Ever wonder what might happen if the Giants’ defense and special teams struggled in the same game?
Wonder no more.
Because the perennially broken offense — led Sunday by backup quarterback Mike Glennon — vacuums up all the margin for error, the Giants learned during a 37-21 loss to the Chargers that mistakes in the other two parts of the game is a quick path to a 30-point fourth-quarter deficit.
“We put ourselves in a bad spot early in the game. That’s not OK,” safety Logan Ryan said. “That’s not OK in our situation with the season. That’s not OK for the fans, for the franchise. It’s not OK how we performed.”
There’s a tried-and-true formula for head coach Joe Judge’s Giants to stay competitive: Hold opponents under 21 points — as has been the case in all 10 wins over the last two seasons combined — plus win the field-position battle and hope to scrape together enough scoring.
“We were giving up too many touchdowns in the beginning of the game,” Ryan said. “By the second half, when we tried to get some things under control, it was too much damage done early.”
The Giants allowed two identical touchdown drives (nine plays for 60 yards) over the first 18 minutes and another 10 points over the final 4:15 of the first half. But the first-half problems go deeper than just points allowed: The Chargers gained a first down (18) on nearly half of their offensive snaps (40), converted 4 of 7 on third down and possessed the ball for more than 18 minutes.
“When you practice a play in practice and see it in the game and don’t make it, that’s on you,” Ryan said after he allowed a 59-yard touchdown strike. “When some of our communication wasn’t as good as it needs to be, that’s on us. We preached turnovers all week — worked really hard at them —and we didn’t get them. We have to go make some of those game-changing plays just for our season, just for our franchise.”
It wasn’t any better on special teams.
Punter Riley Dixon’s miserable season continued when he booted a touchback from the 50-yard line instead of pinning the ball inside the 20-yard line. Then he shanked an 18-yard punt leading to a touchdown, when a longer punt would have likely ended the half. Then he fired an incomplete pass out of bounds on a fake punt in the third quarter.
Normally reliable kicker Graham Gano sent a kickoff out of bounds.
“With how close every game is in this league and how fine a line it is between success and coming up short, you can’t afford to make mistakes,” Judge said. “There were too many opportunities out there we didn’t take advantage of.”