If New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was on the hot seat before, Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers only poured kerosene on it.
The Giants, in the midst of a season that has gone to hell in a hand basket, hit a new low when they lost convincingly to the 49ers in a matchup that featured the two worst teams in the NFC. It was the first time in 33 years that a game featuring two teams with a combined one win played this late in the season.
The Giants never held the lead in the game and, at times, looked uninspired against a team with a rookie head coach in Kyle Shanahan and a rookie quarterback in third-rounder C.J. Beathard.
Rumors surfaced that McAdoo could be fired if the Giants lost to the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium although it is not in the ownership’s nature to fire a coach in the middle of a season, even one as putrid as this one.
“We’re not a good football team right now,” said linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas. “Not a good team right now. Hopefully we can go ahead and turn around and be competitive and complete. It’s sad that I’m sitting here talking about us competing in games instead of talking about winning and that’s the truth.”
The Giants are 1-8, 15th in the NFC only because the 1-9 49ers have played one more game. A season that began with expectations of competing for a Super Bowl berth has turned into one of where the Giants are one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams.
Once again, the Giants failed in all three phases of the game.
Eli Manning, who tied brother Peyton for the second-longest consecutive start streak by a quarterback with 208, had a key sack fumble on the Giants’ first series that the 49ers quickly capitalized on. He didn’t lead the Giants to a touchdown until after the game had already been decided.
The defense was unable to stop the 49ers, who moved up and down the field at will. Beathard had been sacked 14 times in his three career starts but was untouched by the Giants. The only mistake he made was an interception that defensive end Olivier Vernon tipped to himself.
Beathard threw touchdown passes to Marquise Goodwin (83 yards, on third-and-8 conjuring up images of Rams wide receiver Robert Woods’ 52-yard touchdown last week on third-and-33) and Garrett Celek (47 yards, the 10th consecutive game that the Giants allowed a tight end to score a touchdown, an NFL record). Rookie Matt Breida chipped in with a 33-yard touchdown run through the middle of the field untouched by anyone.
Special teams was anything but special yet again when Aldrick Rosas sent the game’s opening kick out of bounds, setting up the 49ers first field goal. He also missed a 34-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. Rosas has missed a field goal in four consecutive games.
“We got schooled,” said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “I did not see enough relentless play, attitude. You name it, I did not see it. Everything we should have, I felt we did not do it.”
McAdoo’s future has been called into question. Reports from anonymous players surfaced last week that McAdoo has lost the locker room. After this most embarrassing loss, McAdoo didn’t want to talk about his job security.
“They doesn’t have anything to do with anything,” McAdoo said. “We have to find a way to win a game. We have to address what happened out here on the field today, take a look at the tape, and be honest with each other.”
The last Giants coach to be fired in the middle of the season was Bill Arnsparger in 1976. Arnsparger was let go after the Giants lost seven games to begin the season, the first at Giants Stadium.
The final straw for Arnsparger was a 27-0 loss to the then-defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the second regular season game ever at Giants Stadium. Arnsparger was replaced by John McVay, McVay, who had a 14-23 record as Giants head coach, later became 49ers vice president of football operations and brought in the personnel that led the team to five Super Bowl victories.