The passion, pride and poise all were back in the building on a glorious October afternoon, wearing white Giants jerseys. Unfortunately, all of those players are retired and their presence was a reminder that the bad days are here, again, in force.
Memories of better times are all the Giants have now. The present is disgraceful. There are no signs the future will be any better.
Better to salute and remember the Super Bowl XLVI team during the halftime ceremony on Sunday, commemorating the 10-year anniversary, because it was the only reason to be in attendance at MetLife Stadium. You cannot live in the past but it sure beats the garbage these Giants are trying to sell as competitive football.
There have been lowlights aplenty over the past decade and especially in the terrible past five years. Still, this felt like a low point amid all the other low points. The Rams (5-1) entered MetLife Stadium and treated the home team like some junior varsity outfit. It was 28-3 at halftime, 38-11 at the finish and at least the weather was spectacular.
To add to the desultory tone of the day, the Giants lost star rookie receiver Kadarius Toney and left tackle Andrew Thomas to ankle injuries, as the beat goes on.
Tom Coughlin, the former Giants head coach, took to the podium at halftime and offered an emotional reminder of how his upstart 2011 team won it all. “We shut the noise out,” Coughlin said, his voice rising. “Fire the coach. Fire the coaching staff. Fire the players. You know how that goes.”
The noise around this current Giants team is full of discord.
Daniel Jones, knocked out of last week’s loss in Dallas with a concussion, regressed, with three interceptions and one lost fumble, often running for his life, with little or no help around him. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (four touchdown passes) did as he pleased.
At 1-5, the Giants are in another downward spiral and all-in on a miserable season, which is fitting, considering the events of the day — “All in” was the rallying cry of the 2011 Giants, who were 7-7 after 14 games and did not lose again, defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. That really was the last time this franchise was what it purports itself to be.
It sure looked as if Toney was on his way to a second consecutive monster game, as he had three catches for 36 yards on the first series and was having his way with rookie cornerback Robert Rochell. On Toney’s final play, he hauled in a pass, pivoted to lose Rochell to complete a 16-yard gain. Then he hobbled off. Just like that, whatever dynamism the Giants had on offense was gone.
This was a killer blow to the Giants, already without receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) and running back Saquon Barkley (ankle). This left Jones with Sterling Shepard, John Ross, Dante Pettis and Collin Johnson as his wide receivers and Devontae Booker as the starting running back. It was not nearly enough.
The Giants actually led this game 3-0, but once Toney went out, followed by the loss of Thomas, it was painfully clear the Giants were not going to light up the scoreboard. Getting a first down here and there was the bar the Giants found difficult to reach.
There was no need for the Rams to come out crisp or sharp — the Giants were impotent and non-competitive. Stafford hit a wide-open Robert Woods for a 15-yard touchdown with 10:28 left in the second quarter and it was impossible to determine who was supposed to cover Woods. James Bradberry, perhaps?
Just more than two minutes later, Jones was sacked after Matt Peart — in at left tackle when Thomas went down — was beaten by linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. The ball was sitting there, Peart was there and all he had to do was fall on the ball on the Giants’ 12-yard line. Peart muffed the recovery. The Rams took over and Stafford hit Kupp, who easily beat cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in the right side of the end zone and it was 14-3.
Jones was intercepted by safety Taylor Rapp (who picked off Jones twice) to put the Rams on the Giants’ 14-yard line. Four plays later, it was 21-3.
Stafford hit Kupp for 25 yards, with safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love colliding with each other. It was 33 seconds before halftime when Stafford lofted a pass to running back Darrell Henderson, who ran past linebacker Tae Crowder for a 25-yard scoring hookup. It was 28-3, the crowd was growing weary of booing. There were plenty of empty seats as the Super Bowl XLVI team came out for the halftime celebration. Ten years never seemed so long ago.