The New York Giants’ season can best be described as a cartoon pebble rolling down a snowy hill until it grows into a giant snowball that smashes the house at the bottom of the hill.
Against the Los Angeles Chargers, the giant snowball smashed into the house at the bottom of the Giants’ hill.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went up to catch a pass with four minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Giants holding a two-point lead. He came down awkwardly on the same ankle he injured nearly two months ago in a preseason game. The tears in Beckham’s eyes as he lay on the field said it all. The Chargers immediately called for the medical staff to assist Beckham from their sideline. Players from both teams kneeled on one knee as Beckham was carted off with a towel draped over his face.
In a move that is symbolic of the Giants’ season, quarterback Eli Manning fumbled the ball on the play immediately after Beckham was injured. The Chargers scored the go-ahead touchdown as they beat the Giants 27-22 in this meeting of winless teams.
Beckham was not the only Giants receiver bitten by the injury big Sunday afternoon. Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard also injured ankles in the second quarter while Dwayne Harris fractured his foot in early in the third quarter. In fact, when the Giants were driving for what would have been the game winning touchdown, the only healthy wide receiver they had was Roger Lewis.
The defense wasn’t immune to the injury bug either. Linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas left the game early with a burner while cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a foot injury and did not return.
It was a game the Giants were poised to win. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers spotted the Giants two points when he threw the ball out of the back out of the end zone early in the first quarter. The offense had signs of life when Orleans Darkwa scored the Giants’ first-first quarter touchdown of the season.
Beckham was supposed to be the hero, as he caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Manning to give the Giants the lead early in the fourth quarter. Beckham’s celebration included dropping to his knees and pretending to give the football CPR (without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). Instead, he was carted off the field with an injury that he may not recover from this season.
For the third week in a row, the Giants lost a game they should have won. It would be easier to accept if they were just an awful or their opponents were hanging 50 points on them every week. It’s these one play, one possession losses that seem to sting the most, especially when one mistake, one missed play can be pointed at as the reason for the loss.
The Giants are now 0-5, joining the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns as the NFL’s only winless teams. It gets no easier for the Giants going forward with a Sunday night road trip to face the Denver Broncos next week followed by a visit from the Seattle Seahawks (Week 7) before their bye week.
The nail has been put in the Giants’ coffin for 2017 but the game itself is an afterthought after the injury to their best offensive weapon.