EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)While no one on the New York Giants is going to say it, it might be time to call this season a bust.
All the hype and hopes for building off last year’s unexpected playoff appearance with a new, explosive offensive, a better defense and the dreams of a Super Bowl run appear to have been crushed just six games in.
They ended at the 1-yard line in Buffalo on Sunday night in a 14-9 loss to the Bills, who did everything they could to hand the Giants to a rare win.
Given a last chance after a pass interference in the end zone as time ran out, New York went for a jump ball play with Tyrod Taylor looping a pass to Darren Waller. It fell incomplete, although many will argue nickel cornerback Taron Johnson held Waller’s arm and should have been called for interference.
The call wasn’t made and the Giants fell to 1-5 after losing their fourth straight game. While this might have been their best 60-minute performance all season, the result was the same as a blowout.
Brian Daboll’s team has 11 games left, including two with the Eagles (5-1), who beat them three times last season, and one with Dallas, which beat New York 40-0 in the season opener.
The Giants have a chance in the other eight games, with none of the teams better than a 3-3 record.
A chance, yes. But it appears minimal.
Since the merger in 1970, only three teams have started the season at 1-5 and made the playffs. The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) were the first in 1970, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) in 2015 and the Indianapolis Colts (10-6) in 2018.
A seemingly exhausted Daboll said his approach for the rest of the season will not change.
“I think you come in on Wednesdays with enthusiasm every week,” he said Monday. “It’s the National Football League, so you do the necessary things you need to try to do each week to put yourself in good position and compete and give yourself a chance and that’s what you do every week.”
Maybe it will bear fruit next year.
Inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and Wink Martindale’s defense. The Bills were averaging almost 32 points entering the game. The defense pitched its first opening-half shutout in two years and held Buffalo to 297 yards, 93 below its average. Okereke led the Giants with 11 tackles, including two for losses, a forced fumble and two passes defensed. Fellow linebacker Micah McFadden recovered the forced fumble and intercepted a pass tipped by Okereke.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The red-zone offense. New York didn’t score a touchdown in five trips inside the 20-yard line against the Bills. New York is now 5 of 16 in the red zone and 4 of 8 inside when it has first-and-goal at the 10 or closer. The inexcusable mistake Sunday night was letting the clock run out without attempting a field goal after getting a first-and-goal at the 1 with 14 seconds left in the half and no timeouts. Taylor audibled to a run and when Saquon Barkley was stopped, the Giants never got another play off.
Taylor and recently signed offensive lineman Justin Pugh. Despite the first-half miscue, Taylor was a solid 24 of 36 for 200 yards and ran five times for 24 yards while starting for the injured Daniel Jones. Pugh, who was signed to the practice squad almost two weeks ago and elevated for this game, started at left guard and moved to left tackle after Josh Ezeudu (toe) was hurt after 12 plays. Despite struggling early with sacks and movement, he got better playing for the first time since an ACL injury last October. His stint at tackle was his first in four years.
Veteran wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Parris Campbell. Shepard got one snap on offense and Campbell none. Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt and Isaiah Hodgins got the playing time.
Ezeudu left in the first half with a toe injury. Daboll said he had no updates on the team’s injury list Monday, including Jones, who missed the game with a neck injury after being hurt against the Dolphins.
205 – The number of minutes that have elapsed since Matt Breida scored on an 8-yard touchdown run against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 21. It was the last TD scored by the Giants’ offense. That’s 13 2/3 quarters over three-plus games.
After facing Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and Buffalo, the Giants catch a break and face a team not currently considered a playoff contender when Washington (3-3) visits MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL