in nine years after a 30-29 loss to the Washington Football Team on Thursday night at FedEx Field.
This loss was a beauty in so many ways.
After Giants cornerback James Bradbury intercepted WFT quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s pass attempt to Terry McLaurin in the Washington 20, the Giants had an opportunity to put the game away with a touchdown with Washington holding on to a 27-26 victory. Instead, they settled on Graham Gano’s field goal after not executing three downs in the red zone.
So the Giants hoped to survive by playing defense in Washington’s final possession with two minutes to go. Heinicke carved up the Giants defense from Washington’s territory to the Giants’ territory. With five seconds to go, it was good enough for Washington to attempt to win the game on a field goal.
Then with Dustin Hopkins kicking the field goal for Washington, he missed it. But hold on. The flag came in after Dexter Lawerence jumped offside. His offside penalty gave Hopkins another opportunity, and this time, he came through with a 43-yard field goal winner.
The Giants thought they had that game if they scored a touchdown. They thought they had that game when Hopkins missed. Both times, it did not happen.
It’s another way of the Giants knowing how to lose. They don’t play smart, and they don’t execute when they have to. So much for the culture change we keep hearing about Giants coach Joe Judge, who is now 6-12 in his career with another 0-2 start for the second straight year.
Penalties serve as a mark of an undisciplined team, and it happened too often under Judge’s coaching. This team can’t seem to score a touchdown and instead, they settle on field goals by Gano, which gives the opponent a chance to tie or finish the job of beating the Giants.
Thursday night’s game should provide a sobering reminder that nothing really changed and that this team could finish with another losing season. Right now, it’s hard for me to think the Giants are winning a game anytime soon. This team does not play defense. The offense appears to be in a rut. Basically, it’s the same as the last few years with no hope in sight.
On a naked eye, Jones appeared to put on good numbers He completed 22-of-32 passing for 249 yards despite being hit often. He even ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. But here’s the problem: When he had the Giants in the red zone often, he would do just enough to have Gano kick the field goal rather than him throwing to a wide receiver to the end zone.
A quarterback is not only just judged by wins and losses, but by throwing touchdowns. Once again, Jones struggled in the red zone. This is where he needs to improve in his third season.
He showed once again that this may not be his thing. For whatever reason, he and Kenny Golladay struggled to click, which resulted in the Giants wide receiver screaming at him to find him and throw to him.
This is the problem with Jones. He is so worried about getting sacked that he holds on to the ball and runs for his life. He needs to know where he can find his receivers and just throw. He has to wing it. He needs to be a gunslinger. I just wonder if he has the arm or eyesight to be that quarterback. He doesn’t seem that smart to play the most demanded position in sports.
Sooner or later, it’s going to come to a head with Jones. Not only he needs to start winning, but he has to throw touchdowns. He can’t just have the Giants settle for field goals, which was why they lost to the defending NFC East champions. His 10-22 record must improve. His scholarship with the Giants can’t stay forever.
So far he has shown that he may have to be benched for Mike Glennon just to see if the team can benefit from a quarterback change.
If Heinicke threw 336 yards against that Giants defense, how good is that defense really? In a big spot, the Giants hope the defense can finish Washington off. Instead, the defense got carved up by the Washington quarterback, especially in the last possession of the game. Last week, Teddy Bridgewater had his way against the Giants defense by playing like Y.A. Tittle.
If the defense struggles now, how will it do against elite quarterbacks coming up this season?
The penalties continue to be an issue. This team often plays like it’s disorganized. Whatever attention to detail the Giants pay attention to, it obviously does not show up on gamedays based on the stupid decision on Lawerence’s part.
The Giants needed to get off to a great start to show they are trending in the right direction. They needed Thursday night to get themselves going. It was one of their goals this season.
Instead, this team has a look of an 0-8 team that may not recover.
Two games in, and this season has been discouraging all around from the field to the record.
The Giants know how to lose than win. They are used to losing from the last few seasons. They appear to have no answers.
Here are the two questions the Giants and their fans can think about this weekend: When will it get better? Will it even get better?