The Giants lost to the Chargers 37-21. But they were down by 30 with just under five minutes remaining and scored two late touchdowns against the Chargers’ backups. Even the halftime frisbee dogs had a better day receiving than the Giants wide receivers.
Like many (nearly 40% of the fans in the stands), I am a relocated New Yorker living in San Diego and a life-long Giants fan. Yes, I plead guilty to being the eternal optimist every offseason. Back in May, after what looked like a great free agent and draft season by the Giants front office, I bought tickets to see the Giants play the Chargers at the new SoFi Stadium. I was sure this would be an epic battle of two dominant offenses of two playoff-bound teams. Well, I was half right. What a difference seven months make. I went to this game with low expectations for the Giants…and they met them. The Giants were outplayed in all facets of this game.
Except for a couple of good throws, Giants backup QB turned starter, Mike Glennon seemed to play scared all game. He consistently threw behind his receivers, was quick to throw the ball away in broken plays, and even slid one time behind the line of scrimmage instead of throwing the ball away. Granted, he was coming off a concussion last week. His wide receivers (WR) did not help him. 17 of Glennon’s 36 passes were to the WRs. They caught a total of 6 passes. Darius Slayton dropped two of his three targets adding to his season of critical drops. The running backs fared better in this game catching 8 of nine targets including 2 touchdowns. Glennon finished 17 for 36 with 2 TDs and 1 Int.
When the passing game isn’t working, and the Chargers have been weak in stopping the run, you think the Giants would start the game running early and often. Nope. Even though Saquon and Booker were averaging better than 5 yards per carry, the Giants didn’t run nearly enough in the first half. They finished with a respectable 135 yards on the ground. But running the ball in the last four minutes of the game, down by three scores with no timeouts? In two run plays, they lost a full minute on the clock. Clock management and play selection continue to baffle us.
Defensively, the Giants proved their secondary cannot keep up with the Chargers wide receivers, even without Keenan Allen on the field. CB James Bradberry lost Chargers’ WR Mike Williams on a slant over the middle and never caught him until Williams was forced out of bounds 30 yards later. And yet again, the Giants gave up a late first-half score, this time a 59-yard TD pass on 3rd and 11 with WR Jaylen Guyton getting past both Giants’ safeties Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney. The Giants have now been outscored 59-0 in the final two minutes of the first half this season. This one was a back-breaker putting the score at 27-7 at the half.
The halftime entertainment at SoFi proved to be a lesson in leading the receiver with the pass and making solid receptions. Four rescue-turned frisbee dogs showed off their talents with a sharp-shooting dog handler tossing the discs up and down the field. Chargers QB Justin Herbert finished 23 for 31 and a 133 passer rating. I’m pretty sure the dog handler finished with a better QB rating than Glennon (70.5). But the dogs clearly outpaced Giants wide receivers with a much better catch-to-target ratio.
It’s gut-check time for the Giants. They have four games left, three versus division opponents. They can still make noise and play spoilers. More importantly, players are playing now for roster spots next year.