It was a different opponent for the New York Giants, but still the same result, as Big Blue once again came up small, falling to former NFC East nemesis Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs in a mistake-filled 31-7 loss.
The recent shortcomings marked one of the worst starts to the regular season in a non-strike year since 1979, when the Giants struggled out of the gate. That season, they finished 6-10 under first-year head coach Ray Perkins and rookie quarterback Phil Simms.
This week, the Giants offense, working behind a rebuilt line that was missing starters Chris Snee and David Baas, could not capitalize on many opportunities.
In the first quarter, Rueben Randle returned a punt 43 yards to his 46, the Giants’ best field position of the day. However, a flag against defensive end Justin Trattou for an illegal block in the back nullified the return and instead of starting on their 46, the Giants started the drive on their eight with a drive that went three-and-out.
In the second quarter, the Giants and Chiefs exchanged turnovers, the Giants’ being a two-yard sack and fumble of quarterback Eli Manning, and the Chiefs’ ensuring turnover being an aborted snap from center that was recovered by Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger at his 31. As would be the case all game long, the Giants offense went three-and-out, failing to convert the gift into points.
Despite the Giants’ ineptness in the first half, the Chiefs only managed a 10-7 lead which came on a five-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to tight end Sean McGrath and a 51-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop, both scores coming in the second quarter.
The Giants, meanwhile scored their only points of the game in the second quarter on quarterback Eli Manning’s 69-yard touchdown pass to receiver Victor Cruz. It was the offense’s first points in a little over five quarters of play
In the second half, things finally started to slip away from the Giants, who made one mistake after another after another. Cornerback Prince Amukamara intercepted a Smith pass intended for receiver Dwayne Bowe to give his team the ball on their 36. On the ensuring series, the Giants ran the ball three times with David Wilson for a total of nine yards.
Later in the third quarter, safety Antrel Rolle came up with an interception on a ball intended for running back Jamaal Charles. After the Chiefs lost the replay challenge, the Giants offense again went three-and-out.
The Chiefs would then win a more critical replay challenge on a Giants third-and-long where it initially looked like receiver Victor Cruz had the 17 yards necessary for the first down. However, the replay showed that Cruz was stopped one yard short, which brought on the Giants punt team.
Only one problem. Instead of going for it on fourth down, head coach Tom Coughlin sent out punter Steve Weatherford, whose kick was sent right down the middle of the field. At least three Giants were blocked out of the picture while at least another three didn’t get so much as a sniff of returner Dexter McCluster, who ran returned the ball 89 yards for a score that made it 17-7 in favor of the Chiefs.
On the ensuing Giants drive to close out the third quarter, Jerrel Jernigan failed to down another Weatherford punt inside of the five, the result being the punt went for a touchback. It looked like the Giants might escape with the Chiefs having to settle for three points.
Except on fourth-and-four, the Giants were flagged for an illegal defensive formation, a penalty that gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs and enabled them complete the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Charles to make it 24-7.
Capping the Giants’ comedy of errors was Manning’s fumble at his 37, a ball recovered by Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry. Three plays later, Smith connected with receiver Dwayne Bowe on a 34-yard touchdown for the game’s final points.
The Giant’s fourth straight loss saw New York rush for a total of 98 yards on 21 carries, a decent 4.7 average, which, to put into perspective was just four yards less than what the Chiefs accumulated.
However, there really wasn’t that much else to be proud of as there were three Giants turnovers, and, perhaps even more alarming, the Giants, who finished one of 14 on third down attempts, have yet to string together any scoring drive of at least 10 plays or more this season.