The New York Giants’ impressive and unexpected 12-9 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs shows how the notion of “quitting” is a myth.
The New York Giants 12 and the Kansas City Chiefs nine was the final score from the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon. Yes, the 1-8 Giants pulled off the thrilling upset versus the 6-3 Chiefs in overtime at home — a game many expected to be an utter blowout in Kansas City’s favor. And this team’s ability to buckle down and win versus one of the AFC’s best proves that the notion of them “quitting” is a myth.
All week long, and the one prior, the Giants, their defense especially, has been accused of “quitting.” This belief is greatly influenced by select plays where certain players seemed to give into defeat after getting beat deep in the team’s last two games.
The notion was also put in place after they surrendered a whopping 51 points to the Los Angeles Rams at home and 31 to the winless San Francisco 49ers last week; over the course of the year, they had given up the 4th most yards and 6th most points in the league.
However, Sunday afternoon they put that plaguing notion and discouraging play to rest.
Going into their Week 11 affair, the Chiefs possessed one of the game’s best all-around offenses. Featuring the likes of Alex Smith, who threw just one interception before Sunday afternoon, speedy rookie halfback Kareem Hunt, one of, if not the best tight ends in the NFL in Travis Kelce and the crafty Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have been one of the league’s most feared offenses. Sunday afternoon, they were held to nine points.
Forcing a combined three interceptions — two from Smith, one from Kelce — and limiting Hunt to 73 yards on the ground, the Giants rekindled their 2016 defensive play; the Giants gave up the 3rd fewest rushing yards and 2nd fewest points in the NFL last season.
After a week where the media and fans called for head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese’s head on a stick, the Giants buckled down, put the distractions and excuses to the side, and put together a complete game, defensively especially. But their offense, while not great, got it done when they had to.
In overtime, with nearly two minutes to go, Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense faced a 4th and 5 on the 36-yard line. With gusting and game-altering winds — which Giants’ kicker Aldrick Rosas dealt with the hard way after the wind prevented his extra point from reaching the uprights — playing a factor in both team’s passing attacks, the Giants decided to go for it, instead of kicking a long field goal or punting the football away.
Throwing a deep-ball off his back foot, Manning connected with Roger Lewis Jr., who made a phenomenal diving play, on a 34-yard pass. Rosas would kick the game-winning 23-yard field goal two plays later to put the finishing touches on the Giants’ 12-9 overtime victory.
The Giants have endured one of the more disappointing seasons in franchise history. Whether it be the season-ending ankle injuries to Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, the offensive line’s first-half struggles — which have quietly cured themselves the past three weeks — McAdoo’s stubbornness or Manning’s underwhelming play, the 2017 season has not been ideal for Big Blue. But you can’t hold your head down and give in when times get bad.
Ever since they began the year 0-5, many have clamored for the Giants to “tank”, in an attempt to help their draft seeding come April. But playing to lose is a horrible look for an organization and showcases an inability to play for pride — a trap the Giants made sure they wouldn’t fall into Sunday afternoon.
When the idea of “quitting” gets brought to the table, it’s usually as a result of a chaotic series of events, which is exactly what this Giants’ team has witnessed. Whether it be the suspensions handed out to cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, play-calling drama amongst the coaching staff, the overwhelming amount of injuries or inconsistent play, the Giants have been a mess. But it didn’t stop them from putting forth a great effort Sunday afternoon.
While they lost three of their last four contests heading into the weekend, Smith and the Chiefs were portrayed as one of the AFC’s best at 6-3; their crafty offense looked bound to have a field day on the Giants’ defense.
The Giants’ secondary, whether it be Jenkins or Landon Collins, as well as the team’s run defense, Damon Harrison in particular — who even picked off Smith in the 1st quarter –, was dominant against the Chiefs; it was reminiscent of the team’s stellar and, at times, lethal 2016 core.
When players and coaches’ backs are against the wall, they can very easily turn on one another. When you enter the year as a potential Super Bowl contender and end up 1-8, rage and disappointment quickly settles in, as well as rumors and speculation about what’s happening inside the locker room.
It has certainly been a drama-infested, wild ride for the Giants, the last couple of weeks especially, but when their defense holds one of the league’s most potent offense’s to just nine points, the offense makes the big play when it has to and you shock the world in a stunning upset, no such “quitting” is taking place.
Is it possible that on select plays, or late in games, certain players opted to not give 100 percent or say “oh well what’s the point, the game’s over in the weeks leading up to Week 11?” Of course it is, and when looking at the film or watching this team get beat deep, that certainly appears to be the case, and, if so, is inexcusable and unprofessional. But it doesn’t mean that the entire team gave up, or decided there’s no reason to play.
No one knows how many more wins this Giants’ team will string together, but their effort and competitiveness Sunday afternoon proved that while they may not be in a great place, are certainly not giving up on the 2017 season; they’re going to fight and continue to grind it out until the very end, no matter the circumstance or what their record is.