The Chiefs were beatable on Sunday, they really were. It wasn’t going to be easy, but the Giants had a chance to get their first win of the season.
Actually, the Giants had plenty of chances. In the first three quarters, the Chiefs’ 11 drives produced 10 points. The window was open for the Giants to upset the Chiefs, but eventually, it slammed shut, and the Chiefs pulled away for a 31-7 victory.
Of all of the Giants’ defeats in 2013, this may have been the worst.
You could pin the Giants’ Week One loss to the Cowboys on their six turnovers. You could write off the Week Two defeat to the Broncos as a matter of Denver being a powerhouse. You could have even theorized that the 38-0 loss at Carolina was just too awful to be taken seriously — a total fluke.
Well, what excuses can we make for the Giants now?
Once again, they came up short in all three phases. Their offense had more turnovers (three) than touchdowns (one). Their defense, after playing pretty well for three quarters, surrendered two fourth-quarter touchdowns, with one coming on a 14-play, 80-yard drive lasting more than nine minutes.
However, no unit played worse than the special teams.
Kicker Josh Brown missed a 44-yard second-quarter field goal that would have tied the game at 10. Their punt coverage faltered again, surrendering an 89-yard touchdown to Dexter McCluster to give Kansas City a 17-7 lead late in the third quarter. To cap it off, the Giants then committed an illegal formation penalty on a Chiefs field goal in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs took the three points off the board and turned it into seven when Alex Smith connected with Jamaal Charles on a two-yard TD pass with 5:43 left. This gave the Chiefs a 24-7 lead, and 0-4 was assured for the Giants.
Only the Giants’ place in the NFL’s worst division is saving them for the moment. Through four weeks, the NFC East has a combined four wins. Dallas has two victories, with Philadelphia and Washington notching one apiece.
The Giants, who have five division games left to play and they host Philadelphia in Week Five. The Eagles, like the Giants, have tailed off since Week One. Both teams figure to be happy to see each other, considering how they have fared against out-of-division competition recently.
Both offenses should be happy, anyways. The Eagles now have to deal with Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who accounted for more than half of his club’s yards on Sunday and scored its only touchdown on a 69-yard second-quarter catch. The Giants, on the other hand, get their first exposure to the Eagles’ uptempo attack.
Strangely and truly enough, Eagles-Giants will have an impact on the NFC East chase, particularly if Dallas loses to powerful Denver on Sunday. With a win and a Dallas loss, the Eagles will be in a first-place tie with the Cowboys. The Giants, for their part, can claw to within a game with a victory and some help from Denver.
Welcome to the strange world of the Giants. They bowed out so very meekly on Sunday, but it didn’t really cost them. So here they are, with one foot in the NFC East race and another in the competition for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, this may be more compelling on paper than it is on the field.