It doesn’t take much to tip over a punch-drunk fighter. The Giants played a gritty and reasonably sound 43 minutes against a confident bunch on their own field in a raucous atmosphere. But as is prone to happen with struggling teams, it can all come crashing down in an instant.
With 2:25 remaining in the third quarter, and the Giants still trailing 10-7, Eli Manning completed a pass to Victor Cruz on 3rd and 17 that was initially ruled a first down on the field. Andy Reid challenged the spot, and the play was correctly reversed, marking Cruz about a ½ yard shy of the sticks. With the tone of the early season marked by utter misery, even a mildly aware Jints fan got a knot in his or her stomach at that very moment. On the subsequent punt, the dangerous Dexter McCluster returned a Steve Weatherford bombed punt 89-yards for a touchdown.
On the following Kansas City possession to begin the fourth quarter, the Giants responded like a bad football team: the Chiefs converted a 2nd and 18, a 1st and 25, and were granted a free first down on a 4th and 4 (on a defensive illegal formation of all things) by the ever so generous special teams. To the surprise of no one, the Chiefs turned their good fortune into seven. Tom Quinn’s squad allowed an offense to come back on the field after a punt unit gaffe last week at Carolina as well, also resulting in a touchdown.
Third and fourth string tight-ends don’t find openings against good defenses, but they did against the G-men. Sean McGrath, who to his credit has played well in emergency usage, led the Chiefs with five receptions (five targets) for 64 yards and the game’s first score. Recently signed Rutgers product, 27-year old Kevin Brock, broke the Giants back with a 25-yard reception deep into their own territory on the aforementioned 1st and 25 conversion.
To review Sunday’s shortcomings: special teams, penalties; failure to prudently defend down and distance and allowing moderately talented skill players to carve you up –
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2013 version of the New York Giants until proven otherwise.