TAMPA, Fla. – Ben McAdoo is not shocked the Giants are 0-4.
He’s not even surprised.
I guarantee John Mara is shocked and Steve Tisch is surprised. They own a business recently valued by Forbes at $3.3 billion. These losses ultimately cost a lot of money.
So, McAdoo has a team that won 11 games last year and was considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender this year, but after losing their second straight game on a field goal on the final play to join the lowly Browns, 49ers and Chargers as the only teams to get through the first quarter of the season without a victory, he refused to admit he’s been caught off guard.
“I’m not surprised. I’m not shocked,” McAdoo said after ex-Jet Nick Folk’s 34-yard field goal gave the Bucs a 25-23 victory. “You can’t carry things over from one year to the next. We talked about that in the offseason.”
He talks about putting the fifth Super Bowl trophy in the case, but being far and away the No. 1 flop of the first month of the NFL season only has him “disappointed, irritated.” After raising expectations, he’s quickly trying to rationalize not reaching them.
Shouldn’t he be surprised and shocked at what’s happened? If he’s not, it’s inexcusable. But he would not give in despite two or three opportunities to explain himself.
“I’m irritated that we’re 0-4,” he said. “But we need to get to work. That’s how you fix it.”
It’s too late for that. At 1-3, the Giants could have bounced back. At 0-4, we’re now asking the question: Suck For Sam? Since the 1970 merger, only the 1992 Chargers have opened 0-4 and made it to the postseason.
“I would’ve never thought we would go 0-4, but it is what it is,” Odell Beckham Jr. said. “That’s what our record is. We can’t sit here and cry about it. You just have to keep trying to get better each and every day, get the first win and see what happens from there.”
McAdoo didn’t quite go into the classic Jim Mora “‘playoffs?” speech when he was asked after the game about the Giants chances, but he did bark, “We need to win a damn game.”
The lack of discipline, sloppy play and questionable game management decisions – that’s all on McAdoo. That has contributed to the losing as much as the offense that scored only 13 points through the first 165 minutes of the season – three games plus three quarters.
The shutdown defense of 2016 hasn’t shown up this year. It twice failed to hold fourth quarter leads last week in Philly and then couldn’t come up with a stop before the Eagles rookie kicker hit a miracle 61-yard field goal at the buzzer to avoid overtime, and the defense couldn’t hold onto a lead after Eli Manning put the Giants ahead with 3:16 left on Sunday with a two-yard TD pass to tight end Rhett Ellison to give the Giants a 23-22 lead.
Of course, McAdoo went for two. Manning found Beckham along the back of the end zone for what was originally ruled a completion.
Progress: Beckham did not get down on all fours and lift up his right leg and make believe he was peeing like a dog.
Hey, baby steps.
But not only was D.J. Fluker holding on the play, but Beckham went out of the back of the end zone and came back in, making it an illegal touch. Two points off the board that would have protected against a game-winning field goal.
Jameis Winston, on his way to being a superstar, moved the Bucs from their 25 to a third and 1 at the Giants 39 with 1:30 left. He then found tight end Cameron Brate behind Landon Collins to get the Bucs to the 13. Winston then took two knees to set up Folk’s winner that just snuck inside the left upright.
Even if Folk, who earlier had missed an extra point and two field goals, had missed this one, he would have received a second chance because Collins was offside. Can you imagine the Giants celebrating their first victory if Folk’s kick hit the upright or went just wide left – there was a pretty famous kick against the Giants in a Super Bowl at the old stadium in Tampa a long time ago that went wide right – only to see the yellow flag on the ground? Collins would have had to walk home.
The anatomy of a season gone wrong:
Dallas: No sense of urgency.
Detroit: 88-yard punt return.
Philly: Peeing in the end zone.
Tampa: Another loss on the final play.
“You just keep fighting for a win,” Manning said. “That’s all you do every week. The record doesn’t matter. You want that feeling. You want that feeling after the game. We need it. We want it. But nothing is going to be given to us. We got to go out there and get wins. We got to go out there and play good football. It is tough to lose two games in a row on field goals — on walk-off field goals.”
Not even the presence of Lawrence Taylor, the greatest Giant of all time, on the field during the-pregame warmups could inspire and motivate Big Blue. He gave Beckham a hug and then went upstairs and sat in a box with Warren Sapp.
This truly might be the most disappointing and underachieving Giants team of all time. For some reason, when nothing was expected of them, they won the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011. When there are great expectations it has led to their greatest failures.
None greater than this year.
“Yeah, I mean it is surprising,” Manning said.
Not according to his coach with the diner menu of plays who keeps ordering the wrong meal.