PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Giants' offense finally came alive. It appeared the team might actually save its season and avoid an 0-3 start despite scoring a total of 13 points in its first 11 quarters.
The Giants exploded and scored 24 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Somehow, it still wasn’t enough. They lost 27-24 on a 61-yard field goal by Philadelphia's rookie kicker Jake Elliott as time expired at Lincoln Financial Field.
It was the longest kick Elliott had ever made, and it put the Giants in an unenviable position. The Giants fell to 0-3 despite entering the season with high hopes after finishing 11-5 and making the playoffs last year.
They’re not panicking.
“We’re all right. We’re all right. We’re all right,” said wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had eight catches for 66 yards. “We’re in a tough spot right now but offensively we have to continue doing what we started doing today and if we do that we’ll be OK. We have a lot of playmakers in this room. We have a lot of guys with high character. We have a lot of guys who are strong and tough and leaders.
“We’ll be fine. It’s a long season.”
History says the 2017 Giants need a mini-miracle. Only three teams since the current playoff format was established have reached the postseason after starting the season with three straight losses. It hasn’t happened since the 1998 Buffalo Bills started 0-3 and qualified for the playoffs.
This one was demoralizing for the Giants. Despite their struggles (no points through three quarters) they had the lead late twice in the fourth quarter after two Odell Beckham Jr. scores and a long catch and run by Sterling Shepard.
Shepard’s 77-yard touchdown gave the Giants their first lead of the season with 7:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. The defense, considered the strength of the team, couldn’t hold it.
“We struggled,” safety Landon Collins said. “We got on one another on the sideline and we just have to step it up. We allowed them to get almost 200 yards rushing and that’s what we do not do. We have been holding teams up to 100 yards or maybe a little less, but that’s one thing we can’t have happen on our defense. We can’t condone that.”
This is what coach Ben McAdoo has been talking about with complementary football. The Giants haven’t been able to combine quality offense, defense and special teams efforts. When their offense finally woke up, their defense broke down.
Even when it appeared the game was destined for overtime, the Giants made costly mistake after costly mistake. This is what bad teams do.
First, left tackle Ereck Flowers committed a holding penalty with less than a minute remaining. Then running back Shane Vereen stepped out of bounds after catching a short pass on the next play.
What followed moments later was a poor punt by Brad Wing and a long completion to Alshon Jeffery to get the Eagles into pseudo-field goal range with just seconds remaining. Elliott then hit the game-winner to potentially end the Giants' season.
The 0-3 record is the Giants’ reality. They are what their record says they are.
"I would have said no way, but it is the National Football League. I have seen a lot of things in my 12 years. We will be all right."
The Giants have no choice but to own it now, and the schedule isn't about to ease up. They play next week in Tampa Bay, the following week vs. the Chargers and then at Denver.
“Let’s get ready for Game 4,” McAdoo said. “That’s what we have to do.”